Turku Finland has come a long way since its founding
in the early 1200s, and while it’s not the country’s
administrative hub anymore, it has happily assumed its
role as one of Finland’s top tourist destinations.
Turku is officially the oldest city in Finland, and it
is smaller only than Helsinki and Tampere. You’ll find
good restaurants here and plenty of interesting things
to do, not to mention a bounty of outlying islands
to explore when the weather is nice. Situated on Finland’s southwest coast,
Turku is very much linked to the water, and further inland,
the surrounding area offers up some more picturesque lanscapes
that will soothe your soul. Setting aside some time during
your Finland vacation to travel to Turku is always a good idea, and since it’s
just 100 miles west of Helsinki, getting here is easy.
For centuries after its founding in the thirteenth century, Turku was not only the unofficial capital of what is now modern-day Finland, but it was also the region’s largest city. Until 1809, the city, and the rest of Finland for that matter, were part of Sweden. Russia would assume control in the nineteenth century, however, and by 1812, the decision was made to establish the official Finnish capital in Helsinki. In 1827, Turku Finland experienced the most devastating fire that any Nordic city has ever seen. This significant moment in Finland’s history saw 75 percent of the city laid to waste. Among the structures that were badly damaged was the Turku Cathedral, which thanks to renovations, still stands to this day. Found near the Aura River, the Cathedral of Turku is one of the more historically-significant Finnish cathedrals, and it is dear to the hearts of Finns the country wide. The cathedral is free to visitors who want to take a look inside, and it is certainly worth paying the small fee to access the cathedral’s museum. Finnish museums that relate to religion don’t get any better than the one at the Turku Cathedral, as it boasts some very interesting relics from medieval times.
When discussing Turku tourism, no conversation would be complete without mention of the Finnish archipelago. There are hundreds of islands found just offshore from Turku, and exploring them is simply one of the top Turku travel pursuits. The summertime is the peak season for heading out into the surrounding islands, and you just might be surprised at how easy it is to navigate through them. There are bridges and roads and that interlink many of the Finnish islands off the coast of Turku, and for those not going by rental car or taxi, there are a number of ferries and other waterborne crafts that can transport you about. For those interested in doing some fishing in Finland, Turku is an ideal base, and there is no shortage of charter companies that can get you out on the water and supply you with equipment. Day trips to the islands in the beautiful Finnish archipelago can be enjoyed from May to September, which is when the Turku hotels understandably see the most business. You can rent a boat, bicycle, kayak, or motorcycle to explore the islands near Turku on your own, or you can book any number of Turku tours that include the island experience. Both options are good ways to go.
When not enjoying Turku tours that visit the surrounding islands, you can head back toward the mouth of the Aura River to see another historic building that is among the city’s oldest. Built in the 1280s, the Turku Castle is pretty imposing, and its size makes it the largest surviving medieval castle in all the Scandinavian countries. The Turku Castle was once the main administrative center for the land of Finland, and throughout the centuries its significance was strong. There is an admission fee for those who want to tour the castle, and it is worth paying to get in. Secular murals and wooden sculptures from medieval times are among the highlights at this castle-turned-museum, and no visit to the structure is complete without some time spent admiring the fourteenth-century portrait of the Virgin Mary by Lieto. Those interested in learning all about the history of Turku Finland will enjoy the castle’s Historical Museum of Turku.
Turku tourism is full of possibilities, and while the summer is the best time to enjoy Turku travel, there really isn’t a bad time to visit. Turku tours of the city can easily enjoyed by foot year round, as most of the city’s top sights are all within walking distance of the central Kauppatori square, and languid strolls along the Aura River are encouraged as well. One of the best walks in town involves following along the river from the city’s center to the Turku Castle. Some great Finland hiking can be enjoyed on some of the islands near Turku and further inland, so that is always an option as well, and there are plenty of neat shops, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs to explore in town when you’re not sightseeing. Try to dedicate at least a couple of days to your Turku travel itinerary, and see why this thriving seaside hub is such a popular Finnish tourist spot. For help making the most of your Turku travel time, head to the address of Aurakatu 4 in the city center, which is where you will find the Turku Tourist Office. In addition to helping you arrange Turku tours and find a hotel room, the tourist office is a great place to learn all about the extensive Turku tourism possibilities.