Wonderful Turku – or: Welcome to Åbo!

Turku is a placid and small town in the south of Finland. Even though Turku was the most important (and first) town in Finland and therefore its capital between the 13. and 19. century, most people I talked to didn’t know Turku. But I have to admit as well, before this journey I didn’t know that this town exists. In fact, Turku was one of the European Capital of Culture in 2011. By the way, Åbo is the swedish name of Turku and means as much as ‚residence at the river’.

 

Old city, Turku - Finland

 

Because I had no idea about Turku in the forefront, Sylvi fortunately neither, we didn’t know what we had to expect in Turku.
Our mood wasn’t the best at the beginning because we had to get up at 4:30 am as our ship landed in the harbor at 7 am and we needed enough time to get ready and to stow our stuff in our luggage.

 

Cathedral school (Katedralskolan), Turku - Finland

 

The first, what we were expected from, was cold! It really was bitterly cold on that day in Turku, but at least it was sunny. So, we could get over the 7 °C maximum a little. The whole we were guided by Olga. A very friendly Ukrainian who came to Finland because of love and now works in the tourist information. So, before our day really started, we had some coffee and cookies with Olga, she handed us small Welcome bags and our cards for the Museum and Food Walk Tour*. After a few background information about Turku, Olga let us explore Turku on our own.

 

Libary, Turku - Finland

 

Getting around

Of course, there is public transportation in Turku, but actually we walked the whole day. Everything is very close to the centre and perfectly accessible by feet.

The only time we took the bus was for the way from the centre to Turku Castle. The Castle is located directly at the harbor and about 4 km away from the centre. The way back we went by feet and it took quite a while. 😀 So depending how fast you are you need about 30-45 minutes. But as it was sunny it wasn’t that bad. The bus cost 3 €. But you can use the ticket for about 2 hours, in both directions.

 

Turku Castle, Turku - Finland

 

To Do

Museum Walk

The card costs 38 € and for culturati visitors of Turku it’s definitely worth it. In total you have 12 museums at choice on your card which you can all visit with this card! From art over archaeology to the history of Turku everything is covered. But you have to consider, that some museums aren’t open the whole year. The card is valid for 3 days after the first use, you can save 10 € at a Turku Sightseeing tour and you get additional benefits in each museum.

 

Boats on the Aura, Turku - Finland

 

Food Walk

Also perfect for your stay in Turku: The Food Walk Card. It costs 44 € and in my opinion is definitely worth it. There are 10 different restaurants with a diverse offering at choice, from which you have to choose 5 venues where you get your free meal. If you ‚used‘ all 5 stations you can get in one of the other venues on the card 15% off of your meal. The good thing is, that you don’t get just small servings, but the normal one. You really get sated from it and because we only had one day for everything we only made it to 4 restaurants. But this card is valid for 3 days as well, so there shouldn’t be a problem when you have a normal stay.

 

Food Walk Tour, Turku - Finland

 

Turku Castle

Linnankatu 80, 20100 Turku: The castle of Turku is included in the Museum Card. The entrance fee without the card is 10 € per adult. The castle is in really good preservation and it’s worth a visit. You can explore the castle on your own and visualize the life at that time. The castle had many different roles in its history, e.g. a defensive bastion, majestic court or a prison.

 

Turku Castle, Turku - Finland

 

Turku Cathedral 

Tuomiokirkkokatu 1, 20500 Turku: The Turku Cathedral is in the middle of the city centre. The entry is free, unless you want ti visit the small museum. It is a wonderful church which you really should visit. Turku Cathedral is the most important religious building in Finland.

 

Turku Cathedral, Turku - Finland

 

Old city of Turku

Luostarin Välikatu, 20700 Turku: Even though Turku is such a wonderful old city, the historic district is composed of only one street. Crazy, right? But this has a really simple, but tragic reason. Turku was burnt down in 1827 by a devastating fire and lost 3/4 of its houses within one day. So there’s not much left from the really old buildings. This also was the year when the importance of Helsinki was consolidated, after it was appointed to be the capital by the Russian regimen 15 years ago.

This one street is worthwhile. But it was quite difficult for us to find. It should be the above mentioned street, if I reconstructed it right from Google Maps. 🙂 It’s directly around the Cathedral.

 

Old city, Turku - Finland

 

The river Aura

The river crosses the whole town and you perfectly can go for a walk along the riverbank. When we went back from the castle to the centre we had the river on our right side all the time.  

 

River Aura, Turku - Finland

 

Food

Here are my three favorites from the Food Walk Tour. 🙂

Tip: In Finland you get tap water for free as well and many venues directly place a bottle on your table.

 

Café Art

Läntinen Rantakatu 5, 20100 Turku: Our first station of the Food Walk Tour led us to this pretty café which is directly located at the river. The (supposably) owner of the café was super friendly and helpful. At Café Art you can choose a coffee speciality and a piece of cake and you can nibble it in a homely atmosphere. During summer you can perfectly sit outside and enjoy the sun at the riverbank.

 

CaféArt, Turku - Finland

CaféArt, Turku - Finland

 

Di Trevi

Aurakatu 1, 20100 Turku: Just around the corner of the Café Art is the Mediterranean restaurant Di Trevi. Here you’ll get a small mixed tapas plate. Amazingly tasty, the staff is friendly and the atmosphere is very pleasant. And I didn’t know to date that olive pits are that tasty. 🙂

 

Tapas plate at di Trevi, Turku - Finland

di Trevi, Turku - Finland

 

Pinella

Vanha Suurtori 2, 20100 Turku: With your Food Walk Card you’ll get the dessert of the day at Pinella. In our case it was a scoop of beetroot ice cream, bedded on a chocolate mousse. When the waitress said the type of ice cream, Sylvi and me were a little bit skeptical. But it turned out that there wasn’t a reason for that. It was so tasty and I’d love to get another scoop of this ice cream. 🙂

 

Dessert of the day at Pinella, Turku - Finland

 

My upshot from Turku

Turku really fascinated me and I also have to say, that I liked this town nearly the most on our trip. No rush, a quiet town and much culture and especially in summer they have a lot of possibilities for activities. So you definitely should have Turku in mind when you plan your trip to Finland.

 

Small figure at the riverbank of the Aura, Turku - Finland

 

Was someone of you already in Turku? How did you like it? 🙂

*This journey was enabled with the support of Tallink Silja Line.

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