Turku is Finland’s oldest city and was the country’s first capital. National monuments like Turku Castle and Turku Cathedral will bring Finland’s origins to light. With a bicycle you could go on a hopping adventure, boarding ferries to discover little communities with distinct traditions and heritage.
Best Time to Visit
The summer months between June to mid August are the best time to visit this lively town. The weather is great and the people are generally in a festive mood.
Top Places to Visit in Turku
- Turku Castle
Among Finland’s most prized pieces of national heritage, as well as one of its oldest buildings, Turku Castle took shape in the late-1200s during Finland’s Swedish period. It was built to defend their province of Eastland but took on all sorts of different roles over the next few centuries: It was a luxurious palace, administrative centre, seat of government, warehouse and then a prison right up to the end of the 1800s.
2. Turku Cathedral
A hugely significant building, this is the seat of the Archbishop of Finland and is the country’s national sanctuary. Many people have this 13th-century cathedral down as Finland’s most important historic building.
When it was first built the cathedral was made almost exclusively from wood, before a stone rebuild took place in the 1400s.
3. Forum Marinum Maritime Centre
In Turku’s IX district is this riverfront attraction that occupies two former government warehouses. All along the quay heritage boats of all sizes are moored and ready for you to board. Of these the standout has to be Sigyn, a three-masted merchant’s vessel built in Gothenburg in 1887. There are also four Finnish naval vessels and a police boat that you can check out. On land you can enter the old warehouses to see the evolution of maritime trade and conflict in Finland, and check out yet more historic vessels.
On the upper side of the Turku estuary is the long and craggy Ruissalo Island. It’s always been easy to reach from the mainland and in medieval times formed part of the hunting grounds for Turku Castle. A great way to see Ruissalo’s rugged coastline, botanical garden, sandy beaches and fresh oak forests is to hop on a bike and cross the Ruissalon puistotie bridge.
Open in summer, Flowpark lets kids and grown-ups be active outdoors in a completely safe environment. It’s an eco-adventure park able to cater to children age seven and up. Blending with the woodland are a variety of swings, rope bridges, monkey bars, lane jumps and cable slides. At the park you’ll wear helmets and harnesses, and you’ll be strapped onto the tougher challenges. Even those who rate themselves as climbers will find some of the courses tough, but there are plenty of lighter tests that will help develop kids’ self-confidence and give the whole family something different to do on holiday in Turku.