Turku is a port city in southwestern Finland, located at the mouth of the Aura River. According to archaeologists and historians, it was founded at the end of the 13th century and almost immediately became one of the most important cities in the country, received the status of the capital and retained its position until 1809, when Finland became part of the Russian Empire. Nowadays, Turku is still a cultural and economic center, and in 2011, along with Tallinn, it was designated the European Capital of Culture.
The best time to visit the city is summer, when, in addition to local attractions, you can still fully enjoy the picturesque Finnish nature, as well as visit regularly held festivals.
The Finnish name of the city has ancient Russian roots and is closely related to the word “targ”, which means a market or place of trade.
Traditionally, interior items, deerskin souvenirs, and Moomin figures are brought from Turku. Market Square is the tourist heart of the city, it is here that most of the shops are located, where you can buy everything from local farmers’ products to branded clothing. And here is the largest open-air food market in the city.
Near the square (on Kristiinankatu, 10) the largest Hansa shopping complex was built, containing about 150 shops under its roof, offering clothes, souvenirs, jewelry, and interior items. Products are expensive and designed for the European level of income.
To save money, it is better to arrange shopping in Turku on the eve of the Christmas holidays: most stores offer 20-50% discounts.
Several large shopping centers are located outside the city limits. For example, the well-known Skanssi complex operates 4 km from Turku, serving customers daily from 7:45 to 21:30, and on weekends from 11:45 to 18:30. You can get to it by taxi or by buses No. 9 and 99.
Cuisine and restaurants in Turku
There are many cafes and restaurants open in Turku, as well as fast food chains, but the cuisine does not have a pronounced flavor. Most of the establishments are concentrated in the old part of the city near the Market Square, they serve classic European dishes. Lunch in such a cafe will cost 40-45 EUR per person.
An interesting dinner format is offered by ethically styled restaurants. The menu is appropriate: you can try venison, whole baked fish, vegetables fried according to authentic Viking recipes. The surroundings are appropriate: dishes are served on swords, birch boards, and drinks are poured into goblets. Dinner with moderate alcohol per person will cost from 80 to 120 EUR.
You can eat cheaply in one of the fast food restaurants. For example, the largest Finnish burger chain Hesburger. For a drink and a hamburger they will ask 7-8 EUR.
Entertainment and attractions
Turku is one of the oldest cities in Finland and an important cultural center. Literally every cobblestone on the Market Square bears the imprint of knightly duels and countless fairs that were held here back in the days of the Vikings.
A significant landmark of the city is the Cathedral. The Lutheran temple was erected in the 13th century, the construction lasted almost 150 years. But the work of the masters was almost completely destroyed in 1827 due to a fire that spared only the chapel. Gradually, the cathedral was reconstructed and restored, and now it is considered the main church of Finland.
Abo Castle was built in the 13th century to protect the Finnish port. In the Middle Ages, it turned from a fortification into a royal palace, and then into a gloomy prison for opponents of the royal regime. All this time, the castle was being completed and expanded until it became the largest architectural monument in Scandinavia. A museum has been open here since the middle of the 19th century.
But the most famous museum in Turku is not Abo Castle, but the Moomin Museum: cute characters, which gave the world the literary talent of Tove Jansson (off. site). It is open 16 km from the city on the island of Kailo. Here guests can see the Moomin House, visit Emma’s summer theater, play hide and seek with Moomin and Sniff. You can get to the theme park from Turku by Moominbus or by a simple one – No. 11 or 110.
- Are there tours to Turku in the Moomin Valley
- What to see in Turku in a day
According to bridgat.com, the climate in Turku resembles the weather of the northern part of Russia, but the proximity to the ocean leaves its mark. The swimming season begins in June, the water is already warm at this time, there are practically no storms. But heavy and frequent rains make it difficult to enjoy the natural beauties, so it is better to come to Turku in late spring or early autumn.
From the beginning of September to April, you can see the northern lights over Turku.
Due to the large number of attractions, the tourist flow to Turku does not weaken all year round. It is here that the “main Christmas tree of Finland” is set up, which attracts travelers here for the New Year holidays.