Turku is the oldest city in Finland with a history that goes back to the 13th century. The city is situated at the mouth of the River Aura on the southwest coast of Finland and is surrounded by the most beautiful archipelago and unique cultural landscapes. The Turku Archipelago is an internationally unique environment with more than 20,000 islands and islets which rose out of the sea after the Ice Age.
The European Capital of Culture in 2011, Turku is a fascinating combination of both old and new.
The city has a rich cultural scene with many restaurants, galleries, museums and boutiques. Turku is famous for the riverboats anchored to the Aura River and city life is focused around the river, on whose banks lie some of the most interesting sights, including the Turku Castle and Finland's national shrine, the Turku Cathedral. The Old Grand Market Square, the site of the declaration of Christmas Peace every year, is also located by river Aura.
Turku is gaining a reputation for its restaurant scene and is known as “The Food Capital of Finland”. The city offers great delicacies from brunches to fast food to comprehensive evening dining. Most restaurants are located in the downtown area – within walking distance of each other
Main Sights in Turku
The history of Turku Castle goes back to the 1280s. In the course of the centuries, a fortified base built
for the royal governor of Finland and his troops gradually expanded into a massive grey stone castle.
Today, the castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Finland. The castle is also
a venue for meetings, banquets, temporary exhibitions, concerts, and children¹s events.
Turku Cathedral was consecrated as a Cathedral Church in 1300. It is the mother church of the Lutheran
Church of Finland, and a national shrine. It is one of the most highly valued monuments in Finnish
architectural history. The Cathedral is still regularly used for divine service.
The Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova
Aboa Vetus displays 1,400 square metres of an unearthed authentic, medieval town block. Ars Nova
exhibits 1,200 square metres of contemporary art in an old Palace. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum displays both domestic and foreign art of a high quality.
Maritime centre on the west bank of the River, near the harbour and the Castle; maritime history exhibitions, museum ships and events.
Art Museum of Turku
The Turku Art Museum has an outstanding collection of Finnish visual arts. It covers two centuries
including turn-of-the-century classics, as well as more recent works of contemporary art. The temporary
exhibitions cover a wide and varying range of art.
Wäinö Aaltonen Art Museum
The Museum´s collections include both Wäinö Aaltonen¹s works and contemporary Finnish art. The
museum arranges temporary exhibitions, as well as related events and concerts.
The river Aura
The river Aura is the heart of Turku and full of life. Walking on the riverbanks, you can enjoy the relaxed
atmosphere, complemented by the restaurant boats, musical events and many other happenings.
Or if you fancy a beer in a school, a bank or a public lavatory, Turku can offer even these peculiarities.
Arts and shopping in Turku
Turku is an ideal town to do shopping and enjoy cultural events at the same time, since everything is
within walking distance. In between designer boutiques and department stores, you can pop into cosy
cafes or exiting art galleries.
The surroundings of Turku offer many further opportunities for excursions e.g. the picturesque town of
Naantali attractively located around its guest harbour, cruises to the beautiful archipelago with its
thousands of islands, one-day fishing trips, guided sauna tours, tours to works by architect Alvar Aalto,
route of seven old churches.
The Turku Archipelago
The beauty of the archipelago was created by the continental glacier that thousands of years ago slid
over the bedrock giving it the permanent, beautiful shape. The archipelago comprises thousands of
kilometres of shoreline.
The Turku archipelago is easily accessible by boat, car or even by bike. By road you can cross from
one island to another by excellent bridges, ferries or boat connections. The Archipelago is close to
Turku, and the distances are very short. You can stay in a comfortable hotel or bed & breakfast
accommodation, in a rented cottage, at a camping site or, for instance, in a light house.
The archipelago offers unique experiences in nature, interesting histories, indigenous culture and
peace. There are idyllic marinas, island villages and old churches. The archipelago Ring Route is almost 200 kilometres long and traverses most of the regional communes.