Finland’s oldest city and one-time capital is bursting with historical and cultural attractions. Centuries of booming trade and ecclesiastical leadership left a legacy of architecture and museums. Locals take pride in their city, and tourists could easily invest several days here, capitalizing on the hospitality of Turku hotels.
Turku Castle (Turun Linn) looms over the ferry terminal, where it has guarded the harbor since the 13th century. The best way to see the castle’s banquet halls, tower and dungeons is with one of the official guided tours, which are offered in English on the hour. The castle courtyard has an off-tour museum also worth exploring.
The city’s other defining landmark is the Tuomiokirkko, one of the most important churches in Finland. It dates to the 13th century and has undergone massive renovations since the 1800s. The onsite museum, with its medieval relics and exhibits on church history is an interesting diversion for travelers. Daily tours of the cathedral are run year round.
Scores of cultural attractions await tourists with the time to explore. Museums abound, but arguably none are worthier than Taidemuseo with its definitive collection of 19th-century Finnish art. Ars Nova (art) and Aboa Vetus (archeological) museums also deserve top billing. For evening entertainment, restaurant boats ply the river Aura, with additional upscale eateries and bars on the banks. Hotels in Turku host the most popular dance clubs in Turku.
A first-rate transport network makes getting here easy. Tourists are ferried in from the Aland Islands (and ultimately Stockholm) on a daily basis. Otherwise, it’s easiest to fly into Turku Airport (eight kilometers north of town) or to take the train from Helsinki.