Straddling the Aura River on the southwest coast of Finland, Turku is a beautiful historic city that dates back to the 13th century and features beautiful grand buildings, ancient churches, and quaint, cobblestone streets lined with charming cafés and restaurants. Perched at the mouth of the Aura River is the magnificent medieval Turku Castle, which features an interesting history museum; the former bustling trade hub of the Old Great Square lies on the eastern bank of the river, and the ancient Turku Cathedral houses a museum and a royal tomb. Here are some of the top attractions in Finland’s oldest city. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Turku Market Hall
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Opened in 1896, Turku Market Hall is the second oldest market hall in Finland and houses dozens of stalls selling authentic and traditional Finnish and Scandinavian cuisine, as well as fresh produce and local beverages. Old and new seamlessly blends in a magnificent old building that was designed and built by architect Gustaf Nyström over a century ago and extends for the length of an entire block in the heart of the city. The market is home to traditional counters selling fresh fish and meats, cheese and charcuterie stands, specialty shops selling fresh milk, homemade baked bread, and gourmet delicatessen items. Don’t miss the chance to try some reindeer meat from Poronlihan erikoisliike Heinonen Oy or buy a unique souvenir at Wanha Turku Kauppa before relaxing over mouthwatering cake at freshly brewed coffee at the Aschan Blue Train café.
Turun Kauppahalli Turku, 20100, Finland
2.Aboa Vetus Ars Nova Museum
© Aboa Vetus Ars Nova Museum
Set on the banks of the beautiful River Aura, Aboa Vetus Ars Nova Museum combines the old with the new and explores the rich medieval history of Turku and world-class modern art. Aptly named ‘Aboa Vetus Ars Nova,’ which translates to Old Turku and New Turku, the Aboa Vetus section of the museum exhibits ancient ruins with the highlight being one of medieval Turku’s main streets that runs right through the museum area. Two floors of the museum are dedicated to the Ars Nova section, which features an outstanding collection of modern and contemporary art featuring world-renowned artists like Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, David Hockney, Andy Warhol, André Masson, and Auguste Herbin, along with Finnish artists such as Otto Mäkilä, Matti Kujasalo, and Lars-Gunnar Nordström. Aboa Vetus Ars Nova Museum is open daily.
4-6 Itäinen Rantakatu, Turku, 20700, Finland, Phone: +35-82-07-18-16-11
3.Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum
The Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum is a modern, outdoor museum that encompasses 18 blocks of original 18th- and 19th-century buildings. The Great Fire of Turku destroyed most of Turku, then Finland’s biggest city, in 1827, the wooden house district of Luostarinmäki (Cloister Hill) was the only section to be spared, and the museum is centered around this district. The museum gives visitors a fascinating insight into the old quarter and the common folk that lived there in the 1800s and showcases the incredible pre-industrial craftsmanship of the local artisans. The museum features several handicraft workshops, a post office where letters are stamped with a special postmark, a museum shop selling craftwork and sweets, and the charming Café Kisälli, which serves traditional Finnish delicatessen.
Vartiovuorenkatu 2, 20101 Turku, Finland, Phone: +358-22-62-03-50
© Steamship Ukkopekka
Experience the spectacular coastal beauty of Western Finland aboard the authentic steamship s/s Ukkopekka. Built in 1938, the beautiful vessel is the oldest steamship in Finland and has been lovingly restored to its former glory after serving in the Second World War. The steamship offers summertime day and sunset cruises through the breathtaking archipelagos off Turku, leaving from Turku and sailing past the lace villas of Ruissalo, the Old Town Marina, and the pretty harbor towns of Airisto and Naantali. Romantic Entertainment and Evening cruises sail to Loistokari Island and include hors d’oeuvres and drinks onboard, and a delicious meal served on Loistokari Island, followed by live music and pier dancing.
40 Linnankatu, Turku, Finland, Phone: +35-25-15-33-00
5.The Food Walk in Turku
© Markku Vitikainen/stock.adobe.com
Foodies will delight in this unique experience, which offers a fun and filling way to explore the city’s top restaurants, cafés, and eateries. The Food Walk in Turku is a walking tour that takes in some of the finest delicacies that the River Aura area has to offer, working on a card system, which allows visitors to eat in five different participating restaurants around the city. The Turku Food Walk card features ten participating restaurants that visitors can choose from with a three-day validity, allowing visitors to spend three days enjoying Turku’s restaurant culture and tasting the delicious cuisine of Finland. The Turku Food Walk card can be bought from the Turku Tourist Office and is valid for three days after purchase.
2 Aurakatu, Turku, 20100, Finland, Phone: +358-22-62-74-44
© Anja B. Schäfer/stock.adobe.com
The fortress of Turku Castle is a beautiful medieval building in the heart of Turku and one of the oldest buildings still in use. Standing on the banks of the Aura River, the castle, which is the largest surviving medieval building in Finland, was built in the 1280s, and through its rich history has been a defensive bastion, a royal court, a barracks, and a prison. Today, the castle is open to the public, who can explore the vast halls and elegant rooms, which are decorated with period furnishings and treasures, secret nooks and crannies, and excellent exhibitions on the history of the castle. The Children’s Castle Knight’s Hall includes a mini court, a treasure chamber, and workshops for kids and the Fatabur Museum Shop sells gifts, souvenirs, and costumes.
Linnankatu 80, 20100 Turku, Finland, Phone: +358-22-62-03-00
7.River Aura in Turku
© Mikhail Markovskiy/stock.adobe.com
The lively and historic university city of Turku is dominated by River Aura, which flows from its source in the town of Oripää and through Pöytyä, Aura, and Lieto before flowing through Turku and out into the Archipelago Sea. The brown waters of the river run through the historic part of Turku and many of its main attractions like the medieval Turku Castle and the Turku Cathedral, as well as many cafés and restaurants, which offer riverside tables with lovely views. A little ferry named Föli crosses the river regularly, along with several boats that provide lunch, dinner, and drinks cruises on the river.
8.The Archipelago Trail
The Archipelago Trail is a 250-kilometer trail that experienced by bicycle or car and is one of Finland’s most popular tourist routes. Popular with both locals and visitors alike, the Archipelago Trail begins in Turku and winds through the remote islands in the coastal archipelago of Western Finland, which boasts pastoral green countryside dotted with wooden houses, and red wooden boatsheds. The trail passes historic buildings, fortresses, and ruins, exciting museums, and the award-winning Saaristomeri National Park. Countless small bridges and the ferry crossings between the islands make it easy to move between them to enjoy the tranquil scenery, and the trail attracts around 20,000 visitors during the summer season, who experience the picturesque trail by car, motorbike, and bicycle.
9.PUF Design Market
© PUF Design Market
Located in Forum Kortteli, PUF Design Market is a design-centric market that showcases the very best of Finnish design with over 20 Finnish fashion brands. The creative space in the Forum Quarter of the Turku Forum presents fashion from both emerging and internationally-renowned designers and also houses its own artist-dedicated PUF Gallery. In addition to highlighting and selling high fashion, the market hosts a variety of design-related events such as co-operative events, collection releases, live music gigs, and the popular block flea market. PUF Design Market is within walking distance from Turku’s central Market Square.
Forum Kortteli, Linnankatu 9-11, 20100 Turku, Finland, Phone: +35-84-00-99-81-62
, Michigan beaches
© Café Art
Located on the banks of the River Aura, Café Art is a charming family-run café with its own roastery and one of the oldest and busiest specialty coffee establishments in Finland. Home to several Finnish Barista Champions, the world-renowned coffee shop is an oasis for coffee lovers with a beautiful space overlooking the river, an inviting interior with a stylish espresso bar, a lovely outdoor terrace, and a vibrant, bustling atmosphere. Café Art serves high-quality coffee brewed on a Fetco from a rotating selection of different Brazilian Daterra lots, and micro-roasts up to five tons of coffee a year, which is distributed all over the country. The café also serves a variety of homemade cakes, pastries, and savory snacks, and sells Turku Coffee Roastery’s coffee in bags gifts or souvenirs. Café Art is open for breakfast and lunch, seven days a week.
Läntinen Rantakatu 5, 20100 Turku, Finland, Phone: +35-84-01-58-33-83
Located at the base of a beautifully renovated old stone building and former historical library, Smör is a contemporary restaurant with atmospheric vaulted cellar dining spaces. The á la carte restaurant serves a menu of mouth-watering Euro-Scandinavian cuisine prepared using fresh, seasonal locally sourced ingredients and served with passion and flair by professional, friendly staff. Signature dishes include Icelandic langoustine, wild pike-perch, and local cheeses and the sublime cuisine is accompanied by a selection of fine wines from around the world by the glass and the bottle, craft and draft beers, and classic cocktails made with high-end spirits. Smör is open for dinner, Monday through Saturday.
Läntinen Rantakatu 3, 20100 Turku, Finland, Phone: +358-25-36-94-44
Kaskis is a cool, contemporary bistro and foodie hotspot run by three friends that serves highly-acclaimed modern cuisine and fine wines from around the world. The restaurant boasts industrial-style décor with raw concrete, exposed copper piping, and large windows that flood interiors with natural light. Four- or six-course menus feature locally-sourced ingredients such as foraged herbs and organic vegetables with signature dishes such as carpaccio with forest mushrooms, pike-perch with smoked sour cream sauce, and elk and reindeer crispbread with chocolate sauce. Pair the cuisine with a selection of fine wines from around the world by the glass and the bottle, craft and draft beers, and classic cocktails made with high-end spirits. Kaskis is open for Tuesday through Saturday.
Kaskenkatu 6a, 20700 Turku, Finland, Phone: +35-84-47-23-02-00
13.Ravintola Juhana Herttuan Kellari
© Ravintola Juhana Herttuan Kellari
Based in the Turku Castle, Ravintola Juhana Herttuan Kellari (Juhana’s Heart Cellar Restaurant) serves traditional Finnish cuisine in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The restaurant has several dining spaces for different events ranging from the intimate Lord's Cellar for romantic dinners for two or the cool King or Queen's Hall to the 120-seat Bryggman Hall for special celebrations. The restaurant serves a menu of traditional Finnish cuisine prepared using fresh, locally sourced ingredients such as fresh seafood, prime meats, and chicken, organic salads and vegetables, the restaurant café serves the iconic Finnish chocolate brand Fazerl, and the fully-stocked bar serves a variety of libations from globally-inspired wines, craft and draft beers, and classic cocktails. Ravintola Juhana Herttuan Kellari is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
Linnankatu 80, 20100 Turku, Phone: +358-02-07-29-69-05
© Svarte Rudolf
Svarte Rudolf is a famous riverboat restaurant that offers the unique experience of fine dining while moored along the banks of the River Aura. The year-round highly-acclaimed floating restaurant features a sleek dining room decorated in vibrant hues, large windows embracing lovely river views, and an elegant, refined atmosphere. Svarte Rudolf serves traditional European cuisine prepared using fresh, locally sourced ingredients such as fresh seafood, prime meats and chicken, organic salads and vegetables, and the fully-stocked bar serves a variety of libations from globally-inspired wines, craft and draft beers, and classic cocktails. The vessel can be hired for private events and functions, and customized cruises and the deck offers alfresco dining under the stars.
Itäinen Rantakatu 13, 20100 Turku, Finland, Phone: +358-22-50-45-67
© Panimoravintola Koulu
Panimoravintola Koulu is a Finnish brewery restaurant that serves traditional Finnish cuisine and local craft beers. Situated in a beautifully restored former Neo-Renaissance-style school building that was designed and built by architects L. I. Lindqvist and Bruno Granholm in 1889, the brewery-restaurant is the largest brewery restaurant in Finland with a 700-seater assembly hall on the second floor for special occasions and celebrations. The restaurant also features a wine tasting room, a brewery with a tasting room where locally-brewed craft beers can be enjoyed, and a summer kiosk. The on-site brewery produces four beers and one cider, along with several special or seasonal brews throughout the year and a menu of casual fare like burgers steaks, hotdogs, and fish.
Eerikinkatu 18, 20100 Turku, Finland, Phone: +358-22-74-57-57
16.Kahvila 7 Poytaa
© Kahvila 7 Pöytää
Nested in the bookshop Pieni Kirjapuoti, Kahvila 7 Pöytää is a cozy café that serves locally-roasted coffee and specialty teas, along with freshly home-baked treats in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Kahvila 7 Pöytää serves a range of house-brewed coffee from americano and espresso to cappuccino and macchiato, along with specialty coffee drinks, hot and iced teas, and fruit juices. A menu of light fare such as muffins, scones, cookies, and freshly baked pastries are available, and the café has high-speed wireless Internet. Kahvila 7 Pöytää, is open during bookstore hours.
28 Yliopistonkatu , Turku, Finland, Phone: +35-84-07-54-18-23
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17.Teerenpeli Brewery & Distillery
© Teerenpeli Brewery & Distillery
Established in 2002, Teerenpeli Brewery & Distillery is a family-owned and operated brewery and distillery that produces over 100, 000 liter of spirits per year through the traditional pot-still distilling process. The Teerenpeli distillery and visitor center is located inside Restaurant Taivaanranta in Lahti, and Teerenpeli Bars can be found in seven city locations in Finland, including in an old bank hall in a historic stone building in the heart of Turku. A range of the brewery and distillery products can be tasted in a vibrant ambiance along with a menu of small plates and snacks.
Eerikinkatu 8, 20100 Turku, Finland, Phone: +35-84-24-92-52-80
© Café Victor
Located in the Turku Art Museum, Café Victor is a cosmopolitan café that serves tasty lunches and coffees in casual, elegant surroundings. The restaurant serves a range of house-brewed coffee from americano and espresso to cappuccino and macchiato, along with specialty coffee drinks, hot and iced teas, and fruit juices. A menu of light fare such as muffins, scones, cookies, and freshly baked pastries are available, and a seasonal selection of goodies created to match the museum’s exhibition themes is served throughout the year. Café Victor is open during the museum’s opening hours and can be visited without paying the museum admission.
Aurakatu 26, 20100 Turku, Finland, Phone: +35-84-05-68-75-08
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19.Visit Turku Bicycles Tours
© Clemence Béhier/stock.adobe.com
Explore Turku by bicycle and visit some of the beautiful city’s most popular attractions as well as secret off-the-beaten-path spots. Bicycles and helmets can be rented from Turku’s Tourist Office at Aurakatu 2 and can be used for as many hours as needed to ride around the city and soak up its beauty. Head along the scenic cycling path which runs along the banks of the Aura River, venture through the historic district of Turku, cruise past famous sites like the medieval Turku Castle and the ancient Turku Cathedral, and stop off at one of the many charming cafés, coffee shops and restaurants that line the river for a light bite or a drink.
Aurakatu 2, 20100 Turku, Phone: +358-22-62-74-44
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19 Best Things to Do in Turku, Finland
- Turku Market Hall, Photo: Xavier Allard/stock.adobe.com
- Aboa Vetus Ars Nova Museum, Photo: Aboa Vetus Ars Nova Museum
- Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum, Photo: laudibi/stock.adobe.com
- Steamship Ukkopekka, Photo: Steamship Ukkopekka
- The Food Walk in Turku, Photo: Markku Vitikainen/stock.adobe.com
- Turku Castle, Photo: Anja B. Schäfer/stock.adobe.com
- River Aura in Turku, Photo: Mikhail Markovskiy/stock.adobe.com
- The Archipelago Trail, Photo: jarnicek/stock.adobe.com
- PUF Design Market, Photo: PUF Design Market
- Cafe Art, Photo: Café Art
- Smor, Photo: Smör
- Kaskis, Photo: Kaskis
- Ravintola Juhana Herttuan Kellari, Photo: Ravintola Juhana Herttuan Kellari
- Svarte Rudolf, Photo: Svarte Rudolf
- Panimoravintola Koulu, Photo: Panimoravintola Koulu
- Kahvila 7 Poytaa, Photo: Kahvila 7 Pöytää
- Teerenpeli Brewery & Distillery, Photo: Teerenpeli Brewery & Distillery
- Cafe Victor, Photo: Café Victor
- Visit Turku Bicycles Tours, Photo: Clemence Béhier/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Igor Groshev/stock.adobe.com