Turku

24 Hours in Turku

27 Dec 2019
A city of less than 200,000 people, Turku isn’t large by any stretch of the imagination. It makes for an excellent day trip from Helsinki as well as a city break destination in its own right, and you can have all sort of fun wandering around the oldest town in Finland. The perfect day in Turku? Perfection does not exist, but you can have a rather fantastic time here with just 24 hours at your disposal.

Morning

The Finns like coffee. That is an understatement, an extreme example of an understatement, as this country drinks more of the good stuff than anywhere else on the planet. You’re going to drink plenty of it while you’re here, so start off on the right foot by heading to Cafe Art. The cafe is where a number of Finnish barista champions ply their trade and is renowned for its excellent brews, which is some compliment when you take the coffee obsession of the Finns into account.

From Cafe Art make the short walk to the Market Hall to see the hustle and bustle of Finland’s old capital in the morning, as the men, women and elderly of Turku trade cash for produce and gossip for both. This is the second oldest market hall in the country and a thriving centre of activity, one that we most enjoy checking out first in the morning.

Round out your morning by checking out Turku Cathedral, the most important religious building in Finland and arguably the city’s most iconic attraction. Head inside to see what the fuss is all about, and be sure to snap a healthy amount of photos of this gorgeous piece of work.

Afternoon

Turku’s Cathedral and Castle are the two most important attractions in the city, and you can get from one to the other by strolling along the river for 2km or so. We fully suggest doing this once the morning is over, stopping at the various sights that make themselves known along the way.

You’ll stop by the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova Museum, a unique combination of contemporary art and historic Turku that is one of the best museums in town. Next up is the Qwensel House and Pharmacy Museum, the oldest house in town and a charming pharmacy museum documenting the city’s long history of making folks feel better. Cross to the other side of the river for the Biological Museum, a diorama of the incredible nature life found in this part of the world, before moving down to the Forum Marinum, a maritime museum that is a mecca for all things ships. The collection of anchored ships outside are a delight.

And then you’ll get to the main event, the cherry on top of this cake. Turku Castle has watched the storied history of this town rage on over the years, the grand old soothsayer of the city and a fascinating museum in its own right. This is Finland’s most visited museum and for good reason, so be sure to give it the amount of time it deserves. You’re right on the harbour at this point, and the views are magnificent.

Evening

The Finns love to drink coffee, but they also love to booze it up once the sun goes down. In the summertime you’ll find masses of people drinking with friends along the riverside, but the colder winter months sees everyone move inside, lest they not freeze to death. Where to party in Turku? ‘Everywhere’ is the obvious answer, but our predilection for beer usually sees us head towards Uusi Apteekki, a pub in an old pharmacy that offers a great atmosphere and plenty of reasons to search for an actual pharmacy the next day. Panimoravintola Koulo and Cosmic Comic Cafe are also fantastic options for beer lovers, while Tiirikkala offer something a little trendier for those looking for colourful concoctions. Kippis!

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