What souvenirs should you be on the lookout for in Turku? You want something that will bring back instant memories of that glorious time in Finland’s former capital, mementos that will transport you all the way back to the castle, the cathedral, the breweries and maybe even Moomin World, depending on where you stand on those things. Actually, speaking of the Moomins…
It does sort of pain us to put these wacky things first, but such is life. The Moomins are the creation of Finnish artist Tova Jansson, and Moomin World is just 20km or so west of Turku. You can get all sorts of Moomin-related merchandise from the theme park, colourful characters that will confuse, confound and charm you, if you look at them for long enough. Kids love them, which says a lot.
Turku was absolutely decimated by a massive fire in 1827, with Luostarinmäki surviving as the only undamaged part of town. The old quarter is now a handicraft museum, and it doubles up as both a must-see on the sightseeing front and a great option when it comes to souvenirs. Pick up something handmade to take home — it might even protect you in the case of massive 19th century fires.
Nothing screams ‘Finnish souvenir’ quite like a kuksa. These wooden cups are standard in the north but practically ubiquitous around Finland. No outdoorsman is complete without his or her handcrafted wooden drinking vessel, and no trip to Finland is complete without taking one home. You can event make your own, but it might be best to leave that to others.
Actually, nothing screams ‘Finnish souvenir’ quite like alcohol. The Finns have a complex relationship with booze, making it hard to believe that this was once the driest country in Europe. It certainly isn’t these days. Alcohol is mighty pricey here though, so you might as well splash out on a top quality bottle of vodka or something similar.
Jenkki Chewing Gum
A curious one this, but we’re all for embracing things that were invented in the towns we trawl through for the love of travel. Jenkki (yes, it is pronounced ‘Yankee’) chewing gum was invented here, but there is more to it than that. In 1975, this brand was the first to introduce xylitol gum, the sugar substitute that ensures your teeth don’t fall out as you chew. What a world! Stock up on Jenkki while in Turku.
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