Turku travel guide

Turku Tourism | Turku Guide

You're Going to Love Turku

Finland's second-largest city, Turku is a delight. Its fairytale castle and cobbled city center contrast with a population that constantly embraces new trends in design, music, art, and architecture.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Turku

1. Turku Castle

Known in Finnish as Turun Linna, Turku's castle dates back to 1280 and houses dungeons, galleries, and a fantastic medieval museum.

2. Plenty of Fascinating Museums

Away from the castle, Turku's other museums offer plenty to discover. The Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum is a particular highlight, offering a window into Finnish skills like pottery, carpentry, and glassblowing.

3. Lively Festivals

Turku could be Finland's festival capital, hosting a popular biennale and the Turku Music Festival for fans of classical every August.

4. Art and Architecture Attractions for Culture Lovers

The museum dedicated to sculptor Wäinö Aaltonen, the 6,000 works in the Turku Art Museum, and the riverside Titanik-galleria are all worth visiting.

5. A Beautiful Archipelago to Discover

Just offshore, you'll find a stunning group of islands. Hit the Archipelago Trail by cycle and ferries and lose yourself in a land of pristine forests, scenic villages, and secluded coves.

What to do in Turku

1. Turku's Vibrant Focal Point

Kauppatori (literally "market square") is where everything seems to happen in Turku, and it's a great starting point for anyone's visit. Situated on the north bank of the river, it's lined with classy pastry shops and coffee houses where the espressos are as strong as they come, and it's also home to key institutions like the Swedish Theater. Shopping fans will also be in their element, thanks to the huge Hansa center, right next to the square.

2. A Tourist Gem That Was Once Home To Princes

Turku's castle is a fearsome fortress, and it's hard to imagine it ever being breached. Built in the late 13th century to guard the mouth of the River Aura, the castle was regularly enlarged after that, experiencing a heyday in the 16th century when it was effectively Finland's seat of government. Nowadays, you can wander around the halls and battlements, marvel at the King's State Room and the collection of wooden religious icons in the chapel, and enjoy rotating historical exhibitions.

3. An Island Of Family Enjoyment

Created by writer Tove Janssen in the 1940s and 50s, the Moomins are probably Finland's most popular cultural export, with their cute snouts, and peaceful ways. And Turku is the epicenter of Moomin fan culture, mainly thanks to Moomin World - one of the country's premier family attractions. Located on an island just west of Turku, the park is packed with cartoony fun, including plenty of characters from the books, and stage shows that kids will love. And, this being Scandinavia, the on-site catering is amazing, so adults aren't left out.

4. Floating Fun For Mariners

Two of Turku's major attractions aren't on dry land at all. Instead, Suomen Joutsen and Sigyn are a pair of graceful sailing vessels that are moored on Turku's harbor, and open up during the summer months for visitors to board. Both of these boats are well over 100 years old, but are kept in remarkable shape. For decades, they plied the world's trade routes, shipping everything from tropical hardwoods to tea - but nowadays they are set up as museums that focus on the age of sail. If you have any nautical interests, they are simply unmissable.

5. Amazing Acoustics At A National Shrine

Turku's cathedral is one of Finland's most important historical sites, and has been spreading the good word since the 1300s. The interior is as tranquil and elegant as you'd expect from such a venerable building, while there's an engaging Cathedral Museum that's filled with silverware and statues of saints. But you can't really understand the grandeur of the place unless you book a place at a performance during the Turku Cathedral International Organ Concerts, which tend to run during June, July, and August. Hearing the space filled with heavenly music is unforgettable.

1. Turku's Vibrant Focal Point

Kauppatori (literally "market square") is where everything seems to happen in Turku, and it's a great starting point for anyone's visit. Situated on the north bank of the river, it's lined with classy pastry shops and coffee houses where the espressos are as strong as they come, and it's also home to key institutions like the Swedish Theater. Shopping fans will also be in their element, thanks to the huge Hansa center, right next to the square.

2. A Tourist Gem That Was Once Home To Princes

Turku's castle is a fearsome fortress, and it's hard to imagine it ever being breached. Built in the late 13th century to guard the mouth of the River Aura, the castle was regularly enlarged after that, experiencing a heyday in the 16th century when it was effectively Finland's seat of government. Nowadays, you can wander around the halls and battlements, marvel at the King's State Room and the collection of wooden religious icons in the chapel, and enjoy rotating historical exhibitions.

3. An Island Of Family Enjoyment

Created by writer Tove Janssen in the 1940s and 50s, the Moomins are probably Finland's most popular cultural export, with their cute snouts, and peaceful ways. And Turku is the epicenter of Moomin fan culture, mainly thanks to Moomin World - one of the country's premier family attractions. Located on an island just west of Turku, the park is packed with cartoony fun, including plenty of characters from the books, and stage shows that kids will love. And, this being Scandinavia, the on-site catering is amazing, so adults aren't left out.

4. Floating Fun For Mariners

Two of Turku's major attractions aren't on dry land at all. Instead, Suomen Joutsen and Sigyn are a pair of graceful sailing vessels that are moored on Turku's harbor, and open up during the summer months for visitors to board. Both of these boats are well over 100 years old, but are kept in remarkable shape. For decades, they plied the world's trade routes, shipping everything from tropical hardwoods to tea - but nowadays they are set up as museums that focus on the age of sail. If you have any nautical interests, they are simply unmissable.

5. Amazing Acoustics At A National Shrine

Turku's cathedral is one of Finland's most important historical sites, and has been spreading the good word since the 1300s. The interior is as tranquil and elegant as you'd expect from such a venerable building, while there's an engaging Cathedral Museum that's filled with silverware and statues of saints. But you can't really understand the grandeur of the place unless you book a place at a performance during the Turku Cathedral International Organ Concerts, which tend to run during June, July, and August. Hearing the space filled with heavenly music is unforgettable.

Where to Eat in Turku

Seafood and meat are the main themes of Turku's cuisine. Smör is a highlight, with its cellar setting and locally sourced ingredients, but Tintå isn't far behind. Expect meals to come to around EUR25-35 at medium to high-end restaurants.

When to visit Turku

Turku in March
Estimated hotel price
$76
1 night at 3-star hotel
Turku in March
Estimated hotel price
$76
1 night at 3-star hotel

Turku is predominantly a summer destination. In July and August, you can catch events like the Turku Music Festival and enjoy the best of the weather, which gets fairly warm at the peak of the season.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Turku

Plane

Turku Airport (TKU) is about 5 miles outside the city. Upon arrival, take bus line 1 (EUR3) or take a taxi for around EUR40.

Train

There are daily rail services from Helsinki and Tampere to Turku's main station, which is just north of the city center.

Car

If you are driving from Helsinki, just take E18 all the way to Turku, while E63 connects the city with Tampere.

Bus

Pohjolan Liikenne and Vainio run express bus connections between Helsinki and Turku (EUR29.50), while OmniBus and Abus also run regional services across the country.

Airports near Turku

Airlines serving Turku

Lufthansa
Good (1,449 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (2,484 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (3,919 reviews)
KLM
Good (292 reviews)
Air France
Good (307 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,087 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,678 reviews)
British Airways
Good (966 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (955 reviews)
Iberia
Good (685 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (677 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (669 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (209 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (388 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (74 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (317 reviews)
Ryanair
Good (1,198 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (208 reviews)
Finnair
Good (470 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Good (167 reviews)
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Where to stay in Turku

Excellent riverfront hotels in the center of town include the Radisson Blu Marina Palace Hotel, the Original Sokos Hotel Hamburger Börs (which features a sauna), and the Scandic Julia.

Popular neighbourhoods in Turku

Keskusta - literally "city center" in English, Keskusta is the main commercial area and also home to the Turku Art Museum.

Luostarinmäki - located across the river Aura from the center, Luostarinmäki is home to the crafts museum and many other museums and arts venues.

Turku Harbour - Turku's historic lifeblood, the harbor is where you'll find the castle, and is a jumping off point for boats to the islands.

Where to stay in popular areas of Turku

How to Get Around Turku

Public Transportation

Single bus tickets cost EUR3.00, while 24-hour passes cost EUR7.50. You can also take a free ferry across the Aura, although cars aren't allowed on board.

Taxi

The basic taxi rate is EUR5.90 for the meter drop, then around EUR3 per mile after that, and prices rise considerably in the evening.

Car

You can rent a car from branches of Avis, Sixt, and Hertz for around EUR20 per day.

The Cost of Living in Turku

Shopping Streets

For handmade craft items, head to Luostarinmäki, while department store seekers should give the Hansa mall a try, which is near the main market square.

Groceries and Other

Local supermarkets include Lidl and K-Supermarket, where a gallon of milk will cost no more than EUR3.20. If you want fresh food, try the Turun Kauppahalli market.

Cheap meal
$20.62
A pair of jeans
$134.01
Single public transport ticket
$5.16
Cappuccino
$4.72
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