Tips to enjoy Turku in one day
In Turku everything revolves around the River Aura and the city's best attractions are at either end
In such a busy world, many of us find ourselves in a city and pressed for time. To save you the pain of missing out on the proper Turku experience, see below for how to do a one-day sprint through the city.
Cruise in like a boss
With Turku being a small city, the natural world is right there alongside the urban culture. If you can, arrive via Turku’s archipelago aboard the Viking or Silja line cruise ships, prices start from as little as 20€. Like the captain from one of the Tall Ships Races once impressively described, it’s like “gliding through a forest”. Ruissalo Island is also a great taste of the archipelago experience.
Hop on the Föli waterbus (3€) at the riverside and disembark in the national park. Alternatively, leave Ruissalo until the evening and stay the night at the Saaroniemi peninsula. Whilst there, arrange an evening sauna and a barbecue in true Finnish style (Ruissalo campsite or the spa hotel can help with this).
Boats for rent in the River Aura. Photo by Pekka Vallila/Visit Turku.
Let the river be your guide
In Turku, everything revolves around the River Aura, so depending on what floats your boat (river pun intended), either start up or down stream and work your way along.
On board the lovely Jakke riverboat (6€), meander along the river with a relaxing drink in hand, enjoying the best vantage point of the city. Stay there all day or get up close and personal with the art and architecture that line the river’s shores. Either download an audio guide, or hook up with one of the interesting walking tours.
Near the river you will find also inviting cafés and restaurants. Photo: Pekka Vallila/Visit Turku
Far from being an after-thought, the most popular aspect of Turku, amongst locals and tourists alike, are the riverboats anchored to the riverbanks. With their restaurants, bars and nightclubs on board, it’s highly recommended to design your day (and night) with these in mind!
From head to toe with top attractions
The city’s best and biggest attractions are at either end of the Aura.
Closest the city center, you’ll discover the Turku Cathedral, the Handicrafts Village and the city library, all high-quality destinations interspersed with inviting cafés, restaurants and bars to stop in for coffee, lunch or a chilled glass of vino. (More than a side note here, Turku has a crazy number of high-class restaurants to eat at. Its flourishing culinary scene is a source of great pride. If you want to try a few in a day, pick up the Food Walk card – at 44€, it’s a bargain!).
By the river mouth, stroll a few hundred meters from the Port of Turku to the forecourt of the fantastic Forum Marinum, where you can feast your eyes on the spectacular collection of ships, from the pristine, three-mast Suomen Joutsen to the naval vessels and the glorious barque Sigyn.
Next to the harbour is Turku Castle, a detailed chronicle of Finnish history, with intricate passageways and handsomely decorated chambers. What’s more, the Meyer shipyard, which oversees the construction of the largest cruise ships in the world, is a short boat ride round the corner.
A group of visitors in the Handicrafts Village. Photo by Pekka Vallila/Visit Turku.
For more general information head over to the website of Visit Turku, for info on available tours click HERE, and for further inspiration check out the website kissmyturku.com and Visit Turku's YouTube channel.
*Photo of the Turku Cathedral by Pekka Vallila/Visit Turku.