Finland's oldest city – still going strong
Turku is Finland's oldest city, settled around the end of the 13th century. It was the most important city in the country until 1812, when Helsinki became the new Finnish capital, but Turku remains an important center for business, culture and education – and an enjoyable place to visit. Turku was one of the two European Capitals of Culture in 2011, along with Tallinn, Estonia.
The word Turku means marketplace. It is an apt name for the historic port city located at the mouth of the Aura River on the southwest coast of Finland with the beautiful Archipelago Sea on the city’s doorstep. Turku is officially bilingual. It is called Åbo in Swedish and a regular ferry route connects Turku with Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, across the Baltic Sea.
Visitors may find the city to be the most charming in the summer, with daylight hours stretching into the evening, many festivals and pleasant weather for an archipelago cruise or stroll along the city’s riverbanks. At the same time, Turku is also the official “Christmas City of Finland” and there is wonderful shopping, fun events and many delightful indoor sites to enjoy when the city celebrates the holiday spirit.
Turku is a great city to explore on foot, with most of the sights located within 1.5 miles of the lively Kauppatori Market Square in the city center. The imposing Turku Castle and impressive Turku Cathedral bear testament to the city’s long-standing position of power and influence. Finnish life of days gone by comes alive at the Kylämäki Village of Living History (free admission) and Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum, which showcases over 30 craftsman workshops and dwellings. Among the city’s other museums, you can enjoy an intriguing archeology museum, a number of interesting art museums and an extensive music museum. The city’s culinary scene is rapidly developing, so drop in at one of the cool restaurants and cafés along the way.
During the summer, a favorite activity for Finns and visitors alike is a half- or full-day cruise on the Archipelago Sea. Some cruises include a stop at an idyllic island, dinner and dance, or activities for children.
Fly with SAS to Turku
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) offers convenient and comfortable flights from North America to Turku. Our flights depart from Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. and include a convenient stopover in Copenhagen, Oslo or Stockholm. From Stockholm, you can also catch an overnight or daytime ferry to Turku.