Turku Archipelago consists of many islands. To discover the best of it, you can drive a circular Archipelago Trail, spend a weekend in a beautiful Naantali or take a journey to a mysterious island of Utö far from the continent. Still, one of the best and most authentic places to meet the archipelago is the city called Parainen. You will probably start towards the archipelago from Turku, the biggest city in the area, and Parainen will be the first gem on your way.
Parainen is a cute and cozy place. The first thing to discover is the old town with its wooden houses, flowers, and sandy roads.
You will find a sign saying "Vanha Malmi" - this is an "Old Malmi" (the old town of the city). Take an atmospheric walk through this place, discover an old church and small flowery bridges. Here, the streets are narrow, and the oldest houses are dated back to the 18th century. Old Malmi is the historic center of the town; it reminds me of the old part in the city of Porvoo.
If you are looking for a place for a coffee break, cross the bridge and head towards the center of the town. It has pretty vintage shops and atmospheric cafes. Spare a visit to Hallonblad, a place famous for its tasteful pastry and cakes. Inside you will find a cozy interior in calm nordic colors, or, if you are lucky with the weather, you can have your coffee on a spacious terrace. In Hallonblad, you can also taste some rear limited siders and beers from small local breweries. There are options for a delicious lunch or a diverse brunch in the restaurant.
There is one notable place in Parainen, a local museum, where you can take a trip into Finnish history. The museum beholds a large area with a windmill and aged buildings, including an old school. The houses of different centuries were transferred here, and by visiting each of them, you can dive into the everyday life of people throughout history. The latest buildings reminded me of my childhood, making an experience more personal. The inhabitation in Parainen started already in the 12th century, so the traditional houses have a lot of tales to tell. There is a guide to tell you stories and take you through the residence. Also, there is a small museum shop in the area selling unusual handmade souvenirs.
Just five minutes' walk from the museum you will find a beautiful spot where the limestone is quarried. This place existed for many centuries, and from a lookout point, you can watch the massive limestone quarry. This is the biggest open pit in Finland being 113 meters deep. The view here is truly exceptional!
Parainen is called "Pargas" in Swedish, and since the majority of inhabitants here is Swedish-speaking, you can find more Swedish than Finnish names, so do not get confused. In Parainen, the gem of Turku Archipelago, you have everything to spend a wonderful day - a cozy old town Malmen, atmospheric cafe Hallonblad, historically significant local museum, and an impressive limestone quarry.
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