Turku is the oldest town in Finland; it was also the country's first capital back in time. Now it is a famous city for students, art-gurus and passionate travelers. Let us find out what is there to see in the beautiful city of Turku.
The city of Turku is most known for its granite castle. The castle beholds a museum where you can roam through countless passages and secret pathways, great dining halls, and old church-halls. One thing to warn you about: it will take you some time to explore because the castle is not small and consists of many exhibitions, stairways, and passages. There is a cafe where you can take a break, sit on an old window ledge, and enjoy a coffee with some pastry.
For the culture part of your visit, do not forget to see the Turku Art Museum: it is very diverse and will surprise you with a range of modern art, so as with old-time classics. The best thing for me in the Turku Art Museum is a famous painting by the Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela. The painting is called "The Defence of the Sampo" and portrays a scene from the Finnish Epic called Kalevala. To me, this alone was a good enough reason to visit the museum.
Turku stands around the beautiful Aura River, and the best thing you can do when you are in town is to walk the riverside. Your walk will be accompanied by countless boats full of bars, restaurants, and cafes. One of the gems along the river is the statue series designed by Kari-Petteri Kakko. The project is called "looking out to the stars," and consists of comically portrayed people of different ages and gender looking up at the sky. If you walk long enough, you will find all 4 of them. They are called "tomorrow," " today," "a moment ago," and "yesterday." Try to guess which one is which.
One more hidden gem and a great place for a budget-traveler is the Gallery Joella, a known local gallery with a free entrance. The exhibitions here are always inspiring, and the fact that the gallery is small only makes it more atmospheric. The museum shop is my favorite part of it and the source of almost all the postcards I have.
Walking along the Aura River, you will notice the silhouette of Turku Cathedral; it is seen from almost any spot. This is where the seat of Finnish Lutheran Archbishop is, and for this and many more reasons, the Turku Cathedral is the most important church in the country. On the upper floor, you can get into the museum that tells the history of religion in Finland. What amazed me when I visited it for the first time is that Turku Cathedral beholds the origins of Finnish literature: the first ABC-book and the first Bible written in the Finnish language.
The best way to spend an evening in Turku is to visit the old pubs that are functioning in the old buildings of a pharmacy, a school, and a bank. All of these buildings have preserved their old-time atmosphere, the real apothecary tables, school classrooms, and bank desks. Such an idea also allows young adults to tell their moms that they went to school without lying when they actually were having fun. If you do not have time for a long bar crawl, then visit the pub "Koulu," which is the biggest brewery restaurant in the whole country. In Koulu, you can choose if you want to sit in the music- or the geography classroom: check out the old desk and blackboards and order a drink called "the lecturer" or "school principal." As already mentioned, the bar has its own brewery and thus an interesting selection of craft beer and ciders. Let me tell you; they are all good, so you cannot pick the wrong one!
Turku is a charming old town where you can spend a day or a whole weekend walking through center streets past aged buildings or strolling along the famous Aura River. Discover the first Finnish book in the Turku Cathedral and the famous Finnish painting of Akseli Gallen-Kallela in the Turku Art Museum. Do not miss the symbol of the city: Turku Castle. At the end of the day, you can always take a break in the legendary Brewery Restaurant Koulu for the best Turku-memories. Enjoy!
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