While getting to know the sunniest city of Finland, you can definitely google yourself through the main spots of Naantali. However, if you really want to find out more and get out of the touristic track, here comes a more precise guide to the charming summer city with specific places worth your visit.
No matter how much time you are spending in town, there is one thing you can not miss: the old town of Naantali. Here, houses have names, the doors are colorful, and trees are growing through the fences. Besides all the obvious charm, there are few interesting spots in this area. The first place will be on your right as you enter the main street; it is a small gallery named Naantalin Taidehuone - Naantali's Art Room. I do not know who chooses the exhibitions here, but that person has an exquisite taste for art. Whenever you get in, you will find something peculiar. Visiting Naantalin Taidehuone is free, so it will not hurt your budget.
As you continue walking beside the wooden houses and elegant cafes, you will encounter one more great place on your right. You will not miss it, as it has bright retro signs along the street leading you to the entrance of Wanha Naantali Kauppa, "The Old Shop." This place is very small but yet full of curiosities, including a small Titanic exhibition. When I first visited, I was wondering how that Titanic exhibition could be related to the shop. I found out that the owner of Wanha Naantali Kauppa is just collecting rear Titanic related items, so indeed here you can find real things from a sunken ship and also some items from the set of the famous Titanic-movie. In my opinion, this is the best place to buy unique souvenirs.
Walking into the old town, there is a museum you can visit: the Museum of Naantali. The Museum of Naantali is divided into two buildings. In one of them, you will learn about the city's history, and how the whole city began from being a monastery. You can see the scale model of the monastery and learn about how things worked back then. In the second building named 'Hiilola', you can dive into the old-time bourgeois life. The house looks like it was back in the 1800s. For some reason, the cute garden outside the museum left me with even more surprise, so take your time there.
Remember that the President's summerhouse is in sunny Naantali? While visiting the President can be difficult, you can always admire his beautiful gardens in Kultaranta. The gardens are on the opposite shore of the old town, and you can see a bridge connecting the beaches. Kultaranta amazes with the elegant pavilions, colorful gardens, and charming fountains. You can walk past thousands of rose bushes and check out the greenhouses that provide vegetables for the President's summer residence.
If you are lucky to be in Naantali in the summer at 8 p.m., you must go to the bay. Here, near the glittering water and old wooden houses, you can experience a magical moment that is an old local tradition dating back to the 1920s, called "Vespersoitto." First, a child will appear on the street dressed in old-time clothes and bearing the drums. The child drums on the different corners of the bay, chanting a small poem, which tells you to stay quiet and let the musician play. After this, the city becomes silent: people take a break from their food, stop walking and talking and everyone's gazes turn to the old church tower. In a moment, a beautiful melody comes out of the tower, grabbing everyone's attention. It is a short and brief moment, which makes it even more special.
If you find yourself in Naantali, head to Wanha Naantali Kauppa for some vintage souvenirs, and make sure you do not miss the Naantalin Taidehuone - you will pass it by anyway. Get acquainted with the local history in the Naantali Museum and have a lovely walk through the graceful Kultaranta park. When your clock strikes at 8 p.m., enjoy the beautiful Vesperisoitto event, the symbol of summer in Naantali. Naantali offers plenty of interesting spots that should be definitely added to your agenda while exploring the city!
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