The sun starts to shine, and people are getting ready for the summer: that means that "summer cities" are going to be packed with tourists. One such is a small cute town named Naantali: it is situated on an island right next to Turku, and it is ideal for a day trip from Helsinki. There are many reasons to visit Naantali, the most important one being that it is the sunniest town in Finland. You will notice it right away: there are sun emblems all over the city to remind you where you are... Or, maybe, to bring sun on the streets on the days when it is not sunny at all - just to keep up with the reputation.
Do you know the Moomins, the Finnish fairy tale trolls? They are the children's favorite here in Finland, and Naantali owns a whole island dedicated to them. It is called the Moomin World! It is every kid's dream to visit this place, to hug a Moomin, to take a picture with Little My, and to visit the famous blue Moomin House. I have not been there myself, but working with kids, I hear fascinating stories about that place over and over again.
Naantali is famous for its spas. The beautiful nature, combined with the best Finnish Spa guarantee an excellent relaxation weekend. Keep in mind that one local Spa Hotel of the area is among the world's best spas list.
"Naantali" is a Finnish version of the Swedish name for the city. The original name was "Nådendal," and means "a valley of grace." The city keeps up with its name, as there are beautiful cafes in colorful wooden houses right on the shore of the bay. Excellent sea views are guaranteed! You will sip coffee while observing the boats coming and leaving. Many eateries have a view over the archipelago or the symbol of Naantali: the old Church.
If an original design is more important to you than a sea view, then take a few steps from the bay into the old town and be amazed by 'The Extraordinary Café'. It is a big pink house with retro music inside, peculiar rooms and lots of Moomin souvenirs. By the way, the place has a big Moomin mug collection. It is a common hobby in Finland to collect such mugs, and the oldest designs are very expensive and valuable since they are not produced anymore.
Naantali is a known holiday city for locals, and one of them is a constant summer visitor: the Finnish president! The presidential summer house is situated in Naantali. You can see it from the shore of the old town. Every year at the beginning of June, the president comes here with his wife. He arrives by boat and goes through the old town to give a speech for the countless reporters and locals. He announces the beginning of the summer season and wishes long sunny days for Naantali before heading into his summer house.
The blue sea, the green archipelago, the grey cliffs: all those are a part of Naantali. You can start your "pretty sight-journey" from the Naantali church. The Church is on a hill, and right next to it, there is a viewing platform. From there, you can see the bay with its busy streets full of charming cafes and the dazzling sea horizon. On the right, you can find the bridge to the Moomin World. If you descend in the direction of the bridge, you will find a beach with a peaceful forest around. Walking through the old town, do not forget to find the "lovers' path." It is quite an official name, by the way, and a famous kissing spot for the locals.
The path leads behind the wooden houses along the sea onto the cliff. From here you can see the city, the sea, islands, the president's house, a picturesque church and wondering boats. This is my favorite spot in Naantali, a great picnic place, and a very scenic one! Every time I am visiting, few youngsters are hanging out with some music and drinks on the cliff but also hikers with the Nordic walking poles and a gaze full of adventure.
Naantali is there for many kinds of people and offers a diverse vacation: you can relax in one of the best spas in the world, give your kids an unforgettable experience in the Moomin World, grab a coffee at the 'Extraordinary Cafe' and enjoy the famous view from the Kuparivuori cliff. And who knows, maybe during your holidays, you might stumble onto the president. After all, Naantali is worth a visit as it is the sunniest Finnish city to visit in summer!
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