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Trip Report for Finland: Turku

Libertyville...
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Trip Report for Finland: Turku

Just wanted to post a trip report for part of my recent week-long trip to Finland. Before I get started, I want to say that, in general, our trip was wonderful and we found the people everywhere to be polite, helpful, and accommodating. I would also add that it helps to try to learn a bit of Finnish if you are going to be a guest in this country, if only as an "ice-breaker" for conversation. Almost everywhere we went, we found that people spoke English perfectly well.

We arrived early on a Sunday morning in Turku aboard the overnight Silja line ferry from Stockholm. One word of advice to those who have never travelled on these ferries before: be packed and ready to go ashore when the boat arrives in port--we were still sleeping 15 minutes before arrival and were hastened out of our cabins by a chambermaid. Of course, if you don't sleep during the voyage (as was apparant among a few younger passengers), you should have nothing to worry about!

Turku is a nice little city and the downtown area ("Keskus" in Finnish) is easily manageable on foot. There is a nice promenade along both sides of the Aurajoki, which flows right through town. In our 2.5 days of visiting, we went to the Turku Cathedral (Tuomiokirkko), Turku Castle (Turunlinna), Turku Art Museum (Taidemuseo), and the Aboa Vetus/Ars Nova Museum. I would recommend visiting all of these attractions, although if you need to skip one, I would probably nix Turku Castle, since it is the least central of these and you can probably see similar castles elsewhere in Finland or Europe. The art museum has an impressive collection of the big names of Finnish art (Gallen-Kallela, Schjerfbeck, Simberg, etc...). Aboa Vetus is a must if you are interested in history and the cathedral is so convenient that you would be foolish not to visit. It's quite a stately cathedral for a town the size of Turku and country the size of Finland, and not as opulent or ostentatious as some other cathedrals you see further south in Europe. It's stark beauty fits Finland very well.

While in Turku, we also visited the small nearby town of Naantali. Naantali has a very pleasant little "Old Town" filled with wooden houses and a nice harborfront with several restaurants, a large old convent church, and of course, Moominworld. We just walked around the harbor, churchyard, and old town, and then took a city bus back to Turku, which dropped us at the Kauppatori (market square). The public bus was very nice if you are accustomed to American public transit.

A few food/drink recommendations: the best meal we ate was at a restaurant called Blanko, which is located downtown on a corner on the north side of the Aura. The best way I can describe the cuisine is modern Mediterranean fusion and it's a good value for Finland. Another good option we discovered is to buy foodstuffs at the Kauppahalli (market hall), also conveniently located downtown, or at the market square. We had drinks at the Old Bank, just down the street from Blanko, which has a good selection of beers, and also at Koulu, which has a fairly large beer garden if you are there during warmer months.

We left for Tampere by train, and the Turku train station is easy to find on the north west side of downtown. It is small and has luggage lockers if you need to stow your bags (which we did). If your schedule allows, it is a fairly short walk from the train station to the art museum, so you can combine your arrival or departure by train with a trip to the art museum.

All in all, we had a very nice stay in Turku and there were several sights we did not have a chance to see, so I hope I can visit again in the future.

Cape Town Central...
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1. Re: Trip Report for Finland: Turku

Thank you for the positive report! I'm on my way to Turku, and happy to hear that you had a pleasant travel experience.

Glasgow, United...
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2. Re: Trip Report for Finland: Turku

Thanks Really helpfull

Glasgow, United...
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3. Re: Trip Report for Finland: Turku

Thanks very much for sharing your valuable views,Really helfull.

STE-FOY
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4. Re: Trip Report for Finland: Turku

We want to share some activities witn families because we are going to a hoackey tournement. Have some safe address so we can contact people?

Thanks Paula from Quebec

Turku, Finland
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5. Re: Trip Report for Finland: Turku

Glad to hear that you have enjoyed your visit in my home town!

Paula from Quebec, what kind of addresses do you have in mind? Activities for families? I would say that there really aren't any dangerous areas in Turku for families.

Many museums in Turku organize activities for kids. For example, Turku Castle has special Little Knight Tours. They also have a toy exhibition and a princesses-and-knights-themed playroom. www.turku.fi/public/default.aspx…

I wuld also suggest Aboa Vetus Ars Nova museum for children. It is exciting to go 7 meters under the present-day street level and explore medieval ruins of houses built 700 years ago,

Special attractions for children are Sokos Hotel Caribia which has a pirate themed spa - you don't need to overnight in the hotel to visit the spa.

In Kupittaa Park there is an Adventure Park for children. http://seikkailupuisto.turku.fi/kielet.html You can also hire roller skates in Kupittaa Park, in the summer time there is an open-air swimming pool with water slide.

Another open-air swimming pool is located on Samppalinna Hill. It has spectacular views. It's up the hill right behind the city theatre.

If you are visiting Turku in the summer months, I would recommend a lunch or an evening cruise to the archipelago. Or even a whole day trip to the Bengtskär lighthouse in the outer archipelago ( you might want to contact Turku Touring for more information on that trip http://www.visitturku.fi/en)

http://www.ukkopekka.fi/uk/home

The sailing ships on front of the Forum Marinum Maritime Museum could be interesting for kids. And don't forget to make a ferry trip with Föri across the river!

Helsinki
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6. Re: Trip Report for Finland: Turku

Paula, I suggest you contact the tournament's organizing club for contacts to other families (attending clubs). We can tell you about option what to do, but there's no way we can know who attends the tournament. Hockey is pretty popular and hockey related events happen all the time.

If you need help organizing the excursions contact the official tourist info at http://www.visitturku.fi/en

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: Trip Report for Finland: Turku

Very nice report.

we are also taking an overnight ferry from Stockholm to Turku. We are planning to take a train from Turku Satama to Helsinki. The ferry arrives at Turku at 7 AM and train departs at 8:15 AM. do you think we will have enough time to catch the train? do these ferries from stockholm reach Turku in time? Thanks.

Libertyville...
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8. Re: Trip Report for Finland: Turku

Yes, the train station is quite close to the ferry terminal. Also, I believe the train departures are timed to accommodate arriving ferry passengers, but the Finns here can tell you for sure. Enjoy the Baltic and Finland!

Helsinki
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9. Re: Trip Report for Finland: Turku

The Turku main train station is a few kms from the harbour. Thats why there is a special stop in the harbour (Tutku satama), where the trains that serve the ferry passengers leave. The distance is a few hundred metres and the trains are sceduled so that you have enough time to get off the ship. No hurrying needed.

Seattle, Washington
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10. Re: Trip Report for Finland: Turku

when I'm buying a ticket online, it seems that i need an identifier (a phone number). But I don't have a Finnish phone number