Turku

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Turku Castle

Turku (Swedish: Åbo) is a city on the Southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of Aura River in the region of Finland Proper. Turku, as a town, was settled during the 13th century and founded most likely at the end of the 13th century, making it the oldest city in Finland. It quickly became the most important city of the region of current day Finland, a status it retained for hundreds of years. It was the first official capital city of the Grand Duchy of Finland from 1809 to 1812 and continued to be the largest city by population in Finland until the end of the 1840s. Today it's the third most populous city-region in Finland with around 330 000 inhabitants living in the Turku sub-region.

Turku is an important location for business and culture in Northern Europe. Due to its location, it has a notable commercial and passenger seaport with over three million passengers travelling through the Port of Turku each year to Stockholm and Mariehamn. In 2011 Turku was the European Capital of Culture along with Tallinn (the capital of Estonia). Since 1996 it has also been the official Christmas City of Finland.

Understand[edit]

Turku has approximately 175,000 inhabitants, and was the most important city in Finland from the 1300s until 1812, when the Russians moved the capital to Helsinki (closer to Russia and farther from Sweden). Turku remained Finland's main city for a while after, but its ambitions were dealt a death blow in 1827, when a raging fire destroyed most of the city.

Today's Turku remains the third largest city in Finland, after the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area and Tampere. Some of the main attractions of Turku are its history and the great natural beauty of the neighboring archipelago. Turku is at its best during the summertime, and hosts a great number of festivals, including rock festivals, chamber music festivals and a fair.

Get in[edit]

The city is well connected domestically, but sparsely connected internationally. Perhaps the most scenic way to get to Turku is by taking a passenger ferry across the Baltic Sea, from Stockholm in Sweden.

By plane[edit]

Turku Airport [1] (IATA: TKU) is located 8 km north of the city. There are domestic flights from Helsinki, Mariehamn, Oulu, and Tampere. International scheduled flights from Budapest, Brussels, Warsaw, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Riga, Tallinn and Gdańsk. Bus line 1 (€3/1.50, free transfers for two hours) connects the airport to Kauppatori and the port.

By train[edit]

The railway station

VR [2] offers direct day connections from Helsinki (2h), Tampere (1:40), Pieksämäki, and Kuopio. There is also overnight car train to Rovaniemi. The railway station is in the northern part of the city center. Note that some trains continue onwards to the Port of Turku (Turun satama), which is quite handy if connecting to a ferry.

By coach[edit]

The coaches usually arrive at the bus station by the city centre, with good local bus connections. Some coaches connect to the ferries and have their last stop in the harbour (sometimes only on request; tell the driver you are going there when buying/showing the ticket).

Coaches from Helsinki bus station leave for Turku more or less every half hour in the day, every hour or two hours in the night, either express or special express. The coaches are coordinated with the connections from Helsinki-Vantaa airport, some also with ferries from abroad.

There is an almost hourly ExpressBus [3] coach connection from Helsinki-Vantaa airport to Turku bus station operated by Pohjolan Liikenne and Vainio, departing from platform 13 in front of the international flights terminal. The service operates round the clock, although there may be a gap of 1 to 2 hours between services in the small hours of the night. The trip takes between 2 h 20 min and 2 h 55 min depending on whether the service calls in towns on the way. In some cases, there is a change of coach at Lommila but it is well co-ordinated and easy. Tickets cost €29.50 (round trip €53.10) for adults, €14.80 for Finnish students (ISIC not accepted) and children of age 4-16. Children under the age of four travel free.

From June 4, 2012 begins low-cost expressbus service between Turku and Helsinki with lowest tickets between these cities costing as low as €3. [4]

Connections from Tampere hourly in daytime, the last arriving 21:30, from Pori about hourly, from Vaasa about every two hours, the last arriving 22:15.

By boat[edit]

The Port of Turku [5] is next to Turku Castle and is easily accessible on bus line 1 from the Market Square (Kauppatori). The port also has its own railway and coach station, and some trains and coaches depart at the port.

The two biggest ferry lines are Viking Line [6] and Silja Line [7]. Each one has a morning and an evening departure from Stockholm, Sweden, with a brief stop at the Åland Islands. For a scenic view, a morning departure is advisable. Evening departures provide adequate night club activities on board if you want to cut loose before arriving in Turku.

The pass over Sea of Åland from the Stockholm region is quite short also for small craft. Arriving by an own or rented yacht is quite possible also from Gotland or Estonia. Many people also from the Helsinki region spend their summer vacation yachting (to and) in the Archipelago Sea outside Turku. Turku guest harbour is in the Aura river halfway between the harbour and Kauppatori, connected by bus line 1.

By car[edit]

Turku is well connected by road. Route E18 leads west from Helsinki (2 hours) and continues to Sweden by the ferries. Route E63 leads south-west from Tampere (2:15), while E8 heads south from Pori (2:15).

Get around[edit]

Turku has an excellent public transportation system, and its buses can reach nearly every corner of the city. The centre is small enough for walking and a bike is usually the fastest mean of travelling.

On foot[edit]

The vast majority of the city's sights are within two kilometres of the Kauppatori market square, which is considered the heart of the city. The river Aura passes through the centre of the city, and its banks are very popular for walking along on, allowing for a pleasant stroll from, say, the city centre to the Turku Castle.

By bicycle[edit]

The city tourist office can suggest cycling routes and publishes an excellent free bike route map of the city and surrounding towns. They also rent bikes (20 €/day) as do e.g. Polkupyörävuokraamo in the harbour [8], phone +358 (0) 40 372 5310 (12,00 €/day, 59 €/week) or the Tammenterho visitor centre in Ruissalo (5 €/4 h, 7 €/day).

There are good bike paths mostly as needed – except in the centre. You might have to avoid the busiest streets or get off the bike, unless sufficiently experienced.

By ferry[edit]

Föri crossing Aura river.

The free Föri ferry shuttles travellers and their bikes (no cars allowed) across the Aurajoki River every day from 6:15AM to 9PM, or until 11PM in summer. The trip covers a grand distance of 78 meters and takes about a minute and a half. A running local gag is to ask visitors if they've taken the trip from Turku across to Åbo on the Föri yet; actually, both sides of the river are called the same, Åbo is just the Swedish name. Incidentally, the name comes from the Swedish färja and is related to the English word "ferry".

Föri's low-tech cousin Kampiföri used to be found upriver near the Kuralan kylämäki village museum. The name means "Winch Föri", and true to the name, it's operated by up to 12 passengers winching themselves across the river on their own muscle power. Unfortunately, as of June 2012 the Kampiföri service was interrupted until further notice, after some cases of vandalism occurred.

There are also Jakke Jokilautta going up and down the river (reaching Vähätori square/Turku Cathedral, water level permitting; some cruises are guided) and m/s Ruissalo between city and Ruissalo island. Both cost a few euros.

The steamer S/S Ukkopekka [9] also offers cruises to/from nearby Naantali, the home of Moomin World [10].

There are also a number of tour boat connections to the archipelago, e.g. to Vepsä, [11] a recreational area of the city (1–2 hours), and to Utö in the outer archipelago (overnight stay at the island). Most can be found between Martinsilta bridge and Föri.

Some of the tours are available only in summertime, others continue as long as ice conditions permit.

By bus[edit]

Almost every bus stops at the Kauppatori market square, and bus lines radiate outwards from it. There are no significant 'circle lines', so usually if you need to transfer, you will need to take one bus to the Kauppatori, then transfer there to the bus taking you to your final destination. Buses generally go in two directions from Kauppatori, so check and make sure that you are taking the correct numbered bus in the correct direction as well.

The ticket information is as of spring 2014. From July, the tickets in the region are harmonized, which means slightly more expensive tickets, valid also in some of the surrounding municipalities (Raisio, Naantali, Rusko, Lieto).

A single ticket is €3 (children 7–14: 1.50), and it is valid for unlimited transfers within two hours of the ticket's purchase. Late in the night tickets cost €1 more. If you intend to take the bus more than twice a day, it becomes economical to ask the bus driver for a 24 hour ticket, priced €6.50. The bus office at Kauppatori and the tourist office sell cards for one day and more, costing €6 for the first day, €3 for each additional day up to a week, €30 for two weeks and €5 + €48 per thirty days. Those staying longer may want to check other options also. The tourist office sells Turku Cards (of 24h and 48h varieties) which, as well as providing free admission to most sights, also provides you free bus rides for the validity period.

Some buses (mostly with three-digit numbers) pass the municipality border. Inside the border they mostly function as described above (there may be some oddities), but if you intend to cross the border you have to pay by another fare, without the transfer option. They are not always mentioned at bus stops.

Once upon the time modifier letters (as in 12A and 12B) got removed and numbers changed (in this case to 32 and 42). The lines are ordered according to these associations: 1, 2, 2A, 3, 30, 4, ... Often the associated lines behave the same most of the route, but have different destinations in one end. In a few cases the destination varies without any change in line number. The corresponding notes in the timetable are often incomprehensible without some understanding of the individual lines, but usually you know when you need to understand them and can ignore them otherwise. The worst trap is some extra rush hour buses stopping prematurely: check that you get the one going all the way.

Timetable booklets give starting times at the ends of the route and at Kauppatori, and an estimated duration of the trip to or from Kauppatori. The timetables at major stops instead give the estimated passing time of the bus (and line number, as lines are grouped together). A timetable booklet can be bought from the bus office at Kauppatori. It includes a miniature route map (a decent map is for sale separately). Check all of the booklet, as not all information is where you would expect.

By taxi[edit]

Taxis are generally easily available, but expensive. There are three crunch times when they might be slightly problematic, and those are the morning and evening ferry departure times (particularly in summer), around 8AM and 9PM, and the bar closing times (particularly on weekends) around 4AM.

A normal taxi will carry 4 people and a moderate amount of luggage. For significant amounts of luggage, you may want to order a "farmari" taxi, an estate/wagon car which has a roomier luggage compartment. There is also a third common type of taxi available, the tilataksi, a van which will comfortably carry about 8 people. The fares are the same, but you might have to wait longer.

Taxis charge a base cost of €5.90 or 9.00 (daytime in the week respectively nights, Sundays and holidays), about €1.50–2.15 per kilometre, depending on amount of passengers (more passengers, higher mileage charge) and about €0.72 per minute waiting time. Quick 1–2 mile trips will cost in the €8–13 vicinity.

Flagging taxis on the street is rare and may not work; calling the central dispatch is the common method, however you can recognize a free taxi in dark, since the taxi sign on the top will have its light on. There is a central dispatch for all Turku taxis at phone number 02-10041, and bookings can be made in advance for an extra charge (€7), though more than one day in advance is unnecessary. Advance bookings less than 30 min before desired departure time are not accepted — in that case, just phone the dispatch when you are ready to go. Outside the worst rush hours, a taxi should take no more than 5 minutes to arrive. If you are out late at night, plan ahead. During weekend bar closing hours, wait times in excess of an hour are not unheard of.

By car[edit]

Parking lots by the street are sparse at rush hours, but otherwise you should be able to park your car for a while quite near the place where you are going. Parking halls, such as the underground Louhi [12] near the Market square (€1–2/h), usually have plenty of free space.

See[edit]

Turku harbour and Turku castle
Tuomiokirkko by the Aura River from a distance
Aurajoki river
Medieval festival in Turku
  • Turku Castle (Turun linna), Linnankatu 80 +358-2-2620300. Daily 10AM-6PM; reduced hours and closed Mon in Oct-Mar low season. At the south tip of the city, near the ferry terminals. A must for everyone visiting the city and is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. This old castle dates from the 1280s, and has been carefully renovated. There is always some exhibition in the castle premises. Highlights include the two dungeons and magnificent banquet halls, and a historical museum of medieval Turku in a maze of restored rooms in the castle's old bailey. Tours of the stronghold are given hourly in English during high season. They give a good account of the castle's history. €8, optional guided tour €2.
  • Turku Cathedral +358 40 3417100. Towers over the river and the town and is one of Finland's most important Cathedrals. Tours run 9AM-7PM during mid September to mid April and 9AM to 8PM mid April to mid September. Free; museum upstairs €2/1/1.
  • Luostarinmäki. In 1827 a fire destroyed almost all of Turku. Luostarinmäki was one of the few areas that were saved, and now it hosts a handicrafts museum. €6/4/4, family €15.50.
  • Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova. This museum is actually two museums: Aboa Vetus tells about the history of Turku, and Ars Nova is a museum of modern art. Aboa Vetus is based on ancient remainings of old buildings and the Aboa Vetus exhibition is located there.
  • Kuralan kylämäki. summertime Tue-Su 10–18, also open around Christmas. Dubbed a "Village of Living History", here you can see a genuine Finnish farm from the 1950s. Workshops include hay making, 1950s handicraft and experimental archaeology. A few kilometres from the city centre, but yet you feel like you are in the country side. Free.
  • Turku Art Museum (Turun taidemuseo). Tue–Fri 11–19, Sat-Sun 11–17. The regional museum of Finland proper. A central part of the art life in Turku since 1904. €8/5, school children under 16 for free, Friday after 16 free.
  • Ruissalo. A beautiful national park on a island located 6 km from the Kauppatori. There is also a championship level golf course, Aura Golf [13], founded in 1958. The Ruissalo Spa Hotel [14] is its immediate vicinity.
  • Caribia spa and Posankka. Relax in the spa and see the famous cross between a pig and a duck, Posankka. This pink statue was made by Alvar Gullichsen, and it has become a known landmark in front of the spa.
  • Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of ArtItäinen Rantakatu 38 (15 min from Market Sq, or take bus 14/15),  +358 2 2620850. Tu-Su 10–18. An art museum named after Finnish artist and sculptor Wäinö Aaltonen (1896–1966), whose statues of famous Finns and various nationalist themes can be found throughout Finland. Perhaps the best-known is the classical Greek-style statue of "Flying Finn" and nine-time Olympic gold medallist Paavo Nurmi. Five copies of the statue exist, one in the museum, and the statue's best known exploit was when students from the Helsinki U. of Tech. snuck one onto the wreck of the 17th-century Swedish warship Vasa just days before it was salvaged. The museum also hosts changing exhibitions of other artists. €6/4/–.
  • Forum Marinum (Just after the guest harbour when going downstream, you can't miss it.),  +358 2 267 9511fax: +358 2 267 9515. wintertime: Tue–Sun 11–18, summertime: Mon–Sun 11–19. A national special museum that also works as a maritime centre while having some quite special museum ships, among them the Suomen Joutsen, considered the national ship of Finns, and the 1887 wooden barque Sigyn. €6/4/– for the museum; €16/10/– for the museum and all ships (wintertime 9,50/6 €/–, not all ships), ship tickets also individually.
  • Sibelius MuseumBiskopsgatan 17 FIN-20500 Åbo (Turku). Tue–Sun 11–16, Wed also 18–20. Located only 150 meters from the Turku cathedral is a low modern concrete building, housing a collection of musical instruments from all around the globe, as well as displays of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, the man and his music. Chamber music concerts on Wednesday evenings (except summer). €3/1, guiding included, children under 18 free; concerts €8/4.
  • B-GalleriaAninkaistenkatu 5 L 5. Contemporary art gallery organisation Suunnitelma B. Provides inexpensive and easily approachable gallery space for young artists and fresh environment for new ideas to emerge. Monthly changing exhibition and more randomly organized events.

Do[edit]

  • Flowpark. [15] A cool new climbing park on the courtyard of shopping center Skanssi.
  • Ruisrock. [16] Visit the oldest rock festival in Finland that takes place in the Ruissalo island in the beginning of July.
  • Down by the Laituri. [17] A city festival with various bands playing around the city and mainly just a lot of people by the riverboats. Takes place at start of August.
  • Uuden musiikin festivaali (UTM). [18] A city festival with electronic music scattered at different locations around Turku.
  • Turku Jazz. [19]. A jazz festival held every spring.
  • The Medieval Market. [20] (Keskiaikaiset markkinat) takes usually place at the last weekend of June. The old market square is filled with medieval action for the whole weekend, from sales to hangings to music and dance plays.
  • Turku Modern. Annual modern music festival takes place in the beautiful city of Turku in July. Top notch line-up with the hottest electronic club sound ambassadors from Finland and abroad.

Buy[edit]

There are plenty of opportunities to part with your cash in Turku. The city centre is full of major retail and independent shops. Shopping in Turku is generally more affordable than in Helsinki, but, as with the rest of Finland, it is by no means cheap by international standards. The numerous second-hand and antique stores represent a unique shopping alternative.

  • Hansa Shopping Centre (Adjacent to the main market square). Over 150 shops under one roof.
  • Länsikeskus. District on the outskirts of town full of big-box hypermarkets.
  • Turun Kauppahalli (50 metres from Kauppatori along the Eerikinkatu towards harbour). A (food) market located in a building opened in 1896, with approximately 40 different sellers. Along with meat, cheese and milk products, also handicraft and ethnic fast food is available for purchase.
  • Skanssi Shopping Center. Modern shopping center. 20 minutes from the city center with bus line 9.
  • Turku Treasure. Map to independent boutiques, bars and galleries of Turku.

Eat[edit]

For proper restaurant meals, expect to pay €10­–€30 – lower end with some simple pasta or soup with water or a soft drink, and the higher end with a high-grade steak meal with good wine. For fast food or pizzeria meals, you will generally need to pay under €10. Burger meals are around €5–€8 (including drink and fries), kebabs and pizzas are about the same.

Generally, proper restaurants are open until 10–11PM, on weekends maybe an hour longer. There are no proper restaurants open in Turku after midnight. Fast food chains, pizzerias and other such places are open later at night, some as late as 3–5AM. In some establishments, the bar may remain open for drinks even though the kitchen has closed and no food is available.

Budget[edit]

Hesburger is the dominant burger chain in Turku, and you will find several of these in the city centre. Pizzerias are frequently kebab-pizzerias, offering both Turkish kebab and Italian pizza dishes on their menu. You will also find a lot of these downtown. Unfortunately, the restaurants offering the finest kebabs are not located in the core downtown.

  • Ege Kebab Pizzeria, Kousankatu 1 near Itäkeskus, by the traffic light intersection, in Varissuo. Reviewed as the best kebab restaurant in Turku [21] and one of the best in the whole country.
  • Milan, Eerikinkatu 5, opposite cinema Julia (downtown). Kebab-pizzeria with excellent pizzas and kebabs.
  • Sisilia, Aninkaistenkatu 3 20100 Turku. Servers decent kebabs and pizzas. Famous for the price: all kebabs and pizzas €5 (for students, but you don't really need an I.D.).
  • Pizzeria NapoliPuutarhakatu 20 (near Mikael's Church, less than 1 km from city centre toward harbour). Traditional style pizzeria with wide selection of decent pizzas.

During the lunch time, from about 11am to about 14pm, most restaurants serve food for reasonable prices. Lunch restaurants and lists in Turku can be found at lounaat.info.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Bremer. All meals around €10: pizza, wok, burgers, tortillas. Uudenmaankatu 1.
  • Pippurimylly. The Peppermill is a nostalgic family restaurant where bluesquared table cloths and tasty beefs have been a part of Turku's weekly routines and holidays from the year 1974.
  • Kortteliravintola Kerttu (at Läntinen pitkäkatu 35, near the railway station). They have a laundromat, free wireless Internet, newspapers to read and a very comfortable atmosphere.
  • Panini Caffè Ristorante, address: Linnankatu 3. Good Italian food at reasonable prices.
  • Viikinkiravintola Harald (Viking Restaurant), Aurakatu 3. Mon–Thu 11-24, Fri 11–01 Sat 12–01, Sun 15–22. Higher mid-range. Located in the heart of the city. A pseudo-authentic Viking style environment. Several fish, bird and game dishes. One of the few restaurants which serve Reindeer.

Splurge[edit]

Restaurant quality food is readily found in Turku. Most famous are the restaurant boats on the banks of the River Aura. Some of them close for the winter, but others remain open throughout the year. Other famous restaurants include:

  • Enkeliravintola ("Angel Restaurant"), downtown on Kauppiaskatu, decorated with many art objects related to angels and focusing on warm, friendly atmosphere.
  • Rocca. Along the riverside towards the harbor from downtown - co-owned by the famous ice hockey player Saku Koivu.
  • Vaakahuone. Aurajoki riverside Castlestreet (Linnankatu) 38.
  • Trattoria Romana, Hämeenkatu 9. An Italian trattoria, excellent price-quality relationship. Tip: try their unrivalled pizza margherita.
  • Oscar's Place (Oscarin Olohuone), Eerikinkatu 10 (in hotel Hamburger Börs). Opened in 1895, this German-style pub-restaurant was at the forefront of Turku gastronomy for a long time. Post-renovation, though, the ambience is airy but nondescript and the menu is now a somewhat odd mix of the gourmet (escargots, duck leg confit) and the not so gourmet (burritos and pizza). €20–40.
  • Restaurant & Bar Pinella (Ravintola & Baari Pinella), Vanha Suurtori 2 +358 (2) 445 6400, e-mail: . Pinella is a landmark building on the river in the heart of Turku. It has been transformed into a new contemporary bar and restaurant, creating a fresh chapter in its history as an important cultural and artistic venue.

Drink[edit]

Restaurants and bars have varying closing hours, but generally, the popular nightclubs and discos are open until 4AM. Last call always occurs half an hour before closing time, and is indicated by the bar staff turning the lights off for a few seconds, then turning them back on. They may repeat this a few times in quick succession to make sure the patrons get it. It's generally smart to leave about ten minutes before the last call, to avoid being caught in the rush of everybody trying to leave at once, especially if you are planning to get back to your night spot by a taxi.

Night clubs tend to have guarded cloakrooms where you can leave any of your outer garments in exchange for a ticket. Using the coat service is generally considered mandatory even if this is not explicitly pointed out. The cloakroom fee is usually 2 - 2,50 euros. Do not lose the ticket; the bar staff will often not want to hash out ticket confusions during closing time when things are at their most chaotic. If you lose the ticket, you may be told to come back the following day to get your things, expect to be able to prove the jacket is your by telling the staff the make of the jacket/colour of lining/contents of pockets.

The legal drinking age in Finland is 18 for mild alcoholic drinks (up to 20%/40-proof) and 20 for stronger drinks than that, but virtually all establishments sell stronger drinks to 18-year-olds as well. The minimum age required to enter bars/pubs/nightclubs differs; legally, one must be at least 18 to enter places that serve alcohol, but many clubs and bars have higher age limits (20 - 24 yrs).

Cafes[edit]

  • KirjakahvilaVanha Suurtori 1. Located at the historical Old Great Square, this is a culture cafe and a bookshop (hence the name, which means "Book Cafe") run by volunteers. Besides books there are also a lot of comics, postcards and posters by local artists for sale. Freshly baked cakes every day, even for vegans. Free wireless Internet available, ask the staff for passwords. Open from 11AM to 7PM, from M-F, but there is often live acoustic music or other cultural events in the evening.
  • Cafe Mansikkapaikka, Piispankatu 11, a old yellow wooden house. The name means "A place where wild strawberries can be found", and the interior and the atmosphere is very romantic and cosy. The tea is served in small strawberry-themed tea pots and you can choose from an assortment of 30 different teas.
  • Cosmic Comic CafeKauppiaskatu 4 (Forum Shopping Centre). A cafe for comics lovers. Offers drinks, comics books for free reading and hosts various events from time to time.
  • Latte CafeKristiinankatu 5. Latte Cafe is a sweet little cafe at downtown Turku. Special teas, coffees (from all around the world), paninis, salads & toasts. They also have cakes, buns, croissants and a lot of sweet surprises. Fruit non-alcoholic cocktails.
  • Cafe FontanaAurakatu 1. Street-level cafe in historical milieu in the heart of the city, opposite to Town Hall park, near Aura bridge. Also lunch and bar.

Nightclubs[edit]

  • For the late teens-early twenties crowd, the Night Club Marilyn is particularly popular as a disco/night club.
  • For a similar disco experience for early twenties upwards, there are a number of options such as night club Apollo. Another popular night spot for mid-to-late twenties is Börs Night Club in the same building as the hotel Hamburger Börs (but open to all, not just hotel guests).
  • For proper dancing (not disco dancing), Restaurant Galax [22] is the recommended place in Turku. The age group skews towards the 40s-50s.
  • In the summertime, it is very popular to spend the early evening until midnight or so on the restaurant boats on the banks of the River Aura, and when it gets a little chilly, move indoors to a restaurant or night club. Examples of these river boats include Donna, Cindy, Papa Joe and Svarte Rudolf.
  • Dynamo. At Linnankatu, opposite the main library, caters for hipsters with a passion for slightly more eclectic sound. Downstairs indie pop, electro and rock 'n' roll are the main draws, upstairs it's chiefly soul, funk and disco. Attracts a healthy amount of exchange students.
  • Monk. The best and pretty much the only jazz club in town. Musical scale includes happy jazz, retromodern club jazz, funk, afro and Latin stuff. Djs on weekends, live jazz 2–3 days a week.
  • Klubi. The leading rock venue in Turku. Goth, punk, electronica, ska, prog, grunge, indie/alternative - you name it, they've got it.
  • Forte. Tends to be busy thanks to cheap drinks and daily opening hours (as opposed to majority of the other clubs in Turku). The concept of 'SuFo' (='Sunday Forte'), MoFo etc. is widely recognized among students in Turku.
  • Monkey. Is a new club in the city center of Turku, it's located in front of the H&M. Here are probably the best parties on Saturday, because there are a lot of Finnish girls. They play hip hop, house and R&B on two floors. There is also a VIP area.

Pubs and Bars[edit]

Puutorin Vessa
  • Alepub Turku near the city library by the Aura river. Cheapest beer in town and friendly atmosphere all day long. At alepub you never drink alone. Good jukebox and the best Finnish sports (lentomäki) on the television.
  • Cosmic Comic Cafe at Forum shopping center by the Market Square. Comics gallery, board games to play and a relaxed, "a second living room" atmosphere. Sometimes very overcrowded.
  • Alvar at Humalistonkatu 7, near the railway station. It is located at a building designed by a famous Finnish architecht Alvar Aalto. A comfortable place with nice staff and a large selection of beer. Free Wi-Fi available.
  • Puutorin Vessa. A former public toilet but nowadays a popular bar, located at Puutori market square, near the bus station. One of the must see sights in Turku.
  • The Old Bank. A former bank turned into a beer pub with beautiful interior and the widest selection of beers in town.
  • Brewery restaurant Koulu. An old school building converted to a brewery restaurant serving their own beers, good food and an excellent selection of wines. A cozy biergarten in the back yard is open in the summer.
  • Mallaskukko. Is another good beer pub in Turku, with a wide selection of beers and scotch whiskies.
  • Pikku-Torre. Close to the centre is a good and friendly bar-cum-restaurant, serving a good choice of different beers and a selection of mid-priced meals (only until 9PM.). Pikku-Torre is one of the best spots in Turku for watching football. Live music on weekends.
  • Uusi apteekki. A beer pub located in a former pharamacy built in 1907.
  • The CastleEerikinkatu 6 (close to the main square). An Irish style pub with English staff.
  • Whisky Bar at Yliopistonkatu 19, in the core downtown of Turku. Has a wide selection of whiskies. Nowadays strongly orientated to heavy metal by its music and atmosphere.
  • TinatuoppiEerikinkatu 8. Legendary boozing spot at the heart of Turku. Cheap beer and great jukebox.
  • Cup & Pint at Humalistonkatu 17. Forget Hurry Worries! Cosy modern bar/cafe near the railway station. Good beer selection, toasts, pies, champagne, cakes etc. DJ action at weekends.

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • Hostel Turku. Located on the river close to the town centre, 10 minutes walk from the train station, or take bus 1 from the bus station/harbor. Spacious and friendly, contains a decent kitchen, laundry, lockers, and bike hire. Book ahead, as it gets very busy in summer.
  • Interpoint Hostel, Vähä Hämeenkatu 12a (near Cathedral, Kupittaa railway station). Open in summer only, usually July 15-Aug 15 (may vary). Maintained by Turku YWCA volunteers and often praised for its friendly atmosphere. Accommodation is very cheap at 8,50 €/night, but only includes a mattress on the floor. Kitchen and laundry facilities available.
  • Turku UnihostelInspehtorinkatu 4. Located in the Turku University student village, and intended for longer-term stays. Buses 30, 50, 51, 53, 54, 20 minute walk to centre. Single rooms with WC/shower and common kitchen, laundry, TV, wireless internet. Book by the week only, payment by wire transfer in advance, limited office hours to obtain keys. Inhabited mostly by university short-term visitors, but open to anyone.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Omena. Booking only by Internet, and you get a passcode online which you can use to get into the building. There is no reception staff and no breakfast.
  • Holiday Inn Cumulus & Ramada. From the marketplace about 5 blocks towards the harbor.
  • Sokos Hotel Seurahuone. From the marketplace about 3 blocks towards the harbor. On the same street as Cumulus/Ramada (Eerikinkatu).
  • Sokos Hotel Hamburger Börs & City BörsKauppiaskatu 6 +358-2-337381. Formerly the Grand Hotel Börs, this hotel dates back to 1904 (the restaurant is a few years older yet) and remains a solid choice. The complex now has twin hotels diagonally across from each other, with the City Börs rooms being cheaper and simpler, but the combined reception is in Hamburger Börs. The entire complex has no less than 9 restaurants, bars and clubs, making this a popular nightspot. Indoor pool and sauna. Good discounts often available if you book a package with the ferry companies.
  • Park Hotel. A non-chain hotel only a couple hundred meters from the railway station.
  • Scandic Hotel Julia. Two blocks from the marketplace, towards the cathedral.
  • Centro Hotel. One block uphill from Julia's location, a little hard to find on the inner courtyard of the city block.
  • Artukaisten Paviljonki. Near the Elysee Arena and fair centre, several miles from downtown.

Splurge[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Risks in Turku


Crime/violence: Low
Drunk people on weekend nights, bouncers in clubs, pickpockets
Authorities/corruption: Low
Security guards and nightclub bouncers might be rude and/or violent
Transportation: Low
Traffic culture may be sometimes aggressive
Health: Low
Infectious tick bites in the archipelago
Nature: Low

Turku is generally a very safe city. On weekend nights drunken people may cause annoyance, especially after last call. The River Aura is as dirty as it seems, and is surprisingly shallow. Also the river banks provide very little access to the shore, so it is better not to refresh yourself with a quick dip. Swimming in the river is also considered illegal.

In case of emergency dial 112, which is the general emergency number for police affairs, fire, medical care and social services.

For non-emergency medical care, call +358 2 313 8800 for advice (hearing impaired: SMS +358 50 592 4740). The emergency and health care reception at Turku University Hospital, building T, Savitehtaankatu 1 (near the Kupittaa railway station), is open 24/7, but at least locals who are not in immediate danger may be directed to visiting their own health care centre in office hours (arrangements were changed 2013 and the information is still unclear at time of writing).

Go next[edit]

  • The Archipelago Sea.
  • Kurjenrahka National Park
  • Take a local bus to Naantali to see the presidential summer residence Kultaranta and the Moomin world.
  • The city of Rauma with its UNESCO World Heritage listed old town can be reached easily by bus. Traveling time is approximately 1,5 hours. From Rauma you can continue to Pori by bus; it takes less than 40 minutes from there.
  • If you have a day or two to spare there are overnight and day ferries to Sweden and the Åland Islands. Stockholm is ten hours away, Mariehamn on the Åland islands about five hours. For more than half of the journey you will travel through archipelagoes (the Archipelago Sea and the Stockholm archipelago) that are quite beautiful, especially in the summer. You can stay aboard for a round trip: about 22h to Stockholm, half of that if you change ferry in Mariehamn (daytime: "picnic cruise"), or go ashore and continue with the following ferry. Ferries are operated by Viking Line and Silja Line. Consider booking your trip well ahead in the summer and around Christmas, especially if you want a cabin or want to take your car with you. Return "cruise trips" can often be got for a fraction of the price of ordinary one-way tickets.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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