Skip to main content

Things to do in Turku

Explore the interesting mix of urban city culture in Turku and the uniqueness of the breathtaking Archipelago with its 40 000 islands

Turku stands as Finland’s oldest city and once held the status of its capital. Today, Turku thrives as a cultural and gastronomic hub offering a multitude of activities for an all-encompassing experience. Whether you’re captivated by its rich history or its vibrant contemporary scene, Turku caters to all tastes.

In Turku there is everything, but still, Turku is small enough that you can go almost everywhere by foot or bike. Feel the city spirit by walking along the banks of Aura River, the heart and soul of Turku, and visit the Riverboat restaurants along the river shores. The city is also a must visit place for foodies and is gaining reputation for its splendid restaurant scene – all the way to the point of referring to the city as being the Food Capital of Finland.

The city also offers a great number of interesting museums as for instance the Luostarinmäki, with its old wooden houses, and the Aboa Vetus Ars Nova museum where you’ll find both ruins of the medieval Turku as well as contemporary art. See here for tips on the wonderful museums in Turku! The famous Moomins also live in this region; the Moominworld in Naantali is located only 15 kilometers from Turku.

Just outside Turku you’ll find a breathtakingly beautiful and the world’s largest Archipelago, with around 40.000 islands – a spectacular area for various kinds of island hopping excursions with boat, car or by bike. Also, do not miss to explore the closest island to Turku; Ruissalo, which can easily be reached by waterbus from the Aura River during the summer season. Do as locals – bring some local picnic delicacies with you and head to the pure nature of Ruissalo.

© Visit Turku Archipelago

Here is a list of activities worth visiting in Turku if you have some spare time and wish to explore the beauty of the city

© Visit Turku Archipelago

Guided Tours in Turku

Enhance your Turku experience by taking a guided tour. The walking tours offer a unique opportunity to delve deeper into the city’s essence, allowing you to discover it from fresh and captivating perspectives. Turku presents an extensive selection of guided tours and experiences, each designed to provide a richer understanding of this historic city. Whether you’re interested in its architectural heritage, cultural treasures, or hidden gems, these guided tours offer an enriching journey through Turku’s diverse offerings.

The Turku-based travel agency Magni Mundi offers a wide variety of guided tours and experiences. For more information and tour bookings, please visit the Magni Mundi website.

Magni Mundi

© Visit Turku Archipelago

Turku Castle

Uncover Turku’s fascinating history. Explore the rich historical tapestry of Turku and immerse yourself in its captivating past. No visit to Turku is complete without visiting the Turku Castle, a more than 700-year-old historical monument guarding the river Aura estuary since the 1280’s. Hidden inside the high Greystone walls are unique moments of history that you will be fascinated by. To delve even deeper, consider joining a guided tour of Turku Castle. Expertly led tours offer you the chance to explore the castle’s secrets, unveiling tales of everyday life, grand celebrations, wartime struggles, and tales of love that echo through the castle’s hallowed halls.

Read more

© University of Turku

Botanical Garden

The University of Turku Botanical Garden is a centre for scientific research that includes over 5000 different species and a showcase that attracts visitors to the world of plants. The garden is located on Ruissalo island and there are six different greenhouses and an outdoor garden with free entrance. This open-access gem allows enthusiasts and curious minds to immerse themselves in the world of plants, making it an ideal destination for both serious researchers and those seeking to cultivate a deeper appreciation for the botanical wonders that surround us.

Read more

© Visit Turku Archipelago

Ruissalo island

The island of Ruissalo, situated at the entrance to Turku, beckons with its unparalleled natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. While many may recognize Ruissalo as the backdrop for Finland’s oldest music festival, Ruisrock, held annually, this island offers so much more to explore.

Once the hunting grounds of Turku Castle, Ruissalo boasts a truly unique natural landscape. Lush oak groves, interwoven with several nature trails, invite hikers to immerse themselves in the serene woods. The island also showcases exquisite wooden villas dating back to the 19th century, adding a touch of historical charm to the environment.

Ruissalo extends its allure throughout the year, providing a wide range of activities for all to enjoy. Nature enthusiasts can explore both short and extensive trails, while golfers can savor a round on Aura Golf’s splendid course. On a sunny day, Saaronniemi Beach, recognized as Turku’s finest, offers a delightful spot for beachgoers of all ages to bask in the sun and cool off in the inviting waters. Ruissalo’s diverse offerings ensure that there’s something to captivate everyone who sets foot on this captivating island. Ruissalo is so easy to reach as there are several ways to get to the island, for instance by water bus, bicycle, or bus.

Escape to the island of RuissaloRuissalo island

Moomin World

Immerse yourself in an extraordinary adventure and claim the enchanting realm of Moomin World as your own for a day. The Moomins, created by the renowned Finnish author Tove Jansson, hold a cherished place as a beloved national treasure, and the stories have captured the hearts of readers and viewers worldwide.

As you step onto this idyllic island, you’ll find yourself transported into the enchanting tales of the Moomins. Every corner of Moomin World exudes the magic of Jansson’s imagination, creating an unforgettable experience that bridges reality and fantasy. Here, the spirit of the Moomins comes to life, offering a day of wonder, adventure, and lasting memories in the heart of Finland’s rich cultural heritage. Moomin World, is located in the Naantali archipelago, on an island merely 15 kilometers from Turku.

Read more

©  Kakola


Kakolanmäki, Turku’s second-highest hill, boasts a storied history dating back to the 18th century when it was first known as “Kakola”. The name originated from a poorhouse on its eastern slope, specifically designed for individuals with mental disabilities, commonly referred to as “Kakos” in the Turku region. Kakolanmäki was home to several institutions, evolving from a labor and correctional facility to an established prison in 1853. Over time, its facilities expanded to encompass a remand prison, a mental hospital for inmates, and the central prison. During its heyday in the 1930s, Kakola stood as Finland’s largest and most infamous prison, exclusively housing male inmates, including some of the nation’s most notorious criminals.

After the decision to build a new prison in Turku, the prison, mental hospital, and county prison were merged and moved to Saramäki in 2007. The Kakola premises remained empty until they were purchased by Kakola Yhtiöt Oy. Renovations began in 2018, and the area now includes a hotel, a spa, restaurants, a bakery-cafe, a coffee roaster and a brewery.  This summarizes the history of Kakolanmäki and its transformation from a notorious prison complex to a vibrant urban space with various establishments.

You can reach Kakolanmäki hill by walking or using the Funicular, which is the first outdoor elevator in the city of Finland.

Read more

© City of Turku

Market Hall

Turku Market Hall, located in the heart of Turku, made its debut to the public in 1896, making it the second oldest market hall in Finland. This architectural masterpiece was crafted by the renowned architect and professor, Gustaf Nyström. What makes this hall truly special is that its original roof structure and the wooden features of the shops lining the corridors have stood the test of time.

As you explore the diverse range of shops within the market hall, you’ll find a captivating mix of the city’s oldest establishments and contemporary additions. These shops not only offer a delectable array of culinary delights but also provide a chance to experience the historic charm of the building itself.

Indeed, the Turku Market Hall is a treasured gem within Finnish architectural heritage, boasting the highest level of protection as a culturally significant historical site. A visit to this market hall is not just a culinary experience; it’s a journey through time and a testament to the enduring value of our cultural heritage.

Read more

© Paimio Sanatorium

Paimio Sanatorium

In the midst of Paimio´s rugged pine forest, you will find a gem of Finnish architecture. The Paimio Sanatorium is a former tuberculosis sanatorium designed by Alvar and Aino Aalto. Paimio Sanatorium was completed in 1933 and is now one of the most important examples of modern architecture.

Alvar Aalto, a renowned Finnish architect, stands as a pivotal figure in the world of modern architecture, and the Paimio Sanatorium showcases his innovative brilliance. This architectural gem not only tells a story of design excellence but also serves as a historical landmark, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the evolution of architectural aesthetics.

Read more and book a guided tour