Turku is a wonderful city, especially during the summertime. It has a rich and interesting history, beautiful nature and a plethora of museums and charming cafés to explore. I’ve lived in the Turku area for over a decade and by now I’ve found a couple of spots I simply cannot get enough of. Among them are restaurants with various dishes to enjoy as well as islands in the archipelago to explore. If you’re looking for something interesting to do during the summer, I’ve listed some of my personal favourite spots to visit below. Naturally I couldn’t list all my favourite as there are far too many to count but if you have any questions or would like to hear any other recommendations feel free to message me. I hope you enjoy your summer in Turku!
Culture & history
Turku castle is the oldest castle, and with Turku cathedral, one of the oldest buildings in Finland. It is a 13th century medieval castle close to the harbour. Multiple additional extensions were added to the castle mainly during the 15th to 16th century. It is the countries most visited museum with up to 200 000 annual visitors. You can book a guided tour or explore the castle on your own.
Forum Marinum is a maritime museum where you can learn about life at sea as well as the history of Finnish ship building and the navy. In addition to the museum, “Suomen joutsen” and other historical ships can be explored. The Swan European Regatta 2023 is going to be in Turku this summer, so if you are interested in sailing at all, the harbour is definitely worth visiting in July, as you’ll have the chance to see some world class sailing yachts.
Seili is an island in the archipelago that is known for being a leper hospital and mental asylum in the 17th-18th century. The mentally ill were treated there up until the 1960’s but it is now an Archipelago Research Institute of the University of Turku. Seili is worth a visit as the island has a rich history and it is possible to get guided tours to learn more about it. You can also enjoy the fresh sea breeze at the restaurant/café.
Food & drink
Nomad is one of my personal favourite restaurants in the city. They offer a combination of Italian, Nordic, and African cuisine and in my experience, the staff is extremely friendly. The terrace is beautiful during a warm sunny day and the food is exquisite.
Another one of my faves, especially for lunch, is Blanko. Their portion sizes are great for what they cost, and I enjoy going there in summer as well as winter. They are well known for their lamb pasta, but they also have some delicious vegan options.
Bar Rica is a wonderful spot to meet up with friends or for a date. They make excellent cocktails and sometimes have live music to enjoy as well.
Donna and all the other old ships are wonderful during the summer. They’re a great place to go out for drinks with friends and enjoy a summer evening.
Café Art has been one of my favourite cafés for years. It is right next to the Aura river under some beautiful trees and they have a large selection of delicious cakes, coffee and tea to choose from. It’s a great place to meet up with friends, read a good book or perhaps get some work done.
Nature & outdoor activities
If you are a fan of nature, beautiful plants and biology, the University of Turku’s botanical garden might be the perfect place to visit. They have six greenhouses as well as outdoor gardens that you can explore.