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Turku

Once the capital of Finland, Turku was a medieval seat of power transformed into a modern bustling city, with interesting museums, tasty delicacies and thriving nightlife. Read more...

Turku is the oldest city in Finland and has played an extremely important role in its history. Now a bustling port town, in Turku visitors an experience history stretching back to the 1200s, with some medieval buildings still preserved.

The former capital of Finland until 1809, Turku has always held an important role in the region, even before Finland was a country. In fact, the name Turku means marketplace in old Finnish denoting its importance as a meeting point and originally 'Finland' only referred to the area in the immediate vicinity of Turku. Situated on the Aura River, a wonderful way to see the city is on a river cruise, taking you right through the centre of the city.

Although the 1827 fire devastated many of the medieval buildings, Turku Castle hosts a large medieval museum that is fascinating for young and old. If you happen to be planning your trip in July, make sure to watch out for the Medieval Festival, put on by the city council each year. For more medieval history, the Luostarinmaki Handicrafts Museum is housed in the few remaining wooden buildings after the Great Fire and has been recognised internationally for its interesting and interactive exhibits.

Turku is also the official City of Christmas of Finland. Almost every year since the Middle Ages, there has been a tradition of declaring Christmas Peace at noon on Christmas Eve. With 1939 as the only exception, each year Christmas Peace is declared from the balcony of Brinkkala Hall in the Old Great Square of Turku. This is done by reading from the Declaration of Christmas Peace, written on parchment, in both Finnish and Swedish (which is an official language of the city).

Leading out of Turku and towards Helsinki, you can drive along one of the oldest roads in the world, the Kings Road. Combining ancient roads, the Kings Road is the oldest in Northern Europe and a perfect way to leave this medieval seat of power on our Quaint Finland Tour.