Turku, Finland

Turku is the oldest city in Finland, it was the country’s first capital and is the official Christmas city of the country. That’s already more than I knew about Turku before I visited in April 2015.

In hindsight I made the mistake of travelling to Turku over Easter weekend, with the bulk of my time there being Easter Sunday and Monday. It meant the city was very quiet and I probably missed out on seeing quite a lot. The entrance to Turku Castle was closed, and even bars along the Aura River felt quiet.

After arriving on an early train from Tampere, I had a poor first impression of Turku. The route from the train station passed through a housing estate which didn’t look great, and the place was completely dead with it being early morning. However, as soon as I hit the river it felt entirely different place. The restaurants looked lovely (Tintå served what might be the best dessert I’ve ever had) and there’s plenty to see on the walk from Turku Cathedral along the riverside to the castle.


The walk along the Aura River from Turku Cathedral to the castle is around two miles and is worth the time. It takes you past a few places to eat and drink, and a naval/maritime museum.

Turku Art Museum.

There’s a fairly nice walk on the south side of the stadium (on the south bank of the river) with some spots that give a decent view of the surrounding area.

Turku by day

Turku by night

Kakola prison

The prison was opened in 1853 and, aside from a short period as an army barracks, remained open and in use until 2007. It was open to the public for tours until 2011 but now, thanks to the protected status of the buildings, sits closed and unused. The surrounding area is being developed for housing which makes it a strange place – interesting but lacking the atmosphere of Eastern State Penitentiary or Patarei Prison.

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