The Full Wiki

Turku: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

—  City  —
Turun kaupunki
Åbo stad
From top left: Turku castle, Turku cathedral, Statue of Per Brahe, view from top of the Turku cathedral, banks of Aura river and Turku medieval festival.


Coat of arms
Coordinates: 60°27′N 022°16′E / 60.45°N 22.267°E / 60.45; 22.267Coordinates: 60°27′N 022°16′E / 60.45°N 22.267°E / 60.45; 22.267
Country Finland
Region Finland Proper
Sub-region Turku sub-region
 - Mayor Mikko Pukkinen
Area (2009-01-01)[1]
 - City 306.41 km2 (118.3 sq mi)
 - Land 245.63 km2 (94.8 sq mi)
 - Water 60.78 km2 (23.5 sq mi)
 - Urban 402.8 km2 (155.5 sq mi)
 - Metro 2,331.1 km2 (900 sq mi)
Area rank 282nd largest in Finland
Population (2009-12-31)[2]
 - City 176,157
 - Density 717.16/km2 (1,857.4/sq mi)
 - Urban 236,226
 - Urban Density 586/km2 (1,517.7/sq mi)
 - Metro 303,492
 - Metro Density 130.19/km2 (337.2/sq mi)
Population rank 5th largest in Finland
Population by native language [3]
 - Finnish 88.1% (official)
 - Swedish 5.2% (official)
 - Others 6.7%
Population by age [4]
 - 0 to 14 13.1%
 - 15 to 64 69.5%
 - 65 or older 17.4%
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 20000–20960
Municipal tax rate[5] 18.75%

Turku (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈturku]  ( listen); Swedish: Åbo [ˈoːbu]  ( listen)) is a city situated on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of Aura River.[6] It is located in the region of Finland Proper. It is believed that Turku came into existence during the end of 13th century which makes it the oldest city in Finland. Turku was for a long time the most important population center in Finland: it was the first capital city of Finland from 1809 to 1812 and continued to be the largest city by population in Finland until the end of the 1840s. Its significance nationwide is not the same as it used to be, but Turku is still a regional capital and important location for business and culture.

Because of its long history it has been the site of many important historical events and has extensively influenced Finnish history. During the year 2011 Turku has been designated to be the European Capital of Culture together with Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia. In 1996 it was declared the official Christmas City of Finland.[7]

Due to its location, Turku is a notable commercial and passenger seaport city with over three million passengers travelling through Port of Turku each year to Stockholm and Mariehamn.[6]

As of December 31, 2009 Turku’s population was 176,157, which makes it the fifth largest city in Finland by population.[2] As of 31 August 2008 there were 303,492 inhabitants living in the Turku sub-region, which makes it the third largest urban area in Finland after the Greater Helsinki area and Tampere sub-region. The city is officially bilingual as 5.2 percent of its population identify as speaking Swedish as a mother-tongue.[3]



Turku has a long history as Finland's largest city and occasionally as the administrative center of the country, but has, over the last two centuries, lost both titles to Helsinki. To this day, the city's identity stems from its status as the oldest city in Finland[8] and the country's first capital. Originally, the word "Finland" referred only to the area around Turku (hence the title, "Finland Proper" for the region).

Cathedral of Turku, 1814.

Although archaeological findings in the area date back to the Stone Age, the town of Turku was founded in late 13th century.[9] Its name originated from an Old East Slavic word, tǔrgǔ, meaning "market place". The Cathedral of Turku was consecrated in 1300, and together with Turku Castle and the Dominican monastery (founded in 1249), established the city as the most important location in medieval Finland.

During the Middle Ages, Turku was the seat of the Bishop of Turku (a title later upgraded to Archbishop of Turku), covering the then eastern half of Kingdom of Sweden (most of the present-day Finland) until the 17th century. Even if Turku had no official capital status, both the short-lived institutions of Dukes and Governors-General of Finland usually had their Finnish residences there. In 1640, the first university in Finland, The Royal Academy of Turku, was founded in Turku. Turku was also the meeting place for the States of Finland in 1676.

After the Finnish War, which ended when Sweden ceded Finland to Imperial Russia at the Treaty of Fredrikshamn in 1809, Turku became briefly the official capital, but soon lost the status to Helsinki, as Emperor Alexander I felt that Turku was too far from Russia and too aligned with Sweden to serve as the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland. The change officially took place in 1812. The government offices that remained in Turku were finally moved to the new capital after the Great Fire of Turku, which almost completely destroyed the city in 1827. After the fire, a new and safer city plan was drawn up by German architect Carl Ludvig Engel, who had also designed the new capital, Helsinki. Turku remained the largest city in Finland for another twenty years.

In 1918, a new university, the Åbo Akademi – the only Swedish language university in Finland – was founded in Turku. Two years later, the Finnish language University of Turku was founded alongside it. These two universities are the second and third to be founded in Finland, both by private donations.

In the 20th century Turku was called "Finland's gateway to the West" by historians such as Jarmo Virmavirta. The city enjoyed good connections with other Western European countries and cities, especially since the 1940s with Stockholm across the Gulf of Bothnia. In the 1960s, Turku became the first Western city to sign a twinning agreement with Leningrad in the Soviet Union, leading to greater inter-cultural exchange and providing a new meaning to the city's 'gateway' function. After the fall of Communism in Russia, many prominent Soviets came to Turku to study Western business practices, among them Vladimir Putin, then Leningrad's deputy mayor.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Turku displayed unprecedented rates of growth, resulting in the construction of many new densely-inhabited suburbs such as Varissuo and Runosmäki, and the annexation of many neighbouring municipalities (e.g., Maaria and Paattinen). Many old quarters were completely destroyed in the process, replacing them with more efficient and faster-built concrete buildings. The city's growth has led to problems with unemployment in the new populous suburbs on the one hand, and with the provision of public services (such as education) in more remote parts on the other.


Aura River seen further from central Turku.

Located at the mouth of the Aura river in the southwestern corner of Finland, Turku covers an area of 245 km² (94 sq mi) of land, spread over both banks of the river. The eastern side, where the Cathedral of Turku is located, is popularly referred to as täl pual jokke ("this side of the river"), while the western side is referred to as tois pual jokke ("the other side of the river"). The city centre is located close to the river mouth, on both sides of the river, though development has recently been expanding westward.

There are nine bridges over the Aura river in Turku. The first bridge in the city area, nowadays known as Pennisilta, was built in 1414, and has since been demolished. The oldest of the current bridges is Auransilta, which was constructed in 1904. The newest bridge is Teatterisilta ('theatre bridge'), a pedestrian-only bridge built in 1997. One of the best-known landmarks of Turku is the Föri, a small ferry that transports pedestrians and bicycles across the river without payment.

With a population of approximately 300,000, the Turku Region (LAU 1) is the third largest urban region in Finland, after Greater Helsinki and the area around Tampere. The region includes, in addition to the city itself the following municipalities: Askainen, Kaarina, Lemu, Lieto, Masku, Merimasku, Mynämäki, Naantali, Nousiainen, Paimio, Piikkiö, Raisio, Rusko, Rymättylä, Sauvo, Vahto, and Velkua.

A more exclusive definition for the urban area is the city region of Turku with a population around 235,000 consisting of four major municipalities Kaarina, Raisio, Naantali and Turku.


IV District or Martti is one of the smallest but most densily populated districts of Turku.

The city is divided into 78 districts and nine wards that do not function as local government units. There are, however, some projects that are based on the district divisions, particularly in the eastern part of the city, where unemployment is rife in certain areas. The largest populated districts are Varissuo and Runosmäki. By area, however, Kakskerta and Paattinen, formed from former municipalities that were annexed to the city proper in the mid-20th century, constitute the largest districts.

As many of the small neighbouring municipalities from the north and south of the city were annexed during the mid-20th century, Turku is today shaped like an elongated pear. The city centre and most of the suburban areas lie in the middle, separated from the less densely populated northern rural areas by the Turku bypass, that forms part of European route E18. Islands such as Ruissalo, Hirvensalo and Kakskerta, forming the southern part of the city, are also sparsely populated and mostly contain summer residences, with the exception of some districts in Hirvensalo which are currently growing into upper-middle-class suburbs.


Area of Turku cathedral in autumn.

Situated by the Baltic Sea and sheltered by the islands of the Archipelago Sea, Turku has a hemiboreal climate. Like much of southern Finland, the city experiences warm summers, with temperatures ranging up to 30 °C (86 °F), and relatively cold winters with frequent snowfall. The warmest month of the year is July, with an average temperature of 17 °C (62 °F), whereas the coldest month is February. The average year-round temperature is 5 °C (41 °F). Winter usually starts in early December, and spring in late March.

Precipitation in Turku averages 698 mm (27 inches) a year. The rainiest month of the year is August, when the city receives on average 79 mm (3.1 inches) of rainfall. In May, the driest month of the year, the figure is only 35 mm (1.4 inches). The average air pressure at sea level is 1012 millibars, with little variance throughout the year.

Operational since 1955, the city's weather station is located at an altitude of 47 metres (154 feet) at Turku Airport.

Climate averages in Turku:

Weather data for Turku
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 8
Average high °C (°F) -2
Average low °C (°F) -8
Precipitation mm (inches) 55
Source: :[10] 2009-02-22

Government and politics

The Court of Appeal and Academy House of Turku.

Being both a regional and provincial capital, Turku is an important administrative centre, hosting the seat of the Archbishop of Finland and a Court of Appeal. Mikko Pukkinen, the former city manager of Seinäjoki, has been the city manager of Turku since 2006.

The city council and city board have long been dominated by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus), with approximately equal representation. Currently, the council has 67 members, with 20 from Kokoomus and 15 from SDP. The other major parties in the council are the Green League (11 seats), the Left Alliance (10 seats) and the Swedish People's Party (4 seats). The current chair of the city board is Aleksi Randell from Kokoomus.


Viking Line's MS Isabella on her way at Turku Archipelago.

For a city of its size, Turku has a moderate public transportation network of bus routes, which is comparable to bus network of similar-sized Tampere. The bus network is managed and supervised by the City of Turku Public Transport Office, and is operated mainly by private companies. Regional buses are operated by private companies, most importantly TLO, with very frequent services especially to the neighbouring cities of Naantali, Raisio, and Kaarina.

Rail traffic to and from Turku is handled by the Finnish national carrier, VR. As with most other Finnish cities, railways were an important method of transportation in the first half of the 20th century, but have since seen a sharp fall in popularity. As a result, the number of services has fallen and only the railways towards Tampere and Helsinki are now in use. The railway stations currently used for passenger traffic are the Turku Central railway station in Pohjola, and two smaller stations in Kupittaa and the Port of Turku.

There is no local rail traffic at the moment, as the city's popular tram services were discontinued in 1972, and the various local railway lines to neighbouring towns and municipalities were all abolished during the late 20th century. However, there are plans for a light rail system in the Turku region in the near future. This system would more ably serve major suburbs of the city such as Varissuo and Runosmäki, as well as the neighbouring cities.[11]

Bus network use today has become highly uneconomical and the ticket prices have been raised repeatedly.Growing expenses and worsening traffic problems are main issues that have put trams back under consideration as well as bus lanes. The State of Finland has announced plans to support Espoo with 30 % of full expenses on a new metro rail, the Regional Council of Southwest Finland is going to use this as a test case for a new light rail network in Turku.:[12]

The Turku Bus Station and the Turku Central Railway Station are currently located in different places. The City of Turku is planning to combine these two in a new greater station complex in the near future. This new travel center will consist of a hotel and several shopping estates. This center will connect all public transportation from commuter trains to long distance buses.

Turku Airport is located eight kilometres to the north of the city centre, partly in the neighbouring municipality of Rusko.

There are also daily ferry services from the Port of Turku to Sweden and Åland, operated by Silja Line, Viking Line and SeaWind Line. These are something of a Finnish cultural tradition (see ruotsinlaiva), and people often travel long distances across Finland to Turku just to take a cruise across the Gulf of Bothnia.

The archipelago sea boat traffic is handled by, among others, S/S Ukkopekka. Old steamship cruise Turku-Naantali-Turku.

Turku is the only city in Finland to have three long-distance railway stations: Turku Central, Port of Turku, and Kupittaa. Even Helsinki has only two: Helsinki Central and Pasila.


People celebrating Vappu in central Turku.

At the end of 2004 the Turku region (including the economic districts of Turku and Åboland) had a population of 319,632, out of which 174,824 people lived in the city of Turku. The city's population density is 718 inhabitants per square kilometre.[13]

89.4 % of Turku's population speak Finnish as their native language, while 5.2 % speak Swedish. The next most widely spoken languages are Russian (1.3 %), Arabic (0.6 %), Albanian (0.5 %), and Kurdish (0.4 %). 95.8 % of the population are Finnish citizens, and the most sizeable minorities are from Russia, Estonia, Iraq, and Iran. Like all other Finnish cities, Turku does not collect information about the ethnic and religious makeup of its population.

Famous people from the city of Turku include Paavo Nurmi, Mauno Koivisto, Herman Spöring, Miikka Kiprusoff and brothers, Saku and Mikko Koivu. On October 30, 2008, the Koivu brothers became the first NHL brothers to face other as captains. The Turku region has also brought forth many prominent personalities, including the marshal, Carl Gustaf Mannerheim.


MS Oasis of the Seas, world's largest passenger ship was built in Turku.

Business district in The city's economy is centred around the Port of Turku and other service-oriented industries. The city is also a renowned high-tech centre – the Turku Science Park area in Kupittaa hosts over 300 companies from the fields of biotechnology and information technology, as well as several institutions of higher learning that work in closely with the business sector. This cooperative element is seen as a particularly important factor with regards to the city's expected future economic development, as outlined in the Turku Strategy that is published annually by the city council. Turku, with its good transportation network and close proximity to the Archipelago Sea, is also an important centre for tourism, frequently hosting various conventions and exhibitions.

As of 2007, the city's unemployment rate is 9.4 %.[14] The problem of unemployment is however troublesome in the districts of Pansio, Lauste, and Varissuo, where it hovers at around 16 %.[15]

The city collects an 18 per cent income tax (council tax) from its inhabitants, in addition to the progressively graduated taxation practised by the Finnish state. The total amount received through council tax in 2004 was projected at €400 million, a reduction of 1.0 per cent from the previous year. Taxes collected from corporations amounted to €39 million in 2004.


The main building of the University of Turku.

Turku has a longer educational history than any other Finnish city – the first school in the city, the Cathedral School, was founded along with the Cathedral of Turku in the late 13th century. The first university in Finland, the "The Royal Academy of Turku" (now University of Helsinki), was established in the city in 1640. In 1820, the first school in Finland conforming to the Bell-Lancaster method was founded in Turku with the aim of making primary education more inclusive to the lower classes.

Turku is home to about 35,000 higher education students.[16] The University of Turku is the second largest university in Finland (18,000 students), as measured by student enrollment, and one of the oldest as well, having been founded in 1920. Turku is also home to several other establishments of higher education, namely Åbo Akademi founded 1918, Finland's only Swedish-language university, Turun kauppakorkeakoulu (Turku School of Economics), and Turun ammattikorkeakoulu (Turku University of Applied Sciences) which is second largest polytechnic in Finland after Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.

The central hospital of Turku, Turku University Hospital, is affiliated with the University and it is used as a teaching hospital.

Turku is one of only two cities in Finland to have an established international school (the other city being Helsinki). Turku International School, located in the eastern district of Varissuo, has been operating since 2003. By an agreement signed between the city of Turku and the University of Turku, Turun normaalikoulu takes care of the teaching in the international school.[17]


Main library of Turku

The most widely read newspaper of Turku, and the area around it, is the daily regional morning newspaper Turun Sanomat, with a readership of over 70 % of the population every day. Åbo Underrättelser, a Swedish language newspaper published in Turku, is the oldest newspaper in Finland, having been published since 1824. The free-of-charge Turkulainen newspaper is also among the most popular newspapers, together with the local edition of Metro International and the national evening tabloid Ilta-Sanomat. There are also a number of local newspapers such as Kulmakunta (for the eastern suburbs of Turku, including Varissuo and Lauste), and Rannikkoseutu (for the area around the neighbouring cities of Raisio and Naantali).

The newspaper, Turun Sanomat, also operates a regional television station, called Turku TV. The Finnish national broadcaster, Yleisradio, screens local news, daily from Monday to Friday, for the Southwest Finland (including the regions of Finland Proper and Satakunta) residents. All Finnish national TV channels are viewable and national radio channels audible in the Turku area. In addition, a number of local radio stations, eg Auran Aallot and Radio Sata are operational.


The Cathedral of Turku, one of the most notable historical buildings in Finland.

Cultural venues in Turku include several theatres, cinemas, and art galleries, and a city philharmonic orchestra. The city's cultural centre organises a number of regular events, most notably the Medieval Market in July each year. Turku is also the official Christmas city of Finland, and 'Christmas Peace' in Finland is declared on every 24 December from the Brinkkala Hall balcony. The Turku Music Festival and the rock festival Ruisrock (held on the island of Ruissalo) are among the oldest of its kind in Scandinavia. The city also hosts another rock festival, Down by the Laituri, and one of the largest electronic music festivals in Northern Europe, UMF[18] (Uuden Musiikin Festivaali, "New Music Festival"), in addition to a vibrant nightlife, centred around the Market Square.

There are also numerous museums, such as the Turku Art Museum and the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art. The Åbo Akademi University maintains the Sibelius museum, which is the only museum in Finland specialising in the field of music. Apart from these, there are also several historical museums that display the city's medieval period, such as the Turku Castle, which has been a functional historical museum since 1881, and the Aboa Vetus museum, built in the late 1990s over the 14th century archaeological site. The Luostarinmäki handicrafts museum, converted from residential buildings that survived the Great Fire of Turku in 1827, was the first Scandinavian venue to receive the "Golden Apple" tourism award.

Turku is going to be European Capital of Culture in 2011, and the city council has approved numerous projects to boost the city's image in preparation for that status.

The Declaration of Christmas Peace has been a tradition in Finland from the Middle Ages every year, except in 1939 due to the Winter War. The declaration takes place on the Old Great Square of Turku, Finland's official 'Christmas City', at noon on Christmas Eve. The declaration ceremony begins with the hymn Jumala ompi linnamme (Martin Luther's Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott) and continues with the Declaration of Christmas Peace read from a parchment roll in Finnish and Swedish.


Paavo Nurmi Marathon is run every summer.

Football is the most popular sport in Turku. The city has two teams in the Veikkausliiga: FC Inter and TPS. Both teams played their home matches at the modern Veritas Stadion in the district of Kupittaa, but TPS will play its home matches at the Paavo Nurmi Stadium during the 2010 season, and the club is also planning to constructs its own stadium in the near future.

Ice hockey is very popular sport in Turku. The local club TPS (which is part of the same organisation as the football team) plays in the sport's top level in Finland, the SM-liiga. It is based at Turkuhalli to the southwest of the city centre. TPS has won the Finnish ice hockey championship ten times. The city's other major ice hockey team is TuTo, which play at the country's second level. A new ice hockey arena was constructed for Tuto in the Kupittaa park in 2006.

The Paavo Nurmi Marathon is an annual sporting event in Turku, named after the world-famous runner Paavo Nurmi who was born and raised in the city.

Turku has also been the site of sporting history, as on June 21, 1954 it was in Turku where the Australian John Landy became the second person to run the mile under four minutes.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Turku is twinned with:

Turku has co-operation agreements with the following cities:


See also



  1. ^ "Area by municipality as of 1 January 2009" (in Finnish and Swedish) (PDF). Land Survey of Finland. Retrieved 20 February 2009.  
  2. ^ a b "Population by municipality as of 31 December 2009" (in Finnish and Swedish). Population Information System. Population Register Center of Finland.$file/091231.htm. Retrieved 13 January 2010.  
  3. ^ a b "Population according to language and the number of foreigners and land area km2 by area as of 31 December 2008". Statistics Finland's PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 29 March 2009.  
  4. ^ "Population according to age and gender by area as of 31 December 2008". Statistics Finland's PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 28 April 2009.  
  5. ^ "List of municipal and parish tax rates in 2010". Tax Administration of Finland. 24 November 2009.;25512. Retrieved 13 January 2010.  
  6. ^ a b "Statistical yearbook of Turku" (in Finnish). 2008-07-17.  
  7. ^ "Christmas City » Turku, the Finnish Christmas City". Retrieved 2009-05-06.  
  8. ^ "Destinations in Finland - Official Travel and Tourism Guide". Retrieved 2009-05-06.  
  9. ^ Aki Pihlman (2006-09-13). "Varhainen Turku rakennettiin pellolle" (in Finnish). Retrieved 2008-05-06.  
  10. ^ "World Weather Information Service - Turku". 2006-10-05. Retrieved 2009-05-06.  
  11. ^ Laaksonen, Mikko. "Raitiovaunulla Naantaliin, Kaarinaan, Runosmäkeen, Varissuolle?" (in Finnish). Finnish Tramways Society. Retrieved 2008-07-11.  
  12. ^ "Turun Sanomat". 2006-09-27.,3:1002:0:0,4:2:0:1:2006-09-27,104:2:407945,1:0:0:0:0:0. Retrieved 2009-05-06.  
  13. ^ " » » » Publications and Reports". 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2009-05-06.  
  14. ^{2171A3CC-D0CC-4ACF-A894-86B962BE8B58}
  15. ^{246B196C-9A7D-4975-8431-50D14A1405D8
  16. ^ " » » » Turku in Brief". Retrieved 2009-05-06.  
  17. ^ "Turku International School". University of Turku. 15 January 2006.  
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Gdańsk Official Website: 'Miasta partnerskie'" (in Polish & English). © 2009 Urząd Miejski w Gdańsku.,62,733.html. Retrieved 2009-07-11.  
  20. ^ "Bratislava City - Twin Towns". © 2003-2008 Retrieved 2008-10-26.  

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Turku Cathedral
Turku Cathedral

Turku (Swedish: Åbo) [1] is a city in the Southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of Aura River. It is located in the region of Finland Proper in the Province of Western Finland. It is believed that Turku came into existence during the end of 13th century which makes it the oldest city in Finland.

Turku was for a long time the most important population center in Finland: it was the first capital city of Finland from 1809 to 1812 and continued to be the largest city by population in Finland until the end of the 1840s. Nowadays its significance nationwide is not the same as it used to be, but Turku is a regional capital and important location for business and culture in Northern Europe.


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 historical significance 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 renaissance faire.

Get in

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

Turku Airport [2] (IATA: TKU) is located 8 km north of the city. There are domestic flights from Helsinki, Mariehamn, Oulu, and Tampere. International scheduled flights from Stockholm, Copenhagen, Riga and Gdansk. Bus line 1 (€2.50) connects the airport to Kauppatori and the port.

The railway station
The railway station

VR [3] 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 located 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 the ferry.

By boat

The Port of Turku [4] is next to Turku Castle and is easily accessible on bus line 1 from Market Square (Kauppatori). The port also has its own railway station, and some trains depart at the port.

The two biggest ferry lines are Viking Line [5] and Silja Line [6]. 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 steamer S/S Ukkopekka [7] also offers cruises to/from nearby Naantali, the home of Moomin World [8].

During summertime m/s Ruissalo offers route between city and Ruissalo island.

By car

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

Get around

Turku has an excellent public transportation system, and its buses can reach nearly every corner of the city.

On foot

The vast majority of the city's sights are within two kilometres of the Kauppatori market square that is considered as the heart of the city. The river Aura passes through the center 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

The city tourist office can suggest cycling routes and publishes an excellent free bike route map of the city and surrounding towns. You can rent bike for €12 per day or €59 per week; Find out more bicycle rental at the website [9] or call +358 (0) 40 372 5310.

Föri crossing Aura river.
Föri crossing Aura river.

The free Föri ferry shuttles travellers and their bikes (no cars allowed) across the Aurajoki River every day from 6:15 AM to 9 PM, or until 11 PM 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 can 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.

By bus

Almost every bus terminates 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.

A single ticket is €2.50, and it is valid for unlimited transfers within two hours of the ticket's purchase. 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 €5.50. There are no 48 hour tickets, but the tourist office sells Turku Cards (of 24h and 48h varieties) which, in addition to providing free admission to most sights, also provides you free bus rides for the validity period. Some of the more important bus lines are the number 1, which goes from Kauppatori to the airport to Kauppatori to the passenger harbor (and Turku Castle) and then all over again, and the numbers 50-54 and 30, which will take you to the spa hotel Caribia.

By taxi

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 during summer), around 8 AM and 9 PM, and the bar closing times (particularly on weekends) around 4 AM.

A normal taxi will carry about 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.

Taxis charge a base cost of €5.00-7.70 depending on time of day (on Sundays the base cost is higher regardless of the time of day), and €1-2 per mile, depending on amount of passengers (more passengers, higher mileage charge). 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, 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 1 hour are not unheard of.

By car

Parking places are sparse at rush hours, but otherwise you should be able to park your car quite near the place you are going. One good option is the underground Louhi [10] parking hall (€1-2/h) as it gives you direct access via elevators to the center of the city and its entrance is well.


During the summertime, there are multiple boats at the banks of the River Aura who make trips into the archipelago.

Turku harbour and Turku castle
Turku harbour and Turku castle
Tuomiokirkko by the Aura River from a distance
Tuomiokirkko by the Aura River from a distance
Aurajoki river
Aurajoki river
Medieval festival in Turku
Medieval festival in Turku
  • Turku Castle (Turun linna), Linnankatu 80, +358-2-2620300, [11]. Daily 10 AM-6 PM; 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. They give a good account of the castle's history. €7, optional guided tour €2.  edit
  • Turku Cathedral, [12]. 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.  edit
  • Luostarinmäki, [13]. 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.  edit
  • Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova, [14]. 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.  edit
  • * Kuralan kylämäki, [15]. Dubbed a "Village of Living History", here you can see newborn lambs and chicken (depends on time of year), as well as a genuine Finnish farm from the 1950s. Very close to the city center but yet you feel like you are in the country side.  edit
  • Turun taidemuseo [16]. The regional museum of Finland proper. A central part of the art life in Turku since 1904.
  • Ruissalo. A beautiful national park on a island located 6 km from the Kauppatori. There is also a championship level golf course, Aura Golf [17], founded in 1958. The Ruissalo Spa Hotel [18] is its immediate vicinity.
  • Caribia spa [19] 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 Aaltosen museo, Itäinen Rantakatu 38 (15 min from Market Sq, or take bus 14/15), +358-2-2620850, [20]. Tue-Sun 11 AM-7 PM. 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 medalist 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. €7.
  • Forum Marinum [21] and Suomen Joutsen [22]. A national special museum that also works as a maritime centre while having the famous Suomen Joutsen (Swan of Finland) just outside of it. A ship that is considered as the national ship of finns. Both are located just after the guest harbour when going down stream, you can't miss it.
  • Sibelius Museum, Biskopsgatan 17 FIN-20500 Åbo (Turku), [23]. Located only 150 meters from the Turku cathedral is a low modern concrete building, housing an interesting collection of musical instruments as well as displays of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, the man and his music. On display are more than 1400 musical instruments and music art from all around the globe. These include instruments hundreds of years old, such as lutes and early viols; harpsichords, clavichords and early pianos; and downstairs, many organs. Additionally, a room is reserved for Sibelius´s life and work. During the autumn, winter, and spring seasons the museum hosts chamber music concerts on Wednesday evenings. The collections available at the Sibelius museum are of interest to both experts and ordinary music lovers. The museum was founded in 1926 by Otto Andersson, the first Professor of Musicology and Folklore at Åbo Akademi University.  edit
  • Ruisrock [24] Visit the oldest rock festival in the world that takes place in the Ruissalo island at start of July.
  • Down by the Laituri [25] 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 [26] A festival of new music. All kind of electronic music. Takes place at start of August.
  • Turku Jazz [27]. A jazz festival held every spring.
  • The Medieval Market [28] (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.


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.

  • Hansa Shopping Centre, (Adjacent to the main market square), [29]. Over 150 shops under one roof.  edit
  • Länsikeskus. District on the outskirts of town full of big-box hypermarkets.  edit


For proper restaurant meals, expect to pay 10-30 euro - 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 euro. Burger meals are around 5-8 euro (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.


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 [30] and one of the best in the whole country.
  • Milan, Eerikinkatu 5, opposite cinema Julia (downtown). Kebab-pizzeria with excellent pizzas and kebabs.
  • Turun Center Kebab Pizzeria, Near the Aura river (Aurajoki) in front of Wärtsilä, [31].
  • Sisilia, Aninkaistenkatu 3 20100 Turku. Servers decent kebabs and pizzas. Famous for the price: all kebabs and pizzas 4 euro (for students, but you don't really need an I.D.).
  • Bremer. All meals around 10 euros: pizza, wok, burgers, tortillas. Uudenmaankatu 1.
  • Kortteliravintola Kerttu [32] 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.
  • Pizzeria Dennis[33]. Well known and respected Italian restaurant.


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.
  • Ravintola Suomalainen Pohja is located in downtown on Aurakatu 24 next to Turku Art Museum and Puolala Park. Excellent staff and good kitchen makes sure you'll visit there again. Tel +3582 251 2000.
  • Viikinkiravintola ("Viking Restaurant") Harald, downtown on Aurakatu, giving patrons a pseudo-authentic Viking style environment. One of the few restaurants that serves Reindeer.
  • Hermanni, along the riverside towards the harbor from downtown
  • Rocca [34], along the riverside towards the harbor from downtown - co-owned by the famous ice hockey player Saku Koivu.
  • Vaakahuone [35] 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.  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).

  • Kirjakahvila[36], Vanha 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. Opened from 11am to 7pm, from Monday to Friday, 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 Cafe [37], Kauppiaskatu 4 (Forum Shopping Centre). A cafe for comics lovers. Offers drinks, comics books for free reading and hosts various events from time to time.
  • For the late teens-early twenties crowd, the Night Club Marilyn [38] 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 Giggling Marlin [39]. 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).
  • Nightclub Onnela, at Aurakatu 14, is popular among exchange students. You can find them socializing on wednesdays.
  • For proper dancing (not disco dancing), Restaurant Galax [40] 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.
  • Dynamo [41] 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 [42] 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 [43] The leading rock venue in Turku. Goth, punk, electronica, ska, prog, grunge, indie/alternative - you name it, they've got it.
Puutorin Vessa
Puutorin Vessa
  • 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[44]. A comfortable place with nice staff and a large selection of beer. Free Wi-Fi available.
  • Puutorin Vessa[45], 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[46], a former bank turned into a beer pub with beautiful interior and the widest selection of beers in town.
  • Brewery restaurant Koulu[47], 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[48] is another good beer pub in Turku, with a wide selection of beers and scotch whiskies.
  • Pikku-Torre [49] 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 9 pm.). Pikku-Torre is one of the best spots in Turku for watching football. Live music on weekends.
  • Uusi apteekki[50], a beer pub located in a former pharamacy built in 1907.
  • The Castle[51], Eerikinkatu 6, close to the main square. An Irish style pub with English staff and a reputation of being the hangout of the British/Irish community of Turku.
  • Whisky Bar at Yliopistonkatu 19, in the core downtown of Turku. Has a wide selection of whiskies. Nowadays strongly orientated to heavy metal by it's music and atmosphere.
  • Rokkibaari[52], at Linnankatu 27, a short walk east from Hostel Turku. Metal orientated, with live music on Saturdays and heavy karaoke two days a week. If you are in luck they will let you use a laptop for internet.
  • Hostel Turku, [53]. 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 Unihostel, [54] Inspehtorinkatu 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.
  • 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 Börs, Kauppiaskatu 6, +358-2-337381, [55]. 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.  edit
  • 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 upslope 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.
  • Caribia Spa Hotel [56]
  • Scandic Hotel Plaza. One block from the marketplace.
  • Sokos Hotel Hamburger Börs. Right beside the marketplace.
  • Radisson Blu Hotel Marina Palace. [57] Located on Linnankatu overlooking the River Aura.

Get out

Cruises on the Baltic Sea:

Take the bus to Naantali to see the presidential summer residence Kultaranta and the Moomin world.

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!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also turku



Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun




  1. A city in Finland.




  •  audiohelp, file
  • Hyphenation: Tur‧ku


From Old Russian turgu (market place), like Swedish torg and Estonian turg.

Proper noun


  1. Turku


Usage notes

In Turku: Turussa.


Proper noun


  1. Turku

Simple English

]] Turku is the oldest city in Finland. It is also the fifth-biggest, with about 170,000 residents. Official languages in Turku are Finnish and Swedish.

Turku used to be the largest city and capital of Finland, until 1812, when it was moved to Helsinki.

Other websites


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address