Day 23. A day in Turku, Finland

Our younger son’s birthday and a day out in Turku located on the south west coast of Finland was the plan, it’s Finland’s oldest city and former capital.  We booked seats on a Pendolino service departing around 9.00 am.  The train was very clean and comfortable for our two hour journey and arrived on time.  It was somewhat cloudy but still warm enough to not need a coat.

Turku market square
Turku market square

Walking into the town centre takes a little time but soon we were approaching the bustling market square where tempting fresh produce was on offer.  Little cafes were doing a brisk trade in coffees and pastries and customers were sitting on plastic chairs and stools between the market stalls enjoying their mid morning break.

International market, Turku
International market, Turku

Leaving the market, we turned right and headed down to the riverside.  It’s always pleasant to take a walk along the riverbank admiring the boats moored along the quay.  But this time we were in for a surprise as quite by chance we’d arrived in Turku when an international market was taking place.  Little stalls covered quite a lengthy strip of the embankment on both sides of the River Aura.  It was really bustling with activity, small groups of stalls from each country selling food and handicrafts e.g. from Belgium we spotted chocolates, wheat beer and waffles.  What was most surprising though was to find a cluster of stalls from England!

Turku Continental Market
Turku Continental Market

We had never seen UK stalls in international markets before and were eager to take a look to see how our culture was being showcased!  The food stall was offering the culinary delights of fish and chips or pie and peas which were obviously proving popular as a lengthy queue had formed.  Next we spotted a stall in the design of a London bus selling fudge, whilst another had selections of English cheese including Wensleydale (of Wallace and Gromit fame!).  Lastly the UK had a pottery stall from Staffordshire selling Union Jack teapots, plates and mugs amongst other patriotic bits and pieces.  There were stalls from as far away as Thailand and even Nepal, so lots of different foods for everyone to sample.

Turku, Finland
Turku, Finland

Feeling peckish, we found an attractive pub further along the riverbank where we enjoyed a delicious lunch buffet of soup, main course, salad and coffee.  There was an outdoor terrace overlooking the river but we opted to sit indoors as it was still overcast.  After finishing our lunch we continued along the same side of the river passing the Maritime Museum on our way.

Maritime Museum Ship, Turku
Maritime Museum Ship, Turku

This is a very interesting museum which we’ve visited previously and included in the admission fee is a tour of one of the historic ships moored nearby (details can be found here).

Turku Castle, Finland
Turku Castle

After enjoying a walk around the castle grounds we retraced our steps, wandering past some historic ships before taking a ride on the small passenger ferry which constantly plies across the river at a part where there is a distance between bridges.  Enjoying our few minutes of fun, we took in the views from the opposite bank whilst walking back towards the town centre where we found even more continental market stalls.

Turku passenger ferry
Passenger ferry across the river

Being close to the majestic Turku Cathedral we decided to step in and take a look as its one place we hadn’t previously visited.  This church is the mother church of the Lutheran Church of Finland and the country’s national shrine.  The interior is really beautiful and certainly worth a visit.

Turku Cathedral
Turku Cathedral

Moving on, we took a stroll around the city centre and looked in the delightful old market hall.  In typical Finnish style, the market hall features small stalls in ornate dark wood kiosks with each vendor’s name above.  Customers can buy fresh produce and enjoy refreshments in one of the quaint, small cafes.  One cafe is even in the style of a railway carriage and looks very cosy and inviting.

Turku Market Hall
Turku Market Hall

There was just enough time for us to enjoy a pot of tea before returning to Helsinki on board an inter-city train after a very pleasant outing to Turku.


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27 thoughts on “Day 23. A day in Turku, Finland

  1. Pingback: Day 9.  Visiting Turku and seeing the Tall Ships once more – Love Travelling

  2. Hello Little Miss Traveller:
    One learns something new every day! That was very interesting about Finland’s former capital. I would enjoy reading your views on what the Finns are like. Cool? Aloof? Open? I would love to see someone take an old clipper and convert it into a dry dock café or restaurant. I remember being in Belfast before the steam trains were replaced by electric ones. I suggested to an advertising agency that Belfast Rail should keep one of the steam trains and convert it into a mobile restaurant from Belfast and Bangor, serving commuters and tourists, but the idea was regrettably dismissed. Who would want that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Clive – Thank you for commenting on my blog post about Turku. In answer to your question – I would say that Finnish people are reserved, quiet, law abiding and polite. If and when you get to know a Finn then you will find them to be warm hearted, kind and friendly. We are fortunate in having several Finnish friends who always make us feel at ease with delicious food and drinks. Kind Regards.


  3. Really enjoyed this post, we visited Turku when our son was much younger – we were staying in Naantali and had a day trip here. It was a cloudy day during our visit too, I remember walking by the water and visiting the cathedral and the castle museum – both of which we thoroughly enjoyed. The market sounds great, so interesting to see which English foods were on sale! Nothing I love more than wandering around sampling different wares from around the world!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Marion.

    I am glad that You visited to Turku. My favorite thing in Turku is to stroll alongside the River Aura.

    Did You visit inside the Castle of Turku? I saw that in Turku, there were also International Market. These markets are met in many towns of Finland. Few weeks ago, they were in Oulu and before it in Mikkeli. Last time in Mikkeli where we bought English jam.

    Next summer in Turku in July Tall Ships visit there. This happening is must to see!

    If You do not believe, here are some evidence from previous years:


    Tall Ships in Helsinki.

    Among these photos from Turku, You can see also Tall Ships Lord Nelson.

    Tall Ships in Turku.

    Have a nice day.

    P.S. I will reply soon to Your comment of my blog. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Matti, Thank you for your interesting response about Turku. We visited inside Turku castle several years ago and enjoyed it very much. We have seen the Tall Shops several times already – in Helsinki last time it was the best, such a wonderful festival experience and we even met up with one of my son’s friends who was participating! We’ve also had the pleasure of viewing the ships in London and Liverpool. I’d noticed they would be in Turku next July so perhaps we might pop over for a look! M.

      Liked by 1 person

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