How to spend one day in Turku

How to spend one day in Turku

I lived in Turku for 1.5 years before I moved to Helsinki. Turku is a lovely city with a lot to offer, from beautiful sceneries to stories about its rich history. In this post, I will share with you my own ideas about a one-day Turku tour. For me personally, the ideal time to visit Turku is in the summer. Therefore, this post will be best applied on a sunny summer day ๐Ÿ™‚ All photos used in this post were taken by me.

Turku cathedral

Turku Cathedral, photo taken from the riverside

Located at the heart of the city, Turku Cathedral must be one of the most iconic symbols of Turku. Itโ€™s big, gorgeous and placed right next to the old square. This could be a perfect starting point and check-in place for your one-day tour. The cathedral was built in the 13th century, and from then it has witnessed a lot of ups and downs happening in Turku. The inside of the church is impressive. The church is open from 9am to 6pm every day, and it is free to get inside. There is a museum upstairs with a small admission fee (1 euro for students and 2 euros for adults). The museum shows a lot of interesting ancient church-related things. Although there are no English descriptions for the items, the museumโ€™s definitely worth taking a look.

The inside of the church

Aboa Vetus and Ars Nova

Aboa Vetus and Ars Nova is a museum located right opposite the Cathedral. Look across the street and youโ€™ll see a big pink museum. So after visiting the cathedral, this should be your next stop. I highly recommend this place not only because of the artwork it has to offer but also for the interesting history lessons from the underground floor. The admission fee is 8 euros for students and 11 euros for adults. You should spend around 1-2 hours there.

The underground looks something like this

Aura river

So assuming you are done with the above two destinations and have already had something delicious for lunch (if you are interested in what to eat in Turku, I can write another post about this topic), your next activity should be walking along the river that runs through the city. The best way to get the “Turku vibes” is to take a long walk along the waterside, then see and feel how the locals live. There are a lot of bridges on the way. At night time you will see them lit up in colorful lights. You should definitely walk on the bridges, and see the river as well as the city from a different angle.

There are many riverboats that serve as restaurants and bars
One bridge example

Turku castle

Turku castle is one of the most popular destinations of Turku. The castle is visible even from a long distance. It’s located near the harbor of Turku. It was also built in the late 13th century. During the course of history, it has served several roles, from a defensive fortress to prison and more. While you are inside the castle, don’t forget to put on some beautiful medieval clothes and take some fun pictures with them ๐Ÿ™‚

How the castle looks like from the front

Ispoinen beach

Ispoinen beach

This is the last destination of our one-day tour in Turku. After taking a bus to the center from the castle (bus number 1), you can then take bus 13 from the center to Ispoinen. The beach is not too far away, it will take only about 20 minutes from the center. This is my most favorite beach in Turku. It feels like a hidden gem to me because itโ€™s breathtakingly charming and set at a good distance yet never too crowded. My most favorite activity every time I visit this beach is to climb up the highest rock and enjoy the view from up there. If you go with a group, remember to bring some board games to play with your friends while enjoying the view. If you want to swim, this is also a great place to get in the water.

Being with the beach brings me peace, so I hope this last destination will give you some rest after a long day full of different activities. And as stated at the beginning of this post, this one-day tour will only work on a perfect sunny summer day. In the summer the sun doesn’t set until around 11pm. So you got all the sunlight to enjoy everything I’ve listed above ๐Ÿ˜‰

People enjoying the sun at Ispoinen beach
That’s me on a beautiful rock edge

I hope this post gives you some ideas about what to do when you visit Turku. I hope after the pandemic is over, many of you will have the chance to visit Turku and try out my one-day tour suggestion ๐Ÿ˜‰

Take care!

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