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Basic information

  • Area: 306.41 km² (118.3 sq mi)
  • Calling Code: +358
  • Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)
  • Population (EST): 176,401
  • Official language: Finnish, Swedish
  • Time Zone: EET (UTC+2)

Turku – Overview

Turku is to be found in the south-west of Finland within easy reach of the Baltic Sea. The city was once part of the community of the Hanseatic League, an important trading alliance stretching from Russia and the Baltic states all the way to England. The city itself sits on the River Aura which leads through a series of islands to the Baltic Sea. Being in close proximity the Baltic Sea the city is an important cruise cruise destination as well as ferries.

The city first foundations were set around the 13th century, but there has been habitation in the region since the stone age. The Cathedral of Turku and Turku Castle date to 14th century with Turku for a time in the past being Finland's capitol.

Turku is probably the most historic city in Finland and as such can be considered at the heart of Finnish cultural identity, with that in mind Turku is the perfect place to get the feel of what Finland is really like. What you find is a clean city, friendly helpful people and one of the few cities in the world where daily life is both busy and relaxed at same time. The city's weather can change during the year from 30 degrees Celsius in the summer to 5 degrees Celsius in the winter although it can get colder with frequent snow. However the city provides many places to avoid the heat or cold.

Shoppers travelling to Turku will find it hard to be disappointed, in and close to the city are a number of large easily accessible shopping centre's. The Forum Shopping Centre, Hansa Shopping Centre, Mylly Shopping Centre and the new Skanssi Shopping Centre give a choice of literally hundreds of outlets to shop at. For a more personal shopping experience, the market square in the city centre cant be beaten and for the stalls selling produce you can be assured of the highest standard of hygiene, as the local authorities carry out regular random health checks. Christmas is a special time to visit Turku, as since 1996 it has held the title of 'Christmas City of Finland'. For 6 weeks up until the 13th of January, a constant string of events and markets take place around the city.

Eating in Turku is a joy for the taste bud's and yes whilst its true there are some of the international chains around the city, the local café's, restaurants and various eateries provide more than enough variety for any palate. On a warm summers day, a trip to the market is a superb idea, stock up with local produce (enough for a picnic) and go and sit by the river or in one of the cities various parks and just chill out for an hour or two. It's worth knowing that at the weekend that restaurants shut at midnight and earlier during the week, after they shut the only alternatives are fast food outlets and even they shut well before the morning.

Accommodation in Turku ranges from 4 star hotels to bed and breakfast, although not all are in the centre. The quality of Turku's hotel is often above the average of other European establishment and definitely not as expensive as those in the capital, Helsinki. Depending on your tastes and budget the city offers good quality accommodation for all pockets.

For things to do and places to go, Turku always seems to have something going on, whether its an annual event or a one off and the city has enough night-life, pub's, club's and bar's to satisfy any insomniac. Although if you want a good nights sleep the city can provide that too.