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Turku, Finland’s former capital, is a highly sociable city, bristling with history and culture and boasting a sparkling nightlife.
Sights not to be missed in Turku include the 13th century cathedral with its ornate 17th century tomb of Torsten - the commander of the Finnish cavalry in the Thirty Years War. The wooden dome of the Engel Observatory houses the Turku Art Museum, with an impressive collection of Finnish and international art. Turku’s most spectacular museum is the Aboa Vetus and Ars Nova, which has 350 striking art works. Below a glass floor in the basement you can view Turku’s medieval lanes.
An interesting walking tour in town is to Turku Castle, situated near the mouth of the river. The structure dates from around 1280 and inside its exterior walls there is a vast maze of cobbled courtyards, corridors and staircases with numerous intriguing finds.
Shopping, eating and entertainment options are wide-ranging, partly due to the presence of two large universities. The Market Square sells fresh produce and is also full of cafes selling food and drinks, and the nearby Market Hall offers a more refined choice of eateries and cuisines. Good nightlife options include the Koulu Brewery Restaurant at Eerikinkatu 18. Shopping ranges from designer clothes stores to arts and handicrafts and second-hand shops catering for students.
A few hours away by train is the city which replaced Turku as the capital, Helsinki. The city is a good place to go shopping and view the stupendous museums, galleries and the world heritage-listed fort in the harbour.
Finnair and SAS fly straight to Turku from European destinations, although the airport is 15kms outside the city limits. Alternatively, fly to Helsinki and take a bus to Turku from the airport (once an hour around the clock).