Our first destination for a weekend break turned out to be Turku – the oldest city in Finland. Check many great advices that we got together in our Turku What To See – Travel Guide. See how to visit this freezing cold place in just 24 hours where it’s snowing even in April!
Turku – How To Get In
The only budget way to directly arrive in Turku is by Wizz Air from Polish seaside city Gdansk. There are some other routes (from Stockholm, Riga or Mariehamn on Aland Islands) but they require spending much more cash. However, the capital city of Finland – Helsinki has much wider net of connections, both traditional carriers and low cost ones and is located pretty close to Turku. Especially it’s worth to check out flights served by Norwegian that goes to Helsinki from lots of popular European places.
Currently all planes operates from well-maintained Terminal 1. However just couple years ago Terminal 2 was in use and served low-cost airlines. Any passenger who had the chance to see it will never forget this building. It didn’t look like an airport but more like a bunkhouse. Everything went there manually (e.g. staff were doing check in by ticking names of passengers on the paper list). Conditon of the inside left a lot to be desired as well. But all in all – it was a funny and memorable experience.
If you are in Russia, you may go to Turku by bus from Sankt Petersburg with a stop in Helsinki. Although the journey will take much time (7h 30 min to Helsinki and then another 2 hours to Turku), it can be done on a budget and quite comfortably. First part of the route is run by Lux Express. They offer luxurious rides with a media screen for each passengers, Wi-Fi, free unlimited hot drinks (tea, coffee, hot chocolate), seat selection and a toilet onboard. Second part is served by Onni Bus. The standard of journey is worse than in Lux Express but the price is not to beat. It’s possible to find fares for the whole route even for €15 + €1 = €16 (approx. $18), but only if you are flexible with the dates and will book it in advance.
You may complete the journey from Sankt Petersburg to Helsinki in just 3h and 30 min using the train. Unfortunately, the price cannot be satisfying and starts from €39 (approx. $43).
The train between Helsinki and Turku is not a good option too. It takes slightly less time than a bus (1h 53 min) but costs more – from €9.90 (approx. $11).
FROM AIRPORT TO THE CITY
The transfer from the airport to the center (that is called Kauppatori) is provided by public bus No. 1. It runs every 20 minutes and takes 20 minutes as well to get there. Ticketing is the same as for the whole public transport in Turku (see below).
Turku – How To Get Around
Public buses in Turku are the only mean of transport worth to consider there. However, they can be annoying because have stops almost every minute. Stops are mainly request ones, so don’t forget to push the STOP button when waiting to get off. Otherwise, the driver may omit your stop.
Most important bus stops:
Turku airport (Lentoasema)
Town center (Kauppatori)
Turku Castle (Turun linna)
single – €3 (approx. $3.50)
single nightly – €4 (approx. $4.50)
24h – €7.50 (approx. $8)
Single ticket is valid 2h from the time of validation and all types of tickets can be bought easily from the driver.
Turku – What To See
TURKU CASTLE (TURUN LINNA)
The biggest attraction in Turku. It’s a 13th century castle standing on the banks of the Aura River. Inside there are chambers and expositions to see as well as workers wearing medieval costumes. Tickets: €9 (approx. $10), for students only €5 (approx. $5.50)
TURKU CATHEDRAL (TURUN TUOMIOKIRKKO)
Considered to be the most important religious building in Finland and was the witness to many important events in the nation’s history.
25-meter long structure imitating daisy, placed by the bank of Aura River close to impressive anchored ships
Sleeping, Eating, Safety and Other Tips
Probably you will be shocked, but due to the underdeveloped touristic infrastructure in Turku lodging is extremely expensive there, even for Nordic standards. Cheapest double rooms in hotels go for €62-66 (approx. $68-72) and there’s only one hostel in the town. However, this hostel is worth considering. Its name is Laivahostel Borea and in fact this is a huge ship that offers cabins as a small private rooms. Single room costs at least €40 (approx. $45) and double one €62 (approx. $70). They can be booked via popular hotel search engines. In addition single travelers should also look at hihostels.com as this website allows to book beds in dorms in Laivahostel Borea for only €27 (approx. $30). To make it even better, the morning sauna is included as well as the buffet breakfast. The hostel is located at the harbor, not far from Turku Castle and Daisy.
Try a pizza with reindeer meat at the small fast food restaurant Arezzo (it’s next to the Abo Akademi – Swedish-language university)
Try salty liquorice candies – salmiakki. Their an astringent and salty taste makes the feeling of numbing tongue. People, who aren’t familiar with it, might find the taste strongly unlikeable so candies can be even impossible to swallow.
Turku airport has limited food options and it’s closed for a few hours at night but has at least a nice staff :)
Turku is a very safe place. We didn’t notice anything to be worried about in this case.
Don’t plan to spend too much time on sightseeing there. It’s just a tiny town to visit in one day. Connect your trip to Turku with other interesting places in Finland, e.g. with Helsinki – we’ve showed you above how to do that in the section HOW TO GET IN TURKU.
The weather in Turku is unpleasing and require wearing warmer clothes. In summer the temperature rarely extends 20 °C. You may expect a freeze and sub-zero temperatures in winter. The snow falls from October/November till April and it often rains throughout the year.
How Much Does It Cost ? (per person)
flights RT: €19 (approx. $21)
24 h bus ticket: €7.50 (approx. $8)
Turku Castle: €5 (approx. $5.50)
accommodation: free (very early morning return flight)
food spending: €25 (approx. $27)
TOTAL for the whole trip (1 day): €56.50 (approx. $61)