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10 Dreamy Things to do in Turku & the Turku Archipelago

Pastel dreams under the midnight sun, a glut of juicy berries, and traditional saunas are just a few of the things to do in Turku and the Turku Archipelago.

After some amazing experiences in the Åland Islands, it was time to discover a different part of the Finnish Archipelago, equally beautiful but in a different way. If you are wondering what to do in Turku, Finland, read on but hey, don’t hold me responsible if you get a serious case of wanderlust!


Finland is also known as the “land of the midnight sun”, and not by chance. Although the real midnight sun that lasts all night long only shines above the Arctic circle, you can see the midnight sun in Turku as well.

For me it was a great emotion to see it for the first time! Think of an incredibly colored sunset that lasts for hours, until midnight or even later in the middle of the summer. The colors are magnificent, so don’t forget your camera.


When in Finland, do as the Finnish do. After disembarking the Silja Serenade ferry that brought us from the beautiful Aland Islands to Turku, we reached Pargas and from here we were soon whisked away by water taxi to the small island of Nagu, which we were going to call home for the next two nights.

Pensar Syd is a traditional Finnish summer resort open from May to September. Finnish people often spend their summer on an island such as this one, simply enjoying the good weather and some family time.

If you expect a luxury hotel, you won’t find it here. The accommodations are cozy and pretty basic; some of the apartments feature a compostable toilet, while others share the outside facilities. Budget travelers and big groups can also choose to stay in the Skogsbacken Hostel.

Pensar Syd also features two saunas, kayaks and rowing boats available for guests, and a restaurant with amazing food (keep scrolling!). Rates start at €68 per person/per night for the private apartments.
Image by Pensar Syd

Bike through the forest - 10 things to do in Turku3| RIDE YOUR BIKE THROUGH THE FOREST

Going slow is the secret to really savor the Archipelago. Cycle the circular Turku Archipelago Trail that in 200 km goes through forests, rocky islets, and small friendly towns. It’s easy to go from island to island thanks to numerous bridges and free ferry crossings, and you don’t need to be an experienced cyclist the enjoy the route. Shorter sections can be cycled too if you don’t have enough time to see it all.

Hopefully you like berries! - 10 things to do in Turku4| EAT AS MANY BERRIES AS YOU CAN

If you like fresh berries, welcome to paradise! Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries… you can have them for breakfast with your yogurt and cereals or any other moment of the day. It’s easy to find them in meat dishes also. Go and look for wild berries in the forest, it won’t take long to find some juicy ones!

Tour the town of Turku - 10 things to do in Turku5| TOUR THE TOWN OF TURKU

The medieval town of Turku is a good ending point for your Archipelago trip. The former capital of Finland and European Capital of Culture in 2011, Turku is a lively university town.

In the summer especially, you will find all kinds of events taking place around the river, which acts as the heart of the city, and the outdoor cafès full any time of the day. A walk through Turku’s cobblestone streets is the best way to enjoy the city attractions that include castles, cathedrals, and art museums, and one of the best things to see in Turku.

Amazing food at pensar Syd - 10 things to do in Turku6| GET READY TO LICK YOUR FINGERS

While in the Archipelago, we had most of our meals at Pensar Syd, where food is outstanding. Ingredients are organic and locally sourced, and when your dish comes with such a view, what more can you ask for?

Many restaurants in Turku take pride in serving homegrown and organic dishes, with plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans alike. Traditional Finnish food is mouth-watering!

Kayak in Turku: 10 things to do in Turku7| ENJOY THE NATURE ON A KAYAK OR ROWING BOAT

Finnish people love to spend as much time as possible in or by the water during summertime. And who can blame them! It’s definitely one of the best Turku tourist attractions to try when the weather is nice.

Kayaks, canoes, and rowing boats are easily available and can be rented for 5-10 euros pretty much anywhere. Yes, if you were wondering why they all seem to be in such a perfect shape, here it’s your answer! Otherwise, you can also take a Turku Archipelago cruise.

READ ALSO: Barefoot in the Aland Islands: An Incredible Destination in Finland

Hike and enjoy wonderful landscapes - 10 things to do in Turk8| HIKE AND PICK HERBS WITH YOUR FRIENDS

A sweet idleness is definitely an option at Pensar Syd. Relaxing by the water with a book and my favorite music is something I rarely have a chance to do, which makes it very special. But it’d be a shame not to go for a relaxed hike through the bushes, picking fresh herbs and berries with a friend. When you reach the island’s highest point and look at the landscape, you’ll be happy you came.

Experience the traditional Finnish sauna - 10 things to do in Turku9| DON’T MISS THE TRADITIONAL FINNISH SAUNA EXPERIENCE

This is an unmissable one. If you ask anyone, ANYONE, what to do in Turku or in Finland in general, they will answer “a sauna”. Sauna is such a big part of the Finnish culture, and one of the best things to do in Turku. I’ve tried many saunas in the past few years, however, this was the first time someone told me to hit myself with some leaves… sounds frisky, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, here it’s absolutely normal. It’s a tradition to beat oneself with  a bunch of leafy, fragrant silver birch (called vihta) to stimulate the blood circulation between one sauna session and another. So I did it too.

Have a beer in an old brewery - 10 things to do in Turku10| CELEBRATE THE END OF A GREAT TRIP WITH A BEER…OR TWO

Ever drank a beer at school? No worries, no one’s going to judge you here. Koulu brewery (Panimoravintola Koulu)  is the largest brewery in Finland (it’s huuuuge!) and one of the best Turku attractions, but the funny thing is that’s hosted inside an old school from the late 19th century.

After a short presentation of the brewing process, we tasted three kinds of beers and ciders. Wait, maybe it was four… or five… can’t quite remember 😉 Read also this post by my friend Dave about beer in Finland, because the Finns definitely like beer! A great way to end my trip to Finland. It was my first, but it won’t be the last. Finland, see you soon!

Disclaimer: This trip was organized by Visit Finland as part of their #FinnishIslands campaigns however, the opinions contained in this article are 100% mine as always. It wouldn’t be cool otherwise, right?

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.