Higlights of Turku
Duration: 4 hours
Tour Code: tku-001
$149.00 per person
This excursion presents the iconic attractions that reveal the tumultuous history of Turku, many of which are national treasures.
Depart from the pier for a brief drive through Turku, the former capital of Finland and the country's oldest city. Although settled in the 1150s, Turku wasn't officially founded until 1229, a time of prosperity. You first stop at the open-air Handicrafts Museum has you stepping back in time. This section of the city contains the only surviving buildings from the 18th century, as fires destroyed much of ancient Turku. As you wander about the many workshops, which include a silversmith, watchmaker, bakery and printing press, feel free to ask questions of the artisans dressed in period costumes. Your guided visit will be followed by some free time for shopping.
Rejoining your coach, it's on to your next stop, the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was consecrated in 1300. Considered a national shrine, this stately cathedral looms over the Aura River, which winds through the center of town, past Turku Castle. In addition to containing the remains of some of the country's most eminent figures that includes bishops, military commanders and even a queen, it is also the mother church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the seat of the Archbishop of Finland.
From here it's on to Turku Castle, a riverside fortress which after numerous expansions is the largest castle in Finland. Turku Castle has survived sieges, fires, an incendiary bomb and years of abandonment. Today, however, it stands completely renovated and serves as a fascinating museum that traces the city's history. After visiting, you'll return to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2 1/2 hours of moderate walking that includes negotiating sandy terrain and a considerable amount of steps and stairs at the castle. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and not considered suitable for those with mobility concerns. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The tour sequence may vary.