Into the unknown: an entrepreneur uses herself as a test subject to explore hoods in Kaarina

Susanna | 5.2.2020

Know Your Hoods has expanded from Turku into the fascinating neighborhoods of Kaarina. Kaarina is known for its beautiful coastline and historical tourist attractions. But what else does Kaarina offer its residents? As a person responsible of developing Know Your Hoods, I decided to dig beneath the surface and look for a suitable neighborhood to move to Kaarina by March.

Does Know Your Hoods work? Let’s find out!

We have started cooperation with the City of Kaarina and Kaarinan Kehitys Oy (commercial cooperation). In other words, we have expanded Know Your Hoods to include Kaarina's neighborhoods, which I have been responsible of. Kaarina is familiar to me mainly through its recreational areas. The Hovirinta Beach near the center of Kaarina and the beaches of Kuusisto Island are full of my treasured fishing spots. Skiing on the ice of Lake Littoinen has been my favorite winter activity (though this winter I can only dream of skiing...). Now I want to find out what else Kaarina has to offer its residents.

Lake Littoinen in January without an ice cover and the forest and a few buildings around it.
The Lake Littoinen and the surroundings offer a variety of activities throughtout the year. Only this Winter seems to be an exception as the lake didn't have an ice cover even in January! © CYF

At the same time, it's time to test how well Know Your Hoods really works, and if the content of our service is as useful for a person who is moving as our workshops and surveys implied. Of course, this can only be tested by using our search engine to recommend a suitable  neighborhood and make a decision to move based on its recommendation.

During the project I noticed how diverse the Kaarina’s neighborhoods really are; from modern apartment blocks to nature-surrounded town houses, to increasingly rural, peaceful areas. The city also attracts people who have a dream of building their own home as new areas are constantly being planned, while taking into account the natural environment. On the city's own web pages it says that there is more than 140 km of coastline in Kaarina, so the seaside plots, recreation areas, beaches and berths are crucial part of Kaarina’s charm.

The center of Kaarina is a mixture of old and new

What does the city really have to offer then? Kaarina's city center offers a blend of modern and apartment blocks from different decades in the midst of diverse services. The center is also continuously renewing itself. My first contact with Kaarina-talo, one of the most significant novelties in the city center, was very positive and I will long remember its cozy atmosphere. Kaarina-talo (The House of Kaarina) serves almost as a living room for residents, and offers a variety of services and activities for young and old.

Modern and bright Kaarina-talo in the center of the city of Kaarina in the evening.
Modern and cozy community center Kaarina-talo offers variety of services and activities under one roof. © CYF

Near the city center there are low-rise neighborhoods of Nummenniitty and Kesämäki. Detached homes and lush gardens within walking distance from the center, how lovely!

Small houses in a row by a calm walking street in the neighbourhood of Kesämäki in Kaarina.
Cozy townhouses in Kesämäki (direct translation is Summer hill!) © CYF

Fascinated by Kaarina’s multiple local identities

In addition to the more densely populated areas of the city center and Piispanristi, most of Kaarina's neighborhoods are low-rise and close to nature. Neighborhoods dominated by detached or townhouses can be found both in the pricey seaside settlements (for example Voivala-Raadelma) and in the areas close to nature (e.g. Auranlaakso, Nunna and the Center of Piikkiö). Kaarina also has a lot of authentic rural areas (Hepojoki, Lemunniemi and Meri-Piikkiö), with a feeling of a countryside.

Modern houses and forest behind them in a calm neighbourhood in Voivala in Kaarina.
Residents living in Voivalanranta enjoy the modern living by the sea © CYF

As I got more familiar with the neighborhoods, I discovered how unique they are and how local identities across Kaarina are surprisingly strong. Particularly historical Piikkiö, which joined Kaarina in 2009, is a well-known parish, yet there are also wonderful natural environment and ancient remains nestled in the middle of a landscape.

Aerial photo of the sea in Kuusiston salmi and forests in Meri-Piikkiö in Kaarina.
You'll find the sea breeze and the peacefulness of the countryside in Meri-Piikkiö © CYF

In addition, the Kuusisto Island, which is located near the center, is also a distinctive area and many residents seem to perceive themselves as "kuusistolainen" (i.e. being from Kuusisto). Littoinen is also an interesting neighborhood as it spreads beyond Kaarina to the municipality of Lieto. The heart of the area, the Littoinen Lake, has attracted international attention as the first chemically purified lake, which has reached my ears as well.

A dream city for entrepreneurs - is it so?

Kaarina has earned a nationwide reputation for several years. The city has been selected as the most creative municipality in Finland in 2009 and has often been at the forefront of population satisfaction surveys in Finland. Moreover, the City of Kaarina has repeatedly been selected as the most entrepreneur-friendly city in Finland in the 2010 Municipal Rankings by EK. Therefore, I look forward to experience how Kaarina is concretely reflected in my own life as an entrepreneur.

Kaarina is often praised for being “logistically brilliant”. At least for someone who owns a car, Kaarina seems to be handy in many directions; The center of Turku is about a 15-minute drive from the center of Kaarina and the connections to Turku Harbor, the airport and especially towards Helsinki are convenient. It is alleged that it is easy to travel to and from Kaarina also on the lines operated by Föli in the Turku area public transport. This argument will be soon put under close scrutiny.

Follow my move to Kaarina and hear about my experiences

The frozen sea in a colourful sunset in Lemunniemi in Kaarina.
Is Lemunniemi by the sea my new home? © CYF

After the initial mapping of Kaarina neighborhoods I have found already two strong favorites. I won’t reveal the areas yet, but at least one of them meets the criteria 'by the sea' and 'by the fields'. Follow my process of choosing from different neighborhoods here on this blog or on our Facebook and Instagram and find out with me, in which neighborhood I will eventually land to spend my March.


If you also have a move soon, try Know Your Hoods at and give us your feedback on how well did we manage to find the neighborhood that suits you best!


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