How to spend time in Turku?

Vieraskynä / Visiting author | 16.9.2020

How to spend your free time in Turku? We want to introduce you to some of our favorite places, where you can spend time after a long day at university or at work. This post is mainly written for new students, but it can inspire anyone who is not familiar with Turku yet. Where would you spend your free time?

From parks to castles

There’s a lot to see and do in Turku, from museums to escape rooms. Also, student organizations arrange events weekly, if not daily. Book your evenings for student events, but know that there is plenty of time to do other things in the daytime. Here are some great ideas about where to go! All the sites are near the Turku city center, so it’s easy to pop by, for example, right after a lecture in the campus area.

Taking easy in outdoors

Vartsikka - a cozy park in the center

In the first weeks of school, many student associations set up their events in Vartiovuorenpuisto, in the center. The park is an excellent place to gather with new friends and have a picnic or play some games. For example, a Finnish game called mölkky is super fun to play with a group of friends. In sunny weather, Vartsikka is also a great place to study.

Verdant park and its sand roads on a sunny summer day.
A peaceful park is right in the Turku center. © Jenni Polttila

Aura river flowing through the city

Aura river will soon become very familiar for any new Turku resident. It separates the Turku city center in two halves, “täl ja tois pual jokke”. Aura makes it easier to navigate around the city. Especially, Turku Cathedral, which is on “täl pual jokke” in Itäinen keskusta, is a useful landmark when exploring the Turku city center.

Aura river bank with traditional pavement
Calm atmosphere in the Aura riverbank. © Jenni Polttila

Aura riverbank is a beautiful place to spend time. There are many coffee shops, riverboats turned into restaurants, and benches to sit on and enjoy the calmly flowing river. It´s also an excellent place for a run or long evening walks.

Flea market findings

There’s a wide selection of flea markets in Turku. Every time you go to one, you can find something interesting. Puutorin Kirppis in Puutori is a traditional self-service flea market. In turn, Maanantaimarket and Second Hand Ilona in the Turku center are a bit more modern. You can also have a coffee there, as both have small coffee shops as well. Maanantaimarket is on Kristiinankatu 6, and Second Hand Ilona on Yliopistonkatu 15. There are also several wonderful second-hand shops and a container of the Finnish Red Cross in the western part of the center.

Tip: Rent a table from your favorite flea market and bring your old clothes there. That´s a great way to recycle extra clothes and have some spare money at the same time.

Historical castle

Closeup of a white plastered Turku Castle.
You can spend hours exploring the medieval castle´s corners. © Jenni Polttila

On the westside of Aurajoki, near the harbor in Iso-Heikkilä, stands a sprawling castle. Turku Castle has a long history that you can get acquainted with by visiting there. Take your friends along and head to the medieval castle and its towers! Remember, students can have a discount with a student card.

Personalize your student boilersuit

A boilersuit is an integral part of student life. At least at the beginning of the studies, collecting badges for the suit is a priority. You can obtain the badges by joining events or, for example, buying some from student associations. Many associations have badges with some inside jokes about the area of study in question.

The dressmaker's shop Käsityö-Kaisa is located in Hämeenkatu in Turku
The dressmaker's shop Käsityö-Kaisa in Hämeenkatu © Jenni Polttila

In Hämeenkatu, in Itäinen keskusta, there´s a dressmaker shop called Käsityö-Kaisa. There you can buy letter badges that you can write your name or something funny on your boilersuit. That way, your boilersuit will become even more personal!

Yellow student overalls with initials and badges.
Personalize your student overalls with your initials. © Jenni Polttila

Tip: It is more fun to sew badges with friends. Get together and have a movie night while sewing badges on your boilersuits!

Want to know more?

We in the Know Your Hoods organized Student Weeks during August and September, 2020. We showed Turku from the students’ perspective and shared our tips for Turku’s student life. Read our earlier blog about public transportation options in Turku or learn more about exciting sports activities.

Follow our blog, Facebook and Instagram to stay tuned :)

- Jenna and Jenni (TUAS students) & Susanna (Know Your Hoods)


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