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Best things to do in Southwest Finland

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Finland  /  Southwest Finland

Top 15 things to do in Southwest Finland

1. Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova, Turku

Walk through the ruins of Finland's oldest city while at the same time viewing pieces of modern art at Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova, a museum of history and contemporary art. At its inception in the 1990s, the institution was meant to host only contemporary art. However, when the builders accidentally discovered an ancient town below ground, the world received this unconventional venue. Ask for a guided tour of the site to get a comprehensive overview of the collections, or walk through the medieval cellars and eccentric exhibit halls at your own pace. You will see works by masters such as Picasso and Warhol, as well as artwork by Finnish artists of the 20th century.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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2. Turku Castle, Turku

Explore the medieval Turku Castle, a historical monument that has protected the Aura River since the 13th century. Built in the 1280s as a military fortress to provide protection to the surrounding area and river, this castle is one of the oldest buildings in Finland that is open to the public. View the imposing symbol of medieval architecture, which has survived centuries of sieges and different reigning groups. Experience the original grandeur of this fortress, completely renovated in 1993, with a guided tour that will outline the structure's architectural, cultural, and historical relevance to Finland and other Nordic countries.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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3. Turku Cathedral, Turku

Visit Turku Cathedral, the national shrine considered by many to be Finland's most important historical monument. This cathedral is the mother of the Lutheran Church of Finland dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Henry, Finland's first bishop. Visit the medieval structure, established in 1300, and see the immense work of renovations after the 1827 Great Fire of Turku. Tour the cathedral museum to learn about Finnish history since the 14th century. Listen to the church bells at noon as you walk along the Aura River.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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Tours including Turku Cathedral:
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4. Forum Marinum Maritime Centre, Turku

Learn about the country's maritime activities at Forum Marinum Maritime Centre, which features a collection of highly detailed model boats. Photographs and graphics cover everything from small boats and maritime tourism to hovercrafts and war history. You'll read stories about centuries-old navigation schools and see objects from a century-old engine factory. Once you've toured the interior of the museum, board the ships to see tidy wooden office quarters and snug passenger cabins. Take a guided tour for more in-depth information about the museum's collections.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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5. Luostarinmaen Kasityolaismuseo, Turku

Luostarinmaen Kasityolaismuseo features craftworks from pre-industrial times in an 18th-century open-air museum. When the Great Fire of 1827 destroyed 75 percent of the town, this area remained unharmed. Today you can wander through wooden homes decorated by colorful doors, windows, and chimneys. Note the grass on the roofs of some, while others feature barns and wooden stairs that lead to small attics. Inside the houses, you'll see old tools, furniture, and textiles. Throughout the site, artisans produce merchandise that you can purchase.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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6. Naantali Old Town, Naantali

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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7. Turku Art Museum, Turku

Turku is a city on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River, in the region of Southwest Finland. Turku, as a town, was settled during the 13th century and founded most likely at the end of the 13th century, making it the oldest city in Finland. It quickly became the most important city in Finland, a status it retained for hundreds of years. After Finland became part of the Russian Empire (1809) and the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland was moved to Helsinki (1812), Turku continued to be the most populous city in Finland until the end of the 1840s, and it remains a regional capital and an important business and cultural center.
Because of its long history, it has been the site of many important events, and has extensively influenced Finnish history. Along with Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, Turku was designated the European Capital of Culture for 2011. In 1996, it was declared the official Christmas City of Finland.
Due to its location, Turku is a notable commercial and passenger seaport with over three million passengers traveling through the Port of Turku each year to Stockholm and Mariehamn.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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8. Turun Kauppahalli, Turku

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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10. The Archipelago Trail, Turku

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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11. Boat Tours & Water Sports, Turku

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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12. VMB Fishing, Salo

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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13. Bike Rental - by Carfield, Turku

Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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14. Archipelago National Park, Kimito Island

Archipelago National Park (Swedish: Skärgårdshavets nationalpark, Finnish: Saaristomeren kansallispuisto) is a national park in Southwest Finland. It was established in 1983 and includes 500 km2 (190 sq mi) of land area. Most of the land is on islands smaller than 1 km2 (0.39 sq mi). The park encompasses about 2,000 of the 8,400 islets and skerries within the cooperative area. The larger islands are mainly owned by their inhabitants. Archipelago National Park is part of the UNESCO biosphere reserves and received a PAN Parks certificate in 2007.

The park encompasses most of the Archipelago Sea region east of Åland and south of the main islands of Korpo, Nagu, Pargas, and Kimitoön. The park is mainly situated in the (former) municipalities of Nagu, Korpo, Houtskär, Iniö, Hitis, and southern Pargas. The Archipelago Sea Biosphere reserve consists of the national park's cooperative area and the rest of the islands in the Åboland archipelago only accessible by boat or ferry.

One of the objectives of the national park is to protect the archipelago's cultural landscape—such as the considerable areas used for traditional agriculture—in addition to the natural landscape. To this end, the cooperative area is an essential extension of the national park.

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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15. Alppiruusupuisto, Raisio

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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