Hotels & Accommodation in Turku

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Finland’s oldest city is steeped in medieval history and maritime legend, and was the country's most important city until it was taken by the Russians in 1809, leaving Helsinki to rise to prominence. Originally settled in the 13th century, Turku is a doorway to Finland’s best culture and heritage. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s stuck in the past, though - this city's still innovating, and was Europe's Capital of Culture for 2011. Surrounded by 20,000 islands, which congest the Archipelago Sea, there’s always something to explore if its museums leave you cold. The archipelago plays a valuable role in keeping the temperature pleasant, meaning the city enjoys surprisingly mild winters, and warm summers, despite its northern location.

Things to see

Step back into the city's magnificent history, at Turku Castle - which has stood resolutely since 1280. Take a tour, and you'll see opulent banquet halls - lined with faded artworks - dingy dungeons where the chains that once restrained infamous bandits hang, and suits of armour, which gleam in the light that slides through slit-like embrasures. Hop across to the redbrick bell tower of the Cathedral of Turku for your next medieval wonder. Feeling its organs shaking the air with booming bass notes, while looking up at the giant painting that provides the centrepiece to the cathedral's arched interior, is a breathtaking experience. The Maritime Museum, meanwhile invites you to dive into this ship-making city’s unique connection with the ocean. Tour the exhibits, before stepping out onto the decks of the museum’s small fleet of salt-bleached ships, which rock gently in the current of the River Aura.

Hotels in Turku

Snuggle up for warmth around ultra-efficient electronic fires in the depths of winter, or throw open your room’s double doors to let the warm summer air float in, while staying at one of Turku’s attractive city centre hotels. With WiFi, flat-screen televisions, and tea and coffee facilities provided as standard, you’ll be comfortable whatever the season. Unwind with a steam in a top spa hotel’s sauna, and enjoy soothing ocean views, as you sweat out toxins. Rinse off, before taking a beautifully cool swim in your choice of indoor or outdoor pools. With the Moomin World theme park nearby - on the island of Kailo - many of Turku’s hotels are tailor-made for families, and you’ll find baby changing facilities, and rooms with bunk beds, widely available.

Where to stay

Choose a hotel in the centre of the city, near the lively Market Square, to head out for morning walks between stalls selling barley, blueberries, and warm cinnamon rolls. For a fitting night out in this city of culture, catch a performance at the Abo Svenska Teater theatre - and marvel at its roof, which is stunningly decked out in maroon and gold. You’ll feel every whisper from the actors, and every quiver of the bows of violinists, as the grand setting helps performances draw you in. The hotels in Turku Harbour, meanwhile, are hidden within lovingly renovated warehouses, giving you the chance to stay in buildings that drip with history and heritage, while also enjoying sweeping views of the island-studded ocean.

How to get to Turku

The most fitting way to arrive in this dreamy city is to weave through its dense archipelago of islands, on a ferry from Stockholm. Flyers will usually need to travel to a better connected airport than Turku’s small one, which offers connections with Helsinki, Copenhagen and Stockholm. Or, you can keep your feet on the ground by rolling in aboard a train or bus from Helsinki or Tampere. Once you’re here, handy Föri ferries make crossing the river, which carves the city in two, effortless.