It is always free and enjoyable to have a stroll in the old towns in Finland, which consist of, as a contrast to the continental Europe, mainly wooden houses. Rauma and Porvoo (Borgå) old towns are the most known ones but even Naantali, Kristiinankaupunki, Pietarsaari (Jakobstad) and Pargas (Parainen) have lovely little old towns left. Most of the medieval wooden towns have at some point burnt so whatever is left is worth cherishing.
A quick read in Wikipedia tells me Rauma became a city in 1442 and has the biggest old town. It is also one of the World Heritage sites protected by UNESCO. Parts of Porvoo are slightly older, from the late 14th century. Both of them also have lovely little cafés and handicraft shops (not free nor cheap but full of atmosphere 😉 ) in the old buildings.
Unfortunately I don’t have any proper illustrating pictures from Naantali and Parainen (I can’t believe it as they are both close to my hometown Turku and they are therefore the ones I’ve been to most often to!) but there are few teasers below to give you a feel of the other medieval old towns in Finland.
[…] a lunch break there. The old town was pretty but it seemed more ran down than the old towns in Rauma, Porvoo or […]
[…] old towns in Finland are typically beautiful areas for an enjoyable stroll. Skata suburb in Jakobstad (Pietarsaari), a […]
[…] and only about 30 min drive away from Helsinki. I’ve blogged about the atmospheric wooden old towns in Finland before, and this stroll in the dark to see the Christmas lights and displays (some “window […]
[…] 2. From Turku there is only about 1-1,5hrs drive (bus ride) to the Old Town of Rauma, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s and a definitive must see with its wooden houses. Please find my post about old towns in Finland here […]
No, I would believe that. About Sydney, that is. Although I’m sort of relieved to hear I wasn’t totally off-based with the wooden draftiness. They look so pretty, though, I can never resist!
So here’s a question for you. How do those houses go in winter? Is there an insulation trick to them? I ask because our Queenslanders are renowned for being cold in winter (although no stone slab underneath and they are rarely insulated unless they’ve been renovated quite recently).
Would you believe me when I say that I have never been as cold in the winter as I was when living in Sydney? 🙂 The thing is, we have warm housing, most people keep the temperature at 20-22 degrees (Celsius). The trick is: triple windows, heaps of insulation, in the old houses a fire place that keeps the heat (… also expensive housing and huge power bills). However, old wooden houses are known for being a bit drafty… maybe not as drafty as the Queenslanders though 🙂 But I love the Queenslanders, and they are great for the climate most of the year anyway!