I love to visit my old home town Turku in the summer, it is beautiful, cruisy, and just about everything is a only a walk away.
Here are my top 5 free things to do in Turku:
1) The river Aura invites to picnics, wonderful walks and boat watching. This summer me and my hubby enjoyed a childless night in the hotel in Turku and were impressed by how much the riversides have been developed lately too, there are a number of great restaurants, cafes and pubs (not to mention the boat pubs. Not free but then where are drinks free?)
2) Föri, a tiny ferry that crosses Aura, should be included in all walks down the river. Super exciting for kids and has a certain atmosphere for me too! Takes only pedestrians and bikes on.
3) The Turku castle, built about 800 years ago, is a great way to finish a walk along the river with. It is a beautiful piece of history. One can walk to the inner yard for free but obviously there is a normal museum fee to go in,
4) The Medieval Market is always organised at the end of June, and is a spectacle to participate in! It takes place on the old market square, you’ll see some of the most known buildings in Turku as well as the main church at the same time. The festival is free, and there always actors showing Medieval scenes on the square among the people. Loads of small stalls selling lovely crafts too.
5) The playground Seikkailupuisto, “the Adventure Park”, a must for our children every summer. It is a huge playground with a lot of things to entertain kids (and their parents). There are also a few animals every summer, this summer there were goats and a number of weird birds to watch right next to the traffic park. That had been done up well since last year. Now they had built small cute houses there too, and there was a “police”, an adult pedalling around and reminding kids to stay on the right side and stop to the red light etc so the kids actually learn some pedalling around in their cars. However, since the trafic park has been done up they also charge 2,50e to use one car. The playground also hosts also a lot of other kids activities and events in the summer time, and some of them cost a few euros too.
A couple of my favorites that cost a few euros and that we get around to do far too often:
– Luostarinmäki Handicraft Museum. Has every now and then also people showing how to do crafts the old way.
– A visit to the island of Vepsä. A lovely piece of archipelago, great for small hikes. The island also has a café, a kiosk and cabin for rent. Visiting the island is free but a return ticket by boat cost 14e/ adult. Please find the schedule here. There is a lovely post with great pics by an expat about Vepsä here