10 Tips for Amazing Museums in Turku!


Share page

Edellinen artikkeli
Seuraava artikkeli

How well do you know the different museums in Turku? Whether you’re a regular patron of the museums or just an occasional Sunday visitor, there’s plenty of great reasons to tour the museums.

Jumping from one museum to another is easy to do in Turku. The museums in the city centre are conveniently close to each other, so you can string together many along the same route. Select those that interest you the most or just visit them all!

1. Turku Art Museum

Looming high above the city on the Puolalanmäki hill, the national romantic granite building is like Turku's own Hogwarts Castle. Magical and awesome are the best words to describe the magnificent Turku Art Museum. And it’s hard to tell which is more impressive: the museum building itself or the spectrum of art collections waiting inside?

High-quality exhibitions provide diverse possibilities for inspiration, with both classic works and new names in contemporary art.

See current exhibitions at the Turku Art Museum

2. Sibelius Museum

The modern concrete building along the historic Piispankatu Street only reveals its true nature to the visitor that ventures inside.

The Sibelius Museum is the cradle of music in different ways. The most diverse music museum in Finland offers a comprehensive overview of the life and works the great composer, Jean Sibelius. The museum also showcases different groups of instruments, the history of listening to music, as well as a variety of other exhibitions not just about music.

NB! The exhibitions are open from 25th March.

See current exhibitions at the Sibelius Museum

3. Cathedral Museum

The museum hidden away here can be easily forgotten. Consecrated in 1300, the cathedral continues to hold the status as the National Shrine of Finland. Neither must it be forgotten just how much of Turku’s history is condensed into the space, whether under the floor or in the chapels, you’ll discover historical dignataries from Knut Posse to Kaarina Maununtytär. The south gallery of the church is dedicated to the Cathedral Museum, which reaches back into history, all the way to the Middle Ages.

4. Aboa Vetus Ars Nova

Built in 1928 as a private residence for the Rettig family from Turku, this impressive building is literally a palace at the centre of the city. Today, it is home to the Aboa Vetus Ars Nova Museum of Archeology and Contemporary Art. Downstairs, the excavated remains of the cellar tell the story of medieval Turku, whilst upstairs holds an impressive art collection. A pretty amazing combo!

Top Tip! In the summer of 2022, archaeological excavations will continue in the museum’s courtyard. You can follow the excavations from the café's summer terrace or participate by registering for the museum’s archeological course.

See current exhibitions at Aboa Vetus Ars Nova

5. Pharmacy Museum & Qwensel House

It hard to miss this old red bourgeois house along the bustling riverside. This echo from a world gone by makes you wonder, who has lived there and what was everyday life once like?

Both the Pharmacy Museum and Qwensel House are full of atmosphere. The story of Qwensel House is told throught the marvelous Rococo and Gustavian style decór, whilst on the other side of the house, the Pharmacy Museum is the oldest in Finland. It’s amazing to think that some of the pharmacy’s oldest artifacts are more than 200 years old.

Pharmacy Museum and Qwensel House

6. Forum Marinum

The sea and the archipelago are close to the heart of Turku - both metaphorically and literally. The city lies right in the lap of the archipelago. Downstream of the River Aura, take a worthwhile step into the maritime centre Forum Marinum, and begin your great exploration through maritime history and the secrets of the archipelago.

In the children’s maritime museum, the little skippers can get active, testing their sailing skills on the deck of an adventure ship.

Naturally, during the summer season the handsome fleet of museum ships brings added delight, the cornerstone of which is the sleek Suomen Joutsen, together with its friends floating in the Aura.

See current exhibitions at Forum Marinum

7. WAM

WAM is a City of Turku museum of art and one of the most diverse cultural arenas in Turku. Named after the famous Wäinö Aaltonen, WAM features works from local artists as well as presenting pieces from the city's art collection.

The WAMx exhibition space is dedicated to the latest trends in contemporary art. The space is constantly filled with interesting, unique and open-minded exhibitions from both domestic and international artists.

See current exhibitions at WAM

8. Biological Museum

Have you ever had the chance of seeing Finnish animals in their natural habitat? The small and intimate Biological Museum, which opened 115 years ago, takes you on an adventure through Finnish nature, depicted through a range of dioramas.

Taxidermist Gustaf Kolthoff, along with his son Kjell, caught and stuffed the animals required for the exhibition, as well as collecting the terrain materials and plants. Kjell also painted the natural landscapes. The Kolthoffs were a talented pair, as the dioramas remain a treasure of the city 115 years later.

See current exhibitions at the Biological Museum

9. Turku Castle

Standing at the mouth of the River Aura, the more than 700-year-old Turku Castle is one of, if not the most famous landmark in Turku. It’s funny to think that the medieval castle, which has guarded Turku for over 700 years, still brings fascination to today’s smartphone-obsessed generations. Ancient it maybe, but it’s far from boring.

The castle is one enormous museum with so much to admire, from the artifacts to the chambers and the stories left over from the past lives of the castle. Temporary exhibitions are on display in the Great Castle Hall.

See current exhibitions at Turku Castle

Museum cafés: What better way to discuss your thoughts after an inspiring exhibition than with a cup of coffee and a pastry. A cozy museum café can be found connected to almost every museum.

Food breaks: Especially important if you plan to take in many museums in the same day, recharge with more than just a cuppa. You can browse the restaurants Turku has to offer on the Restaurant webpages.

Museum shops: Surely a must after any tour. From the choices on offer you’re certain to find some cute gift ideas, from postcards to books, toys and Turku designer products.

10. Kylämäki Village

In what kind of museum can you pet chickens and make 1950s handicrafts? The answer lies in the fact that the Kylämäki Village is not a museum but a real farm that functions as a village of living history and an area for cultural recreation. You can explore the courtyard on your own or get involved in workshops and theme days.

A programme of activities is organised during the summer and school holidays especially. At these times, you can enjoy the company of the Iso-Kohmo hostess as you hang out to help with her daily chores and practice some skills from bygone days in the experimental workshop.

See the current programme of the Kylämäki Village

A museum tour for one or two days?

You will have no doubt noticed there are quite many museums in Turku. It’s difficult to squeeze many into one day, especially if you’re coming from out of town. Here’s a good suggestion - if you have the time, why not stay overnight and leave a little something for another day.

Here’s a couple of hotel ideas for you and your museum buddy:

Solo Sokos Hotel Turun Seurahuone – a hotel highly suited for a cultural trip. Solo Sokos Hotel Turun Seurahuone has a long history as a place to stay for Turku’s citizenry. The hotel has hosted shipbuilders, business people and the city’s high society. This modern boutique hotel has managed to beautifully retain its 1920s spirit.

Each room is unique and has been styled down to the last detail. Minimalism is a dirty word in this hotel, which provides a refreshing change.

Radisson Blu Marina Palace Hotel – Touring the museums take you up and down the riverside, so it makes sense to choose a place to stay right there. The Radisson Blu Marina Palace hotel is a Turku classic, with one of its many advantages being its location. The riverfront is within easy walking distance of museums as well as the rest of the city. And this is quite literal, given that WAM is visible on the opposite bank of the river.

There’s no need to wave goodbye to the landscape of the River Aura when you can move to a hotel room bathed in the sparkle of a river view. The right hotel choice if you’re looking for a peaceful stay spiced with a little luxury.

Text Jemina Sormunen. Video Joonas Tsokkinen and Kim Allen-Mersh. Photos Joonas Tsokkinen, Terri Vahtera, Ania Padzik, Timo Jakonen and Visit Turku.

Published | Updated