After 8+ years of successfully avoiding one of the main attractions in the city, I finally managed to visit Turku Castle.
The appeal wasn’t big at first – all I’ve heard was that it’s just mostly empty rooms and not that much exciting going on inside. Still, the idea and history of a 13th century castle was intriguing and on one sunny weekend afternoon I finally made it there.
The castle is at the edge of the city, close to the harbour. We took a walk by the river followed by a short bus ride to the castle entrance.
If you don’t fancy a tour of the whole castle, you can wonder around in the courtyard for free and enjoy a coffee and cake in the small castle cafe on the right side.
This cobbled courtyard is not friend to heels, so wear something comfortable (you will thank yourself later when you see how many stairs there are).
Tickets can be bought on the left side of the courtyard and you can either peruse the castle on your own or wait for a guided tour (also in English). These start at dedicated times and you pay a few eur extra for your ticket.
Tickets are 12 € for adults and kids under 7 years go free.
The castle self guided tour starts in the oldest part, which is the one I mentioned earlier – mostly empty medieval rooms with small windows and very little furniture.
The rooms were still pretty impressive and we would probably enjoy them a lot more if we had taken the guided tour or the audio guide.
Turku castle is a 700 year old historical monument, one of the oldest in the country. There is a very interesting exhibition about the past of the castle and the different building stages as you progress through the tour in one of the rooms.
You can also check out the video here which shows the different stages of the built and how the castle changed throughout the history.
A visual exhibition room below takes you through the history of the castle and shows some of the different building stages.
Moving on to the more interesting part where you will see the castle bliss in full glory, starting with these gorgeous rooms complete with wood panel ceiling.
The castle church was actually a pretty impressive in size and with everything you would expect in a standalone church.
The very top of the castle hosts this attic space exhibiting different artifacts like china, clothing and other items from the history of the castle.
One of the rooms below illustrating life on the castle grounds. Unfortunately it was very dark and hard to take photos with a camera (flash photography is not allowed).
A visit to the castle is not complete without visiting the jail. This one was pretty impressive, there were several cells with wooden benches (beds), some guns and old chains. Pretty spooky and so authentic!
This is the newer part of the castle where you would see more of what you would have expected – golden plated furniture, portraits of guys in wigs, enormous mirrors and tiny beds.
It is not allowed to walk in between the furniture and use flash photography, but thankfully there was enough natural light in most rooms so you would manage even with a phone.
The rooms lead back to the middle part of the castle with medieval kitchen from where you continue to see even more lavishly decorated rooms and eventually come to the gift shop.
It was much better than I expected, however, I would keep this on a list of activities for rainy days (or more appropriately Reigny days), not for a gorgeous sunny afternoon.
If you’re coming to Finland only for a few days and have limited time, I would suggest exploring the outdoors and archipelago more, weather permitting!
The castle was very kids friendly by the way, with lots of interactive activities and you can also book a guided tour for kids when they complete quests and get to meet the queen. The castle cafe was a really charming place to enjoy a drink with some fresh pastry or soup.
Thanks to the location, even if you want to cut the visit short, you will find plenty of gorgeous places by the water where you can enjoy the rest of the afternoon or take a cruise on the river Aura.