Centred around the medieval settlement of Turku, Southwest Finland encompasses what was previously known as Finland Proper. It is the original home of the Finns, an ethnic group after whom the province was named. By the 17th century, the name “Finland” was being used to refer to the entire country and Southwest Finland received its new title in the mid-19th century.
Things to do in Varsinais-Suomi
From the centuries-old streets of Turku to the family-friendly attractions of Moomin World, Southwest Finland offers something for everyone.
Sightsee in Turku. With the Aura River flowing through its heart, Turku is the oldest city in Finland and an important cultural hub. It’s home to the 13th-century Turku Castle, which houses an engaging history museum, and the 700-year-old Turku Cathedral with its soaring tower and spire. Southwest Finland’s maritime history is showcased at the Forum Marinum while Nordic art from throughout the centuries is exhibited at the Turku Art Museum.
Explore Moomin World. Based on the beloved books of Tove Jansson, this family-friendly theme park is located on the island of Kailo. It features costumed characters and replica buildings that kids will love, including a five-storey recreation of the blue-hued Moomin House. After exploring Groke’s House and the Witch’s Labyrinth, be sure to attend one of the performances held in the outdoor theatre.
Cruise through Archipelago National Park. Scattered off the coast of Southwest Finland is Archipelago National Park, which has been designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Explore some of its 2,000 islands and skerries on a guided boat cruise, including a visit to the Archipelago Centre in Korpoström. Admire the reconstructed buildings and ancient artefacts on display at the Rosala Viking Centre and gaze up at the tallest lighthouse in the Nordic countryside on Bengtskär.
Getting around Varsinais-Suomi
Turku Airport is the main aviation gateway to Southwest Finland and has flights to destinations across Europe. Trains from Helsinki connect to the Turku railway station while buses travel to towns and villages throughout Southwest Finland. Boat cruises access Archipelago National Park.