The River Aura is the heart and soul of Turku. Finland's oldest city sits on both the east and west shore of the Aura River. It is customary of locals to say that something is found "on this side of the river" or "the other side of the river". The older east side is "this side" and the newer west side is known as "the other".
Strolling along the waterfront
A great way to explore Turku is to take a nice walk along the riverfront. Even better, make a connection with the Culture Walk - established by students at the University of Turku. Divided into five different routes, each culture walk introduces tourists to three different sites of cultural interest. At every destination there are references and tips on interesting things to do in the area including visiting, Vähätori Square, Puolalanmäki Hill, The Old Great Square, Turku Centre or Samppalinna Hill and Vartiovuori Hill. You'll find not only historical sites, but also a wide variety of places to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a refreshing drink.
Cruise and dine on the Aura
A great way to level-up the excitement and pleasure of your visit to Turku, is to explore the city from a completely different vantage point. Having your next meal, not on the waterfront, but on the water is the way to go. Turku, or more specifically the Aurajoki is perhaps most famous for offering the riverboat dining experience. While visiting Finland's oldest city, enjoy the local cuisine from the river perspective, on a guided boat trip. The idyllic boat ride will take you through the city center, bisecting the River Aura under bridges and past other riverboats, as you admire the cityscape from a very special vantage point. Unique nightlife and city exploration, Aura runs through the historic part of Turku, from a medieval Turku Castle, past cafés and restaurants, up to Turku Cathedral. The Castle and Cathedral are considered the two end-poles of historic Turku with many of Turku's main museums and attractions conveniently situated along the river or close to it. The area is best traversed during the summer months when riverside cafés and restaurants spread their tables along the scenic river banks. After having a fine lunch or dinner experience on the deck of a riverboat, you'll also find the local ferry, Föli – that makes regular crossings of the river between opposite shore party or shopping destinations. Some riverboats even serve as floating pubs - so nightlife in the city named the European Capital of Culture for 2011, is sure to be something you will not soon forget.