The Baltic Sea for centuries has determined the Finns’ fate. The first settlers, Christianity and culture from Western countries came here on its waves. This route runs along the coast of the Finnish Gulf and the Gulf of Bothnia, it includes a section along the old royal road to Turku from where we start our journey in a closed loop to the north.
The attraction of the city of Espoo, in this part of the country where the first settlers have appeared, is a garden city of Tapiola, that was built after 1951 by the projects of the famous architects Reima Pietil and Arne Ervi. The city was named after the fairy-tale king of the forests of Tapioca - it was required to build a residential area for 30 thousand people in the depths of the northern forest, and the district was intended for people from all segments of society. The church of Tapiola is part of the garden city and deserves your attention as well as the whole city.
The atmosphere of the XIX-XX centuries, when the Finnish art defined its tasks in a new way, was reflected in the architecture of the house-museum of Axel Gallon-Kallela, who was a painter and a graphic artist.
Many modern architectural ideas, that were realized in Tapiola and Otaniemi, were created by such geniuses as Eliel Saarinen, Arman Lindgren and Hermann Gezellius. They have reflected their understanding of the problems of architecture in the creation of the house-museum of Hvittrask in Kirkkonummi, that was built in 1902 from granite and pine. Three architects made the dream of "Finnish architecture" come true in this apartment complex. Elements of peasant houses of Karelians, medieval fortresses and Art Nouveau were combined here, forming altogether a harmonious composition. However the decor was supposed to play a secondary role, and the functionality of the building and the clarity of the lines came to the foreground. Today most of the art exhibitions are held here. There is a restaurant in the Art Nouveau style with appropriate furnishings.
The next point of our route is the idyllic town that is called Tammisaari. The Swedish city name is Ekenes, it means "oak forest". The seaside gives peace and rest as well as a walk to the natural park of Ramsholm, which is located on the peninsula of Barken. Rare species of plants and songbirds are preserved here. It’s also worth to see the ruins of the fortress of Raasepori, dating about the XV century.
The restaurant is located on stilts; visitors have a view on the skerries (small rocky islands near the coast, separated by narrow straits).
Do a nice evening promenade around the city.
Naantali is located 14 km west of Turku. An ancient town revives in the summer, when the Finnish president moves to his summer residence of Kultarant. There is Moomin-trolley World park in Naantali, which is extremely interesting for children.
Further to the north our road leads us to the port city of Uusikaupunki, which was founded in 1617 by King Gustav II Adolf. On August 30, 1721 y. peace between Russia and Sweden was concluded here and ended the Northern War 1700-1721. Nowadays the city supports its own reputation at the expense of the only car factory in Finland. There are windmills that rotate on the Müllümäki hill which will look good in your photos.
The city of Rauma is also located on the coast. In 1991 UNESCO took under protection the wooden Old Town - its main attraction as part of the world cultural heritage. The coloration of houses in the town of Rauma imitates the stone, for example, yellow ocher looks like light sandstone.
It’s worth visiting the monastery church of the Holy Cross of the Order of Franciscans XV century.
There are exhibits of lace, maritime affairs and shipbuilding in the Old Town Hall (1776) on the Market Square. In the ancient city of Rauma we get acquainted with the age-old tradition of town planning, because the distribution of lands and the laying of streets in the largest preserved wooden Old Town of Northern Europe were carried out in the Middle Ages. Every house is considered to be unique and should look different from others even in color, each has its own name stamped on an oval nameplate attached to the corner of the building.
Historically, Kontion kahvila is the first one of the popular cafés in Rauma. It’s a tradition to serve coffee with pastries with pepper in Rauma and add pancakes to soup with plums and raisins.
At the end of the ice age, the skerries and islands which were rising from the water merged, as a result, the place where now the center of the city of Pori is located, that was founded in 1558 at the mouth of the Kokemyanyoki River, was moved more than 20 km away from the sea.
The house of the city council that built in the Venetian style will attract your attention.
You can take a short excursion in the fishing village of Reposaari.
We offer you a visit to one of the Finnish theaters in Pori. As an alternative you can go to the annual international jazz festival Pori Jazz, which held on the island of Kiriurinluoto.
The city of Kristiinankaupunki that was founded in 1649 by Peer Brake was not exposed to fire, the motley wooden houses adorn the city since the 18th century till our days.
There are very narrow streets like Miilukuja or alley Kissanpiiskaajankuja in the city with a width of 299 cm.
Another stop on our way will be in Vaasa. The location is at the narrowest point of the Gulf of Bothnia has made it a natural connecting point between Sweden and Finland. The old town of Vassa was founded in 1606, completely burned down during a big fire on August 3, 1852. The new city was rebuilt at cape Clemetsho.
The Ostrobotnian Museum is a provincial museum of culture’s history, which is at the same time a provincial art museum and a museum of natural sciences. The museum’s building, which was designed by Eino Forsman in 1927, and the wing of the museum’s exposition, that was planned by the architect Eric Kraxtrem in 1967, are located next to the Marianpuisto Park in the center of Vaasa. Karl Hedman (1864-1931), who was a doctor from Vaasa, actively took a part in the creation of the museum. The building was built in 1930, and the Hedman family had its house and a collection on one floor. They didn’t have children, that’s why they left their collection to the fund, which later donated it to the city.
You can take children to visit the Vasalandia recreation park on the Vaskiluoto peninsula, there are lots of attractions.
The restaurant is open until 22:00 from Tuesday to Thursday.
Our way lies deep into the country along a flat, fertile plain. According to the legend, the most stingy people, who spill soup by ladle with a hole, live in Laihia. Such a scoop can be bought there as a souvenir. You can have breakfast and prepare yourself for a new day a little further the stingy town.
Karl Ludwig Engel built this stone church in 1847 in Kurikke. After that we’ll drive and see the cities with rapidly developing industry. Parkano is one of such cities that received the status of the city only in 1977
The Museum of Espionage is the only museum in Europe devoted to espionage activity, which will be interesting for adults and children as well. As an alternative you can visit the House-Museum of Frans Emil Sillanpää, who was the only Finnish writer awarded the Nobel prize for literature.
Then the road leads to Turku through Huyttinen, where three rivers merge together. National park of Puuriyarvi-Isosuo is located to the west.