I had a pretty good idea about what to expect from winter before coming to Finland but I had doubts about spring. Is it going to be too cold still? When exactly will the snow melt? Can I go hiking in peace? Making plans turned out to be trickier than I have expected but here are some reasonable activities a student can do in Turku.
As I have arrived in Finland in the beginning of autumn and got busy with all of the preparations an international student needs to take care in addition to studies, I did not have the time or, well, the energy to explore much. Then the weather chose to support my decision and implicitly invite me to stay home. As snow started to melt towards the middle of April and the temperature reached double digits, the trees and shrubs finally started to emerge and so did I.
Places to visit for a cozy afternoon
I took advantage of the weekends to visit a lot of wonderful places. There was this exhibition I was looking forward to see in the Turku Art Museum and I finally got the chance to do so. I was pleasantly surprised to find other ongoing exhibitions and it was a great way to spend the afternoon. I would recommend it to anyone, interested in art or not. Plus, there is a lovely café on the ground floor and a reduced ticket price (7 €) for students!
Ruissalo: A nearby adventure
I also took a day to visit Ruissalo which can be reached directly by the bus (line 8) from the city center in around 15 minutes. I got to explore a portion of the nature trails and then the The Botanical Garden of the University of Turku since it was recommended to me by friends. There is an outdoor garden with a trail to follow and explore and there are also the greenhouses which were my favorite part! It felt like traveling to different parts of the world and taking a walk in their forests in succession when going through each greenhouse. With a student friendly price (6 €) to access said greenhouses. Again, there is a lovely café called Cafe Vanha Tammi.
There is also Saaronniemi which is an area in Ruissalo where one can hike, camp, and swim. One can swim in the winter but I prefer to wait for the summer to do that!
After a long winter: Celebrating May Day
I would also like to mention May Day or Vappu. It’s organised on the 30th of April and May 1st and arguably the biggest student festival of the year! Students and anyone else gather at the Art Museum Hill to listen to the speech and have a good time. There are also lots of fun student activities to join, music, and an all in all merry time to have. It’s also nice to have a picnic with friends and enjoy the atmosphere of Vappu!
We can’t forget about the Aura river and it’s a completely different vibe when it’s sunny and warm. The cafés alongside the river are lively and it is lovely to talk a walk, jog or just sit on a bench, enjoy the view and soak up the sun. Picnics are always nice to relax, have fun with friends, and enjoy the fresh air and the cherry blossoms that bloom in spring. Safe to say, the weather is still unpredictable and one shouldn’t trust a sunny morning to choose what to wear for that day. I sometimes ended up hiding from the rain in cafes and boutiques which, in hindsight, did get me to explore places I wouldn’t have normally noticed.
My experience in Turku has been great so far. There are activities and sights to enjoy all year round and I have still to discover summer and its atmosphere. Follow @uniturku or @visitturku on Instagram to get a glimpse of what Turku looks like all year round. Even better, why not come explore the city yourself?
The next application period is January 2023 for the Autumn 2023 intake.
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