Many students start their summer on May Day or with the riverside pub crawl AATU (Akateeminen Aurajokilaivuritutkinto), at the latest. There’s no shortage of things to do in Turku in the summer, whether you’re on holiday, attending summer courses or working for the summer.

Student societies enjoy the summer and rest up for the autumn

The activities of student societies quiet down for the summer after a busy academic year. Some one-off events are organised in May and June after AATU, but many students have already started their holiday at this point. Student societies end their holidays and start gearing up for the new academic year in August, as studies already start in early August in the Faculty of Medicine, for example. Orientation weeks and the Study in Turku fair kick off the new academic year with a bang in August.

In the summer, you can make your way to Boost Turku, if you’re after laid-back events. Startup Journey, which lasts throughout summer, includes small events, such as barbecue evenings and get-togethers organised by start-ups. Boost Turku is active in communicating about its events on Facebook and Instagram.

The summer is happening in Turku

The events season gets into full swing in Turku in May. The traditional opening ceremony of the river port and the newcomer event, TFO at the shipyard!, include many kinds of activities from concerts to rescue demonstrations, most of which are free of charge. Come June, you will hear thunderous roars as Turku Airshow takes over the Turku Airport. Many rarities will be on display to honour the jubilee of the event. You can immerse yourself in sports by visiting the Paavo Nurmi Games (in June) and the Paavo Nurmi Marathon (in August). The route of the marathon runs along the beautiful riverbank and through Ruissalo, which also means that the spectators will be able to enjoy themselves throughout the event.

Turku becomes quiet around Midsummer, but those celebrating Midsummer in the city can find several Midsummer dances on riverboats and at Uittamo Paviljonki. Many locals look forward to the Medieval Market in Turku, and it signals the start of summer for many. The open air market takes you on a journey to the hustle and bustle of medieval Turku on the Old Great Square of Turku. The market features frequent small performances, while the performers stay in character in between shows. Many artisans selling their wares showcase their skills in small performances throughout the event. There is no entrance fee at the market.

Music festivals are a summer highlight for many. The largest of these festivals, Ruisrock, can be seen and felt in Turku, as the shelves of supermarkets in the centre tend to be empty during the festival weekend. You should buy tickets in advance to avoid disappointment: Ruisrock, Ilmiö, Kesärauha and many more tend to sell out quickly.

Medieval fair, photographer: Sami Maanpää

Turku is a city for campers

Events cater to many, but those seeking peace and quiet in nature will also find Turku an excellent destination. Short day trips to Ruissalo, Nautelankoski and the Kuusisto Bishop's Castle Ruins are ideal for cycling. You can travel by Föli to the Kuhankuono nature reserve for the price of an ordinary bus ticket. The public parks of Kurjenrahka and Kuhankuono contain hiking trails from very brief hikes to hikes lasting a couple of days. The terrain varies from paths to duckboards, as the routes take you from forest, to bogs and to lakeshores and back. There is also a short accessible route at Kuhankuono.

Water buses depart from the banks along the River Aura and take passengers to Ruissalo and the closest islands, including Seili and Utö. You can travel to Ruissalo with the Föli card, but you need a separate ticket for the other destinations. Water buses sail to Ruissalo throughout the day, but buses travelling farther will run less frequently, which means you should plan ahead.

Café culture and budget food on the terrace

In addition to riverboats, the best thing about summer in Turku may just be the cafés and their outdoor seating areas. In the summer, many people are attracted to the riverbanks to spend some time and relax. You can borrow a book from Turku City Library and pop down to the close-by riverbank and sit on the grass or a café terrace and enjoy the summer.

Many restaurants in the centre serve lunch on the terrace, which you should definitely try. In June, you should visit the early potato festival (Neitsytperunafestivaalit), where local restaurants serve small dishes centred around potatoes. The event is held on the courtyard of Panimoravintola Koulu and entrance is free. The wind band Sohon Torwet will play for the guests twice a day. If you’re on a tight budget, you should head to the terrace at restaurant Assarin ullakko. Assarin ullakko is open all through summer (please check opening times) and serves lunch at student prices. Unica and Kårkaféerna also have other restaurants that are open throughout the summer.