12 things to do on a summer’s day in Naantali on a budget
Naantali is at its best in summer, so don't delay visiting this little wonder. However, there's no need to break the bank whilst there – Naantali is still amazing on a budget. Check out these delightful, low cost ideas!
Naantali tops the list for the most wonderful small towns in Finland. It’s also regarded as the country’s vacation capital, and for good reason. Even our republic’s presidential couple take their holiday in Naantali - so why not you too?
Unfortunately, coffee with Sauli and Jenni is a little tricky, but luckily the super charming summer town offers many more unique things to experience. And you won’t have to throw money away to have fun, because there are plenty of cheap options and some even available completely for free.
● A walk is just the thing – It’s worth exploring Naantali on foot, so take a light stroll and free your thoughts in the beautiful surroundings. The Rantaraitti coastal path is an absolute delight, where you’ll find magnificent seascapes Naantali is famous for, the boats moored in the guest marina and the enticing terraces all along the waterfront. Admire the scenery with an ice cream in hand.
● Kiss on the Path of Love – During the 19th century, the girls of Naantali would sneak off along the Path of Love for some privacy with Russian navy officers. Later on, some pavilions known as ‘kissing booths’ were built along the path but are unfortunately no longer there. Of course, there’s nothing preventing you sharing a kiss or two along the way.
● Pop out for a picnic – Naantali is a place to just be, so a summer’s day is perfect for for a picnic. Bring your own lunch or grab something delicious on offer from one of the nice restaurants or cafés. The best views of Naantali are from the Kuparivuori cliffs, and under the arm of Naantali Church, the Church Park is a lovely place to sit and soak up the beauty of the town. And in July, you can enjoy free entertainment with your picnic in the park, with the Kirkkopuisto soi concerts.
● Take a cruise – The maritime environment is definitely one of the best aspects of Naantali. You can reach the heart of it comfortably on various cruises. Embark on an atmospheric evening cruise of Naantali, hop aboard a steamship or take in the archipelago on the deck of a handsome traditional sailing ship.
● Relax at Nunnalahti – The pretty Nunnalahti beach can be found right next to Naantali Church and the old town. On the beach you can spend the day basking under the famous Naantali sun and adventuring around in rowing boats and on SUP-boards. If your mind is the mood for a little more sparkle, head to the glittering luxury of Naantali Spa.
● Excursion to Kailo Island – Most of Kailo Island is inhabited by the Moomin family, but some of it is also a public outdoor area. The island has campfire sites, a beach and tennis and volleyball courts. At its best, you can also hear the music echoing from the Moomin theme park.
● A tour of Kultaranta – Naantali's own mini-Versailles is the city's main attraction for good reason. Tip: On Friday nights you can visit the Kultaranta gardens free of charge.
If you want a more comprehensive introduction to the carefully crafted stately gardens, grand gazebos, thousands of roses and other fine details, book a place on a guided tour. At €13 for adults and only €5 for children, the price isn’t bad.
Take a guided tour – Make the most of your cultural holiday and take part in a guided tour. Experience interesting stories and historical locations for a fee small enough it won’t burn a hole your wallet. Here are a couple of our favourites:
The drummer and evening vespers might sound like something from a comedy movie, but that’s far from the truth. This is one of Naantali’s summer traditions, reminiscent of the evening prayers from Naantali’s Monastery.
Every evening at 8pm in summer, the Evening Vespers drummer solo echoes from the church tower across the city. The evening vespers are played from the monastery tower three times in three different directions: to the president, to the city, and to the sea.
The sound of the vespers is preceded by the Drummer’s drumming as well as an evening cry, in which residents are told to finish the day’s chores and calm themselves for the evening. The drumming can be viewed from the corner of Kaivohuone, at the beach kiosk and at the Presidential Pier.
● Go fishing – If you have a fishing licence in your pocket, the Ukkopekka Bridge is a good spot to fish. At the same time, you’ll catch the magnificent scenery of the Airisto Sea. Did you know that the bridge gets is name from Ukko-Pekka, the nickname for the third President of the Finnish Republic, P. E. Svinhufvud? Truly charming.
● Rent a bike and pedal to adventure – Rent a bike from Visit Naantali and explore the sights and natural attractions from the seat of a saddle. Enjoy a quick ride round what’s nearby or embark on a 1-3-day excursion around the Short Archipelago Trail.
● Taste temptations on a tight budget – In summer from 28 June-10 July, the Smaku food event lands in Naantali again. During the event, you can tour around at your own pace, tasting local flavours in Naantali’s restaurants and cafés. You can order either a €5 or €7 Smaku portion, so you can easily eat cheaply.
● Stay at Lintula Apartments – If a day is not enough, maintain the experience and stay overnight. From the unique old town accommodation options, you’ll find the courtyard of Lintula Apartments – the atmosphere is just as wonderful as it sounds.
Text Jemina Sormunen. Video Kim Allen-Mersh and Visit Naantali. Photos Visit Naantali.
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