When the buzz of autumn is finally over, a quiet hush begins to fall over Southwest Finland. Days shorten and temperatures plummet, but there’s no reason to hibernate. Throw on an extra layer or two and make your way to MBakery’s café Piece of Cake for a sweet treat that will warm your heart.
It’s the season to celebrate: Christmas. Turku embraces the festive season in a huge way; there are lights and decorations, plus concerts, events, and markets. And, at noon on Christmas Eve, Christmas Peace is declared in the Old Great Square. It’s a tradition that has been upheld (almost without interruption) since the 1300s.
Top tip: For a truly Finnish experience, take an icy plunge at Saaronniemi Beach on the island of Ruissalo. Fair warning: it is, quite literally, not for the faint-hearted. For those who are physically able, however, avantouinti enthusiasts say that ice swimming improves circulation, boosts immunity, and even reduces stress.
Make sure to pack: Your thermals. Winter varies from year to year, but it tends to be on the (very) chilly side. You’ll also need a pair of good shoes; the streets can be super slippery when temperatures hover around zero.
Don't forget: Christmas Day and Boxing Day (25 and 26 December) as well as New Year’s Day and Epiphany (1 and 6 January) are public holidays. Christmas Eve (24 December) is not an official holiday, but most businesses tend to be closed.