Picks from Turku’s summer of events x 11

Here we share just a sample of what’s taking place in Finland’s delightful summer city. However, Turku has so many things to do, this doesn’t represent a fraction of what’s going on. Nevertheless, with these new additions and well-known classics, you’ll get a flavour of what’s happening.

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The Fringe Festival is an international movement for performing arts, in which various sensational events are organised around the world. Does it sound intriguing? Good, because this year the festival is coming to Turku for the very first time! The Fringe lasts for three days (10th–12th May 2019) and during the festival central Turku will swarm like a circus, when a variety of international talent pitch up to perform all around the city. Fascinating shows are sure to inspire your curiosity. For instance, are you interested in Russian stand-up, Italian theatre or Swiss mime-performances? Super wow!

Explore the programme and specific performance locations through the link below.


2Pax Navis

Turku launches its boating season with an Archipelago Sea event that encourages conservation and responsible waterborne activity (23rd May 2019). Pax Navis gets a big thumbs up from us, so-called, Turku-locals, because we’re big fans of our Archipelago Sea and responsible boating. The place for this ‘spirit of the sea’ event is the charmingly renovated facilities of the Ruissalo Shipyard, which has transformed into an event venue with a lively atmosphere. In addition to neatly gliding into the shipyard on your own boat, the public can also float there aboard the Föli waterbus. Huge yes!

3River Aura Wauhtiajot

In June (15th June 2019), Turku is overcome with a sense of nostalgia, when handsome classic boats from the 1920’s to the 1960’s blaze past in display on the River Aura. Come to see gleaming mahogany and mesmerising speed! Dedicated to classic sports boats, Turku is just the right place for this kind of event. The first time the River Aura Wauhtiajot event was seen in Turku was in 1951. Once we’d had enough of the years of silence, the competition was relaunched in 2006.

Tip! To make sure you don’t miss out on any of the rare and charming boats, set up your viewing gallery somewhere between the Library bridge and the Theatre bridge.

4Concour de Elegance

Apparently, Christmas actually occurs about a week before midsummer – for classic and sports car enthusiasts that is. This is when the Concour de Elegance takes place. This sophisticated name is a little tricky to pronounce, but then the event in question is a traditional beauty contest for sports cars.

Held on the island of Kakskerta, at the listed Harjattula Manor (16th June 2019), is a gathering of those passionate about classic-curves and loving renovation, where you’re immersed in the moment. It is truly an annual mecca for all enthusiasts. There is also food and wine on offer, whilst the relaxing live-jazz playing in the background, brings the comforting vibe of a summer’s day. A little bit like being at a garden party!

5Medieval Market

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the Medieval Market (27th–30th June), take a trip in time to the heart of medieval Turku. The Old Great Square is the setting for the market milieu of the middle ages, where the atmosphere is a replica of what was common for the 1400’s. Smiths cast their swords, merchants present best catch from the sea and artisans busy themselves with their trade. It’s a place where you’ll always find something to draw interest, to taste or to explore. Take a picture of yourself in the stocks or try some traditional market delights, like sausage wrapped in cabbage.

6Turku Castle Tournament

During summer, the grounds of Turku Castle become a historic battlefield, when the Turku Castle Tournament (11th–14th July 2019) arrives in the city. Enthralled audiences can follow close by, as the armoured nights put each other to the test and perform challenges with spears and lances. There is the rare treat of seeing genuine martial combat of bygone days, real armour and protective equipment. Also, rules follow the original ones of the past. So everything is truly authentic – except that, hey, no one dies.

The disciplines look highly challenging, sometimes even a little bit wild. It doesn’t seem to matter that the temperature inside the armour can reach 70 °C. What? If the competition seems too exciting, you can also immerse yourself in the knightly culture and the world of combat with in a guided tour of the castle as well as through other activities.

7Airisto Classic Regatta

This summer, sailing fanatics are in for a treat, when handsome sailboats fill the marina of Ruissalo Shipyard during a weekend in July (18th–20th July 2019). A delightful feast for the eyes where sailing shoes are all you need, with the event’s main purpose the three-day sailing race, the Airisto Classic Regatta. The spirited match is part of a bigger entity, the Baltic Classic Masters sailing competition. Warning: the risk of contracting boat-fever is high. We take no responsibility for boat purchases inspired by the event.

8Turku Food & Wine Festival

Turku food & Wine Festival has truly earned its place in Turku’s event calendar. Like the name suggests, visits to the festival are sure to eat and drink well – and that sounds pretty awesome. Now organised for the third time, the Turku Food & Wine Festival comes ashore this year on the forecourt of Forum Marinum during the final stretch of July (25th–27th July).

Cast off all your stress and let the city’s most famous kitchen wizards conjure up some fascinatingly delicious dishes. Wash it all down with a refreshing splash of wine, handcrafted cider or a glass of speciality beer from a small, regional brewery. Or why not a couple.

9SHIFT Business Festival

SHIFT Business Festival (29th–30th August 2019) is at the same time both a little bit nerdy but also an incredibly cool event. SHIFT brings together thousands of future and technology-orientated corporate influencers from Finland and abroad to share their thoughts and ideas. This year, the event will take place in the Ruissalo Shipyard Event Venue, where there’s plenty of inspiration and opportunity – not to mention fantastic speakers.

But wait! In spite of the business-orientated content of the event, SHIFT also has that festival feeling. Superb décor, energetic music and impressive art installations are proof that a business event doesn’t have to be bland and boring.

10Night of the Ancient Fires

According to tradition, the Night of the Ancient Fires is celebrated on the last Saturday in August (31st August 2019. The feeling in the air is that summer is at an end but still some magic lingers. The fires are lit along the coast to symbolise unity between the countries of the Baltic and remind us of the history and cultural heritage of the sea. The event is also linked to the Venetsialaiset celebrations on the last weekend in August, the closing party for the sailing and summer cottage season. So the whole weekend is a party atmosphere.

The Night of the Ancient Fires is celebrated along the Turku area and archipelago. In Naantali, at least, the Night of the Ancient Fires is the climatic end to the summer. During the weekend, it’s worth moving out onto the water if you can, where you’ll get stunning views from the sea.

11 Elokuvapäivä (Film Day)

Turku is called the Paris of Finland but considering the number of movies filmed in the city, it could also be known as the Finnish Hollywood. What better way to live up to this reputation than by organising an event where the whole city turns into a cinema.

The ingenuity of Elokuvapäivä is that just about anyone can organise their own movie screening. Films can be shown in Turku’s restaurants, libraries, bars or even on a stranger’s sofa. Alternatively, you could even put up your own public screening! The Elokuvapäivä film day is celebrated twice a year, with the next event taking place at the start of September (8th September 2019).


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