River Aura pilgrimage routes – Turku’s modern pilgrimages
There are two pilgrimage routes from Turku Cathedral, which offer a free escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life through the beautiful River Aura scenery. The routes can be explored in a few hours or pilgrims can take their time hiking over a few of days.
Don’t be turned off by the title as a modern pilgrimage doesn’t need to include a religious goal. Modern pilgrims talk about spirituality rather than religion, so why not give it a try. Pilgrimage trails offer a pleasant way to calm the mind whilst at the same time connecting ourselves with nature. A perfect form of sustainable tourism. In addition to relaxation and nature experiences, tourists are tempted by the stories and cultural history offered at the sites along the pilgrimage route. Turku at its best!
There are two pilgrimage routes along the River Aura. The Way of Helena takes you eight kilometres from the Cathedral through Koroinen to the churches of Catherine and Mary and back again. The longer, 35-kilometre-long Way of Peter leads the traveller on a journey in time along the River Aura Valley all the way to Lieto Church. On both routes, the journey can be carried out by foot, by bike or partly by kayak.
The pilgrimage map and passport can be downloaded from the Citynomadi app. Paper maps and guidance on the route will be available in summer from the pop-up pilgrimage centre that opens at Turku Cathedral.
Top tip! If you want to experience a longer pilgrimage route, head out on the St. Olav Waterway, which starts in Turku and stretches all the way to Trodheim in Norway.
Turku will once again get to experience a first in Finland, when the city opens the country’s first pilgrimage centre. The first step will be the establishment of a pop-up pilgrimage centre at Turku Cathedral’s Mayor's Chapel for the summer of 2021, serving interested visitors during Cathedral opening hours (Monday - Sunday, 9am - 6pm).
With the help of the experience and knowledge this summer will bring, a permanent pilgrimage centre will be created in Turku. As Finland's oldest city and a central city of culture and religion in Finland, Turku is a natural place for the centre. In addition, Turku has been a stopping point for many long pilgrimage routes and the Cathedral has been a significant pilgrimage site for many centuries.
Would you like to experience the pilgrimage route as a guided tour? Come and experience the Way of Peter on an electric bike! Walk in the footsteps of pilgrims, passing the most magnificent churches and church sites of the River Aura. In one bike ride, experience a wonderful return trip back through history. The guided tour is conducted by 10Bikes and is a product you can easily order from our sales service.
You will also find other pilgrimage-themed tours in our sales service selections. If you do not find one that suits you, feel free to get in touch with us! Our knowledgeable staff can customise the right trip for you, and create the ideal breakaway from the busy world.
Text Maija Ryyppö and Miia Alhanen. Photos Elina Helkala and Jussi Vierimaa.
Published | Updated