The Turku region cycling route No.1 – route along the River Aura shore
HEAD OUT ON THE BIKE TRAIL TO ENJOY TURKU’S HISTORICAL ATTRACTIONS AND EXPLORE THE STUNNING LANDSCAPE OF THE RIVER AURA ROUTE!
Total distance: approx. 14 km
Duration: about 2 hours
Difficulty level: Easy
On our easy routes, you’ll find the kilometres accumulate with ease. Along the loop, enjoy the historical sights and stunning scenery of the River Aura. Many of Turku’s museums are also within easy reach. The route follows both sides of the River Aura and you can ride around on a convenient city bike. You’ll find several of the ‘Föli’ bicycle stations along the riverbank. It’s up to you where you begin and what kind of route you take. For example, if you so wish, you can go only as far as the Tuomaansilta Bridge. The route runs upstream from the Föri ferry along the Itäinen Rantakatu street, if you go in an anti-clockwise direction that is.
Föri Ferry – Cathedral – Tuomaansilta Bridge
The cycle path runs right along the riverbank to the Cathedral. Among other things, the sights you’ll see along the way include the City Theatre, Rettig Palace as well as the Old Great Square. Use of the Theatre Bridge and Library Bridge is only permitted for pedestrians and cyclists. The bridges offer scenic views, both upstream and downstream.
From the Cathedral, the route takes a momentary diversion from the river, along Piispankatu (Bishop’s street). Along it are located the Sibelius Museum, the Ett Hem home museum and the official residence of the archbishop. After the archbishop’s home, the route returns once more to the river. On Jokikatu, you’re soon be met by the Tuomaansilta Bridge. On the bridge, you should take a small detour to admire the national landscape in the direction of the Cathedral.
Tuomaansilta Bridge – Halistenkoski Rapids
The route dives first under the Tuomaansilta Bridge and then under the railway bridge. At the railway bridge, the path becomes gravel. Here you can pedal more liberally than along the busy riverside. As you continue on the gravel road with the Student Village to your right, you soon reach the Halistenkoski rapids, which is a turning point in the route. Built in the 1930s, the old Halistensilta Bridge is now only used for light traffic. Stop at the bridge to admire the bubbling rapids and the skill of anglers fishing. In previous years, another, more striking fisherman, the kingfisher has also enjoyed these rich fishing waters. Do you think you’ll be able to spot him at work? Also, this section of the river between Halistenkoski and the Lieto Vanhalinna manor is an excellent place to try kayaking.
At this turning point, pass back under the modern Halistensilta Bridge on the other side of the river. The return journey to the railway bridge is also a gravel road. There is a rural atmosphere, despite being nearly in the heart of the city. Take time to pause, look around and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Can you spot the three medieval stone churches?
The church of the bishop was originally located on Koroinen peninsula before the Cathedral was built. The location is now a significant historical site, although no visible remnants of the church really remain. The site of the church also provides scenic views. Ride carefully at this point, as the road and the bridge over the Vähäjoki River are quite narrow. Use the outdoor gym located next to the bridge to give your arms a good workout. Give some nourishment to the soul by admiring the art work of Eero Merimaa entitled Joitakin teknokukkasia (Some Techno Flowers), standing by the path just before the railway bridge. Motion detectors will trigger the colourful poles to light up in the dark at dusk.
Railway Bridge – Vähätori Square
Under the railway bridge, turn right onto Lonttistentie road. On Lonttistentie, be careful to avoid any traffic coming from narrow intersecting streets. If you forgot to take pictures on Tuomaansilta on the way out, no worries! You have another chance at this point. On the streets of Kutomonkatu and Yliopistonkatu you have to pedal a short distance at the side of the road. Fortunately, the streets are not busy.
After crossing Aninkaistenkatu street, you will reach the picturesque Vähätori Square, which is full of idyllic buildings, restaurants, bars and cafés. The street that takes you down from Vähätori Square, Läntinen Rantakatu, is a popular promenade, where you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of a European city atmosphere.
Vähätori Square – Föri Ferry – Turku Castle
The route continues along the river passing the city library, the Pharmacy Museum and the town hall. In Barker Park, the statue of legendary Turku motorcyclist Jarno Saarinen is a sign of victory as you head into the final stage of your lap. For those interested in seafaring, the stretch from Föri to the Port of Turku offers many sights, from the grand white ship, the Suomen Joutsen, to the minesweeper Keihässalmi. The interior of Restaurant Göran features the famous sailboat of author Göran Schildt, the Daphne. In summer, on the terrace of the restaurant, you can admire boats gliding along the river.
At the other end of the route is Turku Castle, which, along with the Cathedral, is one of Turku's most famous attractions. When touring the castle, the harbour area is also visible, including the terminals of the Swedish ships. From the castle, you retrace your steps back to Föri ferry. Finally, take the best free (mini) cruise the city has to offer, from one side of the river to the other!
And don’t forget about these:
Text Veli-Matti Rissanen. Photos Jemina Sormunen & Visit Turku.
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