Tips for May in Turku x 10

Spring is a time of new beginnings. Welcome into you arms the loveliness Turku has to offer during May. Go outside, eat, see and experience!

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Even at the turn of the millennium, the only reason to go to Kakola was to carry out a sentence. Now the premises of Finland’s most notorious ex-prison is the location for Restaurant Kakolanruusu, run by the well-known team behind restaurant Kaskis, which includes top chef Erik Mansikka. ​​​​​​​

Food isn’t served through the grills of a prison door but rather those of an open fire, with grilled delicacies a speciality of the house. The Kakola Feast is an impressive cross-section of the best dishes the kitchen has to offer. The portions are designed for sharing amongst your table so you can taste a little of everything. After a small winter hibernation, the restaurant opens its doors in May 2019, within the walls of the new Kakola premises. Something we’ve all been waiting for!

2Föli’s waterbus

Ahoy there! Föli’s waterbus let’s you easily and conveniently get out to Ruissalo and Pikisaari right from the River Aura, from the end of May (20th May) until mid-September. A waterbus ride brings a sense of adventure, when you are blown by a sea breeze from the city centre to the faraway horizon. The route has two ships, the charming M/S Ruissalo and the larger vessel the M/S Jaarli.

Methods of payment include Föli’s travel and tourist cards as well as cash, the same as on normal buses. Tickets have the normal two-hour duration so you can change onto other forms of Föli transport during that time, and bicycles are also permitted on board.

3Pax Navis

Turku launches its boating season with an Archipelago Sea event that encourages conservation and responsible waterborne activity (23rd May 2019). At the same time as Pax Navis, there’s also the opening of the Jokisatama event weekend, held from 23rd–26th May.

 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!

4Jacob Hashimoto

You may have noticed colourful art installations and floating sailboats on social media in 2017. Most likely the works of New York artist Jacob Hashimoto, his exhibition was raved about by all who visited. If the whole thing totally passed you by, Hashimoto’s work is on display until 20th June in the Makasiini Contemporary.

Hashimoto has become particularly well-known for his miniature rice paper cuttings, from which he constructs fascinating reliefs and geometric installations. His previously unfeatured works presented in the Makasiini Contemporary sound particularly interesting. Click below to to find out more.

5S/s Ukkopekka

Ukkopekka is an 80-year-old steamship and the last authentic passenger steamer sailing the Finnish waters. During summer, Ukkopekka has a morning shift steaming through the beautiful archipelago to the summer town of Naantali, the old town wooden houses and the shores of Moominworld.

When evening arrives, Ukkopekka puts on adult attire. The evening cruises aboard Ukkopekka during the summer season begin on 15th May, departing from the River Aura shores at 7pm and cruising out to an old lighthouse on a charming islet. The island of Loistokari hosts the romance and nostalgia of pier dances and a smoked fish archipelago dinner on the rocks under the Airisto sky.

6Funicular Opening Ceremony

Emerging to the world amidst great media fanfare, Turku’s new funicular will carry you and your friends up to Kakolanmäki hill and back, starting on the 24th May. It’s already drawing a host of nicknames, such as the ‘coffin’, the ‘wheelie-bin’ and the ‘ugly pram’, but don’t pass judgement until you see it. It’s free to hop on board, with plenty waiting for you atop Kakolanmäki, including restaurant Kakolanruusu, Café Kakola and the Kakola Brewing Company.

7Key Ensemble Farewell Concert

Key Ensemble is a widely praised and handsomely awarded Turku-based choir, well-known for its rich a cappella sound and innovative repertoire. Key Ensemble’s popularity is no more evident than by its invitation to conduct a concert tour of China this summer!

Before the tour begins, Key Ensemble can still be seen at the Turku VPK house on 28th May. The farewell concert includes Key Ensemble’s traditional repertoire of Scandinavian and Baltic a cappella classics but audiences will also get a taste of the fascinating programme for the Chinese tour.


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) 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.


9TPO at the Shipyard! Festival

Turku is a cradle of culture, so it’s no surprise that Finland’s oldest and one of the oldest orchestras in the world, is found in Turku. During May, the Turku Philharmonic will be performing at the Ruissalo Shipyard – an event you’ll definitely not want to miss.

The four-day TPO at the Shipyard! festival (22nd–25th May) plays music from various genres and in different forms. There is a tango and brunch concert, as well as yoga with classical music. Also much anticipated is when the prince of electronic music, Jori Hulkkonen, will perform alongside TPO’s string quartet. Very exciting!

10Video Art Festival Turku

The highly fascinating VAFT will spread out around Turku again from 22nd-26th May. Organised for the fourth time, the international video art festival is one of the finest visual spectacles. There are 22 works as part of the programme, which are available to explore at the Makasiini of the Old Great Square, Turku’s City Library, the Diana Cinema as well as the art displayed on the walls of Turku’s City Theatre.

A massive bonus is that entry to all the events is free. The festival also includes an extensive audio-visual programme, such as VAFTmobile – a fun movie theatre built into a van. Keep your eyes open for it around the city!


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