The Turku region cycling route No.5 – Tour along the Aurajoentie river road
Embark on a bike ride along the enchanting scenery of the River Aura. The historical route takes you from Turku through four municipalities to the source of the River Aura. There is plenty to see and do along the way.
Length: approx. 60 km. A total of about 120 km (round trip).
Duration: 1-2 days
Difficulty level: Moderate. Easy terrain, flat
The River Aura Valley is one of Finland's national landscapes. The Aurajoentie road goes from Turku to Oripää, following the river valley to the source of the River Aura. The historical road known as Varkaantie connected Southwest Finland and Satakunta as early as the Middle Ages. The National Board of Antiquities has listed the road as a built environment of national cultural significance. At the beginning of 2021, the Aurajoentie road received official tourism status.
The journey starts from Turku's Old Great Square. After a winding route at the start, you cycle along the old road following the idyllic village-like atmosphere to the Virusmäentie road and then the Vanha Tampereentie road, which takes you to St. Mary's medieval stone church. The 18th century church is one of our national treasures. St. Mary's Church is the starting point of the current tourist route.
The route continues to the edge of the Orikedo industrial area, over the Turku bypass and along beside the Metsämäki racetrack. From Metsämäki, you can pedal along a fully connected original roadway.
Shortly before the old Vilkkimäki dairy, the landscape opens up and you have your first encounter with the expansive scenery characteristic of the route. Currently operating from the dairy are a coffee museum and Café Namia.
Nautelankoski is a great place to rest. Come and admire the sounds and the energy of the largest and longest rapids along the River Aura, whilst also discovering the area’s diverse nature! There are nature trails on both sides of the river and a bird tower for bird watchers. The museum’s café serves sweet and savoury snacks. Please note that Nautelankoski is a nature reserve and cycling on the trails is not permitted.
From the Lieto town area, the route continues at the edge of the road towards Aura. A flat country road crosses a vast landscape of flat fields. Dramatic bends and occasional small wooded hillocks keep the terrain interesting. Farmhouses, barns and other buildings attached to the road create a cosy atmosphere for the cyclist. Around Leinakkala and Laukkaniity, you can also see a communal village settlement, rare in modern Finland.
The steeple of the Aura Church is behind the fields off on the horizon. The wooden church in the old village of Prunkkala dates back to 1804. In the old magazine building next to the church there is a museum as well as Café Prunkkala, which is open on Sundays in summer. Three kilometres away along the Kirkkotie road is Café Kylä, which serves right on the banks of the Järvijoki River during summertime. In addition to coffee and homemade pastries, there is also local food available. You can rent a canoe from the café and go kayaking on a surprisingly wide river.
At Aura, you have to deviate from the historical route for a while because of the train track. At the same time, it is a good time to stop for a fill up. Juhliks Aura offers an uncomplicated, casual lunch. Tasty coffee breads are baked by Paakari Puusti.
After you’ve circled around, you return to the former route. Please be careful when crossing the busy No.9 road. Koskipirtti is only a short way from the road. The former lounge of Kuuskoski Manor is a great showcase of rural culture. In the courtyard, you will find a museum building with an extensive collection of artefacts from the cultural influencer and non-fiction writer Lauri Jäntti. On the other side of the road awaits the bubbling Kuuskoski River and the magnificent scenery of the river valley.
The road initially runs very close to the river, and expansive scenes of cultivated land can be seen almost out of sight. As the journey progresses, the road moves away from the river but there is still plenty of space. Here, there is really room to breathe!
The picturesque country road continues and next you are taken to Riihikoski, which is one of Pöytyä's three town centres. Riihikoski's old wheat mill is a place worth visiting. There is a summer café in the mill with a shop selling old goods.
It’s only 5 km from Riihikoski to Pöytyä Church. The wooden church from the 1790s and its surroundings is particularly picturesque. The former rectory now houses a museum. The old parish house is the design of Aino and Alvar Aalto. The cemetery is also magnificent, with its wooden log fence and gateg buildings. Next to the fence is the memorial stone of Antti Lizelius, who published the first Finnish-language newspaper.
Less than 14 km away, only the last leg remains. The enchanting road will keep you going until the end. The closer you get to Oripää, the narrower the River Aura becomes. The river, or rather the creek, winds more and more frequently. On the way, you pass Haver's school, where you’ll find the internationally renowned local design company, Myssyfarmi. The end point of the tourist road is a couple of kilometres northeast of the centre of Oripää, at the intersection of Kangastie and Hirvikoskentie (road 210). At the junction, about a kilometre away, you will find the source of the River Aura, a part of the route marked by tall trees. Legend has it that the River Aura was formed when the plowing bull of the Oripää giant became distressed by a bee sting, and whilst galloping around, carved the intricate riverbed with his plow.
There are many interesting sights in Oripää. Along the Vanha Tampere road is a boulder known as Teinikivi. A breeze of Mediterranean ambiance is brought by the studio home of artist Viljo Syrjämä, who was inspired by the San Marco Monastery in Florence. Next to the studio is the Oripää wooden church from 1872.
Good to know:
More information (eg about services and events) can be found on the tourist road's own website.
Between Riihikoski and Oripää, the surface of the asphalt road is in poor condition, but this is sure to be corrected in the near future.
You can learn more about the background and details of the route with the help of Viri Teppo-Pärnä's fascinating work Tien lumo – Aurajoen maisematie avulla (The Enchanting Road - Aurajoki Landscape Road.
In summer, the cycling and outdoor event Tour de Aurajoentie is held.
Turku - Lieto town area approx. 19 km
Lieto town area - Aura centre 13 km
Aura town centre - Pöytyä Church approx. 14 km
Pöytyä Church - Oripää centre about 12 km
Text Veli-Matti Rissanen. Photos Veli-Matti Rissanen, Jorma Peltoniemi, Sanna Keskinen and Aurajoki Landscape Road.
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