Once again this summer, Turku is packed with events, with the environment along the River Aura providing the best stage in Finland. The vast array of events on offer during summer include world-class athletics, sensational tastes from the city’s rising culinary culture, festivals graced with top performers from home and abroad, and the chance to immerse yourself in the lifestyle of Medieval Turku.

Paavo Nurmi Festival

3rd June, Paavo’s Sports Day
4th June, Paavo Nurmi Master/Junior Games
5th June, Paavo Nurmi Games
18th August, Paavo Nurmi Marathon

The Paavo Nurmi Festival commemorates the legacy of Paavo Nurmi during this weeklong event in Turku. The festival includes different events, from the international athletics competition – the Paavo Nurmi Games – to fun for the whole family at Paavo’s Sports day. Also, the Paavo Nurmi Marathon is held in August.

Olohuone 306,4 km² Urban Art Festival

7th – 9th June

Olohuone 306,4 km² is an urban art festival open to all, where different artistic expressions are brought together. Both visitors and city residents are offered the chance to experience art in unusual and interesting spaces. Olohuone encourages people to participate in art and to see the environment of their daily lives through different eyes. All events are free of charge but some do require prior registration.

Finland’s Gymnaestrada

7th – 10th June

Finland’s grand gymnastics event, Gymnaestrada, will be held in Turku, with 10,000 participants as well as thousands of visitors and spectators embracing the joy of exercise. The experience of a grand gymnastics event is full of passion, energy and a palpable sense of good feeling. The events will be held on fields, in halls and at outdoor venues. Included are category competitions, presentations, training, the chance to get involved, evening programmes and entertainment. The fantastic experience is open to all gymnastic clubs, fitness enthusiasts as well as top athletes.

Saaristo Open

8th – 9th June

The Saaristo Open, already in its 9th year, is a summer festival held in Kaarina, where audiences revel in live performances from popular Finnish artists such as Apulanta, Kaija Koo, Juha Tapio and many more besides. A festival open to all ages, it takes place on the seaside shores at Hovirinta near to central Kaarina. The event is easily accessible from Turku aboard the convenient festival bus.

New Potato Festival

15th – 16th June

For the 8th time, the New Potato Festival celebrates Turku’s early potato harvest, held in the courtyard of the Brewery Restaurant Koulu. Finland’s unique virgin potatoes are the heart of the festival, turned into delicious dishes for guests to feast upon in the company of other foodies, whist enjoying the event’s entertainment.

Medieval Market

28th June – 1st July

The Medieval Market is held in Turku’s Old Great Square and is Finland’s largest ancient and medieval event. At the heart of Medieval Turku is an intimate market atmosphere created by the compact rows of market stalls. Here, sellers and craftsmen from near and far sell a wide variety of handmade products and medieval delicacies. Songs from the musical minstrels, the stomping and swivel of dancing feet, amusing jesters as well as other fun and raucous entertainment, entice the whole family down to Turku’s Medieval Market.

Ruisrock

6th – 8th July

Now a tradition in its own right, the enormously popular Ruisrock once again celebrates in the beautiful nature of Ruissalo’s National Park. The festival is three days full of enthralling music, arts and activities, welcome surprises and great times with familiar friends. In 2017, Ruisrock welcomed a record 105,000 visitors and this year the festival is already sold out – faster than ever before. If you are unlucky not to get a ticket, the atmosphere of Ruisrock spills out into the city, where the centre comes alive with party vibes thanks to the thousands of festivalgoers.

Turku Castle Medieval Tournament

9th – 15th July

Not for centuries has Europe seen so many historic and authentic competitions of martial combat taking place in the same place at the same time. Now history comes to life as the Turku Castle tournament takes over the Castle Park in July. Being held for the third time, this year’s tournament has now expanded to include the European championships. Martial combat on foot and horseback can be witnessed throughout the week, with the event culminating with the finals on the Sunday. During the competition the castle will be alive with market stalls and themed tours. Access to the market and the battlefield is free of charge. 

Down By The Laituri

25th – 28th July

The Down By The Laituri festival is a magnetic event for top artists, bands and a true music-loving community. The traditional, annual city festival is celebrated on the last weekend in July on the top stadium of the Paavo Nurmi Sports Park. Seen this year is legendary singer Tom Jones, as well as a host of Finnish favourites, including Paula Koivuniemi, Sanni and Suvi Teräsniska.

Turku Food & Wine Festival

26th – 28th July

The Food & Wine Festival once again transforms the forecourt of the maritime museum Forum Marinum and Restaurant Göran, into a pilgrimage for foodies and connoisseurs of quality wines and handcrafted beers. Other restaurants taking part in the festival include the likes of Smör, Gustavo, Tres as well as pop up restaurant Antigone, an all-female collaboration of chefs. There will also be top chefs and culinary artists from the best restaurants throughout Finland, such as SicaPelle, Kuurna, Juure as well as the newly opened restaurant of the St. George hotel, Andrea. The Turku Food & Wine Festival offers a comprehensive selection of the finest wines across Europe and beyond. As well as classically made wines, there is also a large selection of organic and natural wines.

Aura Fest

10th –11th August

The Aura Fest has made a name for itself among the list of Turku’s popular summer events, and in 2018 will become bigger and more spectacular than ever before. The setting at Kupittaa Park will pulse with the beats of Finland’s best artists in rap, hip-hop, pop and R'n'B, as well as the hottest in electronic music performers. There will also be some impressive reinforcements from abroad.

Turku Music Festival

10th – 22nd August

The Turku Music Festival brings to Turku in August the stars of classical music, from Finland and around the world. Finland’s oldest continuously held music festival is one of Northern Europe’s most important classical music events. There will be large orchestral concerts, opera, chamber music, recitals, jazz as well as experiences for the whole family. The concerts of the music festival will also open up spaces otherwise difficult to access and experience. In addition to the concert hall, the event locations include Ruissalo’s shipyard and the 200-year-old Academy Building.

Turku Animated Film Festival

29th August – 2nd September

Turku Animated Film Festival, commonly know as TAFF, is Finland’s freshest and most charming international animated film festival. Held in the beautifully restored old Manilla factory (in addition to other city locations), the event celebrates the art of animation and the creative mind. The festival’s International Competition introduces boldly original, tenacious and inventive animated shorts of less than 30 minutes. As well as the competition’s contestants, TAFF’s programme consists of carefully selected special screenings, workshops, discussions and exhibitions, not to mention plenty of opportunities for partying.

FightBack Run

1st September

FightBack Run is a charity running event organised by former top athlete Pekka Hyysalo, which is this year being organised for the 5th time. Hyysalo is a former freestyle skier battling with the effects of brain damage, which meant that until a few years ago he could barely walk. After completely losing his physical capabilities, Hyysalo now challenges other Finns to get out and lead a more active life. In 2018, the FightBack Run was held on the first Saturday in September along the shores of the River Aura. The basic distance is 2.7 km and it can be run 1–8 times. In addition, there is a 300-metre course so that people with reduced mobility can participate in the event.

Konstrundan – Artistic Tours of the Turku Region

8th – 9th September

Konstrundan is an event where artists, designers and artisans open their studios to the public. During the two days of Konstrundan, visitors can explore the workshops of the artists of the coastal areas, soaking up some creativity, finding inspiration and invigorate the senses. Konstrundan is an experience for both the visitors and the artists themselves. Memorable meetings can give rise to new thoughts, ideas and perspectives – refreshing the mind. More information on the artists, their work spaces and the event programme can be found in Konstrundan’s own magazine and on their website.

Stand Up, Turku!

27th – 29th September

Put a smile on your face at an event where laughter takes centre stage, in Finland’s most popular stand up comic festival, being organised now for the 12th time. The festival brings out the best Finnish talent from Turku’s stand up scene, including Ilari Johansson, Ali Jahangir, André Wickström, Eeva Vekki and Jukka Lindström.

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