Have you heard about the Moomins? If you have, then you have probably heard of Naantali or Nådendal (the Swedish name) as well. It is here that the amusement park dedicated to the white creatures is located.
We are back in Sweden after a week in neighboring Finland. We visited Lahti for most of the time. It is a nice city, but unfortunately, we were prevented from exploring other places because of us all falling sick. We had time to meet one more of Susann’s aunts before leaving and I now believe that I have met them all – but can I be sure?
Heading Towards Turku With a Detour
We left Lahti around lunchtime yesterday and drove first towards Helsinki and then in the direction of Turku. That is how the highway goes in Southern Finland, all major roads lead to Helsinki. From Lahti, it is around three hours of driving to Turku. Considering the snowstorm that covered most of Lahti in snow two days ago, it was quite nice to stay on the major roads. The relatively high temperature still caused a lot of melting water to end up along the road.
Our plan was to get to Turku with a few hours to spare before we needed to be at the harbor. Just 20 minutes past Turku lies Naantali. This is one of Finland’s oldest towns and an important center of tourism. No, we were not going to visit the Moomin World. That will have to wait until Little A is a bit older. We just wanted to walk around and enjoy some fresh air and see a new place.
We arrived in Naantali around 5 pm. That meant, that we had 2 hours before we needed to head to the harbor. Our ferry was not leaving until 8.55 pm. We started with walking towards the old church and the sea, hoping that we had chosen a good direction to enjoy the town. The medieval convent church might be impressive, but on our way there the town looked quite like every other town in Finland. In other words, areas of one-to-three-story buildings.
It was first when we reached to the other side of the church and the sea that we were able to see why Naantali is a popular destination. Here we found a nice view out over the bay and the beginning of the old town. We soon realized that this is a summer town – almost all the bars and restaurants were closed. There were only a few people out. Apparently, there’s an old steamship, S/S Ukkopekka, trafficking Naantali and Turku in the summertime.
Naantali is actually fairly small – the municipality has a population of under 20,000 people. However, it is not only home to the Moomins, but the president’s official summer residence is here as well. This is also one of the sunniest places in Finland and its sun is famous, as an old saying goes “shine like the Naantali sun”,
Back to our walk in Naantali, from the church, we continued along the icy shore toward the Old Town with its wooden houses. Most of its small galleries and shops had closed for the day. On the way back to our car, we saw some of the more modern parts of the center.
Back to Stockholm onboard MS Viking Grace
The drive to the harbor in Turku was easy and quick. Soon enough we were on the ferry, looking for something to eat before getting some sleep. We enjoyed our week in Finland, even though it did not entirely go according to plan.
Here are the other posts from our week in Finland: