As I am already living on an island that belongs to Turku and is called Hirvensalo. I just had to jump into my car and drive a few kilometers to Eerikvalla where the sea around Turku looks more like a sea and with plenty of opportunities to explore small islands with a packraft or kayak. I have also done a bicycle trip around the Turku Archipelago which has a distance of 250 km and I completed it in 24 hours. Another interesting place to visit is the ruins of Kuusisto which I reached by bicycle from Turku. You can also packraft the Aura river in Turku if you are interested in urban packrafting.

What to do in the Turku Archipelago?

Packrafting

Most of the small islands are inhabited by birds and it can smell quite awful once you get closer to such a bird island. However, you can also find there interesting things such as fish bones.

Turku is surrounded by the sea and there are plenty of small islands which you can visit with your packraft. I was mainly paddling around Hirvensalo and Ruissalo which covers only a small part of the Turku Archipelago. However, if you own a sea kayak then I would recommend rather to paddle in a kayak than in a packraft as the distances can be quite long and the packraft is quite slow on the open sea.

I was also packrafting the Aura river and which falls more into urban packrafting. Discovering a city through the river can be a quite different experience than walking in the streets. Konstantin has also done urban packrafting in Amsterdam. Check our YouTube channel if you want to see the video.

On some packrafting trips, I also had my Windpaddle with me, which is however just useful if you have a good amount of wind. Otherwise, I leave it at home. In this blog post you can find a video on how I packraft with a Windpaddle.

While paddling I came across many possibilities to attach my packraft on one of that buoy which is quite handy if you want to take pictures. Unfortunately, I only had my iPhone 4s with me so taking pictures with this phone is quite limited to point and shoot. It’s also possible to ‘park’ your packraft in a reed field if you want to take pictures so the boat does not move and you can focus on your target.

What I also like on the Turku Archipelago is that there are frequently motorboats in the water generating waves which is fun to paddle in with a packraft.

YouTube video

The Archipelago Sea around Turku is a great place to go Packrafting, Kayaking or Sailing. Since I have a packraft I took the opportunity to go on four micro-adventures during spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Autumn is probably the nicest season to paddle since the trees on the small islands are quite colorful and there is also a bit more wind which also allows you to use a wind paddle sail.

Spring

On my first trip in spring, I decided to take my packraft and to paddle around Kulho – an island in the Archipelago Sea which is located next to the island where I am living. The Archipelago Sea contains the largest island group in the world by the number of islands. I have also been hiking on the Aland Islands 2 years ago which is also part of the Archipelago Sea. The weather was great. After the long winter in Finland, it’s good to have the sun and warmer temperatures back. There were plenty of cottages in the Turku Archipelago and I had to be careful not to disturb anyone when paddling to the shore. I also had snacks and freshwater with me to prepare tea.

Summer

During summer, I paddled around 2 islands – Isosaari and Mäntysaari. I also visited the old Kakskerta church and paddled around Eerikvalla in Hirvensalo.

Autumn

Autumn makes it very special to paddle here as the leaves of the trees have changed their colors and the scenery looks quite different than paddling here during the summer. First, I had a short hike through a forest in Hirvensalo where I followed the Metsäpolku which means roughly translated forest trail. The hike was quite easy but I really enjoyed the nature and the birch forest. There was also a possibility to camp in one of those shelters. It was quite windy on that day so their many opportunities to ride with my packrafts on the waves. The coast is characterized by its rocks and it’s actually also quite easy to get on and off the packraft on those rocks to have a break and observe the birds and ships.

Winter

During winter, I went to a couple of shorter packrafting trips before and after the sea was covered with ice. On one day the packrafting trip started ‘dry’ but halfway it got rainy and windier. However, this made paddling a bit more exciting.

After inflating my packraft I had to walk along a flooded area with my packraft to reach the sea. The flooded area was approximately ankle deep but since I was wearing waterproof socks and a dry suit it was no problem to walk to the shore.

In front of my packraft I could see already the upcoming wind and clouds packed with rain which eventually reached me when I was on the way back.

And there were also plenty of jetties in front of the cottages which were built along the shore. Having a motorboat to reach your cottage is quite common here as there are also many cottages which are located on islands.

After paddling for a while I decided to have a break so I parked my packraft on the rock. It’s important to have something heavy (e.g. your backpack) on top of your packraft especially if it’s windy since there is a great chance that the wind will catch your packraft and take it away.

I enjoyed the nice scenery. Also, I had good timing since the sun was shining through the clouds just when I had my break.

The temperature today was around 3°C degrees and it’s always good to have a camping stove with you to prepare a nice cup of tea and recover from the cold weather. The sun was reflecting on the plain rocks which have been formed by ice and sea.

On the way back I finally hit the rain. The sea became quite rough but it was still fun to paddle while the packraft was dancing on top of the waves. The weather got again better at the end but the sun was still hiding behind the clouds.

I am still excited about the Archipelago Sea. You can have endless microadventures due the endless amount of islands in this area. More packrafting trips in the Archipelago Sea to come …

If you are excited about packrafting you may also watch my video about wind paddle sailing here around Turku.

Winter Hiking

Last weekend we got plenty of snow in Turku and I seized the opportunity to rush out with my camera to take some pictures. First I went to the city center but then decided to drive to Ruissalo which is also a cool place during the summertime.

From Ruissalso you can also see those big ferries which are cruising between Turku, Mariehamn, and Stockholm. Personally, I like Southwestern Finland best so far. Turku has a special charm compared to Helsinki. It’s not too big and offers lots of cultural activities and tourist attractions. Turku is also a great town for families (I have lived 3 years in Helsinki, 2 years in Vaasa and for 2 years in Turku).

The Archipelago Sea is something really unique and during the summertime it’s just awesome to paddle there and explore the islands. Here you can also read about my Archipelago Paddling experience during 4 seasons or my visit to Kökar. Naantali is also a picturesque small town at the sea which I can recommend as well.

Another advantage of living in Turku is that the living costs are lower compared to Helsinki and that it’s closer to Stockholm. However, if you are planning to find a job in Turku then this could be a bit challenging. There is also a lot of history in Turku – which was once the capital of Finland until Finland became a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire where the tsar decided to move the capital to Helsinki which is closer to St. Petersburg.

Cycling to Kuusisto bishop castle

On Mother’s day, I decided to get on my bicycle in Turku and explore the bishops castle (Kuusiston piispanlinna) and the wooden church in Kuusisto. The environment is a little bit different than in Vaasa.

There are more hills and there is a possibility to go 250 km by bike and explore the Turku Archipelago. The islands are connected by ferries and the route I took today is actually the starting point for the Turku Archipelago biking tour.

The castle was built in the 14th century and served as a fortification until it was demolished in 1528 by the King of Sweden – Gustavus Vasa and the Church of Kuusisto was constructed in 1792.

I have also discovered the Teijo National Park and the Kujenrahka National Park which are close to Turku.