The capital of Finnish archipelago is filled with events

Turku will host various maritime events in the summer of 2023 ranging from the Swan Regatta to the Baltic Sea Day. Antti Kirkkola, Event Director of the City, believes that in the future Turku’s maritime dimension will be emphasised further.


The Archipelago Sea is one of Turku’s key attraction factors. And the River Aura extends the maritime feel all the way to the city-centre.

“The Port has always had a close link to the Turku city-centre. Today, the Port is located on the Linnanniemi cape, but earlier it was upstream on the river, first off Pinella and later next to Samppalinna”, reminds Antti Kirkkola, Event Director of the City of Turku.

Turku also wants to emphasise its maritime character through events and services.

“Proximity to the sea also brings many tourists to the city. Regarding international tourism, Finland’s advantages are specifically Lapland, Lakeland, Helsinki metropolitan area – and the Finnish archipelago and its capital Turku.”

Suomen Joutsen will be joined by little Swans

The biggest maritime event in Turku this summer is the Swan European Regatta from 19–23 July with the race centre in Forum Marinum.

“It will surely be a great sight when dozens of white Swan boats – which by the way were named after Suomen Joutsen or the Swan of Finland – glide from the River Aura towards the Airisto sea area. Many supplementary programmes and music performances will be arranged in the Forum Marinum area during the regatta. And the party will continue in the same venue just a couple of days later with the maritime jazz festival, Turku Sea Jazz.”

Mr Kirkkola reminds us that Forum Marinum in itself – the national specialist museum for seafaring and the Finnish Navy museum and a centre for maritime activities – gives a good indication on the significance of the sea to Turku.

“Tourists with a nautical spirit can accommodate e.g. on hostel and museum ship s/s Bore which has just returned after repairs in the dock.”

Sailboats on the shore of Aurajoki during the Swan European Regatta 2021. Before that, the Swan European Regatta had been organized in Turku three times: in 2006, when the Turku sailing club celebrated its 100th anniversary, in 2012 and in 2016 in honor of Nautor’s Swan’s 50th anniversary.
Traditional vessels return home

The Swan European Regatta will be followed by the Airisto Classic Regatta for traditional vessels from 27–30 July, and the Airisto Regatta from 12–13 August. The race centre of the former event is in the Ruissalo shipyard and that of the latter at the Turku Yacht Club.

“Boats built in the Ruissalo shipyard will also participate in the Airisto Classic Regatta, so they are in a way returning home.”

The traditional Baltic Sea Day will again be celebrated on 31 August. The event programme has not yet been confirmed, but in previous years it has offered, for example, delicious food from the sea and music performances.

“The sea of course has a strong presence at the Baltic Herring Market in October and the Archipelago Market in April as well.”

Tall Ships Races next year

The maritime mega event Tall Ships Races will again fill the River Aura with great sailing ships and diverse programme next year; the arrangements are already in progress.

“The Tall Ships Races arranged in 2017 attracted half a million visitors. We are of course aiming to reach at least the same figure this time, too.”

The Tall Ships Races, as well as many smaller events, call for precise planning and collaboration between different providers. The Port plays a key role in a big puzzle.

“The experts of the Port are involved, for example, in deciding on the use of shore-side areas and maintenance for the events. The Port people also bring their solid experience in seafaring to the planning tables.”

The maritime dimension grows stronger

Antti Kirkkola believes that Turku’s maritime dimension will become even stronger in the future.

“The renewal of the Port and the new joint terminal will further increase Turku’s attractiveness and accessibility by sea. Passenger and cargo transports are naturally very important to the local economy as well”, he points out.


Text: Matti Välimäki
Photos: Ilari Välimäki, Aija Kallio