Naantali (Swedish: Nådendal, Latin: Vallis Gratiæ) is a town near Turku in Western Finland. It is a popular tourist destination in the summer. The municipality now includes much of the northern Archipelago Sea (former municipalities Merimasku, Rymättylä and Velkua).
Naantali originated as a Bridgettine convent 1443. After the Lutheran reformation, the convent was laid down and the town had a hard time. The church was repaired by Per Brahe in 1660. In the mid-18th century, the town got a customs chamber and new vitality. In the late 19th century Naantali became a spa resort.
Naantali has a busy freight port and heavy industry, but you have to stray away quite a bit from the tourist areas to notice that.
There are frequent buses from Turku (30 min; buses number 6, 7 and 7A; €3/1.50: local ticket with two hours free transfer as usual in the Föli area). The bus station is at the border of the old town, walk through it to get to the church, the shore and the Moomin world.
Much slower and more expensive but far more scenic is the Ukkopekka steamship twice daily to Naantali old town by the Moomin World. The journey winds through the gorgeous Turku archipelago and takes two hours each way (€20/25 one-way/return, operates June–Aug only).
From Sweden there are the daily ropax ferries of FinnLink, from Kapellskär, Norrtälje, some of them via Långnäs, Åland. This is the shortest and cheapest way directly across with a car (60 euros including driver), but the ferry is considerably more bare-bones than the floating palaces that operate between Turku and Stockholm.
Naantali has a quite popular guest harbour, but the biggest sailing yachts cannot enter due to bridges (three routes, highest 16.5 m, shortest 11 m).
- Naantali guest harbour, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Main marina, at the old town. €26/night; day fee €5.
There are several guest harbours farther away in the archipelago, some of which have usable bus connections to the town.
Naantali is situated at the western end of Turku's ring road, Highway 40. If you're driving from some other city than Turku, follow the signage towards Naantali when you are to cross the ring road. From the center of Turku, drive towards Pori on Highway 8 and take regional road 185 to Naantali.
There are cycleways from Turku. From elsewhere you may have to use also normal roads, sometimes with options for more quiet ones. Naantali can be reached by the Archipelago Trail (choose the route via Rymättylä or Merimasku).
The town itself is not too big. The old wooden old town is well worth a walk. Most of the archipelago is reachable by bus or car. Public transport is sparse, though.
From late summer 2019 some local buses are flexible (tickets €3/1.50 as usual): call the driver and negotiate route and timetable. Line N1 serves the centre and some nearby areas weekdays 10:20–12:00 (☏ ), N7 the Luonnonmaa island, also to the centre, school days M W F 10:10–11:15 and 11:50–12:50 (☏ ), N11 Rymättylä down to Röölä school days M W F 8:25–11:30 (☏ ), N6 Merimasku according to timetable with only minor deviations in route (☏ or ☏ ). Check holiday and summer schedules.
Naantali is very much a summer town, and many attractions are closed outside the June–August peak season.
- 1 Old town. Naantali has a beautiful wooden old town.
- 2 Kultaranta. Literally "Golden Shore", this is the summer residence of the Finnish president. Guided tours Jun–Aug daily except Monday, advance booking required.
- 3 Convent Church (Naantalin kirkko). May–Aug daily 10:00–18:00, Sep–Apr Su W 12:00–14:00. Built in 1443–1462, this is the oldest standing structure in the city and among the oldest anywhere in Finland. Free.
- 4 Naantali museum, Mannerheiminkatu 21 (in the old town), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 16 May–31 August Tu–Su 11:00–18:00. Adults €4, children 7–17 years €2.
- 1 Moomin World (Muumimaailma), Tuulensuuntie 14, ☏ . Daily 10AM–6PM (mid-June to mid-August).. One of Finland's most popular amusement parks, dedicated to Tove Jansson's lovable Moomin characters (huge in Finland and Japan, but not too well known elsewhere). The blueberry-coloured Moomin House is the main attraction. Hemulen's yellow house is situated next door to the Moomin House. It is also possible to see Moominmama's Doughnut Factory, Fire Station, Pancake Factory, Snufkin's Camp, Moominpappa's boat etc. Visitors may also meet Moomin characters there or the Witch in her cottage. Moomin World isn't a traditional amusement park. There are many activities and fantasy paths for kids there, e.g. Toffler's Path with Witch's Labyrinth, The Hattifatteners' Cave and The Groke's House. There are also performances in Moomin Theatre Emma. Moomin World is the world's 4th best theme park for children according to The Independent on Sunday (October 2005). Moomin World was also elected as the domestic travel destination of the year 2005 (Matkamessut, Finnish Travel Fair 2006). Moomin World got the Golden Pony Award 2007 by The Games & Parks Industry magazine. The Jury said: "Moomin World is welcoming, well themed and full of educational contents." The Moomin Bus (Muumibussi) connects directly to Turku. Admission €25/person.
- 2 Väski Adventure Island, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Mid June to Mid Aug every day from 11AM–6PM. Väski Adventure Island is an island neighbouring Moominworld. The setting is designed with school-aged children in mind. There is climbing, jumping, gliding down a zip-wire, panning for gold, testing one's archery skills and other "adventure" activities. Follow the red-route and play the Väski adventure game, completing tasks and recording your score whilst exploring the island trail. The fisherman's village on the island has rustic restaurants, a beach, a sauna and animals on the villager farm. You get to Väski Island by boat, departing near to the Moominworld bridge in Naantali. The voyage is included in the ticket price. One-day ticket 23 €. Under 2-year-olds for free.
- Naantali Music Festival (Naantalin musiikkijuhlat) (several locations), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 2017: 6–17 June. Classical music. Individual concerts €20–69.
- Sailing race for traditional boats. 2017: 5 August. Sailing competition for traditional boats, such that were used for fishing and transport in the archipelago until replaced by motor vessels. Some participants are genuine, others replicas or built in the same tradition. The boats (some 30) will be moored in the guest harbour after the race, for closer inspection by the public.
There are lots of small shops in the old town. Nearly all now feature Moomin products, but also traditional handicraft or similar souvenirs can be found in many of them.
- 1 Naantali Camping, Kopenkatu 20, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A camping ground half a kilometer from the city center operated by the city's tourist office. Vehicles and tents €14+€6/person, cottages from €50 upwards.
- 2 Naantali Spa Hotel, Matkailjantie 2, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Finland's largest spa with roots dating back to the 18th century, even the Russian Czar has paid a visit (but the building is new). The resort includes a multitude of restaurants, a variety of rooms and large spa, beauty and pool services. The spa is the only Scandinavian member in the Royal Spas of Europe - affiliation. The resort is also well known in Scandinavia for arranging conferences. Off-season weekday rates can drop as low as €69/person but climb dramatically in high season..