Naantali (Swedish: Nådendal, Latin: Vallis Gratiæ) is a town near Turku in Western Finland. It is a very popular tourist destination in the summer. The municipality now includes much of the northern Archipelago Sea (former municipalities Merimasku, Rymättylä and Velkua).
The official summer residence of the President of Finland is located in Naantali.
The municipality is unilingually Finnish. English is well understood.
Naantali originated in 1443 as a Bridgettine convent. The Latin name of the convent was Vallis Gratiae, The Valley of Mercy. In Swedish this was Nådens Dal which turned into Naantali in the mouths of the Finnish speaking laymen.
After the Lutheran reformation in 1530s the convent was laid down and the town faced hard times. The convent hand taught handicraft skills to the locals and especially the women had learned to weave. During the years after abolishment of the convent, the town got significant income by selling long socks which had become a very popular men's garment those days. The church was repaired by governor general Per Brahe in 1660. The depression continued until the mid-18th century, when the town got a customs chamber and new vitality.
The customs chamber was marked with a large copper sun so that no one could say they did'n find the place where the customs fee must be payed. This lead to a well known Finnish proverb that something "is shining like the Naantali's sun" (loistaa kuin Naantalin aurinko). Today the proverb has positive meaning.
In 1723 professor Peter Elfving came to conclusion that water from the Viluluoto spring can cure many illnesses, and finally in 1837 a spa was established at the spring. However, the location was awkwardly remote, and fairly soon the spa was relocated by the sea next to the church but its fame had spread. The era of tourism in Naantali had started.
Modern day Naantali does not live from the tourism only. The town has got a busy freight port, in fact one of the busiest ones in Finland. There is also some heavy industry including Naantali oil refinery. However, you have to stray away quite a bit from the tourist areas to notice those.
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 1 bus station is at the border of the old town, walk through it to get to the church, the shore and the Moomin world.
From Turku a much slower and more expensive but far more scenic is the Ukkopekka steamship twice daily straight to the Naantali old town, not far from the Moomin World. The journey winds through the gorgeous 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 Finnlines, from Kapellskär (in Norrtälje), some of them via Långnäs (in Åland). This is the shortest and cheapest way directly across with a car (about 60 euros including driver, buffet meal included), but the ferry is considerably more bare-bones than those floating palaces that operate between Turku and Stockholm. NOTICE: Finnlines carry only passengers with a vehicle.
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).
- 2 Naantali guest harbour, Nunnakatu 18, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Main marina located in the heart of the old town. Restaurant. Saunas and showers available. €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).
See Turku#Get around for information about fares and tickets
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. Naantali has its own local bus network which belongs to Turku-area Föli transport system. 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.
- Taxidata, Taksi Länsi-Suomi, iTaksi: see Turku#By taxi
- Smartphone apps: 02 Taksi, Valopilkku
Naantali is very much a summer town, and many attractions are closed outside the June–August peak season.
- 1 Old town (Vanhakaupunki). Naantali has an attractive wooden old town. Colorful old buildings, narrow alleys etc. Most buildings are people's homes so please do not enter the yards.
- 2 Kultaranta. Literally "Golden Shore", this is the summer residence of the Finnish president. Guided tours Jun–Aug daily except Monday. Tours are very popular and booking in advance 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 ones anywhere in Finland. It is also the second largest medieval church in Finland. The crucifix was made in the times of the convent. Outside the church there is still a piece of the stone fence and a well as a remnant of the convent. Free.
- 4 Lookout tower. Cozy wooden lookout tower built on top of former water tower in the park surrounding the church. Nice view to the marina and towards the Moomin World. Narrow stairs not suitable for disabled. free.
- 5 Naantali museum, Mannerheiminkatu 21 (in the old town), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 16 May–31 August Tu–Su 11:00–18:00. A small museum in two old wooden buildings. In Humppi house you'll see some archaeological findings and visit their changing exhibition. In Hiilola you will visit a 19th century bourgeois home and their garden as well as more modest Sau-Kallio house. The museum shop in Humppi sell some Naantali themed stuff and books. Adults €4, children 7–17 years €2, MuseumCard valid..
- 6 Kuparivuori viewing place. Kuparivuori is a hill next to the old town with a sudden, tens of meters high vertical drop down to the Naantalinsalmi strait. No safety equipment so mind your steps! Awesome view towards the sea and marina. Rakkaudenpolku walkway climbs to the hill from Raatihuoneenkatu and Kuparivuorenkatu streets. The walkway's name means Path of Love as back in the 19th century young lovers climbed up here to cuddle as it wasn't socially accepted in public. On top there is also a small WW 2 era aircraft monitoring bunker.
- 1 Moomin World (Muumimaailma), Tuulensuuntie 14 (on Kailo island, connected to the mainland by bridge), ☏ . June: daily 11-17, July-August 9: daily 10-18, August 10-23: daily 11-17.. 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) and awarded several times internationally. 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. The Moomin Bus (Muumibussi, price €5.80/person) connects directly from/to Turku. Admission €32/person (€30 online), children under 2 yo free.
- 2 Luolalanjärvi bird watching tower and nature trail, Järveläntie 10. A 3 km long nature trail goes around a shallow and very eutrophic lake Luolalanjärvi, which is one of the most important bird sites in Southwest Finland. Two bird watching towers. Entrance from Järveläntie road. Bird waching tower is suitable for disabled but the trail is narrow and partially on duckboards. free.
- 3 Nunnalahti beach, Munkinpolku 5. Popular sand beach next to the old town. Locker rooms and showers.
- Naantali Music Festival (Naantalin musiikkijuhlat) (several locations), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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 Restaurant Kaivohuone, Nunnakatu 4, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Perhaps the most famous restaurant in town. The building was built in 1868 and was part of former spa. Large summer terrace. Lunch and dinner.
- 2 Restaurant Merisali, Nunnakatu 1. Another classics. The banquet hall was built in 1899 and was part of the former spa. Today it is on the list of nationally significant cultural views. Lunch and dinner.
- 3 Restaurant Trappi, Nunnakatu 3, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Sea faring themed restaurant. Excellent food but quite expensive. During the summer season there is another menu for the yard and terrace with fairly suitable prices. Lunch and dinner.
- 4 Café Amandis, Nunnakatu 6, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Café by the pier. Specialized on waffles, both sweet and salty ones.
- 5 Restaurant AS 714, Nunnakatu, ☏ . Rather new restaurant operated by the guest marina. Burgers, salads and finger food.
- 6 Luostarin Puutarha, Fleminginkatu 6. The only terrace at the harbor completely sheltered from the sun. Cozy.
- 7 Restaurant Snickari, Mannerheiminkatu 2, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- 8 Restaurant Uusi Kilta, Mannerheiminkatu 1, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 9 Chinese Restaurant Jasmine, Tullikatu 13, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Chinese food and sushis.
- 10 Hesburger, Tullikatu 8, ☏ . Finnish fast food burger chain.
- 1 [dead link] Naantali Camping, Kopenkatu 20, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: , ✉ email@example.com. 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..
- Turku, Finland's former capital
- The Archipelago Trail, taking you out around most of the Archipelago Sea