Even though the weather in Turku was very cold especially in the beginning of the semester there were a lot of activities to do during winter. The best way to compensate the cold temperatures, which were -27°C in January, is to go to sauna in my opinion. Before I came to Finland I have never been in sauna but of course it is an important part of Finnish culture, so I tried it. There are a lot of saunas to choose in and around Turku. My friends and I preferred to go to the saunas where you can also swim in the frozen sea. At the beginning I couldn’t imagine to go into the water surrounded by thick ice. But after the first few times I realized that it is a great feeling even if it feels very cold every time and after you cooled down that much it feels even better to go back to the hot sauna. After 5 months I think that sauna will be the thing I will miss most when I will be back in Germany.
Before sauna I recommend to go hiking. It is a great reward to relax at sauna after an exhausting walk. There are so many beautiful places to see some Finnish nature around Turku. All the forests, the sea and lakes are totally worth to see it and it’s beautiful not only during winter.
It is totally worth to visit the same places again during spring time because it is a totally different experience. My favorite place to hike during my semester was the island Ruissalo. You can easily reach the island by bus and then enjoy the forest and the seaside there. Every time I went there, I explored new beautiful spots to have a nice view at the sea.
If the weather wasn’t nice enough to go for a walk, I went a few times to ice hockey games at HK Areena. The tickets for games of Turku’s team TPS Turku were quite cheap for students so I watched a few matches there. It was a nice atmosphere in the arena every time and the games were exciting. We had even the opportunity see a game of the Finnish national team playing against Slovakia. I can totally recommend to go to ice hockey at least once.
Text & photos: Dominik Czernetzky