The oldest town in Finland is Turku, “the rival of Helsinki”. It used to be the most important city in Finland until 1812, when Helsinki was turned into the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland by an order of the tzar Alexander I of Russia. Today Turku is an interesting mixture of history and modernity, beautiful architecture from 19th and early 20th century and ugly shopping centers build after the wars. Turku main library is a great example of intriguing architecture; an old renaissance style building dating back to 1903 got a brand new and highly modern extension in 2007.
I (think) could live in Turku, as the city has a vivid cultural life and you can get great coffee from there, directly from Turku’s own coffee roasting factory, Turun Kahvipaahtimo (serve also on my favorite café in Helsinki, at Sävy). At least I really enjoyed my weekend there together with my girls – thank you for a great birthday gift!