Moomin loves you

A friend gave us a family pass to Moomin World recently and when 5 euro tickets to Turku came on sale we decided to grab that train and have a weekend away.

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We stayed in Naantali, a seaside town just out of Turku and home to Moomin World.

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Naantali was looking very pretty this summer and we enjoyed eating by the water and wandering through the Old Town.

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As well as the wooden shops and cafes, there’s also a beautiful old church. There was a funeral on however and when we went to go in later it was closed.

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(I’m still not sure if these are nuns or women on their way to a fancy dress party).

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Moomin World itself is a short walk from the Old Town, over a bridge and housed on a small island.

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The Moomin family and friends are characters from books written by Tove Jansson and are much-loved in Finland and beyond.

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At Moomin World you’ll find all the characters from the books as well as the police station and various homes.

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We wandered through three stories of the Moomin family home, sitting on Moomin’s bed and peeking in their cupboards.

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If you’re thinking of visiting Naantali or Moomin World, you’ll want to plan your trip as both are only really open during the summer.

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But for Moomin fans it’s definitely worth a visit. There are various scenes recreated around the island with characters you can interact with.

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We are not that familiar with the stories yet to be honest but I’m sure we soon will be. After meeting and hugging him, Miko told me quietly, ‘Moomin loves me.’

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To Stockholm by Sea

One of the best things about living in Helsinki is its proximity to the rest of Europe. While Finns say they feel fairly remote, for those of us facing a  26-hour flight home, anything less is a breeze.

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Photo: Marko Stampehl/AS Tallink Grupp

During the summer months you also have the option of visiting neighbouring countries by boat. By boat, I mean passenger ferries, built to accommodate you and 3000 of your favourite strangers.

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With my parents visiting we decided to do the ferry trip to Stockholm, which we’ve been told, pretty much makes us Finnish. We travelled on the Silja Serenade and were welcomed on board by Moomin, musicians and circus performers. The big promenade down the centre of the boat makes orientation really easy.

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As well as bars and restaurants, there’s a big play area for children. I sat in there for two hours while Miko played and recommend taking a book, as you need to stay in the area but not really watch your child the whole time. (Magazines in Finnish are provided).

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To travel, you pay one ticket price, that covers the fare and accommodation for all those sleeping in your cabin. A cabin with a window costs more, but with the Nordic summer sun visible for nearly 24 hours these days, you may not miss having one.

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One of the best things about the trip, that I hadn’t anticipated, was the beautiful views as we drew nearer to Stockholm.

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We had a bird’s eye view of the archipelago as we cruised slowly by, fascinated by the remotely set houses and saunas.

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Stockholm is a city set over 14 islands, connected by bridges. Once docked, we headed into Gamla Stan (Old Town), via bus.

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We passed by beautiful parks full of beautiful Swedish people, before reaching the Royal Palace.

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Gamla Stan is full of little streets to lose yourself in, with stores selling books, shoes, waffles and ice cream.

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We use the Foursquare app for recommendations on where to eat and were not disappointed with the lunch we had at Under Kastanjen.

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After an ice cream in the sun, we headed to the Nobel Museum, leaving Mum & Dad to tour through while we had a drink and people-watched in the Old Town Square.

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Later, on board the boat, we got a window seat and enjoyed drinks and the view, which once again was absolutely captivating. By the time we arrived back in Helsinki the next morning we agreed –  we all had a case of Stockholm Syndrome.

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Good to know:

  • Silja Line ferries dock a bit further out of town. Allow 20-30 mins for the bus into town, which is very easy to catch.
  • The currency of Sweden is the krona (SEK)
  • If you are a Club One member, take your card on board as you can earn points and get discounts
  • The duty free stores onboard have better prices than the cafes for things like chocolate
  • There are also big savings on Finnish souvenirs, like Moomin mugs (19€ on land, 13€ at sea)