I often write about my hometown Helsinki here, but I thought I would shine the spotlight on another part of Finland for a change. Rauma is a small town located in the west coast of Finland, and it holds a lot of fond memories for me as it’s close to where my parents grew up and where my grandma still lives.
I always loved going to Rauma because even though it’s small, there always seemed to be lots of things to do and places to visit. My great grandmother used to have her own stall in the market square selling raffle tickets and various things knitted by grandma. Getting to go inside that stall as a kid was the coolest thing ever, and I remember that pretending to be a sales person was so much fun.
Because I live in London I don’t get to visit that often anymore, but I do try to go once a year if I can. This time we went on a rainy Sunday which was great for taking pictures of empty streets but not so great for visiting all the cute cafes as they close early on Sundays. Oh well – we live and learn!
Rauma was founded in 1442 and is Finland’s 4th oldest town. Its beautiful colourful and wooden old town got the UNESCO world heritage site badge in 1991 which means the historical centre needs to be protected from any unnecessary changes. There are about 600 wooden buildings in the old town dating back to the 1800s.
You may also spot a lot of signs written in old style lettering around the town – and on your way there – which add to the charm. The people of Rauma have their own dialect and a way of speaking that they are very proud of – these signs are written in that old style and can sometimes be difficult to understand even if you speak Finnish.
Rauma is a host of various events throughout the year that brings people to the town from all over Finland, one of the biggest being the Rauma Lace Week celebrating the long tradition of lace making in Rauma and hosting lots of art and music events at the same. The week culminates to an all day and night celebration, roughly translating to the the night of black lace where the whole of the old town turns into a playground and you can find stalls selling arts & crafts around the town as well as lots of different live music acts as well as local bars and restaurants hosting their own special programs.
Rauma is a four hour bus ride away from Helsinki, so it’s not really suitable for just a day trip if you’re staying in the capital. However, it’s only 1,5 hours away from the oldest city of Finland, and the old capital, Turku which is very much worth a visit as well, so combining these two places might be good idea. From Turku you can also take a cruise ship to Sweden and spend a day in Stockholm too, so visiting this part of Finland isn’t too bad an idea at all…
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