When you think of Finland, bustling city scenes from Helsinki may fill your thoughts. But take a trip a couple of generations in the past and pay Rauma a visit.
One of the most iconic things traditional Finland has to offer are ages-old wooden structures that somehow withstand every test of time. Some of these very homes can be found in Old Rauma, and they date back to 1442. Rauma, which can be found in western Finland in the Satakunta region, is the third-oldest town in the country.
Old Rauma is protected as one of the country’s few UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Within the 70-acre area, there are 600 buildings housing a total of 700 people. Pair that with the cobblestone streets and you have an equation for a postcard-perfect destination.
While the ages-old wooden homes are certainly reason to visit, but there’s another thing visitors seek out: lace. Rauma is known around the world for the masters of bobbin lace-making who call the town home. If that piques your interest, the town hosts an annual Lace Week in July where you can meet many of the lace makers and purchase their work. If you’re looking for something a bit offbeat, this is also the only time that the telephone museum (which is owned by a local) is open to the public.
The Franciscan abbey church, The Church of the Holy Cross, is also a popular destination, with its murals that date between 1510 and 1522. The entire town was built around this church, including the narrow, winding roads of Old Rauma. Don’t miss Kitukränn, a walkway which is thought to be the narrowest street in the country.
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Rauma does offer the best of both worlds, with its historic––and incredibly preserved––neighborhood nestled next to a more recently expanded city with modern design shops, cafes, and restaurants. This special combination makes it possible to take in the old with the new all in a day’s visit.