Centred on its lively kauppatori (market square), Rauma’s Old Town district, Vanha Rauma, is the largest preserved wooden town in the Nordic countries. The main pleasure here is simply meandering the quaint streets of this Unesco World Heritage site.
In the Middle Ages Rauma’s lacemakers ignored King Gustav Wasa’s order to move to Helsinki to boost the capital’s industry. By the 18th century Rauma (Swedish: Raumo) was a thriving trade centre, thanks to the European fashion for lace-trimmed bonnets. Locals still turn out the delicate material, and celebrate their lacemaking heritage with an annual festival.
You might hear snatches of Rauman giäl, the local dialect that mixes English, Estonian, German and other languages that worked their way into the lingo from Rauma’s intrepid sailors. Rauma remains an important shipping centre, transporting Finnish paper around the world.