The people of this town resisted change so successfully in the 17th century that today Naantali remains a fine example of a medieval Finnish town. Naantali, 19km (12 miles) north of Turku, takes its name from a convent and monastery of St. Birgitta, called "the Valley of Grace," which moved to the coast in 1443. The convent was rich and the little town prospered until the Reformation brought an end to the religious house.

Today you can stroll through narrow lanes lined with wood houses still on their original sites. In Medieval times, each house had its own name on a plaque over the door. Some of these plaques have survived, and the houses are known by their original names. The present buildings of the Old Town date from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

After the Reformation, Naantali declined until the town became a popular health resort after a spa was established in 1863. It was particularly popular with Russians, who preferred it over St. Petersburg. This tradition has been revived recently at a spa hotel.