Porvoo is Finland’s second oldest city after Turku. It is located about 50 kilometers away from Helsinki so, it makes for the perfect day trip on a visit to the Finnish capital. Porvoo can be reached by bus from Helsinki bus station at Kamppi in just under one hour.
In summer there is a more scenic option: a round-trip by boat from Helsinki harbour. MS J.L.Runeberg is a cruise ship that takes visitors from Helsinki to Porvoo (and back) in about 3-4 hours (each way) with approximately 2.5 hours stop in Porvoo. Along the way there are plenty of opportunities to view the Finnish countryside, forests and enjoy the quietness of the peaceful surroundings.
On arrival at Porvoo, it is a short walk from the modern town to the Old Town. The red warehouses on the riverfront are one of the main attraction in Porvoo; used in the past to store goods, they are now privately owned.
Walking uphill away from the river the Cathedral comes into view. The roof was completed destroyed in an arson attack in 2006 but, it was restored, and the Cathedral reopened two years later; next to Porvoo Cathedral is the belfry.
Porvoo Old Town is very small and can be easily visited on foot alone or by joining one of the walking tours offered. The narrow streets are lined with colorful wooden houses, shops and restaurants; many of the buildings have beautifully crafted weathervanes on top of them.
Porvoo is also famous for its chocolate factories, with plenty of opportunities to sample the products in the small shops or in the coffee shops found all around the town.
There are a number of museums in Porvoo, including the curious Doll and Toy Museum and the house where Finland’s national poet J.L. Runeberg used to live.
Walking around the Old Town there are many sights waiting to be explored: an iron pole with a fence around it, it is all that is left of the Pharmacist’s Sundial and from the top of the Devil’s Steps, a rock formation resembling a set of stairs, there is a good view of Porvoo. The town can be visited all year-long and it is beautiful both on a sunny summer day or, on a cold winter day when the snow on the buildings makes the whole town looking like a winter wonderland.