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Old Porvoo - Amazing Summer Town

Porvoo River with red wooden houses.
Porvoo Old Town is famous for its colourful wooden houses by the Porvoo River.

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We had a great day trip from Helsinki to Old Porvoo which is truly an amazing destination in Finland. Read our article about things to see and do in Old Porvoo.

Day Trip to Old Porvoo

Almost all European capitals share the same common thing: They have their beautiful old towns serving as the main attractions in each city. However, in Finland, you will notice that Helsinki is one of the few exceptions. However, Helsinki, the Finnish city capital located in southern Finland is not a disappointment since a medieval town is situated quite close to the beautiful Old Porvoo. Porvoo is another southern city in Finland and it offers truly unique adventures. The city is just 50 km away from Helsinki and easily accessible by public transport. Boats operate between May and September and buses leave from Helsinki Central Bus Station every 15-20 minutes. Going to Old Porvoo by car is also a feasible option, reaching it in less than an hour from Helsinki City Centre.

Porvoo River landscape
Porvoo Old Town is a combination of natural beauty and traditional Finnish wooden architecture. Depicted in the background is the historical Porvoo Cathedral.

We went to Porvoo by bus for almost an hour's trip from Kamppi bus station in Helsinki. Along the journey, we enjoyed the beautiful greenish landscapes of the countryside. And immediately upon arriving at Porvoo, the second oldest city in Finland, the welcoming scenery was just wonderful and amazing - an old town with wooden old architecture and attractively coloured walls. You will appreciate the fascinating views as the town of Porvoo is situated in the river delta. The long stretch of the Porvoo River adds to the town’s very natural beauty.

Porvoo River red wooden houses
The enticing view of Porvoo River and the wooden houses of Porvoo Old Town.

Things to Do and See in Porvoo

Strolling in the Old Town

We recommend wearing comfortable footwear as the streets are made of cobblestones. For the same reason, parents should want to leave the baby strollers at home for easier mobility. The streets are full of antique shops and handicrafts by locals that you will surely enjoy visiting. Most of the shops though are open only during the summertime.

Porvoo Old Town is a perfect place to photograph fascinating aerial photos with a drone.

Having a Coffee at Cute Cafeterias

It is so perfect to have a coffee or even lunch in one of the beautifully architectured small, local cafes and old restaurants along the street. At the same time, you can enjoy your sip of coffee while your eyes are fed with the scenic view of the colourful and eloquent buildings of this charming old town.

Handicraft shop in Porvoo Old Town
Porvoo Old Town is a cosy small area that has tiny nice cafes and old handicraft stores.

Walking up to Iso Linnanmäki

We were so lucky during our visit for it was a perfect, sunny day with blue skies. We climbed up the hill called Iso Linnanmäki which made our visit to this city even better. The pathways up are quite sloppy. So again, have comfortable footwear. There are clear signs that the hill is not accessible by wheelchair for this reason. Despite it being too hot climbing up on a sunny afternoon, the fresh air from the tall trees surrounding the hill is just relaxing. There are a few benches in the area where you could take a rest. Finally from the top, you will enjoy a stunning view of this tiny yet fantastic historic village. We noticed some locals enjoying a picnic in the very peaceful area at the top of the hill. Be forewarned that camping is not allowed there.

Isolinnanmäki bridge in Porvoo
Next to Porvoo Old Town, there is a hill called Iso Linnanmäki. Walking up to the hill during a beautiful summer day gives you a rewarding experience.

Visiting Porvoo Cathedral

From the hill, walk down to visit the Porvoo Cathedral. Porvoo Cathedral is one of the city’s oldest and most well-known structures. It was built at the turn of the 14th century and has a remarkable history. The church has been burnt many times but after renovations, it has been reopened to the public in 2008.

Porvoo Old Town cathedral
Porvoo Cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in Porvoo. It has been burned multiple times during its long history but it has always been reconstructed.

Enjoying a Walk Along the Porvoo River

It is a must not miss the picturesque postcard views. The colourful wooden houses next to the river with the Porvoo Cathedral in the background make up the landscape. The different varieties of colourful flowers and tall green plants along the river create natural beauty. Indeed, the place is just full of characters.

Small cafes and restaurant boats are present in the area where you can enjoy a glass of drink or meal by the river.

Boat Restaurant in Porvoo River
Eating or having drinks in a boat restaurant is a unique experience that Porvoo can offer.

Kayaking and Canoeing on the Porvoo River

Kayaking is a popular summer activity among locals on the Porvoo River and its nearby islands. The stream is gentle so it is also suitable for beginners but beginners should not venture out into the sea for their safety.

Visiting Old Porvoo Railway Station

Don't miss seeing the Old Porvoo Railway station. It is situated opposite the Porvoo Old Town on the other side of the Porvoo River. The station is quite hidden which requires tourists a bit more effort to go further than the red houses.

Locomotive in Porvoo Old Railway Station
The Porvoo Old Railway Station is being used only temporarily by museum trains. A museum shop and old locomotives are present at this old station.

Bottom Line

Definitely, we fell in love with Porvoo. Due to its picturesque city centre of wooden houses, Old Porvoo is a proposed UNESCO World Heritage. So why not come and see one of these most popular day trips from Helsinki or Vantaa. We guarantee you to fall in love with this mesmerizing town of Old Porvoo. You will easily see almost all corners of the town in 3-4 hours. Staying overnight is an even better plan to fully experience and completely see this Finnish beautiful city of Porvoo. is a practical starting point to find the best and most affordable hotels in Porvoo.

Have you been to Porvoo? What did you like the most, comment below! Or join a Finland-related Facebook group: Travelling and Living in Finland and start a discussion there.

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Destination: Finland

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