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10 Things to do in Porvoo, Finland – A Memorable Day Trip from Helsinki

Keen to escape from daily city life of Helsinki? You must plan for a day trip from Helsinki to visit Porvoo. Whenever I feel, I need a short break , first place comes to my mind is Porvoo (Borgå in swedish).  It is situated on the southeast coast of Finland,50 km from Helsinki.  This second oldest town of Finland is the most famous day trip destination from Helsinki.  Its a fairy tale town with its medieval cathedral, unique wooden buildings, medieval red shore houses and museums. A town where history fuses with art and culture. You will surely  fall in love with its charming beauty. 

Here I am listing my preferred 10 things to do in Porvoo in summer. It is your choice whether you will explore the area or just sit  by the river, take a deep breath and let the surrounding sooth your mind. Surely you will feel relaxed and afresh after your visit.

One of the most Photographed Town in Finland - Aerial view

10 Things to do in Porvoo

1. Roam around Porvoo old town and get lost in history

Porvoo old town is such a small town that you can explore it on foot easily. This postcard perfect town is Finland’s one of the six  medieval towns. It looks like a painting with its colorful wooden houses, quiet cobbled street, narrow alleys, cathedral, museums, roadside shop, restaurant and cafes. Take a stroll in this charming medieval town  which will surely take you back to the medieval era.

Porvoo Cathedral
Porvoo Cathedral
Red house in porvoo
Famous Red Houses in Porvoo Old Town
Cobble street porvoo
Alley of Porvoo Old Town

2. Enjoy National Urban Park

Old town is surrounded by National Urban Park. The park which follows the Porvoonjoki river,was established in 2010. The purpose of the park is to weave Finnish life and culture with nature. In summer and spring time flowers bloom everywhere, make the area vibrant with colorful flowers. You can just relax on the riverside park or take small trails through the park.

urban park porvoo
A part of Porvoo Urban Park

3. Take a boat trip on Porvoonjoki

Porvoo Line River Cruises organize river trip in Porvoonjoki with  beautiful M/S Queen. You can listen fascinating stories on history of Porvoo and Finland while enjoying local foods and drinks in wonderful river cruises and admire beautiful views from the spacious sundeck. It starts from Matkustajasatama -pier and from Old Town’s Tykkilaituri -pier. Duration of the trip is about 1 hour.

Porvoonjoki porvoo
Porvoonjoki river

Saaristolinja organizes several river trips in Porvoo.  Most popular among them is guided river cruises with m/s Fredrika. It departs every hour between 12am and 17pm everyday except monday from Porvoo passenger harbour ( from  mid-June – mid-August ).  Duration of the trip is about 45 minutes. Midsummer eve bonfire cruise is a special midnight guided cruise with music and songs in  Snadra D ship for enjoying Midsummer. Other cruises, run by Saaristolinja are Archipelago cruise, Lunch cruise, Family cruise.

Porvoonjoki porvoo

4.Rent a bike and explore the surrounding

There are plenty of options for cyclists in Porvoo with short & long distance routes. You can paddle through cobbled street of old town to explore it or take a route through urban park and ride in nature. Bicycling from Helsinki to Porvoo is very popular in summer. Bike can be rented from  Porvoon Pyöräkeskus Oy. 

biking in Porvoo old town
Enjoying bike ride in Porvoo old town

5. Visit museum

Interested in history? Then you must visit Museums in Porvoo. The town possesses some of the best museums in Finland.

1. Porvoo Doll and Toy Museum-  Porvoo Doll and Toy Museum has more than a thousand dolls and countless other toys on display for visitors. Even older people can easily go down to their childhood days along with their grand children while visiting the museum. 

2. The Old Town Hall/Porvoo Museum–  Located in the heart of Porvoo old town, this is Finland’s oldest town hall. Built in 18th century, the town hall museum displays master piece from golden age of Finnish art and tells you the history and tradition.

old town hall_ Porvoo museum
Finland's Oldest Town Hall, Porvoo Museum

3.Holm’s House/ Porvoo Museum– This 18th century merchant house is a part of Porvoo museum. Holm,s House which  was built in  1763, gives you an opportunity to visualize how a wealthy merchant family lived in that era. The ground floor hosts a museum shop and temporary exhibitions.

Holm’s House museum Porvoo
Holm’s House

6.Hike to Iso Linnamäki or Castle Hill

Iso Linnamäki or Castle Hill, situated to the north of  Porvoo Old Town is a site of one of the biggest ancient castle in Finland.  The castle which  once  dominated the entire Porvoo river valley,  was probably built by the Swedes for making their conquests in the east in 1200s. Though there is no ruin to be seen, the dried moats surrounding Linnamäki’s plain witness to the past.  

wooden bridge in Iso Linnamäki Porvoo
Wooden Bridge in Iso Linnamäki

This beautiful landscape is only 5 mins walk from the Cathedral. The area is surrounded by nature and  paths cross wooden bridge and dried moats. Its a worth visit for scenic view of old town. You can find almost similar view of Albert Edelfelt’s famous painting ‘Porvoo seen from Linnamäki’ 1892 – the same great pine tree (more than 200 years old) with twisted roots. 

view from linnamäki
View from Linnamäki

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7. Rent a kayak or enjoy Stand up Paddling

Kayaking on the Porvoo River and in the nearby archipelago is a popular summer pastime. You can explore the city and its secretes from a totally different perspective. Kokonniemi Ski Center, Natura Mare,  Sirkka Experience are few popular kayak renting centre. Rent a kayak and float on Porvoonjoki.   It’s even possible to kayak from Lahti or Helsinki.


kayaking in porvoonjoki
Kayaking in the river Porvoonjoki
Kayaking in Porvoo
Kayaking in Porvoo

Stand-up-paddling is another popular sports in Porvoo. Its a fun!! Erimover arranges Stand-up-paddling equipment rental and different courses on it.  

You can rent  equipment from Jokikatu 35 B, during summer season.

Stand up paddling in Porvoo
Stand up paddling in Porvoo

8.Walking trail

The best way to explore the exotic features of surrounding is hiking. Those who are fascinated to walk in Nature must explore walking trails around the place. There are few walking trails-

Ekudden nature trail (1.5 km approx. ) : This trail starts about 3 kilometres south of  centre and is about one and half kilometres long. Along the path you will find green vegetation and wildlife.  There is  a bird-watching tower from where you can observe meadow and reed birds.

Gammelbacka nature trail(1 km approx.): Gammelbacka nature trail is located between Gammelbacka and Hamari forest area. 

Sikosaari nature trail (1.5 km approx.) Sikosaari nature trail is located a few kilometres south of the city centre. The trail goes through mostly in boreal forest dominated by old spruce trees. From the observation platform you may see a variety of birds.

iso linnmäki walking trail porvoo
Walking trail in Porvoo

9.Visit Chocolate Factory and Buy Chocolate

While visiting Porvoo, buying local chocolate is a must-do . There are several authentic chocolate shops in Porvoo. You can check these-

1.Brunberg Store in Old Town:  Brunberg Oy, the famous chocolate factory from Porvoo is  making mouth watering chocolate since 1871. Their store in old town (Brunberg myymälä) has a vast collection of chocolate products at reasonable prices. Address is Välikatu 4, 06100 Porvoo. Their factory store (Brunberg tehtaanmyymälä) is in  Teollisuustie 19 B, 06150 Porvoo.

2.The Little Chocolate Factory : Though the Little Chocolate Factory is founded in 2005, wins a number of International Chocolate Awards for its wonderful taste. Now it is one of the best chocolates in Europe.  AddressTeollisuustie 15, 06150 Porvoo. 

Brunberg myymälä Vanha Porvoo
Brunberg myymälä Old Porvoo

10. Visit The Runeberg Home

Runeberg Home, the home of Finland’s national poet J.L Runeberg, is now one of the oldest historic museums in Finland. You can experience the atmosphere of authentic 19th century’s burgher home, created by furniture, works of art, tableware and old houseplants belonging to the Runeberg familyGuided tour is available from June to mid-august  daily.  You can find a monument of the poet created by his own son, sculpture Walter Runeberg in Runerberg park which is located beside his home. 

Runeberg home porvoo
The yellow building across the river - Home of Runeberg

How to reach Porvoo from Helsinki:

By car: It takes less than an hour to reach Porvoo from Helsinki. E18 is the fastest one where as Vanha Porvoontie is more scenic & relaxed.

By bus:  You can get bus for Porvoo from Rautatientori, Helsinki bus stand and Kamppi. Travel time is about 1 hour 15 min.

10 Things to do in Porvoo, Finland - A Memorable Day Trip from Helsinki 1

By Boat: M/s J.L. Runeberg cruises run regularly between Helsinki and Porvoo from May to September. It starts from Helsinki at 10 a.m. and from Porvoo at 4 pm. One-way journey takes  about 3.5 hours. 

By train: There is no regular passenger train service to Porvoo, but the Porvoo Museum Railway runs a vintage 1955 Flat Hat train between Kerava and Porvoo on saturdays during July-August . One way trip takes about 1.5 hours

Tourist train in Porvoo
Tourist Train in Porvoo station

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Porvoo old town
10 Things to do in Porvoo, Finland - A Memorable Day Trip from Helsinki 2

Moon Ray

A Traveller with Nomadic soul.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Lissa

    The red houses and the alley are adorable! What a great place to learn about history!

  2. Aditi Sharma

    Lovely post! I’ve yet to visit Finland but when I do, I’ll be sure to spend a day in Porvoo – it’s such a postcard pretty town. I’d love to spend the day exploring the old town and taking in the sights of those characteristic red houses. I am sure a highlight for us would be to rent a bike and explore the town and surroundings leisurely.

    1. Moon Ray

      Biking is definitely one of the highlight of this quiet little city.

  3. Subhashish Roy

    I would love to spend some time in Old Town and take a boat ride. Missed Porvoo last time I was in Helsinki.

  4. Mary

    Who knew there was so much to do! Great post, thanks for sharing!

  5. Georgina

    I love anything medieval and this postcard perfect town seems ideal for me to get lost in when visiting Finland. Love to explore the red houses and perhaps if could stay a few days (time permitting) I would like to try out a mini kayaking adventure. A beautiful town indeed! Pinning this post for later.

  6. Tania Muthusamy

    I’ve not heard much about Porvoo, so this post has provided me with a lot of ideas for a possible future trip. Love the look of the old town. Your photos are gorgeous.

  7. Yanitza Ninett

    Wow!! Finland looks so beautiful 😍 I hope to visit some day!

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