Porvoo (Borgå in Swedish) is the second oldest city in Finland and also a popular day trip from Helsinki. It has been officially existing as a town since the 13th century, but most buildings are from the time of Russian rules in 19th century. Porvoo has been historically an important city for commerce and trading post and goods to destinations across Europe. Moving away from the river, the city attracts the visitors to the old part and its ancient streets lined with colorful wooden houses and creates an artistic atmosphere of a charming and popular center for the visitors. If anyone is interested in shops, restaurants, bars, and boutiques, most of them are placed in this part of the old center. There's also a lot to explore and enjoy by walking to the side roads and streets outside of the old city center surrounded by buildings from more than 200 years ago.
Red shore houses of Porvoo
There are many stunning pictures of the city of Porvoo in any travel guide made from the red shore houses. These houses are painted red since 18th century and they were painted this color in honor of King Gustav III of Sweden who visited the city back then. These houses on the Porvoonjoki shore were used as store houses for coffee and tobacco, but nowadays they are mostly used as houses. It is possible for visitors to enjoy walking around this area easily or to experience paddling on the Porvoonjoki and to see the city in another way interesting as well.
Birthplace of the national poet Johan Runeberg
Finland's national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804–1877) lived with his wife Fredrika Runeberg in Porvoo. The house of J.L. Runeberg was opened to public in 1882. It's the oldest home museum in Finland that remembers the everyday and social life of the family. In summer, the garden is filled with the scent of roses and fruit trees.
Runeberg wrote in Swedish. He is considered the national poet of Finland and the first Finnish writer who reached international fame as well with a great influence on Swedish literature. In Finland, the second official language is Swedish and in Porvoo, there's about 30% of Swedish speakers.
Runeberg's poetry has been compared to that of the great European romantics, such as Hugo, Shelley, Keats, Lermontov, and Petöfi.
The old Iso Linnamäki fortress of Porvoo Porvoo is an old city with ancient monuments such as the Iron Age burial site discovered back in 1965. One of the biggest fortresses in Finland is situated in the ancient Iso Linnamäki at north of the old city. Visitors can experience a nice walk around the place on top of wooden bridges and enjoy the view from the top of the hill or have a fun picnic.
Explore the nature of Porvoo and surrounding
Sikosaari is a small island close enough to Porvoo and easy to reach. Visitors could also rent a bike and explore the nature or camp around the city. Haikko Mannor is another place worth visiting as a beautiful conference and spa hotel dating from 1362 hosting saunas and indoor pools. There are also amazing islands around Porvoo worth visiting specially in sunny summer days such as Äggskär Island- rent a boat and enjoy the archipelago trip.
How to get to Porvoo There are different ways of getting to Porvoo depending on where you are situated and how you like to travel or enjoy your trip. It is possible to reach Porvoo by bus, ship, car, bicycle or airplane. By bus: Reaching Porvoo by bus is easy and possible from different directions. There's a regular bus service from the Helsinki center to Porvoo which takes about an hour or less depending from which direction to go: Lahti, Tampere, Kouvola or Kotka.
By car: Porvoo is reachable by car as well from different directions such as Helsinki, Kotka, Kouvola, Lahti, Tampere, and Turku. From Helsinki, it takes less than an hour one hour and an hour and a half from the Helsinki airport.
By ship: You can also have a nice cruise trip between Porvoo and Helsinki. This is a day trip that leaves in the morning and returns in the afternoon passing through the nice archipelago and lasts for about three hours each way.
By bike: For a more adventurous trip to Porvoo, you can go biking from Helsinki. Follow the road 170, or for a longer path, go through Nickilä and Hinthaara. This distance is about 50 kilometers and it lasts for about two hours without any stop. Another option is to take the ship or bus one way or stay overnight in Porvoo.
By airplane: For some visitors, it is easier to get to Porvoo from the airport of Helsinki-Vantaa because Porvoo is nearer to the airport. There's a shuttle in the airport that helps the visitors to get on the right bus heading to Porvoo. The bus connection is frequent daily and takes about 50 minutes.
Accommodation: There are of course many different options of enjoying the stay overnight at Porvoo: a historical manor, a wooden house, different hotels or romantic guesthouses, a hostel in wooden villa or a charming cottage, nature and camping, bed and breakfast or apartments. Restaurants: Porvoo has a lot to offer when it comes to restaurants and cafés. There are charming historical wooden or stone houses to enjoy coffee, cake, lunch or dinnet but there are of course, more modern places as well. Restaurants offer a variety of international dishes and traditional Finnish or Scandinavian foods.
Famous Runeberg's cakes sold in Porvoo cafés
J.L. Runeberg the national poet lived in Porvoo and the cake 'Runebergin torttu' was named after him. Sit in a nice café in old Porvoo and enjoy this cake. There are also many versions of the Runeberg's cake recipe worth trying or one can buy them ready made from the shops at Runeberg's memorial day which is 5th of February.
Like in any other recipe, there's a story behind this cake found in the poet's wife Fredrika's recipe book when she tried to make something sweet for her husband. It's believed though that she got the recipe from the baker Lars Astenius who lived during the poet's life.