Porvoo, founded about 800 years ago is the second oldest town of Finland. It is a small town situated about 50 kms away from Helsinki, Finland. It is a beautiful city which is full of history which can be seen and felt as you walk down the streets of this charming city. This city has served as a home to many Finnish artists. It is mostly famous for its red shore houses which were originally built and painted red in honour of the arrival of the king of Sweden, Gustav III. Historically, Porvoo has also been a very important centre of trade. The shore houses were then used to store goods and produce that came in from far-away lands. The timeless and unique atmosphere of this city attracts travellers from all over the world.
You can reach this place by taking a bus from Helsinki. There are regular buses every 15-30 minutes from Helsinki’s Central Bus Station to Porvoo. It takes approximately an hour to reach by bus. There is also a vintage train that the Porvoo Museum Railways run in the month of July and August only. This train runs in between Kerava and Porvoo and takes about 1.5 hour. Kerava can be reached in 20 minutes by taking a regular commuter train from Helsinki’s Central Railway Station. You can also take a boat ride. There are cruises from Helsinki to Porvoo during the months of May to September. This takes about 3.5 hours to reach. Porvoo is also easily accessible by car via the E18 expressway east from Helsinki.
THINGS TO SEE
Iconic Red Warehouses
The town is particularly famous for its many red wooden buildings, attractively perched by the Porvoo River. These buildings are located in the old town which is a few hundred meters away from the modern city centre. And on a summer day you can leisurely walk around these buildings which are indeed very delightful. If you want to get the best view of these iconic red warehouses then cross the river and walk along the park that is on the other side.
Porvoo Cathedral is located at the heart of the Old Porvoo and is one of the most popular buildings here. The cathedral sits atop the hill looking over the entire town. It was built at the end of 14th century and since then it has been burnt down five times and the most recent was an attack that took place in 2006 where the roof was burned but the damage was repaired. The cathedral was renovated for two years and is now open to the public again since 2008. This is also the place where the first Diet of Finland assembled in 1809 giving it religious freedom.
Porvoo Doll and Toy Museum
This toy Museum has more than thousand dolls and countless other toys that are on display. Some of the toys were made dating from 1800 to 1990. All of the toys that are placed in the museum have been played with right from the coat of the teddy bear and the tires of the toy car you can see how beloved they had been. It’s not only the children that have fun in this museum but also their parents and grandparents as they reminisce their own childhood and the toys that they played with. However, this museum is open only from 1st June to 10th August.
This Museum occupies two buildings at cobbled square which is at the heart of the Old Town. The town hall building has most of the collection. There are some artefacts relating to the town’s history. The work of the two famous artists of Porvoo that is the painter Albert Edelfelt and sculptor Ville Vallgren is displayed here.
This place is full of life. The market square which is surrounded by City Hall, bus station and some speciality boutiques is the heart of the city. The products sold at the marketplace vary from season to season. The market cafe is one place where the people gather and spend time. During summer the guest marina and ferry dock at Jokiranta are always at its best. The downtown area has been improved a lot lately making it a fun place for people to gather. Flower beds, cafes, fountains have made the shore into a pretty gathering place.
You can also go Kayaking and canoeing in the Porvoo River. This is a very popular summer pastime. The stream is very gentle and pretty suitable for beginners. But just make sure you do not venture out into the sea unless you are experienced and know what you are doing. Also southern Finland, Porvoo is one of the best places when it comes to delicacies and home decor. Since the 19th century people travelled all the way from Helsinki to Porvoo to visit the restaurants and cafes. The interior design shops in the city are famous all over the country. The styles vary from antique and romantic to modern and state of art at these shops. Thus, Porvoo is the best example of how beautifully the old can blend with the modern while still retaining its uniqueness. Thus, Porvoo is the perfect place if you want to spend some peaceful time.