a DAY TRIP by train from helsinki
Just 50 kilometers from Helsinki, Porvoo is a perfect day trip. It is Finland's second oldest city, dating back to the middles ages and it is one of six medieval towns in the country. The old town, vanhakaupunki in Finnish is beautiful in the summer. It is picture perfect with it's quaint cobbled streets, maze of narrow lanes, pastel coloured wooden houses and idyllic parks blossoming with flowers. On a sunny day the river (Porvoonjoki) creates a flawless reflection of the bright red shore houses on the water - probably the most photographed scene in Finland! They were painted with red ochre paint in the late 18th century to honor King Gustav III's arrival, making them look stunningly beautiful. It is the scene that has welcomed visitors to Porvoo for over 300 years. In times gone by, the red shore houses used to store exotic delicacies from countries far away as historically Porvoo was a trade center but today, most are apartments, shops, restaurants or privately owned. Just like every in Finland, the city is host to numerous interior design stores with styles ranging from modern to antique. Timeless and enchanting, a day trip to Porvoo is a fantastic addition to your trip to Helsinki.
Built in the 15th century, with some parts from the 13th century it was originally built of wood and later reconstructed with stone walls. The cathedral has suffered numerous fires over the years (the latest in 2006) but on each occasion it has been re-built. Today it is one of the most well known buildings in the heart of Old Porvoo.
Views from across Porvoonjoki towards the residential area of Old Porvoo and the red shore houses.
HELSINKI TO PORVOO (AND RETURN)
The museum train, Lättähattu ("Flat Hat") is a 1950's Finnish designed diesel railcar manufactured by Valmet. Withdrawn from service in the late 1980's, a few of the 400 built examples have survived in museums around Finland - some in mainline working condition such as No. 4163 owned by Porvoo Museum Railway (Porvoon Museorautatie). The first generation railcars were designated DM6. They had exceptionally small wheel diameters which resulted in a few problems and even occasional derailments at points. The second generation diesel railcar, DM7 had larger wheels and a few other modifications. In addition to powered cars, non-powered vehicles were also built, such as No. 11592 (vehicle type EFiab) which was half passenger and half luggage storage and conductor compartment.
Porvoo Museum Railway operates one return service to Porvoo from Helsinki on a few summer Saturday's. The train departs Helsinki Central Railway Station in the morning, and follows the mainline as far as Kereva. From Kereva the museum train follows a branch line to Porvoo passing through Hinthaara and rural Finnish countryside with picturesque red cottages surrounded by green fields and pine forests (Route Map). The journey time is approximately 1 hour 45 minutes. In the afternoon the train returns to Helsinki giving passengers about 3 hours in Porvoo.
The name Lättähattu originates from the mid 1950's youth fashion of Helsinki, when teenage boys used to imitate American Films and wear felt hats.
Lättähattu DM7, No. 4163 built in 1960 waiting at the old Porvoo railway station (top), the drives view (bottom left) and the interior passenger compartment (bottom right).
By m/s J.L Runeberg from Helsinki's main Market Square (Kauppatori). Departures are three to five times a week between May and September.
By local or express, the quickest option direct from Helsinki bus terminal. It is the only public transport option if visiting in the Winter and it has frequent departures all year round.
Porvoo City is best explored by foot as the Old Town is hilly, compact and has cobblestone roads. The train, bus and boat terminals are all within walking distance of the Old Town.
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