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!
The red shore houses
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.
How to get there?
By museum train on certain summer Saturdays, departing Helsinki Central Railway Station in the morning and returning in the evening. The timetable is usually published in the spring. Tickets approximately €32 return. Click here for more information on the museum train, including the upcoming schedule .
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.
How to get around?
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.
Views from across Porvoonjoki towards the residential area of Old Porvoo
Cathedral: 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.