Dating back to the Middle Ages, Porvoo is the second oldest town in Finland and is well known for its medieval Old Town and the vivid warehouses on the riverside. The city is also recognized for its local artists, including the legendary Johan Ludvig Runeberg, whose home still exists today. There are several things to do in Porvoo, such as shopping, river cruises, dining, cycling, and strolling along the river while enjoying the scenic views.
Pellinki archipelago is one of the best Porvoo sightseeing attractions. It is the best day trip from Helsinki, and it is located up to an hour off, and this town can easily be explored while walking. There are different options to go from Helsinki to Porvoo in Finland. However, it is better to hop on Helsinki to Porvoo bus for a great day trip. However, there are other means to get here depending upon weather and season.
How to Get To Porvoo from Helsinki by Bus?
The most convenient way to get around Porvoo is probably by bus. The Helsinki to Porvoo bus takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes and charges up to €10 – €14. Bus network is pretty good and reliable here. Be sure to check bus schedules and timetables online. Also, opt for Finland Bus Pass if you are about to take plenty of bus rides in Finland.
Getting around by other means
By Boat – You can take a steamboat to travel to Porvoo from Helsinki. The cruise is available every day. Steamboats sail in the morning from Helsinki and return by afternoon. It takes around 3 hours for the one-way trip. You can also book your boat ride online.
By Bicycle – For some scenery and workout, cycle along the route of King’s Road and get to Porvoo from Helsinki. One-way distance is around 39 miles (62 km). On this historical route, keep cycling to Russia for a week.
By train – Porvoo does have a train station, but it lacks regularly scheduled trains. However, classic trains are used in train trips in summer for accommodating the tourists. Check the current train timing at Porvoo Railway Museum.
Table of Contents
- 1 Quick information and Porvoo travel tips
- 2 Experiences and top things to do in Porvoo
- 2.1 Explore the Old Porvoo- with picture
- 2.2 Visit Bosgård Organic Farm
- 2.3 Visit Haikko Manor
- 2.4 Visit Iso Linnamäki Fortress
- 2.5 Go on a boat tour around the archipelago
- 2.6 Hike the Ekkuden Nature Trail
- 2.7 Treat yourself with a nice meal at one of Porvoo’s local restaurants
- 2.8 Check out Porvoo Cathedral
- 2.9 If you are visiting in the summer, rent a kayak or go paddleboarding!
- 2.10 If you’re visiting in winter, explore the neighboring towns by going cross-country skiing!
- 3 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Quick information and Porvoo travel tips
- Currency? Euro (€)
- Languages(s)? Finnish, Swedish, and English
- Where is this country located? It is located at the southern coast of Finland, Northern Europe.
- What is Porvoo famous for? Ancient buildings and cathedral, architecture, lakes, and the red shore houses and food
- Best time to visit Porvoo and seasons? If you’re looking for the very warmest time to visit Porvoo, the hottest months are July, August, and then June. And to catch the beautiful winter in Porvoo you can visit between the end of December and March. Be mindful what you wear during winter and bring warm winter clothes, shoes, and proper winter clothing!
- Transportation in Porvoo? You can take a steamboat to explore Porvoo from Helsinki, for sightseeing you can ride a bicycle, and for long distances you can take a train.
- Which side of the road do they drive? They drive on the right side of the road
- Which electric plug do they use? Type C and Type E/F 220V. For more information, check our travel adapter reviews!
- Other famous places in Finland? Helsinki, Tampere, Espoo, Vaasa, Turku, Pori, Mariehamn, Savonlinna,Rovaniemi, Salla, Jyväskylä, Kemi, Kuhmo, Kajaani, Oulu, Joensuu, Lappeenranta – read more here.
- Famous neighboring countries? Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, and Russia.
Do you need a visa for Finland?
In order to enter Finland, you need to have a valid Schengen visa. If you’re a citizen of the EU group of countries, you can enter Finland without a visa. However, if you’re a citizen of Canada, the USA, New Zealand, and Australia – you can stay in Schengen areas for 90 days.
Check out our detailed guide on how to apply for a Schengen visa – read it here.
Where to book your flights to Finland?
Check our handy-dandy guide on how to find the cheapest flights around the world – read it here.
Do you need travel insurance for Finland?
Remember this: anything can happen! Read our take on why you need travel insurance and how it can save you money when things go unplanned – read it here.
Experiences and top things to do in Porvoo
Explore the Old Porvoo- with picture
Old Porvoo should be the first in your itinerary when it comes to Porvoo sightseeing. It is one of the most beautiful small towns in the country and a walk along its Old Town is one of the best things to do in Porvoo day trip.
If you are visiting Porvoo winter, the weather usually remains cloudy. The town is quite compact, and Porvoo Old Town area is even smaller. Therefore, you can easily cover it on foot as a self-guided tour.
Pick a free map and brochures at the Porvoo City Tourist office or visit their official website to download them. You can also go on a guided walking tour if you want to learn some more regarding the history of sites in Old Town before you explore yourself.
Guided group tours start in the summer every afternoon, but you can also book non-summer tours and private tours in advance by booking your tickets online.
Related: Check out this tour from Helsinki and Porvoo half day tour
Visit Bosgård Organic Farm
Bosgård organic farm and manor are located around 14km east of Porvoo. Here you can be introduced with the traditional Finnish farm, which has been working along the extensive nature trails of the manor (i.e., 400m, 1.5 km, and 4 km). The tracks have detailed information boards written in Finnish, but there are translation booklets available in English, Swedish, and Russian.
Some of the topics covered here are Charolais organic cattle, manor’s preservation of non-clear forestry and traditional heritage landscapes. The nature trails remain open all the year-round and are free. If manor shop is closed, the mailbox has a map in English. You can find two picnic tables on nature walks.
The main manor house is a serene yellow building offering meetup facilities, and you can book in advance if you are coming in groups. The organic farm breeds Charolais beef on tranquil wild pastures. The farm has café, grill, store and three nature walks, which allow visitors to tour Bosgard on their own, explore the beef cattle and its functions.
The farm also hosts concerts, parties, and weddings on-premises and their catering are purely based on their produce and local ingredients. The cows here graze wild pastures, which help secure endangered habitats and biodiversity. There is also a restaurant and deli outside.
Visit Haikko Manor
It is a historic manor house and spa hotel located by the sea. The hotel is located just 6 km from the heart of Porvoo. This pristine manor house has 24 well-finished romantic rooms. The spa hotel houses 199 modern and cozy suites. Breakfast is included in accommodation along with entrance to the manor house and spa section.
The Haikko Manor has been awarded as the best conference hotel in Finland 10 times for offering the best quality selection of meeting premises and function venues for different needs.
Haikko has grand society events and small family occasions, along with everything in between. You can arrange your birthday party or wedding at the seaside manor. The Manor Park of nightingales and an eclectic archipelago villa has 20 meeting rooms in the conference center for 10 to 400 people. The saunas, spa, and gym are available after the meeting for guests to use.
Visit Iso Linnamäki Fortress
Located at the north of Old Porvoo town, you will find some hills, which serve as the valuable ancient archeological attractions and clear viewpoints. The Great Castle Hill (Iso Linnamaki) is the larger hill, which houses one of the largest medieval fortresses in the country, and the smaller hill, Lesser Castle Hill (Pikku Linnamaki) houses a burial site dates back from Iron Age.
There are also different paths you can take to get here while crossing former moats and wooden bridges. It is a great short hike and an ideal place to get a great view of the river and the Old Porvoo Town. This view would also be depicted in a painting ‘Porvoo: Seen from Linnamaki’ by a local painter Albert Edelfelt.
It is the best way to capture the natural surroundings, and the view is very captivating to feast your eyes.
Go on a boat tour around the archipelago
One thing, which would surprise you, is that you can find almost every activity to do in Porvoo, from skiing to kayaking, according to the season. You can enjoy cycling and hiking all year round as you can download a lot of maps of well-marked routes or you can also get them from Porvoo City tourist office.
You can enjoy biking, hiking or getting along the river at the National Urban Park, which starts in Porvoo city center. During the summer and late spring, you can enjoy kayaking, boat rides, stand up paddleboarding, and canoeing in the area, these are also the best thing to do in Porvoo.
You can check about the kayak, bike, and paddleboard rentals in the town, which are usually available in summers only. In winter, you could see ski slopes facing Porvoo. You can enjoy both cross-country and downhill skiing, along with ski lessons at the Kokoniemi Ski Centre.
You may also witness the locals skiing, skating, ice fishing, and even walking on the river when it is frozen in winters. You can find many winter activities but make sure to check ice conditions before. If you have some more time, it is advised to visit Pillinki Archipelago to enjoy a lot of cultural and adventure activities.
Related: For a more affordable day tour from Helsinki, check out this tour!
Hike the Ekkuden Nature Trail
The ekkuden nature trail is a 1.5 km long stretch placed well in a nature reserve just around 2 km south from the center of town. The nature trail starts from Tarkkinen playfield. It revolves around the field to the area of serene lime and oak trees.
The trail passes through mixed woods and covered grove between the rocky tracks and shore. You will also come across notice boards along the path giving information on wildlife and vegetation.
You can also view reed and meadow birds on a bird-watching tower. The notice boards are available in English, Finnish, and Swedish.
The terrain is straightforward along the path. There are wooden plank walkways in the damper areas so you can easily cross the trail. The conservation regulations laws protect the protected regions here.
Treat yourself with a nice meal at one of Porvoo’s local restaurants
Over the years, it is believed that people traveled to visit the cafes and restaurants in Porvoo from Helsinki. Also, it is agreeable. If you want to have some delicious meals, Zum Beispiel is the best place. It is one of the best restaurants here at the edge of Old Town. Its relaxed ambiance and fresh ingredients will make you go crazy and never leave.
After having delightful meals, be sure to walk along with the local café. You can find a lot of quaint cafes here which hard to rate 5-star anyone.
No matter which café you pick, be sure to order the famous Runeberg torte, Porvoo’s specialty. It is a Finnish pastry flavored with almonds and rum. The torte is named after Johan Ludvig Runeberg who loved the torte in breakfast, according to legend.
Check out Porvoo Cathedral
This Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral was built in the 15th century, and some parts of it are dated back to the 13th century. So, the Porvoo Cathedral is undoubtedly one of the oldest Finnish churches. On this site, there is another church, which has been there since the 11th century, which serves as the seat of Swedish-speaking diocese in Finland, the Diocese of Borga.
The Diet of Porvoo was also signed here in 1809 when Finland was declared a Grand Principality of Russia instead of being ruled by Sweden.
It was a significant event on the way to Finnish independence, which took place in 1917. There have been a lot of activities which have damaged or threatened the church over the years, and a case of arson was the most recent disaster in 2006 when the entire roof was destroyed and burned. However, the church is still alive and is free to visit.
If you are visiting in the summer, rent a kayak or go paddleboarding!
Stand-up paddling is among the rapidly growing sports worldwide. It is a fun and easy way to exercise. It is a prevalent form of workout to stay fit as it improves core stability. Even better, it is a fun and exciting activity for everyone.
You can go for paddleboarding as Erimover arranges paddleboarding courses, yoga, paddling excursions, and sessions. You can even order a SUP yoga course or paddling trip for a group. During summers, you can rent equipment from Jokikatu 35 b.
For kayaking, Bikepark/Kokonniemi Ski Center is the best places to rent a kayak. Explore the city from a different angle with a kayak. The equipment also comes handy on board. You can access the kayak rental by checking to time.
Related post: Top 10 Beautiful Islands in Finland to Visit
If you’re visiting in winter, explore the neighboring towns by going cross-country skiing!
Porvoo has lighted ski trails, which stretch around 32 km, including Humla (7 km), Kokonniemi (5 km), Haikkoo (2 km) and Joonaammaki (3 km). There are five illuminated slopes at the Kokonniemi ski center. There is 55m of height difference, and 400m is the longest slope. There is also a street/half pipe, five ski lifts, a kids’ slope, a restaurant, a skiing school and a ski track for enjoying cross-country skiing.
Located next to Porvoo downtown (around 50km from Helsinki), Kokonniemi is ski center to start. There are six different slopes in the ski area and a ski rental where you can rent both skis and snowboards and buy ski passes for lifts.
You can also visit Holmopupu restaurant next to ski rental where you can relax with hot chocolate or dine. If you love cross-country skiing, you can find a lot of different tracks around the downhill area and also rent packages if you don’t have your gear.
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