What should I see in Porvoo is a common question to those who have a little spare time in Finland.
Porvoo is a beautiful Finnish city, easily accessible from Helsinki. It is just a 30 minute drive to the west, or less than one hour by bus. (Tickets available from Onnibus.com) A great day trip from Helsinki! The city delights the visitors with its medieval charm. The area of Porvoo has been inhabited since the Stone Age times. However, it was granted the city rights only in the year 1380.
The city was ravaged by the Danish pirates, and it was also burnt to ashes twice during the times of the Russo-Swedish Wars. In March 1809, Porvoo hosted one of the main historic events in the history of the country - The Diet of Porvoo. As Finland was being annexed as an independent part of Russia at the time, the Diet of Porvoo was the legislative assembly which helped to establish the Grand Principality of Finland.
So what is there for you to do?
Old Porvoo centre is an incredible attraction on its own. Riverside warehouses, narrow cobble-stone streets, cosy cafes, antique stores and old wooden houses add to the overall atmosphere of this town.
You can visit medieval Porvoo Cathedral which is situated in the heart of the city. It is one of the most iconic buildings and it has a fascinating history. Having been burnt down five times, Porvoo cathedral managed to survive to delight the modern day visitors with its beauty.
Love chocolate? In which case, Brunberg chocolate Factory is the right place for you! The company has been manufacturing very traditional and good quality sweets from 1871. There are two Brunberg shops in the city where you will be able to sample some of the best company products. Definitely worth a visit!
Home of J.L Runeberg
J.L Runeberg was a famous Finnish poet and the creator of the Finnish National anthem. In his home you can see how life in the middle of the 19th century used to be in Finland. This museum was opened in 1882 and currently it is the oldest home museum in the country. It recreates an amazing atmosphere of the authentic Runeberg’s family living. You will see real items that Runeberg and his wife owned and used themselves. The entrance to the museum is only 8 Euros.
Are you a nature lover? Take a walk though beautiful Finnish forests to get to the Great Castle Hill. It rises above the streets of Old Porvoo and opens up a completely different view of the city. In this place, the remains of the largest castle fortress in Finland were discovered in 1965 together with the Iron Age burial sites. You can still see the moats which have dried up over time as well as the wooden bridges across them.
Looking for a cosy traditional lunch place? Cafe Cabriole would be one of the best options. Situated in a charming 19th century Art Nouveau building in the heart of Porvoo, the cafe is able to accommodate up to 80 visitors at a time. You can enjoy an amazing lunch buffet from 10:30-14:30 Monday-Friday. Delicious soup of the day, salad buffet, a couple of main courses and a great selection of teas are on offer. The place gets really busy during the lunch hours, so make sure you book a spot for yourself.
Whatever the weather, Porvoo has something to offer everyone, you can get some great holiday snaps to show your friends, and see some amazing real Finnish history!