- Porvoo old town and sights
- Porvoo squares
- City museums and galleries
- Porvoo Observation Decks
- Delicious points on the map
- Note to shopaholics
One of the oldest cities in Finland, founded by the Swedes in the 13th century, Porvoo often becomes a destination and a place of residence for those who are tired of the bustle of the city and dream of leading a provincial life, at the same time not getting too close to civilization. Old buildings have been preserved in it, and narrow streets and small houses make Porvoo a toy fairy kingdom, a walk through which can give absolutely childish emotions and impressions. Where to go in Porvoo, you will find if you find yourself in the city and on a romantic trip or on a weekend trip with the whole family. It is full of pleasant surprises - nice restaurants, interesting museums, cozy hotels and art galleries, where works of modern Scandinavian painters are exhibited.
Porvoo old town and sights
Arriving in the city by bus and barely getting off at the bus station, you immediately find yourself on the main city square with the city hall and a large shopping center. The Mannerheiminkatu street and the historic part of Porvoo start nearby, where you should go first.
In the old part of the city there are historical sights, carefully preserved by the townspeople for future generations:
- The three-story yellow house on Rihkamakatu Street, called Valtimo, was once a bank, and at the beginning of the 19th century. - an inn. The poet Johan Ludwig Runeberg, a famous Finnish author and cultural figure, stayed there.
- Opposite is Simolin's house, where the country's oldest department store is open.
- The old town hall on Välikatu street was built in 1764. Previously, it served for the meetings of the city council, and now the exposition of the city local history museum is located in the two-storey mansion with a clock tower. Among its exhibits are works by the artist Albert Edelfelt and sculptures by the renowned master Ville Walgren. Another permanent exhibition in the former Old Town Hall is the exhibition of Finnish design.
- An interesting historical building worth visiting in Porvoo is the House-Museum of the merchant Holm. The mansion presents authentic things and household items of a merchant family. The exposition introduces the original decoration of the house of a wealthy Finnish merchant who lived in the 18th century.
- The Porvoo castle is proudly called by the townspeople the former house of the vice-burgomaster Solitander. The mansion is famous for the fact that King Gustav III of Sweden once stayed there. Russian Emperor Alexander I, who took part in the first session of the Finnish parliament, also spent the night at the Porvoo Castle.
- The Devil's Staircase is an original natural landmark in the city. It is a stone-paved street starting at the intersection of Koulukuja and Ilolankuja. An urban legend says that the devil himself laid the stone steps, hence the name of the staircase.
Another major attraction of Porvoo is the Cathedral, consecrated in honor of the Virgin Mary in the middle of the 15th century. It was destroyed, robbed and set on fire more than once, but the temple was always reborn from the ashes like the Phoenix bird. In 1809 Finnish statehood was proclaimed in the cathedral.
Very green, like all Finnish cities, Porvoo invites its guests to admire the perfect lawns and flower beds and relax in the shade of the trees on a hot summer day. Each city square was laid out in memory of a famous person, and a walk through them will help you get to know the history of Porvoo better.
The enterprises of August Eclef have provided jobs for the city's residents for almost a hundred years. He founded successfully operating sawmills in Porvoo and had several barges that supplied timber to other cities.
In the Runeberg park you will see a monument to the poet, created by his son himself. Walter Runeberg lived in Porvoo in the second half of the 19th century, and today the poet's house-museum is open in the city.
Another small square is dedicated to the memory of composer Gabriel Lingsen. He composed his works and at the same time gave music lessons to local youth.
Maari City Park is the largest green oasis in Porvoo. It is especially pleasant to walk here in the off-season. In the spring, trees are in full bloom in Maari, and in autumn their motley foliage covers the lawns and paths with a picturesque carpet.
City museums and galleries
As in any Finnish city, Porvoo has many interesting exhibitions of a wide variety of topics, and you can go on a museum tour with children and an adult company:
- The Porvoo Toy Museum is considered the richest and most distinguished in the country. Each exhibit here has its own story, and even the appearance of a toy can tell a lot to an attentive visitor. The museum presents toys made of wood, straw, fabrics and clay, and they were made in the 18th-20th centuries.
- In the room where the Taidetehdas art factory is now located, metal cornices were once made and tractors were assembled. Today, the building is filled with art: plays and musicals are staged, art exhibitions are held, films are shown and excellent meals are served in a cozy restaurant.
- The exposition of the small museum Hörbergsgården is devoted to local lore and history of the city. It is only open during the summer season, so if you are in Porvoo during this time, be sure to take a trip back in time.
Don't forget about the museum of the poet Runeberg. In a small mansion, carefully preserved by the inhabitants of Porvoo, his wife's favorite flowers still stand in vases, and during the theatrical excursion you will be able to fully immerse yourself in the bohemian atmosphere.
Porvoo Observation Decks
If you are fond of photography or just prefer to keep your travel impressions in photo albums, you should visit places from which especially picturesque views open up:
- The historical center of the city turns out ideally in the photo if you choose the Old Bridge as a shooting point.
- The poet Runeberg is buried in the cemetery on the Näsinmäki hill, and there is another city observation deck not far from his grave. It is called the Nyasi Stone.
- The bridge on Mannerheiminkatu Street is a great place to admire the city. The red coastal barns, often called Porvoo's trademark, look especially good from it.
Speaking of red barns! They are most often depicted on calendars, postcards and guidebooks dedicated to Porvoo. In summer, the picturesque buildings serve as restaurants where you can taste Finnish fish cuisine.
Delicious points on the map
Since we are talking about daily bread, you can rest assured about the state of catering in Porvoo. You can have lunch or dinner in any institution you like, because the quality of cooking depends little on the prices in the menu or the splendor of the interiors. Urban chefs create real masterpieces from natural products - venison, wild berries, mushrooms, fresh fish and seasonal vegetables:
- Ani’s Café is located next to the poet Runeberg Museum. It is especially pleasant to dine there in the summer, when the tables are set in the apple orchard. The café's menu includes traditional Finnish food, and for those who prefer a special cuisine, the chef will gladly prepare vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.
- Despite the atypical name for the country of Suomi, the B-side Burgers restaurant is able to surprise the visitor with perfect meat. Burgers in it are made from local beef, and therefore they can be attributed more to the category of healthy food than to fast food.
- Hiking trails around Porvoo start from the doorstep of the Busgård BBQ restaurant. If long walking was not your plan, you can simply have lunch and sample the beer of a local craft brewery.
- Drinking coffee and enjoying the freshest pastries after a walk through the Old Town is best served at Cafe Fanny on the Town Hall Square.
- Another cozy place specializing in desserts is called Café Rongo. Among its special advantages is aromatic and strong coffee, a cup of which can breathe strength even into a very tired traveler.
- If the travel budget is tight or spending large sums on food is not your travel format, check out Hanna Maria's diner on Välikatu. The institution serves large portions that can be safely divided into two, and fresh bread baked right in the local oven is beyond praise and is inexpensive.
As it should be in the modern world, restaurants with cuisine from various countries are open in Porvoo. So if you have a strong nostalgia for Thai noodles, Mexican burritos or Italian pasta, your desires can easily be fulfilled in one of the "foreign" city restaurants.
Note to shopaholics
Shopping in Porvoo is worth starting at the confectionery shop of a local chocolate factory. It is called Brunberg and traces its history back to 1871. Chocolatiers faithfully observe ancient traditions and follow the recipes of their ancestors, and therefore the quality of local sweets, like a century ago, invariably pleases the buyer.
The main city market is open all year round, and the one on the Town Hall Square is open only in summer. Both of them offer customers a rich selection of products, souvenirs and works of local artisans.
Lundi Shopping Center in Porvoo's central square is a place to shop for traditional goods. It is worth going here if you are looking for quality clothes, shoes and accessories made of genuine leather. The department store has a wide range of equipment for winter sports - snowboarding, ice skating and alpine skiing, as well as special suits for comfortable skiing.
Do not forget to take away the most popular local souvenir as a souvenir of your trip. Legend has it that tax collectors used special double-bottomed mugs when the city was ruled by the Swedes. They collected a larger amount from the residents of the city, and handed over a smaller measure to the treasury. Porvoo Mitta, or Porvoo Measuring Cup, is sold in most of the Old Town's souvenir shops.