Day trip from Helsinki- Porvoo


Finland’s Lapland being one of the hotspots for watching the Northern lights, the other places in this quaint European country are often overlooked by the tourists. I would have done the same if I was a tourist on my way to see the ‘aurora’ which features in my ‘things-to-do-before-I-die’ list. However, having resided in Helsinki for about four months, we decided to explore the nearby towns in April. At the end of the research we found out Porvoo, a serene town in the Southern coast of Finland and also one of the oldest towns in the country, was worth a visit. A day trip is all one needs to visit Porvoo which is about one hour (50 kilometers) from Helsinki by bus. The bus ticket costs about 9 Euro per person as of now.

Now, a few facts about this picture-perfect town.

  1. To be precise, Porvoo is not even an old town. It’s a medieval town which dates back to the 14th century. There are total six of them I heard.

2. The name Porvoo is derived from the river Porvoonjoki and suggests a Swedish Castle by the river.

  1. The old town area is made of cobbled streets and just looks like a place from a period film. The main attraction is its Cathedral which, I suppose, is an Evangelical Lutheran Chruch. Not that I know the difference.

  2. Porvoo was also the home of Johan Ludvig Runeberg, the national poet of Finland.

Now, coming back to our trip, Porvoo is a kind of place best explored on foot. The old town roads, as I mentioned, aren’t car or wheelchair friendly. One can rent a bike though. But mind it, it’s not easy to ride on those rough streets. A brisk walk from the bus stop and after a maze of wooden, red houses one stumbles upon the magnificent church. Nothing gaudy about it but the white facade looks pretty. From the church, one can practically view the whole town. So it’s like a viewing point. Since, I am not a religious person, I will skip the details here.

Coming down from the church, one finds himself with the cutest houses one can ever imagine. Adorned with wild flowers and wooden fences these little houses looked too good to be true. Unfortunately, we visited on the Easter Sunday. So most of the shops were closed but we were lucky to find this ‘much talked about’ chocolate shop open. Undoubtedly, one f the oldest chocolate shops I have ever set foot in. Brunberg is the name. Sadly, I picked up some coconut flavoured chocolates which I didn’t like. How dumb! In my defense, I would say, I know not any Finnish. But I am sure the shop has exquisite collections.

Next, we went to see the red little houses by the river. For a few moments, I was jealous of the people living in those houses. The kitchens and backyards were practically on the river. One could really dive straight into the river from the bathroom sauna. But thinking about the frosty water in the river, I was no more jealous. By the way, I am yet to understand Finland’s obsession with sauna. it’s like a national sport here. By the river we sat and drank the coffee we took from home in a thermos. This could be the perfect picnic if there wasn’t any wind. We decided, Porvoo was a place for the summers.


There are other things to do and explore in Porvoo but we weren’t really in a touristy mood. We just wanted to relax and enjoy the sun. One could visit the poet’s house and there was also the house of some wealthy trader to explore. But all I wanted to see was, the Doll Museum. Sadly, it was closed.

(Edit: I finally made it to the doll and toy museum. Read all about it here)

So we decided to do some gastronomy test. We headed to a Nepali restaurant that had a signboard saying buffet lunch for so and so prices. But the lady inside looked surprised when we mentioned buffet lunch. May be she didn’t understand us or it was a bad trick to bring people to the restaurant. Therefore, we decided to ditch it and headed straight to the most inviting little restaurant in the town. The restaurant Hanna Maria is very famous for its reindeer meat. Until then, I didn’t know it was legal to eat reindeer! Not sure if Santa Claus approves of this delicacy, though. I didn’t have the heart to try it no matter how much they praised it. Instead, i tried some fried salmon which was delicious. But here is a picture of the reindeer meat. My husband tried it in zest and ended up feeling sick as the taste didn’t suit his buds.

Thus, our Porvoo trip ended with unusual quantity of food and a feel of the Finnish Traditional life. We picked up postcards and fridge magnets for our friends in India from the little shops. They have now found their way to different Indian cities.


  • pedrol November 16, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    I agree with you, Porvoo is a must stop in a trip to Finland!! feel free to check my article about the city in here PedroL

  • Porvoo doll and toy museum – A Thousand Diversions August 22, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    […] but was unable to visit this special museum as it was closed for the winters ( Read all about it here). So this time, I made sure that the first thing I entered after reaching Porvoo was this cute […]

  • boaltena October 29, 2015 at 10:35 am

    How cool! I’m going there tomorrow, really excited!

    • Storyteller October 29, 2015 at 11:09 am

      Hey thanks for reading. Enjoy your trip. I hope it’s not too cold there.

  • Sketchpacker June 13, 2015 at 4:42 am

    Ahh I really wanted to see your pictures but most of them haven’t loaded for me! Could be my internet but I wanted to let you know in case it’s a problem your end

    • Storyteller June 13, 2015 at 7:10 am

      Hello. Thanks for reading. I can see the pictures from my end and they are just mobile pictures. So shouldn’t take time to load. But thanks for pointing out. I will check.

      • Sketchpacker June 16, 2015 at 2:46 am

        No worries 🙂 I’m in Vietnam so it’s probably my end anyway

    • Storyteller June 13, 2015 at 7:15 am

      Which browser are you using by the way. Are you reading it on a computer or mobile?


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