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Porvoo (Swedish: Borgå) is a scenic small town 50 km east of Helsinki, Finland. One of the most popular day trips from Helsinki, its picturesque city centre of wooden houses is a proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Kayaking past Old Porvoo

Porvoo is one of the six medieval towns in Finland (with Naantali, Rauma, Turku, Ulvila and Vyborg). As Finland's second oldest city after Turku, Porvoo has been around since the 13th century, although most of the present buildings date to the 19th century. In 1809, the Finnish members of the Swedish parliament assembled at the Diet of Porvoo to affirm the country's conquest by Russia.

Today, tourists flock to pad about the cobbled narrow lanes of Old Porvoo (Vanha Porvoo), which has survived the sprawl of the modern city around it remarkably intact. The place is particularly popular in summer.

Get in[edit]

By bus[edit]

There are buses from Helsinki's Central Bus Station to Porvoo every 15–30 minutes. Standard/express services between 55 and 70 minutes – the expresses just stop in Porvoo on their way to points further east. Tickets can be bought on Matkahuolto from €9, however the price for a ticket bought on the bus can go up to €18.

Services from Saint Petersburg are operated by Lux Express and Transgold. Minibuses from Vyborg run by Skandynaviia TK will drop you at the 1 McDonald's around 1 km west of the town centre.

2 Porvoo bus station (Porvoon linja-autoasema). Ticket office has moved from the building in the middle of the square to across the road on Rauhankatu. An electronic board with upcoming departures is also located there.

By train[edit]

Porvoo Railway Station

There is no regular passenger train service to Porvoo, but the Porvoo Museum Railways run a vintage 1955 Lättähattu ("Flat Hat") Dm7 from Helsinki via Kerava to Porvoo and back occasionally. The trip takes 1½ hours and costs €40/80 one-way/return for adults, half price for children, no reservations, cash only. As of 2021, the train leaves Helsinki at 09:50 and sets off back from Porvoo at 14:10.

By boat[edit]

M/S J.L. Runeberg cruises from Helsinki to Porvoo between May and September 3–5 times a week, departing at 10:00 and returning from Porvoo at 16:00. The trip takes 3½ hours one way and costs €25/36 one-way/return, half price for children. On Saturdays in the summer, you can also opt to take the boat one way and the train back (check hours). The boat leaves from Linnalaituri on Helsinki's Market Square, in front of the President's palace.

By car[edit]

Porvoo is easily accessed via the E18 motorway east from Helsinki towards Kotka and the Russian border. The other option is the old Porvoo road, Highway 170, but it's considerably slower and not particularly scenic.

By bicycle[edit]

Bike fans may want to consider pedalling the 78 km along the scenic King's Road from Helsinki to Porvoo, or 50 km along the more direct Highway 170 (part of EuroVelo route 10).

Get around[edit]

Buggy parking in front of the Cathedral

Porvoo is best explored on foot: the pedestrianized Old Town is compact and all main attractions can be easily reached from the bus, ferry or train stations. Parents will, however, probably want to leave the baby carriage at their lodging: the Old Town's streets are cobblestone and often hilly.

By bus[edit]

Information about local buses can be found here[dead link]. There is a route planner for local transport trips. You can also use route planner[dead link] to find some routes which are part of Greater Helsinki transportation system but are useful also for travelling local trips.

There is a dial-a-ride service for especially northern and eastern countryside villages of Porvoo, named Kyläkyyti. It can be ordered using Matkahuolto Trip Planner and Tickets mobile app. The village ride is open on weekday evenings from 17:15 to 21:00 and on Saturdays from 09:00 to 15:00. The passenger can pick up the ride for immediate need or for up to five days. The passenger can check availability at any time, and secure the ride as well as the seat only by ordering transportation. The price of the ride is €2.50-8.60, depending on the length of the trip, and the app always shows the final binding price before confirming the order.

By bike[edit]

Since 2019, there is a bike sharing system with 20 stations. Bikes can be rented with the Donkey Republic app. Fare €1.50/30 min, €5/4 hr, €12/one day, €20/2 days. For longer stays becoming a member is cheaper: €9 or €18/month covers all trips of less than 1 hr respectively 12 hr, also in other towns using Donkey Republic – but you need to register as member in the country of your card (available: most countries in western Europe and USA). Customer service , +358 44 716 0644 daily 09:00–21:00. Several towns in south-east Finland use the same system, which is in use also elsewhere in Finland and abroad. Year round function is being considered.

By ferry[edit]

About 30 km south-east of the centre of Porvoo is the archipelago around 1 Pellinki, which is a popular tourist destination. There is a 3 ferry connection between the village of Tirmo, which belongs to the mainland, and Sundö, which belongs to the archipelago. See timetable at Finnferries.

By taxi[edit]

See also Uusimaa#By taxi.

  • Taksi Itä-Uusimaa, +358 100 0700. Also bookable by 0100 0700 app. Fixed price based on calculated route and time if destination address given when booking by app. Flag fall M–Sa 05:00–21:00: €3.90, other times and holidays: €6.90; 1–4 persons €0.99/km+0.99/min (July 2020).
  • Smartphone apps: Valopilkku, 02 Taksi


The former town hall, now museum
A pedestrian street with a focus on wooden houses and boutiques

The town is famed for its many wooden buildings, picturesquely perched by the Porvoo River (Finnish Porvoonjoki, Swedish Borgå å). These are concentrated in the old city (Finnish: Vanha Porvoo, Swedish Gamla Borgå), a few hundred metres north-west of the modern city centre, and on a fine summer day a stroll around them is very delightful indeed. For the best view of the iconic red warehouses, cross the river and walk along the park on the other side. Perhaps surprisingly (for buildings decorating almost all tourist brochures of a city), you can only view them from the riverside; they are private property, in use as homes or otherwise.

Overall, just walking the streets of the old city with its wooden houses and popping into the shops and cafés is really Porvoo's top attraction.

  • 1 Porvoo Cathedral (Borgå domkyrka). A heavy, squat, white stone building, this church wins no awards for architectural innovation, but it's among the oldest and largest in Finland, with parts dating back to the 11th century. Predating the Reformation, it was built as a Catholic church, but was somewhat crudely converted into a Protestant one later on by removing icons and painting over murals. The building burned four times between 1300 and 1700, and took a direct hit from a bomb in 1914 – miraculously, the bomb fell through the roof, but did not explode. The roof was burned by an arsonist in 2006, but the damage was repaired and it's now open again, with some of the Catholic-era murals restored in the process. The diocese of Porvoo comprises the Swedish-speaking parishes of Finland.
  • 2 Art Factory (Taidetehdas), Läntinen Aleksanterinkatu 1 (in west side of the Porvoo River), +358 10-231-8200, . A culture and congres centre, where you can get to know the milieu of the old factory, visit the art hall and participate in various events.
  • 3 Porvoo Doll and Toy Museum (Lelumuseo), Jokikatu 14. M–Sa 11:00–15:30, Su 12:00–15:30. Contains over 1000 dolls and hundreds of toys dating from 1800 to 1990. Open from June 1st to August 10th only. €2/1.
  • 4 Porvoo Museum (Porvoon museo), Raatihuoneenkatu 21, +358 19 574-7500. May–Aug: daily 10:01–16:00, Sep–Apr: W–Su 12:00–16:00. History and art museum in the heart of the Old Town, housed in the former City Hall (1760). The Diet of Porvoo – where the Russian emperor promised to let Finland keep its Swedish law, language and religion under Russian rule – was held here, and today it showcases artefacts from peasant life and a collection of old photographs. €5.
  • 5 Home of J.L. Runeberg, Alexandergatan 3, +358 40-489-9900. May–Aug: daily 10:00–16:00, Sep–Apr: W–Su 10:00–16:00. Home of national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804–1877), more or less as it was when he lived here with his family in the 1860s, including the garden where there also is play site for children. €8/6/- (children under 18 free).
  • 6 Albert Edelfelt Ateljè Museum (Albert Edelfeltin Ateljeemuseo), Edelfeltinpolku 3 (in Haikkoo), +358 50-553-3290, . A museum dedicated to the Finnish artist Albert Edelfelt (1854–1905).
  • 7 Statue of Johannes Linnankoski (Johannes Linnankosken patsas), Kaivokatu 28. The memorial statue of Johannes Linnankoski (1869–1913), one of the famous authors of Finland, best known for his 1905 novel The Song of the Blood-Red Flower.
  • 8 Kungsbacka Zoo (Kungsbackan kotieläinpiha), Sikiläntie 609 (bus stop "Venjärvi th Sikiläntie"), +358 40-507-1215, .
  • 9 Porvoo Old Railway Station (Porvoon vanha rautatieasema), Vanha Hämeenlinnantie 11 (along the Porvoo River). A historical landmark.
  • 10 Porvoo Water Tower (Porvoon vesitorni), Roviovuorenkatu 12.


Klovharun out in the sea, with Tove Jansson's Spartan summer cottage

Kayaking and canoeing on the Porvoo River and in the nearby archipelago is a popular summer pastime. It's even possible to make your way down all the way from Lahti, 90 km away. The stream is gentle and it's quite suitable for beginners. In the archipelago, don't venture away from sheltered waters unless you know what you're doing.

Tove Jansson had her summer cottage in the Porvoo archipelago, first on Pellinge, later in the outer archipelago.

  • 1 Klovharun (Summer cottage of Tove Jansson), . Tove Jansson, famous for her Moomin books, lived her summers with Tuulikki Pietilä on this rock in the outer archipelago (with a tiny cottage by famous architects Reima and Raili Pietilä) for 25 years. One week each summer the island is open for visitors on guided tours or with their own boats. The guided tours include 2×30 min travel from Pellinge and 45 min on land, and are arranged twice daily for 6–8 persons per tour, with reservations at least 14 days in advance. The rest of the year it is rented for one week at the time, based on applications. The terrain is rough. Pets are not allowed. Landing is not possible in rough weather, overnighting is not allowed. Adul €70, child under 12 €55. Klovharun (Q10546458) on Wikidata
  • 2 Ski (Kokonniemi) (South of the city centre). A few slopes on a small hill just outside town


  • Tirmo Blues: . A blues festival in the Tirmo Archipelago Center in Porvoo. (date needs fixing)


In the old part of Porvoo there are lots of lovely little shops where you can buy anything from dollhouses to hand made jewelry. Many are, however, open only in the summer.

  • 1 Brunberg, Välikatu 4, +358 19 548-4235. M–F 10:00–18:00, Sa 09:00–16:00. One of Finland's most famous confectioners, this family-run business was founded in 1871 and is best known for their Pusu ("Kisses"), or giant puffs of flavored whipped cream encased in a thin chocolate shell. Brunberg's liquorice (lakritsi) is another local favorite, and don't miss the chocolate truffles either. Most products are made in a factory in the outskirts of the town, which also has a shop (Teollisuustie 19 B, M–F 09:00–17:00, Sa 09:00–15:00), but their always-crowded Old Town shop is a bit more convenient. Though on a summer Saturday afternoon, expect equally long lines at the factory shop.
  • 2 Kellarikirppis (Källarloppis), Rihkamakatu 12, +358 44-777-0660, . A flea market.
  • 3 Shop Sadunhenki, Jokikatu 20, +358 50-524-2957, . A souvenir store.

Supermarkets and grocery stores[edit]


Restaurant ship



  • 1 Cafe Fanny, Välikatu 13 (opp Porvoo Museum). Pleasant cafe right on the old market square in the heart of old town, with indoor and outdoor seating. The homemade cakes are excellent.
  • 2 Porvoo Coffee Roastery, Mannerheiminkatu 2, 06100 Porvoo (on the waterfront by the main bridge), +358 19 617-040. Licensed bar and café in a converted brick warehouse by the river. Riverside and floating terrace tables available.

Bars and nightclubs[edit]



Gasthaus Werneri
  • 1 Budget Hotel Easystay, Johannisbergintie 31 (a fifteen-minute walk from Porvoo Old Town), +358 40-124-5200 (09:00–18:00), .
  • 2 Gasthaus Werneri, Adlercreutzinkatu 29, +358 400-494-876. 10:00–22:00. Basic guesthouse, 400 m from the bus station. No breakfast, but free use of kitchen facilities. Bedclothes included, towels €1. €62/70 single/double, also apartments.
  • 3 Porvoo Camping Kokonniemi, Uddaksentie 17 (1.5 km from city centre), +358 19 581-967. June–August only. Camping and caravan ground plus 10 cabins for up to four people. Showers, sauna, kiosk, BBQ shelter, playground. Cabins €58–67, camping €2/space plus €4/person.
  • 4 Porvoo Hostel (Porvoon retkeilymaja), Linnankoskenkatu 1, +358 19 523-0012. HI-affiliated hostel in a Porvoo-style red wooden building. 33 beds in 10 rooms. Single/double €29/38, €2.50 discount for HI members.


  • 5 Seurahovi, Rauhankatu 27, +358 19 547-61. Has a popular restaurant. €80.
  • 6 Sparre, Piispankatu 34 (near bus station), +358 19 584-455. Pleasant, centrally located business hotel. Breakfast and sauna (weekdays only) included. €85/100 single/double.


The measure of Porvoo

According to legend, the bailiff of Porvoo used a standard-sized measure to collect taxes of wheat or vodka from its citizens, but a specially altered box with a false bottom for passing them on to the Crown. He pocketed the difference and lived lavishly, and to this day the expression Porvoon mitta (lit. "the measure of Porvoo") lives on in Finnish to describe a generous or plentiful supply.

  • 7 Haikko Manor (Haikon kartano), Haikkoontie 114 (6 km from city), +358 19 576-01. Old feudal manor turned luxury spa and hotel by the seaside, popular with Finnish honeymooners. Features a Japanese-style Yorokobi bath section. €200 in new wing, €280 in manor wing.
  • 8 Onni, Kirkkotori 3 (next to Cathedral). The name means "happiness", and this charming small hotel in the heart of old Porvoo (the building was built in 1840) was boutique before they invented the word. Four rooms decorated in various retro styles from Functional (as in the 1920s architectural movement) to Manor. Breakfast included. €180.
  • 9 Pariisin Ville, Jokikatu 43, +358 19 580-131. Another quirky small hotel in the heart of Old Porvoo. Ten rooms named and individually decorated after merchants and artisans who once worked in the building, ranging from tar merchants to glass blowers.
  • 10 Runo Hotel, Rihkamakatu 4, +358 29-319-1200, . Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 112:00. Basic hotel, 300 m from the bus station, also a car park next to hotel. Breakfast is included in the price, also free Wi-Fi connection. €198 single/double, also apartments.



Many places of business may have Wi-Fi for customers (although it's usually called "WLAN"); ask the staff for details.

For free Wi-Fi and internet terminals, check 2 Porvoo City Library.

Stay safe[edit]

In emergencies, 112 (free from all phones). This includes social services, although for non-urgent matters you could contact the social services directly.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Porvoo
HelsinkiSipoo  W King's Road E  LoviisaVyborg
TurkuSipoo  W  E  LoviisaSaint Petersburg
MäntsäläAskola  N  S  END

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