Our first stop in Finland was the historic town of Porvoo: the second oldest city in the country. Our flight into Helsinki arrived so late that we spent the night near the airport and decided to head there in the morning (a quick 30 minute drive). And when we woke up to a view of our snowy parking lot, we couldn’t wait to get out and explore something a little more picturesque.
Sinne Porvoo | This bistro isn’t too far from the old town center but there is free parking behind the building if you fancy. It’s housed in a more industrial setting with lovely atmosphere and locally sourced ingredients. The set menu for lunch was a pretty good deal and the food was outstanding!
Cafe Postres | The cosiest café. I wanted to steal the mugs I loved them so much. I also loved trying the Runeberg Cake here, which is a Finnish specialty traditionally flavored with almonds, rum and topped with raspberry jam.
SEE & DO
Porvoo Cathedral | I was really looking forward to seeing the inside of this cathedral but we missed the opening hours by about 20 minutes. Something to consider if you’re planning a trip in winter: most shops and attractions close super early.
Old Town Hall | Now a museum, this 18th Century town hall is one of only two remaining in Finland. The oldest town hall in the country!
Old Town Walking Tour | We walked around the old town on our own, discovering most of the sights along this tour, but I imagine a guided tour would be interesting as well. If you visit in summer, you can join this guided tour with Visit Porvoo.
Red Shore Houses | The red wooden houses that line the river were once used to store goods when Porvoo was an important trading center and are an iconic symbol of the old town. Now, they are mainly private homes but can be viewed from the other side of the river by crossing the old bridge.
All the shops in the old town are cute and mainly located on Jokikatu and Välikatu streets. I only have one specific recommendation, but it was fun browsing all the shops.
Skafferi | This was my favorite shop we visited. It’s mainly specialty tea and coffee, but they also have some sweets and gourmet ingredients like saffron honey and seabuckthorn jam.
Porvoo is definitely worth a stop, whether you are looking for a day trip from Helsinki or continuing on to Lakeland, like we were.