I recently had a quick visit to Porvoo, a small town located 50 km east of Helsinki. Porvoo was founded in the 14th century and has played some important roles in Finland’s history. For example, it was there that the Diet of Porvoo occurred, where Alexander I declared Finland as a Grand Dutchy and give it a much higher degree of autonomy (you can read more about this meeting at Wikipedia and the Helsingin Sanomat). The historic centre of the town has been preserved, and is a popular spot in summer, both for local and foreign tourists – indeed the Rough Guide to Finland says that you are “you’re unlikely to be alone” in Porvoo during tourist season.

One of the streets running through the old section of Porvoo


One of Porvoo’s landmarks is its cathedral, which includes a beautifully ornate interior. It is definitely worth a visit if you are in the town. According to the church website, it is opening times for visitors are:

October-April – Tuesday to Saturday from 10 to 14, Sunday and public holidays 14-16.

May-September – Monday to Friday 10-18, Saturday 10-14, Sunday and public holidays 14 – 17.


Our group enjoyed a good lunch at a local restaurant that specializes in snails (Timbaali) – if you have a hankering for some escargo, its the place to visit in Vanha Porvoo (“old Porvoo”).

Icy streets – one reason I’m looking forward to visiting again in warmer weather!


Porvoo can be reached by ferry (see here) or bus from Helsinki (check out Matka.fi for timetables), and you can find the town’s official tourism website here, as well as useful details on Wikitravel.


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