Waking up to bright sunshine dazzling our eyes, we realised it was going to be a lovely day for a trip along the coast to the old town of Porvoo. We had booked tickets on Onnibus who offer inexpensive fares on their comfortable coaches which depart from Kamppi.
It only takes 45 minutes to get there and in summertime it’s a delightful small town to spend a few hours. Alighting from the bus we wandered around the cobbled market square which was bustling with activity, from stalls filled with fresh produce to cute little cafes where shoppers were enjoying their morning coffee and cinnamon buns.
Approaching the old town, we crossed the river and admired the beautiful old red waterfront houses (feature photo above) which are the town’s most recognisable landmark. These buildings were originally storehouses and were painted bright red in recognition of a visit from the King of Sweden in the eighteenth century. Many of these houses have now been converted into apartments, holiday cottages and cafes overlooking the Porvoonjoki River.
Our next stop was to Porvoo Cathedral which sits high on a hillside above the old town. The church dates back to the fifteenth century but suffered major fire damage in 2006 when the roof was totally destroyed but thankfully the interior was kept mostly intact. There was a Swedish organ recital taking place when we visited and we enjoyed listening to the music for awhile.
We then wandered along the narrow, cobbled lanes of the old town, the streets being lined with attractive small shops, galleries and cafes, their doorways adorned with brightly coloured flowers in hanging baskets and pots. Outside one linen and wool shop, a lady in local costume sat by the doorstep knitting, it was so nice to see.
We explored the old town and strolled along to the riverside, which in summer is filled with yachts, small motor boats and lots of tempting cafe bars with sunny outdoor terraces overlooking the river.
We selected one for our light salad lunch and cool drinks then sat back relaxing watching boats sail past and people enjoying the sunshine wandering along licking ice cream cones. Porvoo makes a perfect half day or full day outing from Helsinki – I’d recommend it, it’s well worth a visit!