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How to Spend a Day in the Medieval River Town of Porvoo

Sonja B.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Sonja B.

Last updated : May 23, 20248 min read

Itinerary Ideas

Are you visiting Helsinki, but want to see more of Finland? Then look no further. It's time to head to the medieval river town of Porvoo, just one hour ride away from Helsinki. The town of Porvoo offers beautiful scenery no matter which season you are visiting Finland.


Porvoo is one of the most photographed destinations in Finland and why would it not be? Its charming with scenes straight out of a storybook. One of the most famous sites is the Porvoo River and the Red Riverside Warehouses by the shore. 


By hiring a Helsinki tour guide you can immerse yourself in the history and visit unique cafés, try delicious Finnish foods, and admire the beautiful nature surrounding the town. In this article, I will show you how you can experience Porvoo and its beautiful Old Town in one day, why you should hire a private tour guide to immerse yourself into the history and the latest COVID-19 information at the end of this article. So, let us help you make the most of it! 



Porvoo, or Borgå in Swedish, is the second oldest town in Finland and its history dates to the 14th century. Porvoo is famous for its Old Town which has buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. Other popular sights are the Porvoo cathedral which dates back to the 15th century, and the Red Riverside Warehouses by the river. Many famous people have lived in Porvoo, for example, the Finnish national poet Johan Ludvic Runeberg, whose home has been transformed into a museum, and Albert Edelfelt, a famous painter who has depicted Porvoo in several paintings. 

Porvoo is also famous for its chocolate factory Brunberg. Remember to visit the factory shop located in the Old Town and you can find many delicious restaurants all over the town. Porvoo also has many charming cafés where you can try the famous Runeberg torte, originally developed by Fredrika Runeberg. During the summertime, you can visit restaurants, bars, and cafés situated by the riverside and during wintertime, the Old Town hosts a traditional Christmas Market. 

Here is a time saver:

In a rush, you can send a message to one of our friendly guides in Finland! They will be happy to help you create a customized and interesting itinerary fit for your needs.


Itinerary Ideas for A 1-day Porvoo Trip


  • The Porvoo Market Square: The bus station is situated in Central Porvoo, and next to it is the market square where the market is held during the summer season, and on different holidays.
  • J.L. Runeberg's Home Museum and Fredrika's Garden: To get the most out of your stay, head to the empire side of Porvoo where J.L. Runeberg's Home Museum is located. It is the original house where the Finnish national poet lived with his family and was turned into a museum after his death. The inner yard also has a beautiful garden grown by his wife Fredrika.
  • Runeberg's park: From the museum, walk down to the Runeberg's park and take a picture with the J.L. Runeberg statue in the middle of the park. 
  • Riverside: Next, you can walk down to the riverside promenade where there are various restaurants, cafés, and ice-cream kiosks. 
  • The Red Riverside Warehouses: Turn towards the Old Town, but first walk up to the Mannerheim's bridge where you can see the beautiful Red Riverside Warehouses. You can either walk over the bridge to the other side to get more pictures or walk back and arrive at the shopping streets.
  • The Old Town Hall Market Square and Museum: In the middle of the Old Town, you'll find the Old Town Hall built in the 18th century, and the Market Square, in which another market is held during the summer season. The Old Town Hall was turned into a museum in which you can find the history of Porvoo. 
  • Holm House Museum or Gallery Vanha Kappalaisentalo: After visiting the museum you can either visit another museum, Holm House, in which you have an opportunity to see how wealthy merchant families lived at the end of the 18th century, or visit the Gallery Vanha Kappalaisentalo which has different art exhibitions.
  • The Porvoo Cathedral: From there walk up to the Porvoo Cathedral that was built at the end of the 15th century. It is a popular wedding church, so please be careful when visiting.  
  • The Castle Hill: After visiting the church walk over to Castle Hill, which used to be the biggest ancient fortress in Finland. There is no castle anymore since it used to be wooden, but you can see the old moats and enjoy the natural surrounding the area.
  • Shopping streets: End your day in the Jokikatu and Välikatu shopping streets where you can find many cute shops, cafés, and restaurants. You can also wander off to the smaller streets of the residential side of Old Porvoo, but be respectful towards the residents and follow the instructions below! 


Since the Old Town of Porvoo is also a residential area where people live, please be respectful, especially if you are wandering outside of the main tourist areas. So here is something to remember:

  • Do not go into private residence yards or take pictures of them
  • You can take pictures of the streets
  • Do not look inside the windows or take pictures 
  • Keep quiet when walking in the residential area 
  • Do not litter or damage the properties

Why should you hire a private guide?


Want to learn more about Porvoo's history and immerse yourself in the Finnish culture? With our local private tour guides and their best tours around Finland, they will take you to all the top spots in the town and help you to learn about authentic Porvoo.


With our tour guides, you will be able to get unique information about the sights, explore Porvoo's little secrets and immerse yourself with the local culture. If you are unsure what to do or what to see, our guides are happy to provide suggestions based on your interests, and they are ready to take you to the sites you want to visit. Our guides can also help you with cultural differences and language barriers.


A private tour guide also means that you do not have to share them with anyone else! Our tours are private, which allows them to be more flexible and focused on you and your travel companions. You can also enjoy interacting one-on-one with your tour guide as they provide you with detailed and interesting information about each location you visit. You will also be able to ask questions when needed.


With a private tour guide, you will be able to sight see at your own pace with no hurrying or strict schedules, making sure that you get the most out of your visit. As our tours are customizable and more flexible compared to other choices, you do not need to worry about inconveniences in case something needs to be changed at the last minute. 


I hope this article got you interested in hiring a private tour guide for your next visit to Porvoo. You can find more tour recommendations offered by our Finland local guides.


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