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

by GoWithGuide travel specialist

Visiting Helsinki, but want to see more of Finland? Then look no more, visit the medieval river town of Porvoo, just one hour ride away from Helsinki. The town of Porvoo offers beautiful sceneries 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 and historical Old Town of Porvoo has sceneries straight out from a storybook. One of the most famous sceneries is the Porvoo River and the Red Riverside Warehouses by the shore. 


By hiring a private 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! 


Before you read any further, please click here to see all our experiences in Finland!


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 to the 15th century and the Red Riverside Warehouses by the river. Many famous persons have lived in Porvoo, for example, the Finnish national poet Johan Ludvic Runeberg, whose home has been changed to a home museum, and Albert Edelfelt a famous painter who has painted several paintings of Porvoo. 


Porvoo is 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:

You can already send a message to one of the friendly guides in Finland! They will be happy to help you have a customized and interesting itinerary for your own needs! 


Honestly, why wouldn't you want to make sure that your time in Porvoo is unforgettable! 


The itinerary idea for a 1-day Porvoo trip

Here is an itinerary idea for a 1-day Porvoo trip that allows you to experience the many incredible places the town has to offer! During summertime, you can either come to Porvoo by bus, car or by boat! 


  • The Porvoo Market Square: The bus station is situated in the central of Porvoo, and next to it is the market square where the market is held during the summer season and on different holidays. Visit different stalls and try different Finnish delicacies!
  • J.L. Runeberg's Home Museum and Fredrika's Garden: To get the most out from 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: Walk down to the riverside promenade where you can find different 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 scenery of the Old Town and the 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 can 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 is 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 is 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 were 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? At GoWithGuide we can offer that to you! With our local private tour guides and their best tours around Finland, they will take you to all of the top spots in the town and help you to learn about the real 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 compared to other tour choices.


With a private tour guide, you will be able to go with your own phase with no hurrying or strict schedules, making sure that you get the most out of your visit. As our tours are customisable 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. Finally, you may save a lot of money compared to bus tours or group tours. Our pricing is often per-tour, not per person! 


Request your custom tour now! 


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


Recommended Private Tours

Day tour to Porvoo and Helsinki

Explore the best of Helsinki with a Local Guide

Authentic Finnish Sauna Experience in Helsinki

Architecture Tour with a city planner


Recommended Blogs:

3-Day Itinerary For First-Timers in Helsinki


Information about COVID-19 measures in Finland

The current European entry ban is affecting some people from travelling to the European Union or Schengen area. Restrictions on entry to Finland have been tightened and entry is only permitted for necessary and justified reasons, such as family or studies-related. Only necessary work-related travel to Finland is permitted from the Schengen area. Finnish citizens have the right to return to Finland and family members of Finnish citizens will also have permission to enter regardless of their nationality. Click here for the latest information about entering Finland. 


Finland has declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19. The whole nation is under the same recommendations, but some areas such as the Uusimaa region, which includes Helsinki are now under new restrictions and measures. Down below you can find the current ones, but because the situation is constantly changing in Helsinki, please click here for the latest information. Some attractions may differ in being closed or open, so please check their websites for the current information before visiting them. 


When arriving in Finland:

  • Persons arriving in Finland from high-risk countries, check the list from here, are required to take part in a compulsory health examination immediately after arriving
  • If refused to take the test, you can be ordered to be placed in 14 days' official quarantine
  • Present proof of having had COVID-19 within the last six months
  • Present proof of a negative COVID-19 test (tested within the last 72 hours), or indicate that you have booked an appointment for a coronavirus test through the Finentry application
  • When travelling from the airport travel by car or taxi
  • If you using public transport, keep a safe distance from others, wear a mask and practice good hand hygiene
  • Download the Koronavilkku mobile app (COVID-19 tracking application)


The whole nationwide recommendations:

  • If you have any symptoms, get tested and then stay home
  • Keep a more than 2 meters distance from other people
  • Wash your hands and cough into your sleeve or to a tissue
  • Were a mask while public and in places with other people
  • Domestic travel is permitted, provided that health and safety instructions related to the coronavirus are observed
  • Avoid all travel when ill 


Regional recommendations and restrictions for the entire Uusimaa region:

  • Everyone aged 12 and above is required to use a face mask in the following situations (unless you have a health-related reason which you are unable to use one): 
    • In public transportation and taxis
    • In public spaces and events
    • In private spaces, including shops, banks, etc
    • In secondary education, universities and youth centres 
    • In hobbies
    • Healthcare personnel and social welfare in work with clients and patients
    • When arriving in Finland from a risk area and travelling from the arrival point to quarantine, or if it is necessary to leave home during quarantine
  • Remote work and use of masks recommended at the workplace
  • Recommended that no private parties are held 


Facilities are closed throughout the Uusimaa region (click here for the latest information)

  • Premises designated for closure may still be used for guided leisure activities aimed at children born in 2008 and later 
    • Indoor sports facilities, such as gyms and other team or group sports
    • Public swimming halls, saunas, outdoor swimming pools, spas
    • Dance facilities and other facilities used for the choir singing, amateur theatre, and other similar recreational group activities
    • Amusement and theme parks, fairs, and indoor facilities of zoos
    • Indoor playparks and similar facilities
    • Public lounges at shopping centres, except the retail business premises, premises used for providing services, and the access routes to these 
    • Restaurants and Cafés are closed, but customers can order and pick up takeaway 


Other useful websites for COVID-19 information in Finland:


For current information about the COVID-19 Measures in Finland, click here and for the Uusimaa region click here.


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