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Travel blog from around the world, near and far.

Picturesque Medieval Old Town of Porvoo


Porvoo – one of Finland’s six medieval towns and the country’s second oldest town. Wandering around in the enchanting Porvoo Old Town it is easy to get lost back in time and feel the easy-going and historical atmosphere; colourful and unique wooden buildings, medieval red warehouses by the river, quiet narrow lanes, cobbled streets and idyllic parks.




Porvoo is famous for its red warehouses at the riverbank. These houses were initially painted in red ochre in the late 18th century to welcome King Gustav III. In addition the red ochre helped to protect against the damage of wind and sun. Originally the houses were used to store exotic fruits, wines, spices, coffee and tobacco transported by boat up along the river. Today the red riverside houses accommodate private residences as well as restaurants, shops and storage rooms.



On the map the town plan of Old Porvoo looks like a mosaic with a labyrinth of streets and unevenly shaped plots dating back all the way to the Middle Ages. Since then the town has suffered several fires, but the citizens have always rebuilt their houses on the same premises. Today the Old Town is home to approximately 700 citizens with 250 residential houses and 300 outhouses.



The old colourful wooden houses with plenty of interesting details are truly captivating. The incredibly large and quiet inner courtyards make such beautiful, hidden green gardens and great communal playgrounds for children.



One of the must-sees in the Old Town is the white Porvoo Cathedral standing up high on top of the hill. The Old Town Hall in turn is one of Finland’s oldest town halls, today housing Porvoo Museum.



There are plenty of small boutiques and shops selling beautiful locally made products and handicrafts.  The antiques and vintage shops of Old Porvoo are very popular so you might want to check them out, too. Charming little cafes and restaurants with outdoor terraces can be found at every street corner.





Chocolate lovers will find their happy place at Lilla Chokladfabriken’s chocolate cafe-shop-factory and at Brunberg’s chocolate shop.


I also explored two interesting art galleries. The painted deal floors and tile stoves of Gallery Vanha Kappalaisentalo by Raatihuoneentori Square create a truly nostalgic atmosphere for art exhibitions. The inner courtyard with old colourful outhouses and apple trees is a mesmerising place. Colmio Gallery accommodates a design shop and art gallery combining the new with the old.


Porvoo is a popular day trip destination as it is located only 50 km east of Helsinki and is easily accessible by car or bus (1 hour). In the summertime you can even catch the m/s J.L. Runeberg boat to Porvoo from Helsinki. This is something that I have wanted to do for many years already, but for some reason I always end up going by car instead.

Did you like this blog post? Read more about Finland:

Midsummer Magic in Finland

10 Free Things to Do in Helsinki

Helsinki: 6 Unique Summer Cafes Loved by Locals

Hidden Secret of Helsinki: Lapinlahti Former Psychiatric Hospital

Island Escape in Helsinki Archipelago: Former Military Island Isosaari

Green Getaway in Helsinki: Lammassaari Island


Author: Piia | Ticket to Adventures

Captivating travel stories from around the world, near and far, by an experienced traveller and adventurer.

35 thoughts on “Picturesque Medieval Old Town of Porvoo

  1. I’ve never heard of Porvoo before so I enjoyed reading this. It looks so cute and quaint! I love the red ochre houses by the river bed.


  2. This place looks magical! I’d love to explore Finland. I was there for an hour or so once but in the middle of nowhere so didn’t really get to experience it properly. This is going on the bucket list!


  3. Lovely photos, brought back memories. I was in Finland on February 🙂 . This is an awesome country which I will certainly visit again. I keep this charming little town, Porvoo, in mind for my next trip !


  4. How cute is this town! It looks too pretty to be real. I had never heard of Porvoo before. Still not been to Finland yet, but when I do I will hit this quaint place up. Thanks for sharing and teaching me something new.


  5. What a CUTE town!!! I love it! Pinned!! 🙂 #blogpostsaturday


  6. This looks so awesome! I’ve yet to go to Finland but when I finally do this is definitely going on my list!


  7. I love all the colours in your photos. From the buildings, to the flowers and even how bright the grass looks! Beautiful photos. Definitely keeping this in mind when I eventually make it to Finland! 🙂


  8. I’m so jealous right now! Mihir and I visitef just two weeks ago and the weather was miserable! Judging by your photos you had more luck 😉
    I loved Porvoo, although Rauma also has a distinct charm. Difficult to decide which I like more!

    Jacky 🌞


  9. I was here in 2014! Lovely photos, brought back memories.


  10. What a picturesque place to visit – it reminds me a lot of the Old Town in Bergen. Finland is the only Scandinavian country I’ve not made it up yet but hopefully soon – and Porvoo is on the list!


  11. I went there last year! It is so magical, I loved it! Great article!


  12. I have only even been to Helsinki but I loved it so much I know I want to go back and spend more time around the country. Will have to add Porvoo to the list- it looks so cute! I love all the colour and small towns are always fun to explore!


  13. Pingback: Helsinki: Traditional Midsummer Celebrations at Seurasaari Island | Ticket to Adventures

  14. Been there to visit a friend. Awesome place and country. Loved it


  15. Pingback: Midsummer Magic in Finland | Ticket to Adventures

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  17. I’m embarrassed to say I never thought of Finland as anywhere I’d choose to go visiting, but the pictures on your blog are making me think twice! thanks for the beautiful eye-openers


  18. I am so glad people like you can remind me that places like this still exist in the world!


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