Just 50 km away from Helsinki, you can find a magical place you should not miss: the lovely city of Porvoo. The second oldest town in Finland welcomes you with a romantic atmosphere, its old streets and vintage boutiques, original cafes, and beautiful nature spots. Porvoo has stolen many locals' hearts and nowadays is becoming a more and more popular tourist attraction. Let us step on the old pebble streets and find out what is there to admire in the old town of Porvoo.
Walking to the riverside by the main street and turning right will bring you to the old town. This is the heart of Porvoo: filled with colorful wooden houses, vintage second-hand shops, and handmade galleries, and spiced with a bunch of charming cafes. Interestingly, there are just two short streets like that, but you can walk them for hours, lurking behind the old wooden doors and discovering many curiosities. I am happy to mention a few highlights and favorite places in the old town of Porvoo.
I never miss the vintage shop 'Pehtoorin Perikunta'. You will, for sure, notice a pink automobile next to its entrance. Here you can take a glimpse into history, find anything from vintage postcards to old smoking pipes or why not an old sled or a lamp. You will be mesmerized by all the jars, chairs, old music instruments, and posters: well, I guess we can call it a treasury. Porvoo hosts many vintage shops and second-hand items, but it is located right on the entrance of the old town of Pehtoorin Perikunta. It is a cool introduction to the vintage scene of the city.
Another highlight is the Brunberg Factory Shop. It is a place full of flavors! Brunberg is producing the finest local chocolate, and you can taste and buy their products right here in the old town of Porvoo. The sellers here are ready to tell you anything regarding Bruneberg chocolate and recommend options based on your taste. Even if you are on a budget, step in to taste some of the chocolate candies of interesting flavors, but let me warn you: it will be hard to leave empty-handed.
You can see the Cathedral of Porvoo from many viewpoints; it is an old building dating to the 14th century with a triangular rooftop. Interestingly, the Cathedral has been destroyed by many fires and has continuously risen from ashes. The way to the Cathedral is uphill through the beautiful old streets. Inside the church, you will find a simple interior, typical of a Lutheran church but also some curiosities, as you would anywhere in Porvoo. Look around and try to find the church's unicorn; it is not obvious, but it is there.
Porvoo is a scenic city, and it offers many beautiful view-spots. Walking down from the Cathedral towards the river, you will find another bridge; this one is smaller and offers you a charming town view.
You can cross it and stroll back to the center along the river. Walk under trees, watch the boats passing by and admire the symbol of the town: the red riverside houses. Another place for a beautiful town view is Linnanmäki, translated as a "castle hill." You can wander around the ancient pieces of buildings around the hill, which date back to medieval times. Walking up and turning left, you can admire the old town and settle for a picnic; this is a beautiful nature spot right in the city of Porvoo.
You will find numerous pretty places to sit down for a while and grab a coffee in the old town. I will introduce you to two of my favorites: Porvoon Paahtimo and Cafe Helmi. Porvoon Paahtimo is a bar and cafe with the best coffee in town. This place has its coffee roastery. The smell and flavors there are simply awesome. You can come here on foot or by boat, as there is a door that takes you down to the river. Porvoon Paahtimo, translated as "Porvoo's Roastery," has a boat on the river, which serves as a summer terrace offering another beautiful view. One more thing I love about this place is their selection; it is vast! You can find a countless amount of flavors for your coffee or tea. The local beer selection is also quite good.
The second and many locals' favorite is Cafe Helmi. This cafe is unique; every room is different in color, and its interior preserves the old-style details. Rooms are themed based on the Romanov family, Rococo, and Runeberg, who is a famous local poet. By the way, this place serves Runeberg cakes all year round- while the rest of the country eats those only once a year on the day of Runeberg. Tea and Caffeeroom Helmi is what its name says: a cozy but not your usual cafe - and that is what makes it perfect. When visiting, try the big tea selection and have a cake. Trust me, here, the cakes are masterpieces!
This was my selection of must-see places in the old town of Porvoo, including cafes, nature spots, and Porvoo's hidden gems: the vintage gift shops! Stroll and enjoy, Porvoo is waiting for you!
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