Porvoo is becoming more and more touristic due to its beautiful old town and charming atmosphere. Also, Porvoo is less than an hour ride away from Helsinki, which makes it a good destination for a day trip. Due to my background in Porvoo, I know it from another side: after living for five years in the city and finishing school there, I can say that I remember many lesser-known places that are worth your visit. If you decide to spend several days in Porvoo, let me share with you some places and tips that will make your stay memorable.
The heart of Porvoo is the Porvoo River, flowing through the old town. Turn your back to the old town and walk a pleasant promenade along the Porvoo River. You will stroll past the ships, that will soon change to smaller boats; you can also admire the old wooden houses on your way. After some time, you will come across the pathway to the island, which is a common fishing place. Continue your way through the island, and after crossing a few small bridges, you will find yourself on Sikosaari, far from the crowd and driveways. It is a calm and green place, and you can even find a bird-watching tower to enjoy the views. The whole route is around 3,5 km, so if you are into a walk with versatile views, this one is for you. I, personally, always enjoy how the city landscape changes into more and more preserved sceneries, finally leaving you alone with just birds.
Tourists are not usually aware of this place, even though it is a local favorite. Haikko Manor, or Haikon Kartano in Finnish, is a spa hotel with conference rooms and a manor-like atmosphere. The reason people come here is not always about the hotel itself, though. It is for the place where it stands: Haikon Kartano is a gem, situated right on the seashore in the middle of the forest, with many walking trails and pretty landscapes. The park around Haikko Manor is also a reason to visit the area: it has flowers, a romantic alcove, a cute fountain, and all that with a sea view topped with swans. Well, okay, the last option depends on your luck. Besides everything said, there is one more hidden curiosity to discover. You see, Albert Edelfelt is a known local painter from the 19th century, and he has spent many summers in Haikko. Walking small forest paths around Haikon Kartano, you will find places where Edelfelt painted his known works. You will not miss them since there is usually a print of a painting marking the spot.
The area around Haikko is my favorite hiking spot in Porvoo: reach a forest with countless paths and picturesque ponds. On one side from Haikko Manor, you will find the studio and museum of Albert Edelfelt, while on the other side of the Manor, there is the foresty area with many walking paths. Right in this forest is Lennätinvuori. I know it sounds long and hard to say, but all you need to know about Lennätinvuori is that it is the second-highest spot in Porvoo, and therefore offers awesome views. There is a viewing tower on the cliff and one more painting by Edelfelt- I hope you will not get tired of them. In some way, this is even better than a museum.
This is a magical place; here, you can experience the local archipelago in a secluded manner, grab some sausages, and why not a tent. Varlaxudden always lures me into staying longer than I planned. This is a foresty area with scenic rocky shores and a feel of freedom. You will find a place to make fire with some firewood ready to use, a dry toilet, and plenty of places to set your tent with a beautiful view. The best thing about this place is that the bus stop is right next to the forest.
If you are spending more than a few hours in the city of Porvoo, do not miss these hidden gems. Places like Varlaxudden or Sikosaari are an excellent introduction to Finnish nature. Haikko Manor is a marvelous landscape spot with a twist of culture, and since you are already there, take a step into the forest to find yourself on the second highest peak of Porvoo: Lennätinvuori.
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