Planning a short one-day trip to the city of Porvoo? Here are some recommendations*. To view all the photographs (with the captions in full) of each city, click on any image and navigate using the left and right keys.
1. Medieval Porvoo was once the second largest city in Finland, but it is now known for its beautiful “Old Town”, which houses a colourful collection of wooden buildings and brick houses. This is probably one of the many instances when the photograph does no justice to the charming façades of these buildings. It takes an hour to drive from Helsinki to Porvoo, and visitors are greeted by this wonderful sight before they enter the historical city.
2. Johan Ludvig Runeberg is the national poet of Finland, and he lived in Porvoo with his wife and sons. He penned many of his poems in the house, and hosted many Finnish personalities. In this museum there are delightful paintings, sculptures and pieces of art, kitchen pots and pans, as well as a hunting room decorated with guns and the skins of foxes.
3. The Runebergintorttu is a Finnish pastry topped with raspberry jam and a sugar ring. It is said that Runeberg enjoyed a homemade torte – prepared by Runeberg’s wife (her handwritten recipe is kept in his museum-home) – for breakfast every morning, with a glass of alcohol. The torte is only available in Finland between January and the fifth of February, Runeberg’s birthday, but cafés in Porvoo serve them all year round.
4. The Porvoo Museum, in the middle of the “Old Town” of Porvoo. The Holm House is on the left of the photograph, and the Old Town Hall is on the right.
5. The Holm House was commissioned by merchant and magistrate Johan Holm, and the museum has since preserved many of the original furniture and furnishings. There are five rooms with decorations in the rococo or Gustavian styles, though the uninitiated – like me – might not be able to appreciate the styles as much. On the other hand the Diet of Porvoo used to convene at the Old Town Hall, where representatives of the Government Council worked.
6. The Holm House garden has no actual garden, so this is the courtyard in the sun.
7. Porvoo’s Little Church, and the bell tower of the Porvoo Cathedral. The Porvoo Cathedral, situated next to these buildings, is not in the photograph.
8. The Art Factory is a location for recreational activities, with a movie theatre, shopping complex, as well as theatrical performances and art exhibitions organised periodically.
9. Chocolate-lovers would know that Brunberg’s caramel fudges and chocolate truffles are popular Finnish chocolate and candies, so the Brunberg Candy Factory is an interesting stop. It took me thirty minutes to walk from the city centre, but at the factory shop visitors are encouraged to try the different, tasty varieties, and buy products at cheaper prices.
10. The Linnamäki Hills, a popular spot for treks and jogs.
* Not an advertisement, and also not sponsored (unfortunately).
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