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Varlaxudden fire place in Emäsalo Porvoo

10 Spots to Explore in and around Porvoo for Nature Lovers

Forests, lakes, sea, islands, wildlife, activities and adventure, Porvoo is blessed with stunningly beautiful nature spots, and a passion for preserving and enjoying them.

It’s no secret that Finland is a land of immense natural beauty – even its capital, Helsinki, is surrounded by nature – but there’s something about Porvoo that just brings you closer to it all.

When you think of islands in the sun, Finland is probably not the first place that comes to mind. But the land of a thousand lakes, home of the midnight sun, and vast archipelago of islets in the Baltic Sea is one of the world’s best kept secrets. The dayless days of winter and nightless nights of summer are the perfect canvas for painting new memories and finding inner peace in ‘The Great Outdoors’.

Whether you prefer an active holiday, or finding peace of mind in a tranquil forest or by the sea, Porvoo will be your new happy place.

And here are the top 10 spots to explore in and around town:

1. Iso Linnanmäki (Castle Hill)

Perfect for: Quick Workouts & Adventures

Why visit? Iso Linnanmäki is an old fortress from the 1500’s overlooking the town that’s been reclaimed by the forest. It’s a serene escape, perched atop a hill, providing breathtaking views of Porvoo Old Town below. There’s something so peaceful about the place. A mystical mix of the town’s violent past, and the calming quiet of a modern-day escape from the city. It’s a great place for relaxing strolls, or running up and down the different trails.

How to get there? Walk for 5 minutes out of the Old Town and you’ll arrive at the foot of the hill. From there, go in whichever direction you feel, weaving your way along the concentric circles of the ancient walls, over footbridges and up wooden steps until you reach the top for a fresh breath of air.


2. Sikosaari (Pig Island)

Perfect for: Nature Walks and Birdwatching

Why visit? Sikosaari is the kind of magical place where you could imagine fairies dancing in the sunlight as it filters through the forest canopy. It’s a great place to go for short hikes, picnics, birdwatching, or soul-cleansing. Climb up the 3-storey bird tower to take in the view and look back at the town you left behind. Take a detour off the nature trail and into the dense, rocky, bouncy moss-covered forest floor and you’ll find it’s also one of the best places to pick berries and mushrooms when they’re in season.

How to get there? It’s a short, scenic walk, drive, or bike ride from Porvoo’s harbor and town center. Just ask a local to point you in the general direction and enjoy the journey as you go along the river and over tiny hump bridges until you reach the island.

3. Pellinki

Perfect for: Archipelago Exploration & Island-Hopping

Why visit? Pellinki is the quintessential Finnish archipelago experience. With picture-perfect fishing village vibes and a laid-back communal atmosphere, it lures you in from the moment you arrive at its shores. Take your pick from a number of hidden beauty spots, rent a summer cottage by the sea, or head to Benitas Café in the summer for the buzz and taste of island life.

How to get there? The beautiful, scenic drive from Porvoo town through its countryside ends at Tirmo: where the famous yellow “lossi”, or car ferry, will take you over to the islands of Pellinki in a few minutes. Once there, hop from island-to-island over the bridges, exploring the local businesses, markets, and nature.

Pellinki, Porvoo archipelago

4. Bike Lanes

Perfect for: Scenic Coastal Rides & Forest Tracks

Why visit? Porvoo’s well-maintained bike lanes make up a network of paths that connect the regions of the city with nature, and with each other. You can take them at your own pace with your own bike, or grab one of the rental bikes provided by the city to venture out of the center and explore a bit further afield. Make sure you set aside plenty of time for cycling in Porvoo because there’s enough track to spend all day exploring.

How to get there? Bring your bike or rent one in Porvoo. The city is bike-friendly, and the lanes are easily accessible, offering a delightful way to discover the natural beauty of the surrounding areas.

Biking in Porvoo is easy

5. Sondby

Perfect for: Sunny Days & Sandy Beach BBQ’s

Why visit? If golden, sandy beaches with warm shallow waters sound good, you’ll like Sondby. There are 3 main beaches to choose from in the area; Sondby 1, Sondby 2, and Köttboda; each of them set against a backdrop of Finnish forest and all equally as pristine and picturesque as each other. Some are more quiet than others and offer better sun at different times of day. And there’s nothing better than grilling a sausage or having a BBQ on one of the on-site open log fire pits.

How to get there? A short drive from Porvoo town center takes you through the winding country lanes and through the forests until you reach the land’s end. Take your pick from a number of beach spots, all with their own unique character.

6. Emäsalo (Varlaxudden)

Perfect for: Open Sea Views & Rocky Shore Hikes

Why visit? Emäsalo is a large island in the Gulf of Finland connected to the mainland by a bridge. At the end of the island lies Varlaxudden, with its dense forests and rocky shores. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon looking out to the sea, a whole day exploring the shore and forest, or a night of camping after grilling a sausage or two. It’s beautiful any time of year, but there’s something uniquely special about staring out at the frozen sea in winter.

How to get there? Take a 20-minute drive out of town, over the towering Emäsalo bridge, along the winding roads through the villages until you get to Varlaxudden. You’ll want to park up and discover the rest on foot. Enjoy!

7. Poukama

Perfect for: Sustainable Travel & Sunsets

Why visit? Set in a secluded, scenic bay on the island of Emäsalo, Poukama is one of Porvoo’s ‘Sustainable Travel Finland’ companies that offers accommodation, adventure activities, and corporate wellness retreats, but it’s also a nice little place to stop for a drink and snack, explore the calm waters by kayak, or catch the stunning sunsets over the bay.

How to get there? A short drive from Porvoo, over the Emäsalo bridge, and less than a kilometer further along the road on your left. If you’re looking for accommodation or activities, make sure you contact them ahead of your visit.

8. Kokonniemi

Perfect for: Skiing, Downhill Biking & Panoramic Views

Why visit? If you’re looking for something a little more active, Kokonniemi is a stone’s throw from the center –– and it’s where the people of Porvoo go to workout. A bustling ski slope in the winter, and something completely different when the snow melts. The warmer months turn the hill into a hive of activity, with locals running or walking up and down the 336 wooden steps for exercise, or just to take in the view at the top of the city below. Kokonniemi Adventure Park is a great day out for kids and grown-ups who want to climb, swing, and jump through the trees, and Kokonniemi Bike Park is a haven for those who love downhill biking.

How to get there? You can’t miss it. Either take a bike, taxi, car, or walk for a few pleasant minutes. It can be a planned trip, or a spontaneous decision to go: it’s practically in town!

Kokonniemi Ski Center

9. Tervajärvi (Tar Lake)

Perfect for: Summer Afternoons & Evening Picnics

Why visit? How does a serene lake with sandy shores set against a backdrop of lush Finnish forest and flora sound? Perfect! Tervajärvi is the ideal escape from the city with the family, or alone. It’s made for lazy afternoons cooling off with a relaxing swim in the summer heat, or jumping off of the diving board with a splash into the lake. There really is no other place quite like this.

How to get there? Tervajärvi is only a short drive from Porvoo, but it would be a shame not to rent a bike and enjoy the journey with the wind flowing through your hair and the sun on your face.

10. Joonanmäki

Perfect for: Lunchtime Forest Walks & Trail Running

Why visit? A diverse ecosystem, with ancient trees, moss-covered rocks, and a variety of flora and fauna, Joonanmäki is a hidden gem in the heart of Porvoo. Depending on the season, you can spend your time picking berries or mushrooms, jogging or cycling along the tracks, or running or biking down the trails. It’s an inner city paradise for taking some time away from civilization to enjoy the peace and beauty of Finnish nature.

How to get there? It’s a short walk or bike ride from town. Head towards the swimming hall, up a slight hill, to the left, and the entrance to the forest is just a few more steps. Once you’re there, you can follow any number of trails, or wander around at your own leisure.

Trail running in Porvoo

If you’re planning a trip to Finland, make sure Porvoo is on your itinerary. The Great Outdoors sit right on its doorstep, and the diverse range of landscapes, views, and activities make for the most memorable of experiences.

From tranquil islands and lush forests to scenic lakeshores and archipelago life, Porvoo welcomes nature and adventure lovers with open arms.