We often hear the same questions and queries, so we have collected answers to these frequently asked questions here. We hope they will be of help during your visit to Porvoo!
We have just arrived in Porvoo by car. Where can we park free of charge?
Near the Old Town you will find streetside parking free of charge by the Cathedral on Kirkkotori Street. Please note that on the square you can park for three hours with a parking disc. You can also park your car free of charge in the Empire-style district south of Aleksanterinkatu Street.
In winter there is free parking on the edge of the Old Town on the Näsinmäki side on the west bank of the River Porvoonjoki. You can get there by turning onto Vanha Helsingintie from Läntinen Mannerheiminväylä. The parking lot is at the end of Vanha Helsingintie on the right, before the bridge across the river. Please note that during summer this parking lot is only for coaches. You can find other parking places for coaches on the map.
In Porvoo there are also many parking areas, where you can park for one to four hours with a parking disc. This is a statutory blue plastic sign that shows the parking time. You place it in a visible location inside the windscreen and rotate the disc so that the arrow points to the next full or half hour, depending on which time is nearest. The places where parking discs can be used are shown by traffic signs. The discs cost two to three euros and can be purchased from well stocked stores, kiosks and service stations.
Parking places can be found for a parking fee in Old Porvoo at Rihkamatori, in the city centre, on the river bank and in the Art factory area. In Porvoo the parking fee is €2/h from Monday to Friday from 8am-6pm and on Saturdays from 9am-3 pm. The shopping centres Kauppakeskus Lundi, and Citymarket and the Art Factory also have underground parking for a fee.
You can see from the signs at the parking places whether they are free or subject to a parking fee.
A ticket was left on my car windscreen while it was parked. What does it mean?
I'm in Porvoo for a few hours. What should I do and see during my stay?
Porvoo is well known for its Old Town and for its cultural life. Old Porvoo with its cobbled streets and old wooden buildings has many attractions. The most popular sights in the Old Town are the Cathedral, the red-painted riverside warehouses, the small shops and boutiques and the many restaurants and cafés, each with its special atmosphere. The museums and art galleries are also worth a visit. A walking tour of a few hours in Old Porvoo will take you to all these sights.
Even in winter there's plenty to do in Porvoo. In addition to sights that are open all year round and various events, you can go in for winter sports in Porvoo. Near the city centre there is a skiing centre with five illuminated slopes, where you can also hire skis.
I hear Porvoo has a beautiful archipelago. What's the easiest way to get there?
I have noticed there are signs in two different languages. One is Finnish, but what's the other?
Finland has two official languages: Finnish and Swedish. More than 30 per cent of Porvoo's inhabitants speak Swedish as their native language, which is why both languages are used here.
I would like to try some Porvoo specialty. What do you recommend?
Perhaps the best known of Porvoo specialties are Runeberg's cakes and Brunberg's chocolates and confectionery. The cakes, named after our national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg, are eaten on the poet's birthday February 5th, but in Porvoo you can try them in cafés all year round. In the Old Town, for example Café Helmi and Café Fanny serve Runeberg's cakes.
Brunberg Chocolate Factory has made chocolate and confectionery in Porvoo since 1871. People are coming around the world to taste Brunberg's chocolate kisses, truffles, liquorice and other sweets. The company has two shops, one in Old Porvoo on Välikatu Street and one at the chocolate factory on Teollisuustie Road in Tarmola. Both shops have the same products and prices.
The proximity of the sea in Porvoo has made its own mark on the food. Various fish dishes, Baltic herring and salmon are favourites among Porvoo inhabitants. Many local restaurants serve dishes made with local ingredients. You can also buy locally produced products in the shops and markets of Old Porvoo.
How late do the shops, restaurants and sights usually stay open in Porvoo?
The shops and boutiques in Old Porvoo are generally open on weekdays from 10am-5 pm and on Saturdays from 10am-3 pm. In the high seasons in summer and at Christmas the shops have extended opening hours. The shops and department stores in the city centre are usually open from 10am-6 pm and on Saturdays from 10am-4 pm. Some shops may have longer opening hours. The shops in the Art Factory shopping mall are open on weekdays from 10am-8pm, on Saturdays from 10am-4 pm and on Sundays from 12-4pm. Note that the opening hours may vary depending the shop. It's worth checking directly with the shop you want to visit for details on opening hours. You can read more about shopping in Porvoo here.
Restaurants are open until about 10 pm. Lunch restaurants and cafés usually close earlier at 5-6pm. You will however be able to order coffee in the evenings in many of the restaurants. Bars, pubs and night clubs are open until 2am-4am.
The tourist attractions in Porvoo are usually open until 4pm. For more details on opening hours see here.
Where can I find free maps and brochures?
Where do I find a public toilet?
There are public toilets in Old Porvoo by the old bridge. In addition the Lundi Shopping Centre and the Art Factory have toilets for the use of the public. In Finland public toilets are often coin-operated.
I want to get on the Internet. Where can I use a wireless connection or a computer?
In Old Porvoo you will find wireless connections in some cafés and restaurants, for example at the Roastery and the Old Town Public House. In addition the Art Factory has wireless LAN that serves the whole Art Factory area.
The Art Factory and Porvoo Main Library have computers for public use.
I would like try a Finnish sauna. Are there any public saunas in Porvoo?
Private persons can have a sauna at the swimming pool or the spa at Haikko Manor. Most hotels also have saunas for guests to use. Groups can book various company sauna facilities for their own use.
Where can I buy alcoholic beverages in Porvoo?
In Finland, only beer is sold in shops and supermarkets. Other alcoholic beverages are sold in shops called Alko. Porvoo has two of these. One is on the west bank of the River Porvoonjoki at the Näsi S-Market at the address Aleksanterinkaari 1 and the other is on the eastern side of town in Tarmola at the K-Supermarket at the address Asentajantie 1. You can find the opening hours here.
I want to phone home, but I can't get my connection to work here. How do I make a phone call abroad?
You can buy a mobile phone connection at R-kiosks, and you charge your mobile with the amount of call time you want. To start the connection you need a start package. These are available at different prices, depending on the operator. The package contains a SIM card and the phone number as well as the PIN and PUK codes needed. The connection is ready for use when you have inserted the SIM card and keyed in the codes when requested. You can top up your call time at R-kiosks.
In Finland there are no longer any public telephone boxes in use.
My Porvoo trip is coming to an end. How do I get back to Helsinki or to the airport by public transport?
From Porvoo you can get to Helsinki by bus in less than an hour. Buses run between Porvoo and Helsinki as often as 157 times a day round the clock. For more detailed timetables see Matkahuolto. Timetables between Porvoo and Helsinki-Vantaa Airport can be found at the same address. In summer you can also get from Porvoo to Helsinki by boat.