Porvoo & Fiskars: idyllic & creative towns near Helsinki

3 minute read

Credits: Niko Laurila

Two hidden gems of art, design, and architecture in Finland

The charming town of Porvoo and the artistic village of Fiskars are ideal for a day trip from Helsinki for Finnish art and culture, and traditional Finnish food.

Both are historical havens of art, design and picturesque architecture, surrounded by soothing nature and with plenty of luscious local food. Porvoo is located just 45 minutes east of Helsinki, while a journey to Fiskars in the west takes 90 minutes.

Fiskars has many rustic cafés and restaurants. Have a seat on one of the many terraces and enjoy a leisurely summer day.
Credits: Julia Kivelä

Fiskars village – home to more than 200 artists

Credits: Julia Kivelä

Arriving at Fiskars is like stepping into another world, one where art, design and craft blossom from historic riverside buildings surrounded by grand ancient trees. The village, first developed as an ironworks in the mid-1600s, now has today a thriving community of craftspeople, entrepreneurs and artists who live in harmony with nature.

The Fiskars river can act as a tour guide by following its flow through the middle of the village. Along this trail you’ll pass Onoma, a showroom of the local talents. Woodwork, pottery, handbags, candles, jewellery – there’s a lot of handwork going on in the village. Be sure to check out KWUM, a ceramics museum and gallery, located in an architecturally outstanding and intimate building that combines wood, timber, and ceramics. If the history of the village and ironworks interests you, visit The Fiskars Museum.

When it is time for a drink, head to the Tap Room. This is the shared bar of local brewery Fiskarsin Panimofamous for its rye juniper beer and spruce shoot ale, and The Ägras Distillery, which makes spirits from wild Finnish herbs. As the name suggests, the bar is located next to their production facilities. For soft drinks, coffee or tea, together with a slab of the cake of the day, head to Café Bar Pesula, the living room of the villagers.

Fiskars is a popular mountain biking spot too; more than 60 kilometres of trails wind through the forests around the village. You can rent bikes at The Fiskars Village Trail Center, check out Visit Raseborg’s city bike rentals.To spend the weekend, check out The Torby Hotel, located next to the idyllic water stream. 

You can reach Fiskars by a 55-minute train ride from Helsinki Central Railway Station to Karjaa. From there it’s 20 minutes by bus or car into the village. If you drive or rent an electric car, like a GoMore, there are two charging points in Fiskars.

Credits : Culture Eden
Credits: Elina Sirparanta

Porvoo – narrow streets that bloom with historic charm and culinary treats

Credits: Julia Kivelä

Porvoo is the second oldest city in Finland that is best known for its Old Wooden Town, charming cafés and boutiques, and the painted red-ochre riverside warehouses. The cobbled streets lined with old dollhouse-like houses are embedded with excellent restaurants, handcraft and homeware shops, and galleries. The Art Factory is a new culture centre that houses exhibitions, concerts and working spaces for artists.

Porvoo is a foodie’s paradise packed with high-quality restaurants. One of the most popular is Sicapelle, which combines Italian flavours with local ingredients. Bistro Sinne offers a local menu in an artistic setting. Cozy up with a cup of hot cocoa and handmade chocolates at The Little Chocolate Factory. Spend the night in the elegant boutique hotel Runo, or just visit for a brunch with a Finnish twist – think foraged mushrooms and pickled vegetables with freshly baked goods. Other great options for spending the night are Hotel Pariisin Ville and Boutique Hotel Onni.

The narrow streets of Porvoo offer interesting shopping opportunities for antique and vintage lovers. Antique House has a stunning collection of old cutlery, porcelain, glassware and jewellery.

Porvoo in the winter is magical, but if you decide to take a trip there in the summertime, we suggest doing it old-world style with M/S J. L. Runeberg – a ship built in 1912 that sails to your destination through the stunning Finnish archipelago as you enjoy the fineries befitting an early-1900s traveller. In the summer, the city is full of art exhibitions and fairs, music festivals, flea markets, concerts and riverside attractions.

Explore The National Urban Park for its significant cultural and natural sights. The site contains the Old Wooden Town and continues about 10 kilometres south along the river, covering forest preservation areas, nature trails, city parks, scenic points and one birdlife protection area of international significance.

You can reach Porvoo in 45-minutes by bus from Helsinki, check out which carrier to choose at Perille.fi. For city bike rentals check out KaaKau Citybikes.

Credits : Ilona Savola
Porvoo is a must-visit spot for foodies. There are great restaurants, lovely cafés and lots of chocolate!
Credits: Jussi Hellstén

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