Christmas vibes in Porvoo

A friend and I decided to visit Porvoo this year for some Christmas cheer. It was a great decision, as the town was busy with all things Christmassy.

However, before I tell you more about it, I would like to wish you all Happy Holidays! I’ve been away for a while but I’ve now caught up on everyone’s blog posts and have an idea of what’s been going on. It’s great to be back. ❤

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Back to our day in Porvoo. After driving for around 50 minutes, we arrived and found a parking spot right by the Old Town. The weather was quite bleak but that’s often expected in Finland, so it did not put us off. We arrived before noon and after strolling around for a bit, we decided it was time for coffee.

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We chose to visit Café Helmi, as it has lovely cakes and pies and is known by locals and visitors alike. We managed to slip in right before a huge tourist group entered.

Inside you’ll find a rotating cake rack laden with goodies but don’t stop there, as there’s more by the cashier. You can also get Porvoo’s famous pastry here – the Runeberg cake.

We decided to be sensible and split a salmon pie and a gingerbread mousse cake. Yum!

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After our small break, we continued our stroll towards some of the cute shops that came our way.

The shopkeepers in Porvoo really have an eye for beauty. Everywhere you can find small details that make you feel all cosy inside.

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Doesn’t this look inviting to you?

Those of you who like to make your own crafts, may get some ideas below. These are so cute!

I’m in love that glittery dress and bag in the corner, the perfect outfit for a Christmas party!

Okay, so we didn’t just shop the whole time. We also visited some museums. The museums in the Old Town were free of charge on the day. We tried to visit them earlier but the doors were locked and we thought I’d been mistaken about them being open. Lucky for us, Porvoo is so small that we strolled by the museums again and found the doors open!

Our first museum was the Holm House. Back in the day, it was the house of a wealthy merchant family. The building was built in 1763 and it’s quite interesting to see how a family lived in that time. Now, we got to see what they ate for Christmas.

The second museum in the close vicinity, was the Town Hall Museum. Among other things, you will find works of art there like paintings and sculptures. The floors are old, creaky and crooked!

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Upstairs you can explore memories of the inhabitants of Porvoo in the early 19th century.

Being in Finland, we found the Moomins to be in the mood for Christmas too!

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After lunch (which was not worth mentioning), we took some time to walk to the Runeberg house museum which had also been decorated for Christmas. This is the oldest home museum in Finland, open to the public in 1882. In case you are wondering, Runeberg is Finland’s national poet. His wife Fredrika created the Runeberg cake. The house has a beautiful garden (thanks to Fredrika) which is a definite must-see in the summer. Now it was too dark to make out anything.

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For our final snack we went to Café Cabriole. The café is a stone’s throw away from the Old Town. Btw, it’s difficult to get good cakes in Helsinki but I believe that Porvoo rivals Tallinn on the cake front. Also, this café has the best macarons in Finland, as they are big, full, fluffy and delicious.

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Last but not least, we visited an indoor Christmas market at the Taidetehdas venue. I found some really cool earrings by pausekorut but as I’ve already bought several earrings in December, I had to give them a miss.

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If you didn’t have a chance to visit Porvoo this Christmas, never mind, it’s a lovely place to visit any time of the year. If you go with a friend, there are plenty of cafés if you want to just sit down, relax and catch up.

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Have you been to Porvoo? Did you visit any Christmas Markets this year?

xx


21 thoughts on “Christmas vibes in Porvoo

  1. Never heard of Porvoo but it sure does live up to the Christmas spirit. I also think it’s sensible to split and share food if you are traveling and trying everything once. You get your share and you get more too 😛 I’ve heard of Moomins being very popular over there in Finland and have seen them around here in Australia. Sounds like a lovely day walking through museums and going back in time seeing how Christmas was spent back then.

    I didn’t visit Christmas Markets this year. Here where I live in Australia the Christmas festivities tend to be the same year in and year out. Even the decorations are the same each year. That said, there’s always a lovely festive feeling all round. Wishing you well for the year ahead, Suvi 🙂

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  2. I wanted to go this year (for the 1st time), but the website(s) had two weekends with different Xmas markets and we didn’t know which one was the main event. The websites weren’t very explanative, nor was fb. So we thought the 2nd one was probably better and planned for that. But during the week in between, hubby heard from his co-worker that the main event had actually been the weekend before. We had missed it and weren’t feeling too enthusiastic anymore so decided to wait yet another year. It’s been in my plans for like a decade already, so what’s another year? 😂 We were also worried about the parking with our toddlers and the cobbled streets which are a struggle with a double stroller.

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    1. Yes I can imagine it would be a struggle with the stroller! We arrived before noon and managed to get the last spot near the Old Town, but there is another carpark really near there so it wouldn’t have been bad if we’d had to go there. I’m not sure if the Christmas Market we went to is the main one or not but I was happy enough with it, there was plenty to see and buy. As the whole town is decked for Christmas, I’m quite sure you wouldn’t have gone wrong one way or the other, so I hope you make it next year ❤

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    1. Ooh can’t believe you missed Porvoo! You can take a boat there from Helsinki, it’s fun to cruise along the Porvoo River. It’s also easy to take the bus. Next time ❤️

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  3. Porvoo looks like a good spot. Moomins in there too. Found myself wishing you had shown us what a Runberg cake is like – perhaps a description of its qualities?

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    1. Oh yes, unfortunately I forgot to take any photos of the cake. Runeberg’s birthday is on the 5th February when it is tradition to have the cake. Of course in Porvoo you can get it all year round. My goddaughter spotted the cake in the stores already, so we have two months to sample different ones (by different bakeries), LOL! I actually wrote a post for Runeberg’s birthday a while back, you can read more of the cake at the end: https://mrssuvi.com/2018/02/05/happy-birthday-johan-ludvig-runeberg/ And here’s a proper photo of one: https://finland.fi/life-society/a-poet-and-his-pastry/ 🙂

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    1. Hi Christie! Cosy captures it well! I forgot to mention the sweets and chocolates you can get there, from a Porvoo brand called Brunberg (they have a small store in the Old town). Brunberg has the most delicious chocolatr coated soft toffees. Happy New Year to you too! ❤️

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  4. Ooh Suvi I love visiting Porvoo. Next time I’ll hopefully try one Of your suggested cafes. Those macaroons look amazing! I’ve been to several Christmas markets this year and I heard recently that Edinburgh was voted the best one in the U.K. for 2019 so that must be a good enough reason for you to whizz over next winter!

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    1. Oh yes, you must go to either cafe if you haven’t been. Helmi has a gorgeous terrace in summer, in the courtyard. How excellent that you visited the best Christmas market in the UK this year! I would love to see it for myself ❤️❤️

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    1. Ooh how wonderful that Tammisaari has a Christmas market too. Thank you for mentioning it, perhaps next year we will go there instead! Lovely of you to stop by my blog. 🌟🌟

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