Refresh after a long flight with a jaunt into the countryside, where you can inhale some fresh forest air and even cop a cup of culture. Porvoo is only slightly over 30 minutes from Helsinki’s airport but worlds apart from its cosmopolitan city centre. The streets of Porvoo are lined with architectural evidence of its imperial past – many of its newer buildings were designed by the Russians after its original structures were deemed “too Swedish”. A centuries-old time capsule of entire wooden towns and narrow cobbled lanes, Porvoo is a joy to venture filled with a myriad stores and cafes selling fashion, food and adorable Moomin merchandise. Be sure to stop by Brunberg (Teollisuustie 19, 06150 Porvoo; brunberg. fi/en), Finland’s oldest chocolate factory that has been churning out delectable confectionaries since 1871, and pick up some of their famous truffles.
Immerse yourself in the grand beauty of Finnish nature by embarking on a brief trek on the island of Emäsalo, where the guides of Seikkailulaakso (en.seikkailulaakso. com) will take you on their Mind & Nature path, a short program that is supposed to aid concentration, creativity and stress tolerance. A quick tour of the surrounding forests allows you to pick wild blueberries and lingonberries, spot some reindeer moss, and enjoy a warm fire and tea in the brisk, cold mountain air. In the summer, the waters surrounding Seikkailulaakso are also a favourite for fishing, swimming, and boating.
BOTTOM Cycling is one of the best ways to explore Helsinki and surrounds