Located 240 km from Helsinki and 140 km north of Turku, the city of Pori on Finland’s west coast is the 10th largest and one of the oldest, having been established in 1558. It is best known for the annual Pori Jazz Festival, first held in 1966, and for the 6 km long sandy beach of Yyteri.
Cultural experiences in Pori
By far the biggest event of the calendar is Pori Jazz Festival in July, which now runs for nine days, and can attract over 150, 000 visitors. The summer 2023 the highlights include living legend Tom Jones, grammy-winner Sam Smith, and pop icon Robbie Williams.
A little outside the city, the Ahlström Ironworks in Noormarkku is one of Finland’s largest and most magnificent ironworks areas. Ahlström Ironworks caters for tourists with an upscale hotel and a lakeside sauna, as well as a fine restaurant with a menu focused on locally sourced and wild ingredients. Also in the area, Villa Mairea is one of the most famous private homes in Finland, designed by Alvar and Aino Aalto for their friends, and completed in 1939. Villa Mairea in Noormarkku and Terassitalo in Eura, can be explored on guided tours. The buildings designed by Aalto in which everyday life merges with architecture, iconic design furniture, art and wellness.
Pori has a number of fascinating museums to visit. The Satakunta Museum is a history museum with exhibitions on the history of Satakunta and Pori, which was recognised as Museum of the Year in 2019. The highly anticipated exhibition Elon merkkejä (Signs of life) offers an experience-laden journey to life in Pori and Satakunta from the Stone Age to the present day. There are other permanent exhibitions and the museum always has something to see, explore, and do for the whole family.
The Rosenlew Museum of the Satakunta Museum, located near the centre of Pori, next to a traditional industrial area, presents and stores the industrial cultural heritage of Satakunta province. The museum building served as the state’s granary, was completed in the 1860s, and has been preserved due to its cultural and historical value. The basic exhibition of the Rosenlew museum showcases the history and production of the Rosenlew company.
Pori Art Museum, located at the banks of Kokemäenjoki river in a historical customs warehouse built in 1860, is renowned for its exhibitions of international contemporary art, introducing the latest trends in both Finnish and international art.
One of Pori’s most popular sights, Jusélius Mausoleum is located at the Käppärä Cemetery and is part of the Pori National Urban Park. Designed by the renowned church architect Josef Stenbäck, the Gothic Revival mausoleum was commissioned by local industrialist Fritz Arthur Jusélius for his daughter Sigrid, who died of tuberculosis, to be her last place of rest. It was originally decorated with frescoes painted by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, but following their deterioration they were replaced one at a time with bronze reliefs by the sculptor Emil Cedercreutz. The current frescos were painted by artist Jorma Gallen-Kallela during 1933–1939 after drafts by his father, Akseli Gallen-Kallela.
Nature Experiences in Pori
One of Pori’s most visited natural attractions is Yyteri, a 6km stretch of sandy beaches, that provides fun in the sun among sand dunes that are protected under the Natura 2000 network of nature protection areas. It’s unique nature and wide range of activities and services can be enjoyed all year round. While the beach and sea attract sunbathers and surfers, with beach volleyball also popular, other activities include a climbing park, golf, and fatbiking. There are more than 30km of trails for cycling and hiking passing a diverse range of scenery – pine forests, spruce forests, and mires, with observation towers along the way to better enjoy the unique views. Accommodation is provided in Yyteri Hotel & Spa and the Art Nouveau-style Mäntyluoto Hotel, and at Anttoora Holiday Village, Yyteri Beach Resort, Siikaranta Camping, and Yyteri Resort and Camping.
The island of Reposaari is located just outside Pori on the Gulf of Bothnia. The village itself is idyllic, with rows of charming wooden houses, and also has a charming wooden church built in the Norwegian-style which features four large paintings by Lennart Segerstråle and altarpiece by Felix Frang. The village harbour and the park close by add an extra picturesque touch to the island’s enchanting milieu. On the southwest of the island lies Reposaari fortress, or Castle Park, named for the disused fortress there. It was renovated for the first time in 1992 and again in 2007–2008. There are many hiking trails, and several spots with fine views for photographers. You can also find rock carvings on the cliffs beside the sea in Takaranta. The island is also famed for its fresh seafood, which can be sampled in Ravintola Merimesta and Ravintola Reposaari.
Close to Yyteri lies the lighthouse island of Kallo, which is reached from Mäntyluoto via an embankment road. Visitors shouldn’t skip the delightful village of Uniluoto, which comprises mainly wooden buildings from the 19th century. On Kallo don’t miss the Café Kallo, where you can enjoy a coffee and pastry while taking in the sea views. The island is home to the Pori coast guard, as well as Segelföreningen i Björneborg BSF, the island’s yacht club, and the oldest sports club in Finland.
Much of Pori’s coastal waters lie in the Bothnian Sea National Park, which extends from Luvia to Merikarvia in the Pori region, and it is mainly located in the outer archipelago, and can be explored by sailboat, motorboat, or by kayak. There are a number of excursion harbours in the National Park area to visit, such as Munakari, Iso-Enskeri and Seliskeri, Säppi in Luvia and Ouraluoto in Merikarvia. Other attractions include the 19th century lighthouse on Säppi, and the old pilot station at Ouraluoto where visitors can stay overnight, and enjoy sauna and swimming. For those who don’t have their own boat, the islands are accessible by boat trips organised by local businesses in the summertime, including the authentic, traditional sailing ships.
Family Vacation in Pori
Families with children visiting Pori will find plenty to keep them active and amused while here. Obviously, the sandy beaches, dunes and the sea at Yyteri are hugely popular, but there’s lots more there to thrill the kids. Adventure Park Huikee has activities for all ages, including an exciting trampoline park. The rope track is almost 2 km and consists of 115 different challenges. Huikee also offers fatbikes, while the most adventurous can challenge themselves at the kick scooter Pumptrack. At Yyteri Resort activities include, minigolf, pedal cars, SUP boarding, and an atmospheric spa. The popular Angry Birds playpark has slides and rides for the little ones.
Located in the middle of the Kokemäenjoki River, Kirjurinluoto is Pori’s own central park, where you’ll find a beautiful beach, and Pelle Hermanni Park, a huge play world, the size of five football pitches, ideal for children of all ages. Take a walk in the park and admire the park’s famous animals, such as young goats, sheep, alpacas, and birds. In Pelle Hermanni Park, kids can explore the pirate ship, climb ropes, swing in the lianas like Tarzan, go climbing in the Angry Birds park, and ride bikes and pedal cars in Traffic Park Vinkkari, all free of charge.
Another popular family attraction is Koivuniemen Herran MuuMaa Farm, a countryside theme park where visitors can engage in various farm activities, such as milking cows, gathering eggs, and feeding sheep. There are plenty of fun activities for all, including horse riding and tractor rides, and visitors can also enjoy a tasty lunch or various snacks and treats at the Harjun Tupa diner and café and spend a cosy, relaxing night at the farm.
As you can see, there is plenty to see and do all year round in Pori.