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I'm visiting Porvoo (known for its historic centre) tomorrow.

It's going to be quite hot (for Finland anyway) at 26°C, so, besides sightseeing, chilling at a beach and maybe even dipping in the Baltic sea sounds appealing.

However, even though Porvoo is on the coast (the town sits at the mouth of Porvoonjoki river at the end of a narrow bay of the Gulf of Finland), with a quick look it seems there are no beaches suitable for swimming near the centre...

Is there any nice beach that's easily accessible from the centre of Porvoo, by walking or public means (on a Saturday)? If so, how to get there from the Market Square (which bus etc)? (I have no car with me, and wouldn't want to pay tens of euros for a taxi.)

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(I don't know Porvoo at all, but can navigate with google maps on my phone. I'm planning to ask someone about the beaches when I get there, unless someone posts a great answer before that...) –  Jonik Jul 6 '12 at 21:37

2 Answers 2

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Right, it seems Porvoo ain't much of a beach town (unlike, say, Hanko, another Helsinki day trip destination). Here's what I found out.

Immediately north of the main tourist area, there's Maari (Maren) where you can "you can dip your toes in the water" according to tourist info lady. But this is river water, and she couldn't say if it's clean enough for swimming; at any rate the brownish water does not look inviting. (We didn't visit this place so I don't know what it's like exactly.)

Then there's lake Veckjärvi with a beach at Skaffas, some 5 km away from center (and another beach right across the water in Hasselholmen island which by road is 14+ km away). Another small lake with a beach in the same direction is Tervajärvi, some 6 km away. Local buses don't help much in getting to these places. (But e.g. with a rented bike these would be very accessible.)

The lady at the tourist info handed me this map of Porvoo beaches, listing only Hasselholmen (Skaffas actually), Tervajärvi, and Maauimala (Kokonniemi outdoor pool; see below):

enter image description here

As for sea beaches, there are many (as the link Mark posted shows) but apparently they are all far away (10+ km) and not really served by local public transport (which is very limited in such small town)—I'm not 100% sure, but this is the impression I got. Though there might be a beach in Hamari, close to where bus 2 runs... (Do post another answer if you know better!)

Anyway, for someone without car or bike, the best bet seems to be Kokonniemi outdoor swimming pool (Kokonniemen maauimala; address Jääkiekkotie 2), about 1.5 km from centre. You can easily walk here, albeit through far less charming areas than Old Porvoo. (Local bus 2 also stops right by the pool, but it runs infrequently (just once per hour on Saturdays) so walking may well be quicker. See the timetable at the stop next to the pool; note that the times mean departure from the terminus which is some 9 km away in Tolkkinen.)

This is where we ended up going on Saturday. So, not quite what I originally looked for (no sea or nice views!), but for swimming it's pretty good. Unlike what I first imagined, this pool is basically a small lake or pond (it's an old sand / gravel extraction pit), about 250 by 100 meters in size and 20+ m deep in the middle. It's surrounded by a sandy beach, plus some piers and jumping towers. It's free and open always (though the changing rooms, showers, toilets and kiosk are open 8-20 Mon-Fri & Sun and 8-18 Sat). That day wasn't quite as warm as forecasted, but the water at Kokonniemi was 21°C, probably much warmer than sea water.

enter image description here enter image description here
Kokonniemi pool, photos by me

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Firstly, let's look a a Google maps view of the area:

Map of Porvoo and vicinity

Beaches close-by? Not walking distance, no, aside from Kokonnniemi, perhaps. But you may be able to hitch or find a local bus.

In that case, you have a few options. Here's a handy list of beaches near Porvoo, as well as outdoor swimming pools and barbeque locations:

Traveller's Porvoo: Beaches and Barbeque

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