Nopsa’s co-founder Liisa Jokinen reveals the best parts of her hometown Pori, located on the Western coast of Finland and known for its sandy beaches and jazz festivals.
This route works as a weekend trip: on Saturday, you can shop for Pori specialties, while Sunday’s reserved for museum visits and taking in the sights.
Liisa recommends traveling to Pori by train: you’ll get a quiet, easy chance to admire the wide and spacious landscapes, and prepare for your adventures in Pori.
Treasure-hunt at the Nuikkinen fabric shop
Nuikkinen has sold fabrics for almost hundred years – and that’s what it looks like in the shop. Purchases are diligently wrapped in brown paper, and on the bottom shelves you can still find fabric treasures from decades past. It is one of the rare privately-owned fabric stores in Finland, which is, increasingly and sadly, a country of chain stores.
Antinkatu 28. Tel. +358 2 6332515.Open Mon-Wed 9.30 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat 9.30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Closed Thu-Fri.
Get a snack at the market hall
Get some local Pori snacks at the Kauppahalli, the market hall. Try the fish delicacies and buckthorn juice at the Mäkisen tyttäret stall, and buy a loaf of bread from Ullan Pakari. Ullan Pakari’s rye bread is the tastiest in the country, and the rich, buttery wheat bread called kakko is a legendary Pori treat
On weekdays, you can get a delicious home-cooked lunch at the market hall, and peek into the bingo room at the back. That’s where the action is at.
Yrjönkatu 12. Open Mon-Fri from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sat from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
More treats at the market place
At the market place you can sample more delicacies from Pori: Ojala’s pastries filled with minced meat (lihapiirakka) as well as lampreys, fished in the fall from the Kokemäenjoki river. You can also find Pori souvenirs, such as shingle baskets (either a traditional wooden one or a colourful plastic version). If you’re lucky, the local grandmas will be at the market place, selling their flea market treasures.
Stop for a frog cake at Sarpi
The Sarpi café at the edge of the marketplace is often called Mummu-Sarpi, “grandma Sarpi”, and not without reason. This is a serious trip down memory lane, complete with 50s interior decoration, calm clientele and low prices. A Sarpi classic, the frog cake, costs 2 euros 50 cents.
Pohjoiskauppatori 3. Open Mon-Fri from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sat from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Pori’s best records
You can’t miss Green River if you’re visiting Pori, home of many Finnish bands! The record shop has been in business since 1996, selling new and used records.
Yrjönkatu 7. Open Mon-Fri from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A spare part for your home
Varaosapankki, the “spare parts bank” is a treasure trove for you if you have a home improvement project – or if you just like beautiful old things. The product range includes doors, windows and tile stoves, but also small items you can carry home with you. And it’s cheap!
Veturitallinkatu 7. Open Mon-Wed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thu from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fri from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Note! Closed on weekends.
The Irish pub - also in Pori
Round off the day with a proper sit-down and a pint at Irkkubaari, the Irish pub on Otavankatu. You can spy on Pori’s active music scene and stave off your hunger with yummy, savoury toasts.
Otavankatu 7. Open daily until 2 a.m.
A brunch at the museum
It’s a good idea to start a Sunday in Pori at the art museum near the river, because they serve Pori’s nicest and, at just 8 euros, possibly the cheapest brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The museum is one of the best in the country. Don’t miss this one!
Eteläranta. Open Tue-Sun from 11 a.m. to 18 p.m. On Wednesdays the museum is open until 8 p.m., with free entrance after 6 p.m.
Take a walk in Kivi-Pori
Digest your brunch by taking a meandering stroll around the beautiful riverside and the neighbouring city blocks, called Kivi-Pori. “Pori is the 8th oldest city in Finland and Kivi-Pori is its oldest urban area of residence. The city of Pori has been located in the area surrounding the City Hall since the 16th century,” says the City of Pori website.
Contemplate at the old cemetery
In Pori, even the cemeteries are special. In addition to the forest cemetery, there is the old cemetery that was used in the 19th century. Next to the cemetery stands Pori’s landmark, the water tower designed by Bertel Strömmen and built in 1936. Cross Maantiekatu (“Road street” – what a name!) and take a walk around the 6th district filled with wooden houses on your way to the last stop of our tour of Pori – the Käppärä cemetery.
Last stop: Käppärä cemetery
No, not that kind of last stop. There are two special sights at the Käppärä cemetery: recycled graves and the Juselius mauseoleum. Pori is the first city in Finland to recycle old grave sites. The old gravestone is turned around, and the other side is engraved for the newly departed. They’re easy to spot all around the graveyard.
The grand mauseoleum is one of Pori’s best-known sights. Businessman Fritz Arthur Jusélius built the mauseoleum – unique for Finland – in the first years of the 20th century to honour the memory of his daughter Sigrid, who died young. The original frescoes, painted by one of Finland’s best-loved artists, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, have been destroyed, but Gallen-Kallela’s son Jorma re-painted them according to his father’s designs.
The mausoleum is open daily between May 1 and August 31 from noon until 3 p.m. During the winter it’s open on Sundays from noon until 2 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling the Pori parish at tel. +358 400 309 778.