Pori is a traditional industrial city, with its former wealth and prominence showing in the neo-renaissance buildings in downtown and in several beautiful red-bricked industrial facilities alongside the Kokemäenjoki river.
However, the city has suffered heavily during the economic downturms, especially in the early 90's, earning a somewhat gritty reputation. Things are now looking brighter again with lots of students coming to city and city centre being revamped.
Today Pori is most famous for the excellent Yyteri beach and the annual international jazz festival in July, organised in 2010 already for the 45th time.
Nextjet operates flights between Stockholm Arlanda and Pori Airport (IATA: POR, ICAO: EFPO). Several companies have had flights between Helsinki and Pori in the past, but currently this route is not operational.
Bus connections from Helsinki (3-4h), Turku, Tampere (2h), Oulu, Jyväskylä and Rauma (1h). Tickets cost about 30-40€ (Helsinki-Pori-Helsinki bus ticket for adults is now about 59 eur), except on Onnibus (from/to Tampere), whose tickets cost € 3–10 depending on supply and demand.
Central Pori is comfortably small to be relatively easily explored by foot, or in the summer on a bicycle. The most attractions are within a short walking distance from each other. The few destinations further away, such as the Sigrid Jusélius Mausoleum (about 3 km from the city center) and the Yyteri sand beaches (about 15 km away) can be reached with a bus.
The bus station of Pori is located in the central square in the centre. From the centre square there are good local connections to the town and to the neighbourhoods everywhere.
Eteläranta, City Hall and the Pori Cathedral. The riverfront in Pori has several prominent neo-renaissance stone building quarters, and the City Hall (with it's park) by Carl-Ludvig Engel is especially worth a look. The gothic-style Pori cathedral (that built instead of the castle that originally gave Pori its name) is also on alongside the river just a stone's throw away. The Theater building and its neighbouring house Hotel Otava, first Finnish speaking theater ever.
Reposaari. The fisher/seaside village outside the city filled with picturesque wooden buildings on the seaside. Especially recommended for summertime visits.
The Sigrid Jusélius Mausoleum containing paintings of the famous Finnish painter Axel Gallén-Kallela. It is situated on the main graveyard and the entrance is free.
Viikkari, or the 5th district, consists solely of old wooden buildings. There's nothing to see in particular, but the area has a unique "bohemian" character and is best enjoyed by just walking around. Located alongside the eastern border of the city center, it's a popular location to live for local artists and underground musicians as well.
Pori Jazz Festival in the middle of July. Quite big names, like Santana, Simon & Garfunkel or for example Alicia Keys have played here recently. Really not-so-jazz-festival anymore, altough jazz & blues can also be found. One of the biggest (if not the biggest) festival in Finland. Favorite festival of the slightly older crowd.
Visit the Yyteri sand beach, one of the largest and certainly best beaches in Finland
In the winter, see an ice hockey game of Porin Ässät ("The Aces"). Although the team isn't as succesful as it used to be, the redcoats are still an essential part of the city culture – especially the Saturday games boast an excellent atmosphere and draw in large crowds. You see the traditional Ace of Spades logo a lot around the city during the Finnish Professional Hockey League season, which begins in September and ends around March/April. Tickets (10-25€) are available at the Sokos department store in downtown, or at the Lippu.fi website .
Pori National Urban Park situated at the river banks. Kirjurinluoto on the north side. It contains a free smallish children's theme park, a theme based golf link and small streams of water. Full range disc golf course. It is lush green during summer. The most prominent monuments of the Pori National Urban Park are the industrial buildings on the north bank of the Kokemäenjoki, the neo-gothic Central church of Pori and one the best examples of neo-renaissance buildings in Finland, the Junnelius place which is currently used as the City Hall. The National Urban Park also contains one of the most beautiful bridges in Finland architecturally, the Pori bridge; the Old Courthouse; the unique collection of stone buildings, "stone Pori"; the Juselius mausoleum, and Kirjurinluoto island, made famous by the Pori Jazz Festival.
Isokarhu mall is a large shopping mall in the heart of the city, alongside the pedestrian zone. In it are located franchises of the most common Finnish and international chains ranging from H&M to Intersport. What you can't find inside, is very probably sold in a store located right next to it (it's a small town afterwall). There are some nice cafe's as well.
The old market hall, or in Finnish "kauppahalli" is a nostalgic experience. The hall sells local products ranging from fish to vegetables. It opens early in the morning and stays open through the afternoon. Good place to take it easy for a while and have an old-fashioned cup of coffee with a sweet bread. But be warned: the retro has a downside in the average age of visitors being probably over 70 years. Old people have also a saying "when you come to Pori, we put you in a pärekori (chip basket) and get you around the tori (market square).
BePop, a shopping mall located in the northern end of the pedestrian zone, also has several small stores. It's also a crazy example of the building boom of the "casino economy", with a huge structure (in pastel colors) but very little commercial space. There's a nice view if you bother to climb to the top bridge that crosses the "alley".
Outlet stores Tactic board games, Karjarannantie 2km west of the city. Open mo- fr 8-16. Bakeries/cafes Mäkilän leipomo: Raja-Hiltantie 3 mo- fr 7-15; Jauhopojat Uusikoivistontie 73 open mo - fr -17, sat 8-13
The normal price for restaurant meal is 20-30€. Fast food is obviously cheaper.
Raatihuoneen kellari, probably the most upmarket restaurant in Pori, situated in the cellar of the town house.
Bucco, popular Italian restaurant at Hallituskatu. Reservation might be a good idea at least in the weekends.
Market place, typical and local products are fried or smoked river lampreys (season is at autumns) and self made meat pies of Ojala. Market square is open from early morning till 14 pm. Typical food is also "porilainen" and it is known all over Finland. Porilainen is a street food dish in Finnish cuisine made from white bread and a half-inch slice of thick sausage. It usually contains diced sweet onion, chopped pickled cucumber, ketchup, mustard, and in some cases mayonnaise. Porilainen resembles a hamburger or a hotdog.
Hesburger, already an institution, is the Finnish equivalent to McDonald's. There are many franchises, the most famous ones being the one in the shopping center BePop (northern end of the pedestrian zone) and the one at the market square, which is open until 5 am in the morning. Meals 6-10€.
Kebab and pizza are at almost every corner of the town. The price range for is from 5€ to 10€. These joints are often open until early in the morning.
The main city center area is full with bars and nightclubs. They are situated at/near the main street Yrjönkatu. The agelimits are often 18, but in many it is 20. But don't worry, if you are 18, you can negotiate, and you may sometimes enter the bar/nightclub. But not always.
Bartenders often ask ID from young-customers.
If you are in Pori at the summer, go to Eteläranta, there are many nice bars and much to do.
Rattis, Yrjönkatu, opposite the bus station. Most genuine Pori experience can be found here. Also Jazz jams on thursday nights, with local students performing. The Tulli Pub on the other side of the square gets occasionally pretty "genuine", too.
Beer Hunters, Antinkatu, besides the market square. Nice selection of beers, has it's own little brewery.
Coco, on the other side of market square, cosy place. Mostly visited by younger people.
Havanna, in the Finnkino movie theatre building (Promenadikeskus), draws in local 'hipsters'.
One for the Road, two blocks west from the market square and then south. Known to locals as "Irkku". An Irish pub with delicious toasts, reasonable prices and a unique atmosphere.
Bar Kino, live music on thursdays. Most popular live venue in Pori. On weekends regular, quite popular club with mainstream dance music.
Cabaret Discotheque, a newer, popular club that is a part of a chain of discotheques bearing the same name around Finland. The queue can get very long, so after midnight you might have difficulties getting in.
PK, is a nightclub aimed at a somewhat older (but certainly not less drunk) clientele. There are several floors, with electronic dance music in the basement, karaoke in the middle floor, and Finnish 'schlager' in the largest dance floor.
Amarillo and Vaakuna are located in the Sokos Hotel Vaakuna next to the market square. Amarillo has a restaurant and a relatively popular bar, and as the place closes around 1 am, people tend to the Vaakuna club upstairs. It tries to distinguish itself as a somewhat more elegant club experience. On a Pori scale, anyway.
Yyterin Kylpylähotelli. . Sipintie 1, Yyteri. Phone +358 2 628 5300. 230 Beds in 113 Rooms. Price includes use of Sauna and baths. Located on Yyteri sand beach. Double rooms for €94, single rooms for €73.
Very nice cottage for using around the year. Cottage is unigue with sauna, terrace and fire place with 4 beds for adults (extra bed for 2 kids). Villa Sputnik is located on the Yyteri beach and surf center, Pori. Renting for weeks and weekends. Ask for the price of the day! villa.sputnik(at)gmail.com