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Travelling to and within Finland
4 minute read

Credits:: Olli Vainio

Getting to Finland

You can fly, cruise or drive. The train is also an option if you’re coming via St. Petersburg, Russia.

Arriving by plane: Helsinki-Vantaa (HEL) airport near the capital city is the country’s biggest airport and offers many connections to and from other parts of the country and abroad. Besides Helsinki, there are a handful of national airports, such as Rovaniemi and Kittilä in Lapland, that offer direct international flights. Check the options for your point of departure.

Arriving by boat: Helsinki has boat connections with Germany, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Latvia and Estonia. You can also arrive by boat via Vaasa (from Umeå, Sweden), Turku (from Stockholm, Sweden) and Hanko (from Nynäshamn, Sweden). There are many companies that offer Baltic Sea cruises – some of them also stop at ports in Finland for day trips.

Arriving by car: In the east, you can cross the land border from Russia via nine designated crossing points. On the northeastern border of Finland, you can drive in via Sweden and Norway. You can also drive your own car to a boat and then cross the Baltic to Finland.

Arriving by train: The Allegro train runs between Helsinki and St. Petersburg, Russia. There are four roundtrips daily and the ride one way takes only 3.5 hours. For more, visit national train operator VR’s site.

Getting around in Finland

Finland is a large and sparsely populated country, but getting from point A to B is no hassle – everything runs like clockwork. Air, rail, road and water transport networks are comprehensive and reliable. The Perille service will help you make sense of your options based on travel time, cost and carbon footprint.

A skier sitting on a tent that has been set up on ice in the Finnish Lakeland.
An aeroplane arriving to snowy Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Finland.
A happy traveller looking out of a train window at a green Finnish countryside.
An electric car charging in the parking hall in Helsinki-Vantaa airport.
An aerial view over the Lakeland in Finland with narrow bridges connection small islands in an archipelago.
An inland waterway cruise in the Finnish Lakeland.
A bus driving through a Finnish forest.

Navigating the country

You can get around by plane, bus, car, train, steamship, cruise ship, ferry and bicycle – to name just a few. We recommend you take your time and choose the most environmentally-friendly option. After all, slow travel is the best way to travel. With that said, here are a few ways to get around.

Credits:: Mikko Nikkinen

By plane

There over 20 airports in Finland, and a handful of them have regular international flight services. The main gateway is Helsinki-Vantaa (HEL) International Airport. The northernmost airport is in Ivalo in Lapland, approximately 250 kilometres above the Arctic Circle. Contact your travel agent or search online for the most convenient connection from your point of departure.

Credits:: Jyrki Komulainen / Finavia

By train

Finnish trains are spacious, comfortable and clean. The rail network stretches all over the country, from Helsinki to Kolari in Lapland. Trains are well-maintained and the scenery along the way is beautiful, especially in eastern Finland with its many lakes. For longer distances, traveling overnight in a sleeping car is recommended. Car carriers are also available. Kids will be happy to travel in the train’s play area. For more, please visit national train operator VR’s site.

Credits:: Juho Kuva

By car

Finland has right-handed traffic and a polite, stress-free driving culture. There’s a good network of petrol stations. Driving in Finland in the summer is a breeze, but it can be tricky in the winter if you don't have prior experience. Roads get slippery and snow tyres are legally required from November to March. Headlights must be used at all times. Motorists in Finland should remain alert for elk and reindeer, which frequently wander onto roads and are most active at dusk and dawn.

Credits:: Finavia

By bicycle

Bicycles are a good way to travel short distances. All cities and most towns have bikes for rent – Helsinki’s bike rental system is one of the most-used in all of Europe. Remember: Finland streches over 1,000 kilometres, so it would take at least a few weeks to ride a bike from Helsinki to Lapland.

Credits:: Juho Kuva

By ferry

Finland has thousands of lakes and is surrounded by sea, so there are all kinds of boat services on offer. Try an old-fashioned steamboat on Lake Saimaa or hop on a sea cruiser for a trip to the Åland islands. You can also easily reach nearby countries – including Germany, Russia, Sweden and Estonia – on ferries and other passenger boats. The most environmentally-friendly boating options, of course, are row boats, canoes or kayaks. Be sure to try one when you’re in the Land of a Thousand Lakes!

Credits:: Julia Kivelä

By bus

Finland’s coach (or bus) network is one of the most comprehensive in Europe, covering more than 90 percent of public roads. If the rail network doesn't reach your Finnish destination, a coach most likely will. Plus, riding a coach is a good way to relax and take in the scenery. Visit the Perille service to see your options or visit the Matkahuolto, OnniBus or Express Bus websites.

An illustration of the Finnish map with different transportation options.

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