Not all roads lead to Finland. But unexpectedly many do. And you would be surprised by how easily you can reach this northern corner of the world. In this article you will learn all about it.
You can access Finland by many different transportation methods. You can come by car, ferry, ship, airplane or even by bus. The best route and method depend on your location, distance, budget and the maximum number of hours or days you want to spend on the road. Let us look into all of these details separately.
How to Access Finland by Airplane
It is relatively easy to fly to Finland, albeit not always cheap. Depending on your location you may need a connecting flight, which is likely to decrease the price tag of your trip, especially when accessing Finland while already in Europe. Several airlines fly to Finland, including Finnair, Air Baltic, KLM, and American Airlines. There are even many options for Asian travellers, who are interested in experiencing the Nordic culture first hand by visiting one of Finland’s touristic destinations.
Most Finnish cities and towns have an airport, so flying there is a valid option no matter if you want to go to Lapland, Southern Finland or the Finnish Lakeland. And if you want to check out several different parts of Finland, flying is the fastest option as well. Fly first to Helsinki if you want to start from the South, or to Rovaniemi or Ivalo if Lapland is among your dream destinations. Internal flights are relatively inexpensive if booked well in advance and are by far the fastest and the most comfortable way to move around this long and vast country. You should, however, consider bus or train in order to get the most out of Finland’s beautiful nature.
Flying to Finland is the best and, in some cases, the only option to reach Finland from outside of Europe. But if you are passionate about trains, it is also possible to come to Finland by train from Asia or Russia. This will require a little bit of detective work from your side but can surely be done. Just remember to check which visas you need, as well.
Driving to Finland by Car or Renting a Car in Finland
Always consider the weather conditions before driving a car in Finland. It is not advisable to drive a car in the middle of the winter in Lapland if you are not used to driving in snowy and icy conditions. Summer is a different story though. Finland is sparsely populated, and the roads are long and in good condition. You will have a wonderful time exploring the country by car. Just skip the centre of its capital city, Helsinki, during the rush hours.
You can access Finland through Norway or Swedish Lapland in the north, which can be a fun ending for your Nordic road trip. Drive through Lapland and experience the Midnight Sun for yourself, then move towards south and perhaps visit the Finnish Lakeland or the beautiful west coast. The old and historically rich western coastal towns, such as the old capital Turku, will charm you with their tranquillity.
You can also access Finland by first driving to Estonia, Poland or Germany, and then taking the ferry to Helsinki or Turku from there. Germany may sound like a farfetched option but there are several ferries departing from Rostock to Finland every week.
Coming to Finland by Train
If you are accessing Finland from Europe, a train is a valid option. You could consider buying an Interrail Pass if you want to see several places at once or book a single or a return ticket. There are several access points, of which most will involve a ferry travel as well. By booking an Interrail ticket you get a ferry discount or even a ferry trip included in the total price of your ticket. This is a good option for bikers as well, as you can take your bike with you in the train and in the ferry.
It is advisable to book your seat in advance. As many people book trains online these days, the connection may run out of seats, especially during rush hours and holidays. So, if you want to comfortably sit at the same spot for the duration of your whole trip, be sure to book in advance. It is also required to buy a seat a or a sleeping accommodation for all night trains in advance.
Many Finnish trains offer a free Wi-Fi connection and have a restaurant car. The trains have also services for disabled people, as well as seats for allergic passengers, families, and even separate pet cars.
Ferries and Cruise Boats Operating on the Finnish Shores
Several ferries and cruise boats can take you to Finland. The easiest and fastest routes are to access Helsinki or Turku from Stockholm, Sweden, or come to Helsinki from Tallinn, Estonia. You could also come to Helsinki from Lübeck, Germany.
The Helsinki – Tallinn route will get you there the fastest. Spend just over two hours on the waters of the Baltic Sea, enjoying the tasty food and the drinks that the ferries have to offer, and perhaps do some tax-free shopping as well. This is also a wonderful option to do the other way around. If you have some extra days to spare, book a ferry trip from Helsinki to Tallinn, and enjoy the wonderful, historical and medieval city for an afternoon or for an overnight experience. There are several ferries operating daily on this route, and the trips can be surprisingly inexpensive.
A Finnish mini cruise can certainly be an interesting experience. The most important rule is to relax, and to enjoy yourself. And if you are feeling lucky, try one of our typical schnapps, salmiakki, in one of the ferry’s restaurants or bars. You will remember the taste of the salty liquorice drink for the rest of your life.
Traveling in Finland by Bus
In recent years, traveling by bus has become rather popular in Finland, thanks to affordable connections and many reliable bus services entering the market. You can book your tickets easily online. Make use of the many discounts offered, and then just sit back and relax all the way to your destination. It is a calming experience to roll past the vivid nature of Finland – the deep forests, the glimmering lakes, and the golden fields of wheat or rapeseed on each side of the vehicle.
And what will you see in the winter? Just wait until you are out of the city, hopefully making your way northwards – northern lights spotting, perhaps? You will see a scenery filled with snow, a true winter wonderland, and a slender row of evergreen trees under a tick layer of snow, hibernating. A truly unforgettable experience that will last for a lifetime.