travellers in 2015
years of rail travel experience
Finland has an extensive railway network. With over 5,900 km of tracks, travellers can visit all major cities in Finland by train. Trains are operated by the national railway company called VR. Commuter service is also run by VR in the Helsinki region. The high speed train service in Finland is carried by the Allegro trains. These high speed trains also have an international connection to Saint Petersburg in Russia, from Helsinki in Finland. When travelling on board an international train, passport controls are frequent. Other stations served by the Allegro high speed trains include Vyborg, Vainikkala, Kouvola, Lahti, Tikkurila and Pasila.
Finland is a Nordic wonderland with its never-ending wilderness, peacefulness and untouched nature. Finns live in tune with their environment; in summertime, most people retreat to wooden cottages to swim and fish in the 188,000 lakes of the country before unwinding in a sauna with a shot of kossu (Finnish vodka). Finland has a staggering 1.6 million saunas and a total of 35 national parks that offer a unique opportunity to relax and get in touch with nature.
Finland is not just about nature though. Technological innovations, flair for design and numerous festivals make sure there’s plenty going on when your batteries are charged.
Arrive on Helsinki, Finland’s capital, and discover the bustling harbor, steep in the coastal city and wander around Senate Square. Board a train to Turku, the oldest city of the country, explore the medieval castle and admire the wooden houses of Rauma, dating back to the 16th century. Or go to Lapland and meet Santa Claus in his native city of Rovaniemi (Lapland).
If you’re fond of wildness, hop on train to Lapland. There, you should see some reindeers and have some great opportunities to go trekking, canoeing or cross-country skiing. If you are looking for Northern Lights, you will be mesmerized by the one you can see in the Arctic Circle.
If you are looking for handcrafted souvenirs, meet the local Sami communities in Finnish Lapland and buy some wooden gifts. If you prefer jewellery, high-end fashion or even antiques, rush to Helsinki’s Design District or to Marimekko, where you will also find contemporary interiors and fashion too.
Eat & Drink
High-calorie food is necessary to withstand the climate… Rainbow trout, fresh salmon or perch coming from the Finland’s inland lakes are delightful. Try a reindeer stew in Lapland, pork and black pudding stew rössyopottu in Oulu or taste Karelian beef!
By train, reach Finland’s impressive Lakeland region. You should enjoy the trip to the wild forest, the large lakes and scenic views like the Savonlinna’s medieval castle.
From endless daylight in the summer to the still, wintry darkness of the polar night, the characteristics of Finland’s seasons have a profound effect on life in Finland and its rather peculiar inhabitants.
Not really Scandinavian, nor a part of the Baltics or Eastern Europe, Finland is the black sheep of Northern Europe. Famous for Santa Claus, Nokia and saunas, these brutes actually enjoy sitting in a heated box and, upon reaching boiling point, running outside and rolling in the snow. They’re crazy about sports and heavy metal, yet they produce some of the finest functional design in the world. Their movies are virtually devoid of dialogue, as seems to be the case in real life.
Finns are considered quiet and reserved, which is partly true. Small talk can hardly be seen as their strongest suit. But get on closer terms with a Finn and you’ll find a warm, sincere and hospitable person underneath the seemingly cool shell. Finns are hard-working and dutiful, but come celebration day, these people will show you the meaning of a good time. Prepare for sarcasm though, as a Finn might tell you tall tales without ever cracking a smile.
Although known for advancements in technology and progressive urban solutions, most Finns stay close to Mother Nature. With almost 200,000 lakes and half a million summer cottages in the country, there’s lots of hideouts for relaxation and outdoor activities. Hiking, Nordic walking and cross-country skiing are considered fun over here. Some Finns prefer mountain sports, ice hockey, riding snowmobiles or rally driving. A few have even tried a Formula 1 racer.
Culturally, Finland is a unique mix of East and West. The society moves to a western beat, spicing it with eastern tones. Here, hip hop and balalaikas, rock & roll and army choirs, as well as cellos and heavy metal, were meant to merge.
Because there’s nothing like Finland, we’ll let the numbers do the talking:
5.4 million people
1.8 million saunas
Rail Pass benefits in Finland
- 20 to 40% discount on ferry crossings from Helsinki –Stockholm (via Mariehamn), Turku – Stockholm (via Mariehamn or Langnas) and Helsinki – Tallinn (Tallink Silja Oy company). 20% discount for high season and 40% discount for the low season. More information from Tallink Silja Oy. All reductions are available for Cabins that are category C-A. Port taxes are extra.
- 30% reduction is offered on the ferry crossing between Helsinki-Travemünde operated by Finnlines company. Port tax and meals are extra and are paid locally.
- Special rate on ferry crossings from Turku/Helsinki – Stockholm and Helsinki-Tallinn operated by Vikings Line company.
Free bus travel. From Kemi/Tornio to Harparanda (Sweden). Company: Veljekset Salmela.
- Free entry. Narrow-gauge railway museum in Jokioinen. Open from June to mid-August.
- Free entry. Railway museum Hyvinkää.