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Getting Around in Finland
 
 
 

By Air

Finland has one of the densest and least expensive airline networks in Europe, with 24 airports throughout the country, including in the far north. For domestic flights there are several kinds of discount tickets. For further information, contact your travel agent. Among the airlines that ply the routes internally are Finnair, Karair, Finnaviation, Blue 1, FinnComm Airlines and Golden Air. In the case of an emergency, Jetlife provide an air ambulance service.

If you plan to travel extensively throughout Scandinavia or into the Baltic countries, then consider the Finnair Nordic Air Pass. It is available only from May 1 to September 30, and you must have a transatlantic plane ticket to be eligible.

By Rail

There are 6000 km (3700 miles) of rail network with modern rolling stock. Finnish trains are spaceous, comfortable and clean. VR Ltd (www.vr.fi) operates an extensive rail service around Finland. The Pendolino fast train runs at a maximum speed of 220 kph (132 mph) and is designed to operate on all main routes. Lines include Helsinki–Turku, Helsinki–Tampere–Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä–Kuopio Helsinki-Kouvola-Issalmi and Helsinki–Seinäjoki–Oulu. The cheapest option by train are the express trains (for which seats must be booked in advance); on some lines these are being replaced by new rail cars. They have already been replaced on the Pieksämäki-Joensuu line. There are also night trains and car-carrier trains, regional trains and InterCity trains (InterCity2 trains have double-decker cars). Rail travel is cheap and efficient. Children under six years of age travel free of charge and children aged six to 16 pay half price.

Finland has its own Finnrail pass for use on the country's elaborate network of railroads. It's a "flexipass," entitling the holder to unlimited travel for any 3, 5, or 10 days within a 1-month period on all passenger trains of the VR Ltd. Travellers over 65 and children 6 to 16 are charged half the full fare (it may be necessary to show proof of age); children 5 and under ride free.

Second-class trains in Finland are comparable to first-class trains in many other countries. The Finnrail pass should be purchased before you enter Finland; sometimes it's available at border stations at the frontier.

Because Finnish trains tend to be crowded, you should reserve a seat in advance. Seat reservations are obligatory on all express trains marked "IC" or "EP" on the timetable. The charge for seat reservations, which depends on the class and the length of the journey, ranges from 3€ to 61€.

By Sea/ Lake/ River

Finland's nearly 188,000 lakes form Europe's largest inland waterway. Although railroads and highways now link most Finnish towns and villages, the romantic old steamers (and their modern counterparts) give both Finns and visitors a relaxing way to enjoy the inland archipelago areas of Finland in summer.

Traffic on the inland waterways is serviced by regular waterbuses and ferries. There is a wide choice of routes and distances and trips can last for a few hours or one or two days. Popular routes are the Silver Line (www.finnishsilverline.com) between Hämeenlinna and Tampere and the Poet’s Way between Tampere and Virrat. Saimaa Ferries (www.saimaaferries.fi) operate lake routes from Lieksa, Nurmes, Koli and Joensuu. Lake Päijänne Cruises run services from Lahti, Heinola and Jyväskylä and Roll Cruises operate from Kuopio and Savonlinna. On Lake Pielinen, there are regular services, also by car ferry. Overnight accommodation in small cabins plus meals and refreshments are available on lake cruises. For more detailed information on schedules and routes, contact the Finnish Tourist Board.


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