- 1 Transport
- 2 Accommodation
- 3 Food
- 4 Connectivity
- 5 Busking
- 6 Visa
- 7 Cities
- 8 Travel destinations
- 9 Read on
Finland is a part of the Northern Europe and one of the Nordic countries. It is a member state of the European Union as well as the Schengen Agreement. Its neighbouring countries are Sweden, Norway and Russia. Estonia is directly to the south over the Gulf of Finland.
- FB rideshare -group
- FB truck drivers offering rides -group
- BlaBlaCar offers great rides in Finland too, if you make an account just choose another country cause Finland is not listed yet as 'registration counry'
Lately OnniBus has been offering cheap intercity bus connections, but they haven't yet been allowed to operate on all routes and they have only one or two connections per day. They are not often allowed to use main bus terminals and stop on normal bus stops instead. PoriExpress is similar cheap bus company operating mostly in western Finland.
Matkahuolto is search engine together for all bus companies (except Onnibus). You can nowadays find discound tickets easily.
Only passenger train company in Finland is VR. Train tickets are always cheaper to buy in advance.
- All train timetables in Finland (including freight trains)
With Finnish blue student card you get 50% discount at trains and buses, but not with ISIC or other international cards.
There are no border checkpoints between Finland, Sweden and Norway. You can cross these borders without stopping.
Ferries to Stockholm go from Helsinki and Turku. The latter is considerably cheaper. Both ferries also stop in Maarianhamina (Ahvenanmaa), or Mariehamn (Åland), as its Swedish-speaking population calls it. It is possible to buy a deck ticket to Maarianhamina only and yet ride the whole way as nobody is checking. The two companies which run ferries between Finland and Sweden are Viking Line and Silja Line. Both of the companies are focused on bringing the customers a cruise-experience, and are bound to be tacky. Viking Line sells cheaper tickets without a cabin, too, which would be rather useless on the daytime trips between Turku and Stockholm anyway. As of June 2016, a morning ferry from Stockholm to Turku (and vice-versa) costs €15, and Stockholm-Helsinki (and vice versa) costs from €88 (the latter includes compulsory cabin reservation, and prices vary according to season; also, special offers can put the price below €10).
Silja Line is the posher of the two, and thus more expensive. It's still tacky, though.
The Viking Line cruise ships have free tourist maps of Turku at their information desks on board. Be aware, though, that if you take a daytime cruise (which is about half the price), you will arrive in Turku at night. During the autumn, winter and early spring that means no daylight which is no help for hitchhiking. In winter nights, extremely cold temperatures might occur as well.
A decidedly more exciting option is to do island hopping on the small car ferries running from Turku to Maarianhamina. For foot passengers, this option is free. You can continue to Sweden with one of the above mentioned companies or "Eckerö Lines"
There are also ferries crossing the Bothnic Gulf from the Finnish city of Vaasa to the Swedish city of Umea and vice-versa. The ferry goes eight times a week (see the schedule here). Crossing will cost you around 30 euro but it is a quite comfortable trip.
There is no land connection between Finland and Estonia. There are many daily ferries from Helsinki to Tallinn. It takes 1-3 hours (most ferries 2h), costs about 20-50 euros (the cheapest tickets you should try to book in advance).
You can hitch sail and motor boats from Tallinn and Pirita marinas during the summer. Especially Sunday mornings are good when Finns return from their weekend trips.
Cars pay also per passanger so it's not possible to hitch a car to the ferry for free.
- Bus: Busbud, OnniBus, PoriExpress
- Train: VR
- Airline: AirBaltic, Norwegian, Ryanair, Wizzair
- Ferry: Eckerö line, LindaLine, Tallink, VikingLine
Accommodation is expensive but hospitality exchange works pretty well. Not ideal country for hostels.
Finnish laws allow anyone to camp in nature or the Freedom to Roam.
Like the other Nordic countries, Finland has everyman's right (jokamiehenoikeus) meaning that it is allowed to camp on any land provided that you stay a few hundred metres from houses, do not start a fire, and do not more than one night in any given place. While everyman's right technically doesn't apply inside of towns and cities, there is usually no problem with camping in isolated areas of parks -- even if police see you, they are more concerned with gypsies than with backpackers.
In Southern Finland and the Åland Islands, the forests and grassy areas are full of ticks, so wear clothing that covers your legs and check occasionally that you haven't been bitten.
Lean-to's and huts
At official hiking paths there are often free cottages and lean-to's where you can stay for free.
- Laavu.org for locations of these all around Finland. Click "Lataa" (download) and "Kaikki" (all) to download a gpx file of locations which you can then put to your favourite map app.
- Tulikartta.fi has a map of lean-to's, wilderness huts, fireplaces, resting spots, bird watch towers etc.
'Buffet Lunch' - The most affordable way to eat in a restaurant is to find a cheap 'all you can eat' place, mostly they are called 'buffet', you can eat normally from 11.00 to 17.00 from 7 euros.
Cheapest restaurants are usually pizzerias (4-7e) or Chinese restaurants. Usually food is cheaper if you take it away.
- Libraries often have free wifi.
- long distance trains operated by VR have free wifi
Busking can be extremely rentable in Finland.
Big cities like Helsinki can grant you an actual good salary but also medium/small size places can be a good option (e.g. in front of supermarket/mall areas before security tell you politely to move)
Finland is part of Schengen.
- Finterest.fi - Interactive map of Finland (e.g. free campings and fireplaces)
- Free topographic maps of Finland for Android phones and browser.
- Hiking maps
- Coordinates of free cottages and lean-ons to stay all around the country: Laavu.org. See "accommodation" section of this article for more.
Kayaking and canoeing
Finland is full of lakes and rivers, thus doing trips with Kayak or canoe are very popular. It's an easy and affordable way to move even long distances (longest lakes in Finland are hundreds of kilometers long). Since you can camp pretty much anywhere in Finland, you can just stay overnight at islands or coastal rocks.
A good site to find out about good routes is unfortunately only in Finnish, but using translation programs you can navigate there pretty easily: Melontareitit.com
- Hitchbase page for Finland with somewhat outdated tips for locations
- Lonely Planet − Finland eBook (2003) preview
- Kyydit.net - rideshare network for Finland
- Kimppa.net - another rideshare network for Finland
- Truck drivers offering rides on FB group
- Finterest.fi - interactive map of Finland (e.g. free campings and fireplaces)