Nature lovers will find paradise when traveling by train in Finland. Vast expanses of unspoiled natural scenery, including forests, lakes, and islands, are interrupted only by breathtaking towns and exciting cities, like the capital, Helsinki. Travel all the way north to Kolari, well beyond the Arctic Circle, to try and get a glimpse of the magnificent Northern Lights.
Finland by train
Finland in images
Train types in Finland
The national railway company of Finland is called VR (VR Ltd - VR Oy).
Finnish railway service
InterCity trains offer excellent connections on the most popular tracks. The coaches offer facilities as: services for wheelchair, family compartments, play space for children, deposit-operated bicycle and ski locks, luggage lockers, a telephone booth for mobile phone callers, a compartment for passengers with pets, a smokers’booth and a compartment for allergy sufferers.
Long-distance trains have facilities such as: restaurant or buffet cars, public telephone, special facilities for allergic and disabled passengers. For those passengers who want to avail themselves of sleeping facilities on the night trains there are comfortable sleepers available at an affordable price.
Travel to Sweden or Norway
There are no direct trains between Sweden or Norway and Finland, but the bus over the gap from Boden/Luleå (Sweden) to Kemi (Finland) is free with a Eurail pass.
Finland can also be reached by ferry from Denmark, Germany or Sweden. You can get a 50% discount on most ferries, with your pass.
Most domestic trains in Finland do not require seat reservations, you can just hop on with your Eurail pass. Exceptions are:
The high-speed Pendolino where train seat reservation is required. Reservations are available locally from € 2,50, the price depends on the distance.
InterCity (IC) trains. Advance reservation is not compulsory, but recommended if you want to be sure of a seat.
How to make reservations for Finnish trains
You can make reservations for domestic and international high-speed trains and night trains:
At a ticket desk or self-service machine at local train stations.
By phone through the VR call center.
Phone number: +35 89 2319 2902
Opening hours: 7:00-22.00 (local times)
VR has English speaking staff. You can pay for your reservations over the phone (by credit card) and collect them at ticket machines at Finnish railway stations. You will receive a booking code by email. The booking center cannot deliver your reservations to your address.
The VR call center can also be reached with Skype.
See more reservation fees for domestic trains.
Lappeenranta - Joensuu
Airport - station link
From Helsinki airport a bus departs every 10 minutes to Helsinki City (line 615) or the Tikkurila rail station (line 61). Eurail Passes are not valid on the bus.
Eurail aid office in Finland
For questions about Eurail, visit the international ticket office at Helsinki station. It is open Monday to Friday, 10.00 - 17.00.
See more Eurail aid offices in Europe
Places to visit in Finland
Capital at the water's edge
A surprising mix of old world charm and modern flair, Helsinki (Helsingin) is a fabulous destination on your rail adventure. Check out the neoclassical Senate Square, one of the finest in all of Europe. Be sure to visit the famed Helsinki Cathedral (Helsingin tuomiokirkko), the Ateneum Art Museum and the many seaside attractions, like the Fortress of Suomenlinna and the islands of Pihlajasaari, Uunisaari, and Seurasaari.
From Helsinki Central Station (Helsingfors), the Helsinki Cathedral is less than a 10-minute walk.
City of culture, islands of tranquility
Turku was the European Union’s 2011 City of Culture, and with good reason. The 13th century city is the oldest in Finland, and is filled with ancient and modern attractions. Resting on both banks of the Aurajoki river, Turku is alive with music, festivals and cultural events. Be sure to visit the medieval Turku Castle and the Old Town Center before hopping on a ferry and exploring Turku archipelago’s many islands.
Turku Castle is a few minutes walk from Turku satama train station.
Island magic of staggering size
The 6,500 islands that make up the Åland Archipelago have to be seen to be believed. The waterways, bridges, boats and islands of Åland will steal your heart. From kayaking to diving, from fishing to biking, this chain of islands offers the ideal setting for anything outdoors. There’s also no shortage of castles, fortresses and churches to supplement your visit, and of course, a great selection of seafood.
Your Eurail pass entitles you to special discounts on the ferry crossing to Åland.
The route of the royal mail
The 13th century King’s Road was the mail route between Bergen, Norway and St. Petersburg, Russia. The route is dotted with historic castles, cottages, churches and iron mills. Modern-day Finland is visible along the route, and among the people who live nearby. The Finnish portion starts in Mariehamn (Maarianhamina) in Åland, and runs through the archipelago and Turku all the way across Southern Finland to Vyborg, Russia.
You’ll likely encounter the King’s Road at several points in your travels in southern Finland. Take the time to visit some of the sights along the way.
The smallest big town in Finland
Formerly an industrial town, Tampere rests between two lakes, best seen from the observation towers of Pyynikki ridge and the Näsinneula in Särkänniemi Amusement Park – one of Finland's top summer attractions. Walk along the banks and the rapids of the Tammerkoski River, which provided hydropower in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, the old factory buildings are museums, galleries, restaurants, theatres and boutiques.
Tampere is about t 2 hours away from both Turku and Helsinki.
The town before time
The historic city center in the town of Rauma has one of the oldest harbors and one of the narrowest streets in the country. It offers some amazing historical sites. Don’t miss the Bronze Age Burial Site of Sammallahdenmäki, 36 burial cairns that date back as far as 1500 B.C. Rauma’s Franciscan church and the town’s museum, located in the Town Hall, are also great to see, and a stroll along the harbor is always a great choice.
Although there’s no direct train service to Rauma, you can travel by train to Kokemäki, and then transfer to a bus to take you the rest of the way.
Events in Finland
This is Finland’s biggest and best rock festival and has been going since 1979. The 3-dayer attracts top international bands. It’s possible to buy a ticket for the whole weekend including camping or individual day tickets.
From the train station in Seinäjokiyou you can take the festival bus to the grounds.
Helsinki’s biggest and most famous festival, this one taps into all sorts of art, music, activities and fun. From classical to jazz, from dance to poetry, this festival’s got it all. Make sure to visit the Night of the Arts, when the city is open for any outdoor performance! It’s worth it to plan your trip to take part.
The festival takes place all over Helsinki and all venues can be reached by bus, metro or tram.
Air Guitar World Championships
Oulu strikes a chord with thousands, as the annual Air Guitar Championships get underway. After qualifying in local competitions throughout the world, the best-of-the-best air guitarists gather in Oulu to find out who the real champion is.
Oulu is a 6 hr train ride from Helsinki. The Air Guitar World Championships venue is within walking distance of the main station.
More about Finland
Population: 5.4 million
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Dialing code: +358