Buses and trains offer an easy way to reach many places all around Finland.

Train traveling is a fast and ecological way to travel between the bigger cities in Finland. But what is even more impressive, is our vast bus network.

You can literally travel by bus on dirt roads of the countryside. Bus rides are especially handy in Lapland, as trains stop at Kolari and Rovaniemi but you might want to have an adventure further in the north (and you totally should!).

This local’s guide is here to explain how you can travel around Finland without a car.

I hope to give you helpful detailed advice so that you feel comfortable planning your trip! Here are some of the questions I’ll answer in this post.

  • How can you actually check timetables and buy tickets online?
  • Can you combine train and bus traveling?
  • Can you travel in Lapland without a car?
  • Why Finns are so funny on board? 

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Here’s what I will be talking in this guide. I cover subjects ranging from the booking sites to our quirky local habits.

Trains in Finland

To check destinations, timetables or ticket booking, do this:

  • Use the online shop of the Finnish Railway company, VR
  • Type date, your starting point (e.g., Helsinki) and end destination (e.g., Rovaniemi) and get a suggestion of connections.
  • You can buy the ticket at the station ticket counter or ticket vending machine. You can also buy the ticket online, print or take a print screen of your ticket. Or use the VR app.

Taking the Train at Helsinki Airport

If you want to travel directly from Helsinki Airport to another city like Turku, Tampere, Jyväskylä, Lahti, Oulu, etc. you can buy the tickets at the airport once you arrive.
You can buy the tickets through the vending machine which is on the train platform in the basement floor. Another option is to buy the tickets at “R-kioski” shop. R-kioski is a Finnish chain of kiosks like the chain 7-Eleven. There are several of them at the airport.
If you buy tickets at R-kioski, the price is one euro more per ticket but then you are able to have service which is nice. I have a helpful and detailed post about Helsinki airport and logistics which you can see here.
A Finland blog that helps you connect with authentic Finnish language & travel resources

Long-Distance Buses in Finland

To check destinations, timetables or ticket booking, do this:

  • Use the online shop of the Finnish bus companies, Matkahuolto
  • Type date, starting point, and end destination. You get a suggestion of connections.
  • Buy the tickets when you enter the bus. You can also book a ticket online. If you do this, the driver has your ticket, and you access the bus with your name details. Print the confirmation, though, just in case.
  • Special advice to Helsinki: The main bus station is on the cellar floor of Kamppi shopping center. There you can find buses to other cities, for example, Porvoo, which is a cute day trip destination.

Onni Bus in Finland: Budget Travel Option

Onni bus is a Finnish bus company which sells super cheap bus tickets online. You can see their buses on the site I mentioned above, but their site is good to know if you want to see just their connections.

To check destinations, timetables or ticket booking, do this:

  • Use the online shop of Onni bus
  • Type date, starting point, and end destination. You get a suggestion of connections.
  • Buy online and in advance.
Buses in Finland offer incredibly easy way to see Finnish nature and countryside. #bustravel #busfinland

Traveling by bus allows you to see the gorgeous Finnish nature up and close.

Book Your Bus or Train Ride Early

Public transport in Finland is comfortable and reliable. The train rides can be cheap if you book your tickets at least three weeks in advance. Unless you are booking Lapland night train tickets. Read more about them here.

I just bought train tickets three weeks early and scored 40€ tickets for 10€. So, if you can, make your arrangements in advance and you will truly have cheap logistics here in Finland. 

Combining Train and Bus Traveling in Finland

Combining train and bus traveling gives you more options in terms of price, timetables and destinations.

In Finnish, a railway station is “rautatieasema” and a bus station is “linja-autoasema”. In many cities, the two stations are within walking distance from each other (the distance is z. 200 m – 1 kilometer), for example in Tampere, Turku, Kuopio, Oulu, Pori, Joensuu, Rovaniemi and Helsinki.

But, what’s even cooler is that some cities have a travel center, “matkakeskus”, in Finnish. This travel hub has both the trains and buses making transfers super easy!  

You can find a travel center in Lahti, Jyväskylä, Mikkeli, Vaasa, Seinäjoki and Lappeenranta.

Personally, I love a transfer in these cities because I don’t have to carry my luggage and worry about finding the other station. 

In Lapland without a Car

A car in Lapland helps you see more but it’s not a must. In terms of easiness and not spending over two hours on a bus, I’d focus on a couple of Lappish destinations. 

First, the Lapland train can take you to either Rovaniemi, Kemijärvi or Kolari. Then you’ll have to take a bus.  

From Kolari railway station, you can travel by bus to Äkäslompolo, Ylläsjärvi or Levi. 

From Rovaniemi bus station, you can travel to Pyhä, Luosto or possibly Salla but that is further. 

My Local’ Guide to Help Plan Your Lapland Dream Trip is a great read for you if you’re planning a Lapland vacation!

Entertainment in Trains and Buses in Finland

Most long-distance buses and trains have a working wi-fi. However, this may not be the case with long-distance buses in Lapland.

Newspapers and magazines can be borrowed from the front of the bus. You’ll see a pile next to the driver.

By the way, newspaper on a seat or in a seat pocket doesn’t necessarily mean that the place is booked in Finland. It means that the newspaper has been left there for other passengers to enjoy.

Eating in Trains and Buses in Finland

It is okay to eat and drink in all forms of public transportation in Finland.

If you are traveling on an afternoon or evening train, be sure to visit the restaurant carriage. There, you’ll see locals relaxing.

Greeting in Trains and Buses in Finland

In Helsinki region, it is rare that people greet the driver when entering or exiting the vehicle.

You can even get a surprised face from the driver if you say Hello.

However, the situation changes, the further you travel away from the capital. In smaller cities, it is entirely the opposite!

What you should know about trains and buses in Finland - Her Finland

Rare Random People in Local Trains

This is based on my own personal experience of traveling on local trains, especially in Helsinki area.

The local trains are composed in such a way that one carriage is on the ground level and the other carriage is a bit higher above the ground.

For some reason, it seems that drunk and weird people are usually on the ground level carriage (Haha, I just made it sound like there is a constant Walking Dead zombie group-situation in local trains.).

No, really, this is rare, but I still tend to choose the carriage up above, just in case.

As a side note, I would like to add that drunk and weird people are 99% of the times totally harmless in Finland.

Finns Piling their Stuff in Public Transport Vehicles

We love to show our personal zone by piling our stuff to the seat next to us. This is nothing personal. Everybody does it.

Socializing on Trains and Buses in Finland

We don’t talk to strangers (Check my post on this topic). This also is the case in public transport.

We keep our voice to the minimum and avoid unnecessary conversations. If you are in a group, it is okay to talk with mild voice.

Don’t watch a video without a headset!

Funny Seating Games on Buses in Finland

In Finland, we only sit next to another person when all possible window places are taken, and you have to start filling up the aisle seats.

As a Finn, we get a slight feeling of irritation when this happens. It is very typical to ask for a seat without any words. Just stand next to the seat you want and watch the pile of stuff on it.

The person sitting next to the pile will gather them away and you can sit.

Toilets on Board

The toilets are decent on trains and buses.

In Lapland, they operate connections either with a big or small bus. The big bus has a toilet.

The small bus doesn’t have a toilet but just let the driver know that there’s a need for a bathroom.

He/she will let you go to the bathroom on the stops or if it’s an emergency, the side of the road. So you are okay to travel with kids on a bus in Lapland!

Buses and trains in Finland offer an easy way to see Finland!
What else would you like to know about trains and buses in Finland? Let me know in the comments!

Looking for more information about different traveling styles in Finland? Check these other posts:

Warm wishes from Finland, 

A Finland blog that helps you connect with authentic Finnish language & travel resources

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Buses in Finland are very easy to use and same goes for trains too. Click to read this local's guide about train and bus traveling in Finland! #finlandbus #finlandtrain #finlandtravel

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