Finland — Transportation
Finland Taxis and Car Rental
Finland has a very organized public transport system, making travel across the country comfortable. Finnish taxis are widely available and closely regulated by the government, so you can expect safety. However, fares are often expensive. It is possible to share rides with strangers going in the same direction. Taxis come in a wide variety of colors and shapes, but they are always distinguishable by a yellow TAXI or TAKSI sign on the roof. It is nearly impossible to hail a cab on the street and you will need to walk to a taxi stand or keep a few phone numbers on hand whenever you go out. In downtown Helsinki, long cab lines can be expected on weekends, especially at night. You may contact the Finnish Taxi Owners Federation (+358-207-756 800) for more information about taxi transportation around Finland. To order a cab in Helsinki, dial 0100-0700.
Renting a car is possible in Finland, but generally quite expensive. Driving is pleasant, especially in the countryside, but stay alert, as wild animal accidents are quite common, especially in the south and southwest regions. Headlights should be kept on even during daylight, and extra caution should be observed when driving on icy roads during winter. International and local car rental providers include Avis (+358-9-859-8356), Europcar (+358-40-306-2400), Scandia Rent (+358-9-478-03444 (Vantaa Airport), and Auto Alex (+358-40-522-3938).
Finland Water Taxis
Ferries ply the lakes of Finland, often on cruise-type routes with restaurants and on-board entertainment for an enjoyable day or night. Boating on the lakes is especially popular during summertime, but regular waterbus and ferry trips are available year-round. Some popular routes include Tampere to Hameenlinna and Tampere to Viikinsaaari Island, which are served by Silver Line (www.hopealinja.fi). Poet’s Way (www.runoilijantie.fi) operates between Tampere and Virrat, while Lake Paijanne Cruises (www.paijanne-risteilythilden.fi) services the Paijanne Waterway and areas like Heinola, Jyvaskyla, Suolahti and Lahti. Regular ferries are also available around Kuopio and Lake Pielinen.
Finland Trains and Buses
Finland has an extensive rail network. Within cities, trams are the preferred form of transportation. Finnish Railways offers excellent inter-city routes, and taking the train from Helsinki to Turku, Tampere and Lahti is more convenient and definitely faster than the bus. Trips run on an hourly basis, and charges vary according to the type of train and service level. Express and overnight sleepers on long-haul routes are ideal for those wishing to get to their destinations quickly. The Finnrail Pass allows for unlimited travel three to 10 days in a month. Multi-country rail passes are also accepted in Finland.
Long distance coaches and city buses also serve the area. In Lapland, buses are the only means of public transportation, as the train network cannot reach the extreme north. Bus rides are slightly more expensive than train services, despite being slower. The local transportation systems in areas like Tampere, Turku and Greater Helsinki are very reliable. Larger towns also have integrated bus services and suburban rail lines. Multi-trip tickets and different kinds of passes are available if you want to cut down your costs.