Getting to Finland
Estonia and the Baltic states
Helsinki and Tallinn are only 80 km apart. Viking Line, Eckerö and Tallink Silja operate full-service car ferries all year round. Depending on the ferry type travel times are from slightly over two hours (Viking Line and Tallink Silja’s Star, Superstar and Superfasts) to three and a half hours (Eckerö and Tallink Silja’s biggest cruise ships). Some services travel overnight and park outside the harbor until morning. Linda Line offers fast services that complete the trip in 1.5 hours, but charge quite a bit more, have comparatively little to entertain you on board and suspend services in bad weather and during the winter. If the weather is looking dodgy and you’re prone to sea sickness, it’s best to opt for the big slow boats.
Finnlines operates between Helsinki and Gdynia. The trip takes 19 hr and its cargo line that doesn’t carry passangers without cargo.
St Peter Line offers regular ferry service from Saint Petersburg to Helsinki for as low as €30 one way.
In addition to the big two, FinnLink offers the cheapest car ferry connection of all from Kapellskär to Naantali (from €60 for a car with driver).
Car ferries usually stop for a few minutes at Mariehamn in the Åland Islands, which are outside the EU tax area and thus allow the ferries to operate duty-free sales.
As mentioned above, one of the easiest ways to get by car from Sweden to Finland is a car ferry. The European Route E12 (Finnish national highway 3) includes a ferry line between Umeå and Vaasa. Another route that includes a car ferry is E18, from Stockholm to Turku.
European route E18, as Russian route M10, goes from St. Petersburg via Vyborg to Vaalimaa/Torfyanovka border station near Hamina. From there, E18 continues as Finnish national highway 7 to Helsinki, and from there, along the coast as highway 1 to Turku. In Vaalimaa, trucks will have to wait in a persistent truck queue. This queue does not directly affect other vehicles. There are border control and customs checks in Vaalimaa and passports and Schengen visas if applicable will be needed.
As mentioned above, there is a car ferry between Tallinn and Helsinki. It forms a part of European route E67 Via Baltica that runs from the Estonian capital Tallinn, crosses Riga in Latvia and Kaunas in Lithuania to the Polish capital Warsaw. The distance from Tallinn to Warsaw is about 970 kilometers, not including any detours.
Air Baltic connects many provincial Finnish towns conveniently to Europe via Riga. It may also be worth your while to get a cheap flight to Tallinn and follow the boat instructions below to get to Finland.
VR and Russian Railways jointly operate services between Saint Petersburg and Helsinki, stopping at Vyborg, Kouvola and Lahti along the way. Currently the route is served four times per day, returning to two daily from November 2011. There is also a traditional slow overnight sleeper from Moscow, which takes around 15 hours.
There are no direct trains between Sweden or Norway and Finland (the rail gauge is different), but there is bus over the gap from Boden/Luleå (Sweden) to Kemi (Finland).