The sparkling land of Finland is mainly divided into 4 regions - Helsinki, Coast, Lapland and Archipelago Lakeland, and air travel is the most convenient and quick way to reach any of these distinct regions. Finland’s international airport is situated in the capital, Helsinki. The Helsinki-Vantaa Airport welcomes international flights from all over the world. Finnair and Norra are the national carriers of Finland along with a host of the top international airlines including Qatar Airways, Aeroflot, Turkish Airlines, Vistara, Air India, British Airways, Emirates, Air France, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airways and so on.
Finnair runs a direct flight from Delhi to Helsinki, which takes about 7 hours and 40 minutes. Do keep in mind that this is the only direct flight available from India to Finland. However, there are flights running from all the major cities in India including Mumbai, Chennai, Jaipur, Goa and many others that take you to Delhi, so travelling to Finland shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. One thing to consider when booking your flights is that the flights offered by international carriers have stops in their own countries, which can add to your travel time.
While there are other airports in the country, Helsinki-Vantaa is the main international hub. All the other airports are mostly used for domestic travel. There may be some seasonal flight and chartered planes during the winter, but that is about it.
Indians need a valid passport and a Schengen Visa to visit Finland. They can also visit all the European countries that are a part of the Schengen Agreement.
It is not really possible to travel by road to Finland from India. The only way one can enter Finland through the road, whether by train or by bus, is if you are on the Russian border. You can also take a bus from Sweden and Norway to Finland, if you are in one of these countries. Another option is to drive down to the ports of these countries and take a ferry to enter Finland.
Travelling by sea is one of the most beautiful ways to travel anywhere. It changes the destination into a journey that you’re likely to remember forever. The best way to enter Finland is by standing on the edge of a cruise boat with a beverage in one hand and a camera in the other! Luckily, though there are no cruises that sail from India to Finland directly, there are a number of cruises that sail from other European coasts. So, if you want to enter Finland by sea, you can fly to the ports and then set sail. You can easily find travel packages to these ports that include flights from India.
When it comes to getting around in Finland, air travel is the most convenient choice. Of all the 27 airports in Finland, 21 are strictly for domestic travel. Finnair airline is one of the world’s most sustainable airline. It is the international as well as national carrier in Finland. Other domestic airlines include SAS, Flybe, Airlink and Norwegian.
Ivalo Airport in Lapland is the northernmost airport in Finland, around 250 km higher than the Arctic Circle. Other busy domestic airports are Kuopio, Rovaniemi and Pori. The flights are as short as half an hour and can go for two hours at the most. It is recommended to book air tickets in advance as the fare can be quite high, but if you book non-refundable tickets, you can travel in fares that are less than train tickets.
Finland has a staggering 1,88,000 lakes, which is similar to the number of islands in the country. It comes as no surprise that travelling by ferries or boats is one of the most quintessential ways to get by in the country, especially in the summertime. They have the most scenic routes and you can travel between cities easily. You can board a cruise and enjoy a great experience or travel in ferries between cities. It is a more economical and logical choice for moving between cities. A single ferry boat can carry up to 200 passengers.
Some of the most popular routes in Finland are - Turku-Naantali, Helsinki-Porvoo and Tampere-Virrat to name a few.
Finland has a very well-connected train network. It is fast, efficient and cost effective, almost the same as the bus service. Valtion Rautatiet (VR) is the state-owned network that runs Finnish trains. You can check out the train schedule on the website, but there is no need to book tickets in advance, except for the busy holiday season. There are mainly 3 types of trains that run the tracks in the entire country. These are:
• High speed Pendolino
• Fast intercity (IC)
• Express and Regional trains
Cycling / Hiking
Renting bikes in Finland is super easy. You can explore every city and take in its beautiful landscape and coastal line. Every Finn uses Helsinki’s bike rental system in their everyday life. You have to make sure that your bike has a white headlight as it is mandatory everywhere in the country. Helmets are advised, but not required by law.
Walking is another environmentally friendly way to explore any city in the country. As every vehicle has to stop at every pedestrian crossing legally, it is a safe way to travel in Finland.
Hiring a car is possible in Finland but it is an expensive way of getting around in the city. However, it is easy to drive in Finland as the traffic drives on the right side of the road, same as India. Make note that headlights need to be on during the day as well. Drivers need to drive carefully as deer and other wild animals can wander out to the main roads at any point.
Now that you know everything about how to reach Finland and the best ways to get around in the country, you can easily plan a trip to see the Northern lights! Visit the Thomas Cook website or drop in at the closest branch and kickstart your holiday plans!