By Rick Steves
Are rail passes a good value for Finland?
Rail passes are usually a solid value in Finland, given the otherwise high price of train tickets. Even if your Finnish travel is mostly limited to international ferries to/from Helsinki, the discounts afforded by a pass likely make it worthwhile.
How do I see whether a rail pass makes sense for my trip in particular?
Train Fares: Scandinavia
Map shows approximate costs, in $US, for one-way, second-class tickets. For first-class fares, add 50 percent.
Use this map to add up approximate pay-as-you-go fares for your itinerary, and compare that cost to the price of a rail pass for the number of days you expect to spend on the train. Dotted lines show ferry routes, some of which are discounted if you have a rail pass. Dashed lines show bus connections, which aren't covered by rail passes.
Also, follow the links below for:
• More tips for figuring out whether a pass makes sense for your trip
• The basics on choosing among rail passes
• More tips on how to save money by fine-tuning your rail pass
• Fare-estimate maps outside Scandinavia
• Answers to frequently asked rail-pass questions
Choose one of the passes below to check prices and to buy your pass (orders are fulfilled by Rail Europe).
Extra tip: The Scandinavia Eurail Pass covers all four countries in this region and is cheaper than a Eurail Select Pass covering these same countries.
Any advice for deciding between first and second class?
In Finland, as in the other Nordic countries, second-class seating offers the same comfort as first-class seating on southern-European trains. And if you're getting a rail pass, the decision may be made for you: Scandinavia Eurail Passes are only available in second class, whereas with the Eurail Select and Eurail Global passes, travelers 26 or older can only use a first-class pass.
With other passes you've got a choice: Single-country Finland passes, as well as two-country Finland–Sweden passes, offer both first and second-class options to any age of traveler. See our general advice for deciding between first and second class.
You'll need seat reservations ($5–20) for many long rides and express trains, as indicated in online train schedules. Some reservations aren't available outside Europe, but they don't generally sell out terribly far in advance. Private and shared sleepers on night trains are both available with second-class rail passes.
What do rail passes cover in Finland?
Virtually all trains within Finland (but not Russia-bound trains), as well as the following extras:
- Silja Line and Viking Line overnight ferries between Turku/Helsinki and Stockholm offer a 20–40 percent discount on ferry tickets with any rail pass that covers Finland or Sweden, though cabin accommodation costs extra (discount does not use up a travel day, passengers under 21 not allowed without parent or official parent consent form; reserve directly with ferry companies once in Scandinavia).
- Silja Line offers a 20–40 percent discount on Helsinki–Tallinn and Helsinki–Rostock (Germany) ferries.
- Finnlines offers 30 percent discount on ferry tickets between Helsinki and Rostock or Travemünde (Germany).
- Passes also grant free or discounted travel on a few less-popular bus and ferry routes (as described here).
If a rail pass doesn't pencil out for your trip, you may be able to shave off the cost of your train tickets with some of these tips:
- One child (age 4–15) travels free per ticket-buying adult on most Finnish trains; otherwise kids generally ride for half the adult fare (and keep in mind that child-ticket deals vary across neighboring countries).
- Seniors (65 and older) pay about half-price on most train tickets (no card needed).
- Advance-purchase discounts can be substantial (just beware restrictions on refundability).
Finland Rail Passes: Key Details
Single-country Finland Eurail Pass: Valid for one month, not two, after you've activated the pass (whereas multi-country Eurail-brand passes offer a two-month window of travel).