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. Passes also offer some valuable international ferry discounts, even if you have a pass that just covers Finland.
How do I see whether a rail pass makes sense for my trip in particular?
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
• Advice on deciding between first and second class
• Fare-estimate maps outside Scandinavia
• Answers to frequently asked rail-pass questions
Scandinavia Eurail Pass (4 countries)
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, as well as the following extras:
- Tallink-Silja Line and Viking Line overnight ferries between Turku/Helsinki and Stockholm offer discounts on ferry tickets with any rail pass that covers Finland or Sweden (and these discounts do not use up a travel day on your rail pass). For Tallink-Silja ferries, your rail pass grants you a 20–50 percent discount on trips booked in cabin categories A, B, or C (bookable online with code "Eurail"; ferry tickets for just deck passage, sans sleeping cabin, aren't an option on this route). On Viking ferries, your pass gets you a 50 percent discount just on the deck-passage ticket price, and cabin accommodation costs extra (and passholder tickets for Viking Line ferries can only be booked over the phone, or in person once in Scandinavia). Note that, on either of these ferry lines, passengers under 21 must either travel with a parent or an official parent-consent form.
- Silja Line offers a 20–40 percent discount on Helsinki–Tallinn and Helsinki–Rostock (Germany) ferries.
- Finnlines offers 50 percent discount on ferry tickets between Helsinki and Rostock or Travemünde (Germany).
- Passes cover the Finnish portion of direct Helsinki–St. Petersburg trains (you'll still need to board with a ticket for the stretch between the border and St. Petersburg).
- Passes also grant free or discounted travel on a few less-popular bus and ferry routes).
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).