From Helsinki to Rovaniemi – A Finnish Lapland Rail Experience

From Helsinki to Rovaniemi A Finnish Lapland Rail Experience

Take in Helsinki’s incredible architecture on a panoramic 90-minute tour. See the historical centre, diplomatic quarters and Senate Square, as well as the extraordinary Temppeliaukio Church built into rock.

The train leaves Helsinki at around 11pm and arrives above the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi 12 hours later. The overnight train offers multiple amenities including a restaurant cart serving meals and snacks.

Arrive in Helsinki

The capital of Finland is a modern, lively city with impressive architecture and a highly developed tourist infrastructure. It’s easy to get around by air, rail or road. The Perille service can help you make sense of the options based on travel time and costs, as well as your carbon footprint.

The easiest way to arrive in Helsinki is by flight. Direct flights leave from a number of European cities and are quick and convenient, arriving at Rovaniemi Airport (also known as Santa Claus Village). A transfer to the train station is just 10 minutes or so.

A train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi takes just 12 hours and is an experience in itself. The double-decker sleeper train, affectionately named the Santa Express, runs up to three times a week during peak season from Helsinki to Rovaniemi and Rovaniemi to Kemijarvi or Kolari depending on the schedule. The cabins are comfortable and roomy for two people for the night, and the upper deck cabins have an ensuite shower, toilet and sink – a nice touch on a train journey!

You can purchase tickets online before your trip or in person at the ticket vending machines, R-kiosk, Alepa-store and WHSmith kiosks. A one-way ticket to Helsinki Central Station is around 6 euros and can be purchased using your credit card.

Buses also operate from the airport, but these can take longer. A taxi is another option, but be prepared to pay at least 45-50 euros and tip.

Once in Helsinki, public transport is the best way to get around. The P Train and the I Train run from the airport to the Helsinki Central Station and depart about every 20 minutes (travel time – 40-55 minutes, ticket price – about 5 euros). A 1-day or 1-week pass will give you unlimited 30-minute rides on the HSL network.

For an authentic Finnish experience, head to Kallio, a creative neighbourhood with trendy cafes and brunch spots. It’s a great place to see the locals and sample some of the city’s famous food, including salmon soup, traditional pastries and rye bread. Then head to Hakaniemi Market Hall for some artisanal products and a taste of local culture.

Train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi

The first step in your once-in-a-lifetime adventure through Rovaniemi and Lapland is hopping aboard a direct train from Helsinki. There are daily direct trains and an overnight service known as the Santa Claus Express that will take you comfortably to your destination.

Once you’ve boarded the train, you can settle into your cabin and relax for the rest of the journey. During the day, you’ll have time to gaze out at the Arctic landscapes whizzing past your window. If you’re taking the night train, you can opt for a comfortable sleeping compartment with a private bathroom. The compartments are able to accommodate one person in a bunk bed and include all the essentials for your comfort.

When the sun sets in the winter, a night train trip is the perfect way to spend your evening. If you’re lucky enough, you may also get a chance to see the northern lights. This is a beautiful light phenomenon that appears when magnetic energy in the Earth’s atmosphere interacts with particles of matter in space, creating glowing colors and patterns. If you’re visiting in the autumn or late winter, chances are high that you’ll be able to witness the Northern Lights.

The train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi is a great way to travel to this remote and magical region in a sustainable manner. Plus, travelling by train is an excellent option for families with young children. Just make sure to ask VR for kids’ tickets, which are free of charge when accompanied by an adult with a full ticket.

There are various ways to reach Rovaniemi, but the most famous is the comfortable double-decker train called Santa Claus Express. The train travels from Helsinki to Rovaniemi, and then on to either Kemijarvi or further north towards Kolari along the Swedish border.

Upon arrival in Rovaniemi, you can explore the city and tick off any attractions that are left on your itinerary. During the day, you can visit the Arctic Wildlife Park to get close to some of the world’s most endangered animals or stroll around the historical centre to admire the beautiful cathedral and traditional market square. If you want to go hiking, head out on some of the city’s many scenic trails or take a guided tour of the local forests and wildernesses to learn more about the nature that surrounds this unique Arctic urban oasis.

Rovaniemi to Kemijarvi

Taking the train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi and beyond is an exciting way for families, couples and solo travelers to experience Lapland. The train features spacious double sleepers with a comfortable bed and private bathroom, as well as seats for daytime travel, a restaurant car and baggage transport. You can also bring pets and bicycles on board.

The Santa Claus Express runs from Helsinki to Rovaniemi and Kemijarvi, with an overnight stop in between. The trains are a modern double-decker, with a bright red Santa Claus paint job, and have lots of power sockets. You can even book bigger seats, single cabins or luxury rooms with private showers (around 50 euros per person).

Once you’re in Finland, a train ride through the countryside is a great way to see more of this beautiful country. You’ll find yourself surrounded by forest, lakes and endless snow-covered landscapes as you travel between cities.

Whether you choose the daytime route or the night route, the scenery will be equally spectacular. The train will travel past traditional wooden train stations, as well as many lakes and small towns with colorful houses. Depending on the time of year, you may be able to witness the Northern Lights or other winter activities as you pass by.

If you’re lucky enough to make it in early winter, there are also chances of seeing Santa Claus himself as he makes his rounds in the city!

The journey to Rovaniemi from Kemijarvi is a pleasant one, with plenty of room and space to stretch out. There are several restaurants, coffee shops and snack bars along the route and the onboard service is excellent.

It’s best to reserve your seat in advance, as this is a popular train. You can do this by calling the Finnish Railways’ customer service number (note: this is the number for Finland; don’t call their US based number as they will charge you to mail your tickets, which isn’t necessary). Just be sure to mention that you have children traveling with you so you can receive free kids’ tickets.

Kemijarvi to Levi

The train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi and Kemijarvi is operated by VR, the national railway operator of Finland. All trains from Helsinki are fully equipped with modern facilities and can be booked online via the VR website. You can book day or overnight sleeper trains with either seats, berths or private cabins. Children travel for free with parents when booking a child’s ticket, so ask the staff about this at the time of booking.

The journey from Helsinki to Rovaniemi takes about 8.5 hours on the day train or 12 hours on an overnight train. The train will stop at Rovaniemi, Kittila and Kemijarvi, all of which are popular holiday destinations in their own right.

There is plenty to see and do in each of these stunning locations, from the iconic Santa Claus Village at Rovaniemi to the spectacular Northern Lights displays in Kittila. In Rovaniemi, you can meet Santa and his elves, visit his workshop and take a reindeer safari. There is also the opportunity to learn about Sami culture and traditional life at a reindeer farm and even go on an Arctic Circle adventure.

A trip to Kittila is great for snow lovers and skiers, and is the gateway to some of Lapland’s top winter sports resorts. Among them are Suomutunturi and Levi, which both offer incredible skiing and are renowned for their family-friendly vibe. Then there’s Pello, which is the ideal destination for a spot of arctic exploration with its magnificent lakes, forests and river.

Levi is an important centre for Lapland’s tourism and offers a wide range of activities, safari guides and accommodation providers. It is also home to several restaurants, including a range of fast-food options and fine dining.

The hamlet of Kemijarvi is another great place to base yourself in Lapland, with its charming atmosphere and picturesque setting. There is a range of accommodation here, from hostels and hotels to cabins, and it is easy to walk to nearby activities, such as hiking and ice-climbing.

So if you’re planning a holiday to Finland and want something a little different from flying, the train is a fantastic option. The scenery is breathtaking and the experience is truly unique. Just remember to pack your sense of adventure – there is plenty to discover on a train from Helsinki to Lapland!

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