Travelling in Finland

In the summer international cruise ships visit Kotka and Hamina. Kotka Station is a good starting point for walking tours.

State-owned VR runs commuter and long distance trains on the broad 1,524 mm gauge network. Use their website to search for a journey by entering your departure and arrival points, or browse their PDF timetables by service area.


Trains in Finland are comfortable and safe, with reclining seats, bathrooms, free power outlets and Wi-Fi. On longer routes, train cars serve drinks and meals.

In the Helsinki metropolitan area, VR commuter trains (D, G, M, R and T) provide service to Kotka several times per hour. The M train is a weekday service that operates in two legs; every other departure extends to the northern leg to Tampere Central, while the rest of the trains go to Helsinki.

If you are a passenger, make sure to have a ticket; conductors will impose a fine on passengers without a valid ticket. You can also take a bus to Kotka from Helsinki. To do so, select your destination in Moovit’s search bar and follow the instructions to get step-by-step directions from your current location to Kotka. You can also compare tickets and prices to find the best deal. You can travel from Helsinki to Kotka in around 3h 45m.


Finland’s public buses are clean and comfortable, with a handy onboard map system and ample seating. You can also check live maps, timetables and route information online. The service website Reittiopas offers a great point-to-point journey planner; enter your starting address and destination, along with either your departure or arrival time. The site then displays your options for travelling there – including flights, trains and bus connections.

The state-owned Pohjolan Liikenne operates most of the country’s bus routes. A subsidiary of VR, the national railway operator, it is especially strong in southern Finland.

There are daily commuter train services from Helsinki to Kotka on the main line and to Kouvola, where a connecting service runs to Kotka. There are also regional trains to and from Kouvola, and the Z train stops at Pasila, Kapyla, Oulunkyla, Pukinmaki, Malmi and Tikkurila as well as Kerava, Ainola, Jarvenpaa, Saunakallio and Jokela. In addition to rail and bus travel, Finland is served by ferries connecting the main cities with Sweden, Germany, Estonia and Russia.


In Helsinki, the city’s tram network consists of ten lines that cover most of the city. In August 2008, the network expanded with Line 9, which opened from Kolmikulma to Ita-Pasila and later was extended to Jatkasaari. The network also offers interconnection with commuter and long distance rail services at Leppavaara and Oulunkyla.

The current fleet of 103 cars is largely composed of indigenously built Valmet twin-section articulated vehicles. A handful of older non-articulated vehicles form a charter fleet, and one – a 1959 Valmet bogie car – is permanently parked outside the city’s Tram Museum.

The city’s website features a point-to-point journey planner (Reittiopas) that lets you enter your home address and either a departure time or a required arrival time and then provides options for getting to your destination. You can also search for bus, tram and train connections across the entire country. Single tickets are valid for 80-110 minutes and you can change between modes of transport during that time. Value tickets are available for pensioners, full-time students and persons with limited mobility.


In Helsinki you can’t hail taxis like in some other European cities. Instead, there are plenty of official taxi ranks, usually in front of international hotels or near major public transport hubs.

Most towns have their own website with timetables, prices and other information. Many also feature a Reittiopas (journey planner) where you can enter your start and destination addresses. This tool will then present you with various options, including bus, train and ferry connections as well as walking routes.

Getting from Helsinki to Kotka requires a few transfers. You can take the car ferry to Tallinn, then walk or the bus to Viru, Estonia 1, or to Reisisadama D-terminal and take a further bus to Kotka (so a total of 4h 42m). It’s best to book your trip online or on an app to avoid queues at the airport. You can save up to 20% by booking with a company like Welcome Pickups. It also provides flight monitoring, so your driver will wait for you even if your flight is delayed.

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