photo © Visit Åland
Traveling in Finland
Although Finland is 338,144 km², making it the 8th largest country in Europe (after Russia, Ukraine, France, Spain, Sweden, Norway and Germany), it is also the most sparsely populated country in the European Union, home to just 5.3 million people. When travelling in Finland you can therefore expect to cover large distances, often through landscapes devoid of human habitation, especially in Lapland.
However, such distances are never a problem in Finland, as the country has an excellent modern infrastructure. The country’s rail network is extensive, efficient, and comfortable. Roads and motorways are kept in excellent condition, and once away from Helsinki traffic is light by other European standards. There are over 20 airports with scheduled passenger service on commercial airlines, in Finland, with a handful of airlines operating internally.
Finland’s many lakes, islands and canals are linked by an extensive network of canal boats, vintage steamers, and ferries – large and small, and traveling around the coast among the many beautiful archipelagos is also possible by cruise and ferry. The national bus company, Matkahuolto, offers long-distance coach connections to practically all parts of Finland. Bus is also the only way to travel in Lapland, as the rail network doesn’t extend to the extreme north. Every town in Finland runs its own local bus service from the town centre to neighboring districts.