Population: 5.4 million
Spoken language: Finnish, Swedish and in some parts Sami
Unit of currency: Euro (€)
The national railway company is VR: www.vr.fi
Train types: Pendolino (high speed trains), InterCity (IC), Yöjunat (night trains), reservations are recommended; Pikajunat (P, interregional trains), Taajamajunat (H, regional and local trains), reservations are not required.
Bikes are allowed on most trains and some trains have special bike compartments. You will need to buy a ticket in advance and, in the commuter traffic in the Helsinki metropolitan area, travel outside peak hours (7:00-9:00 and 15:00-18:00). Advance booking is required on InterCity trains.
Ferries, ships, buses… everything but train
Ferries are the best way to access the country (from Germany or Sweden). It is also possible to use your InterRail Pass on the journey by train and bus via Haparanda in the north. Long-distance bus services widely cover the country and tickets can be reserved at: www.matkahuolto.fi or on www.eskelisen-lapinlinjat.com (particularly for connections to and from Norway).
Food and drink
Eat as many seasonal berries as you like: blueberries, lingonberries, raspberries, strawberries, cloudberries, and sea-buckthorn berries are easy to find in local markets and they are the main ingredient in local desserts. Don’t miss the local fish: herring, salmon and whitefish are a delight in Finland.
Local Hostel Association: www.hostellit.fi
Hotels and guesthouses are everywhere, check tourist offices for suggestions or www.lomarengas.fi
Camping: www.camping.fi Note: the Jokamiehenoikeus (everyman’s right) allows you to camp on
public land (not farmland, gardens, etc). There are various free campsites in the National Parks.