Getting to Finland from the UK

Getting to Finland from the UK

First some basics.  Finland uses “Eastern Europe Standard Time” which is two hours ahead of the UK.  Flight time is about three hours, but the difference in time zones makes it five hours of “clock time”.

This makes it important to get a fairly early flight out of the UK; otherwise you get to Finland too late to complete your journey easily.  Coming back is much easier because you get the two hours back, so you appear to land an hour after you took off.

This was written before 2017 timetables were available from the airlines, so you’ll need to check everything (we’ve given the relevant URLs).  There’s no guarantee that all the companies we’ve listed will actually still fly to Finland in 2017.

British Airways (www.ba.com) fly from Heathrow, Manchester, and Edinburgh (and possibly others), and share a lot of flights with Finnair, so you may have a BA ticket but find the plane has a Finnair logo on the tail, so check Finnair prices as well.  BA is probably at the expensive end of the market.

Finnair (www.finnair.com) fly from Heathrow and Manchester several times a day (but be wary of later flight times).

Ryanair (http://www.ryanair.com/) don’t currently (March 2017) fly to Finland.  Some people may see that as good news.

SAS (http://www.flysas.com/) fly to Helsinki, Turku and Tampere from Heathrow, but some flights will involve changes in Stockholm or Oslo, which makes for a long day, and potentially a late arrival.

EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) have flown to Helsinki in the past, but don’t at present.

Norwegian (http://www.norwegian.com/uk/) fly from Gatwick, Manchester and Edinburgh to Helsinki.  Good value, in our experience, not expensive and convenient timetables.  Make sure you’re looking at a direct flight, or they’ll fly you to Copenhagen/Oslo/Stockholm first.

As always please check to see what’s included in the quoted price, especially if you need to stick a bag in the hold.

One alternative that we’ve used in the past is to fly to Stockholm (lots of airlines, including SAS, BA, Ryanair and others), and get a ferry to either Turku or Helsinki from Stockholm harbour.  We’ve used Silja Line (http://www.tallinksilja.com/en/web/int/book-a-cruise)  and Viking Line (http://www.vikingline.com/) .  It’s a bit more expensive, adds a day, but gives you some time in Stockholm and is a good way to relax before you arrive.  You can still buy properly duty-free on the ferries.

After Landing

Once you’ve landed in Finland you’ll need to travel on to wherever Korybant is.  Finland has excellent public transport, the trains are all new and not too expensive, and there’s a big network of coach routes as well.  What you do next depends on where you’ve landed, and where the boat is:

Helsinki

Helsinki Vantaa airport is about 30 minutes from the city centre.  In 2016 they finally opened a Metro extension to the city centre.   Alternatively there are lots of airport busses which will also take you to the central railway station.

Unless you’re rich don’t take a taxi, they are very expensive, and not much quicker.

If the boat is in Helsinki then we’ll already have told you how to find us.

If we’re in Turku then you need to take a train.  These run at least every hour, usually leaving on the hour, and take two hours to get to Turku.  You’ll need to queue in the ticket hall, which has a system of numbered chits rather than queues.  You can check timetables on line at https://www.vr.fi/cs/vr/en/frontpage where you can also buy tickets, but there isn’t usually any saving and you need to commit to a particular train, which is a problem if your flight is late.  Seniors over 65 are entitled to a 50% (or so) discount, but you need to ask for a pensioners ticket.  Students only get a discount if studying in Finland, sadly.

The actual ticket price will depend on time of day and how fast the train is.  Allow €20-30 for a single (non-pensioner) ticket.

We’ll provide instructions for finding us in Turku (it’s a shortish walk, basically).

Tampere

There’s an airport bus to take you into Tampere, stopping at Tampere station.  From there trains run to Turku and then onwards to Helsinki.  It’s about 1 ½ hours to Turku, 3 ½ hours to Helsinki.

Other alternatives

There is always the option of hiring a car, but if everything goes to plan you won’t be able to use it much.

Getting to Finland from outside the UK

Finnair fly to lots of places, but you’re on your own here.  Do remember that a late arrival may cause problems due to the time difference.

Getting home afterwards

This should be simple, not least because the time difference works in your favour this way.

Bad weather

There’s always a risk that we’ll get weather-bound somewhere.  Fortunately weather forecasts are pretty reliable for up to five days ahead, so we’ll have some warning.  Out in the islands there are daily ferry services to/from the mainland, and the ferries should run to places from which a bus/train will get you back to the airport, although you may need a night in a hotel at some point.  We’ve never needed to do this yet.