A bicycle (polkupyörä) is a very practical, popular and ecological form of transportation in Finland. There are plenty of cycle/walking tracks around the cities. Many people cycle throughout the year.
Cycling in Finland:
- Wearing a bicycle helmet is compulsory in Finland
- You must have a bright lamp in the front of your bike and red lamp in the rear of your bike when you cycle in the dark. Cyclists without proper lights can be fined.
- If you cycle during autumn, beware of the "black ice", which looks like wet asphalt, but actually is really slippery ice
- If you ride your bike during winter, studded tires are recommended. They can be bought from big supermarkets and sports shops.
Where to get a bike?
Local busses (public transport)
You can save some money by buying a bus card that suits your needs. Single/day tickets can be economical for visitors and occasional bus travellers. For regular travellers monthly/season tickets offer savings.
A few tips:
- To make sure that the bus stops at the bus stop, please wave your hand to indicate the driver that you want to hop on
- Timetables at the bus stops tell you when your bus leaves from the starting point of the route, not when it reaches the bus stop where you are standing
Tickets and fares:
Cars and Driving in Finland
Bringing your Car to Finland
Buying and operating a car in Finland is fairly expensive. The average price of a litre of petrol is about 1.45€ (Super 95). In addition to motor insurance policy and car tax, cars must be registered and annually inspected at the inspection stations. You are also required to purchase two sets of tyres: for winter and summer.
For more information on bringing a car to Finland as removal goods, see www.uef.fi/en/web/internationalstaff/transport-of-personal-possessions
Foreign Driving License
Validity of your foreign driving license depends on the country that has issued the driving license.
Driving license issued by EU/EEA countries
- valid in Finland
- permanent residents can change the license to a Finnish driving license
Driving license issued in a country that is party to the Geneva or Vienna Conventions on Road Traffic
- valid in Finland for two years.
- must be changed Finnish driving license in two year's time after you have been registered in Finland’s Population Information
- If you do not exchange your license in time, you need to complete a driving test (theoretical and practical tests) in Finland.
Driving licenses issued by other countries
- no entitlement to drive in Finland
- a driver examination in Finland is required.
Can I drive on a foreign driving licence in Finland (trafi.fi
Finnish driving licence (expat-finland.com)
Motor liability insurance is a statutory insurance and it is mandatory for all motor vehicles used in traffic. Motor liability insurance covers bodily injuries and property damage caused to the innocent party.
For vehicles from the members states of the European Economic Area, number plates are considered a sufficient proof of motor insurance. Vehicles from any other countries must have an international green card (certificate of motor insurance) or frontier insurance.
Annual Inspection (katsastus)
Vehicles must be inspected at regular intervals. Inspections are statutory and made by inspection stations (katsastusasema). The purpose of the inspections is to ensure that the vehicle is safe for use in traffic and to control the vehicle's environmental impact (exhaust emission measurements). Payment of vehicle tax and other fees are also monitored in the annual inspections.
You may consult the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) online service free of charge to find the next deadline for a periodic inspection for your vehicle.
Winter tyres (studded or friction tyres) are compulsory in Finland as of 1 December. Studded tyres may be used on Finnish roads from 1 November. This rule also applies to cars and vans registered abroad when they are driven in Finland.
Before fitting tyres, it should be ensured that they are in good condition and compatible with the vehicle and that the tyre pressure is correct. The groove depth of winter tyres must be at least 3.0 millimetres measured in the principle grooves of the tyre pattern.
Winter tyres are compulsory until the end of February and may be used until 20 April.
See also www.liikenneturva.fi/en/road-safety/car-tyres
Child car seats
According to the Law on road traffic it is compulsory to use infant seat or child car seats determined by the child's weight for children who are less than 135 cm. Children over 135 cm tall can use the seat beats as the adults do. Children under 3 may not be transported at all, if there is no appropriate safety device available in the car. The safest place for the child in the car is the backseat.
It is recommended that the child should face the rear until he/she is 3 years old because the child's head and neck are best protected in car crash situations when seated rear-facing.
Most cities have metered parking areas. However, sometimes parking is free, but the parking time limited. In this case you need a parking disc, which can be obtained from petrol stations, kiosks and most shops. The time of arrival must be set first and then the parking disc must be displayed on the dashboard. The time of arrival is the following hour or half-hour depending on which one is earlier.
Parking on the university campuses usually requires a parking permit. Please see the UEF Intranet for further information on how to get a parking permit and see the parking area maps.
Renting a Car
In order to rent a car you need a valid driving licence and preferably at least one year of driving experience. Rental companies require the driver to be at least 20 years of age for passenger cars, but the age regulation may vary by car category. Drivers under the age of 25 may incur a young driver surcharge. Please also note that some car rental companies may require a credit card. Be prepared to show proof of your identity when renting a car, so take your driving licence and your passport with you.
Some car rental companies:
Road Signs and Driving Tips