The “Lapland Express”: a Helsinki-Rovaniemi High Speed Train
Traveling by train has its charm. In the era between traveling by horse and by plane, trains dominated the transport of people and goods (they still do, of course, but mainly for short routes).
There are some trains that stick in the collective imagination. For instance the Orient Express, that makes the link between Paris and Istanbul; The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, whose fictionalized version is presented in Wes Anderson’s movie “The Darjeeling Limited”; and the Polar Express (from the movie of the same title) that takes kids to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus.
A train just like the latter, but definitely much more real, is the one that we’ll talk about today: the Lapland Express.
A train in Finland. This one would take you to Kotka. Source (CC:by)
The connections between Helsinki and Rovaniemi
Traveling in a straight line, there are 704 kilometers between Helsinki and Rovaniemi. The shortest road route between these two cities is 827 kilometers. It is definitely a long distance to reach the capital of the Finnish Lapland from the capital of Finland, and we also have to take into account that there is a lot more Lapland north of Rovaniemi.
But in the north of Finland and Lapland is where the best places to see the Northern Lights are. Plus, each winter Rovaniemi turns into the World Capital of Christmas, since Santa Claus lives there.
So, when planning our trip to Lapland, besides the option of taking a flight, starting this November we can head there on take a high speed train between Rovaniemi and Helsinki.
The Lapland Express train: High Speed between Helsinki and Rovaniemi
Even though the VR – the state-owned railway company of Finland – didn’t give this train line this name, in my opinion they should have… because it sounds awesome.
A train like the Lapland Express. Source (CC:by)
This train doesn’t take you to the North Pole like the Polar Express, the one that we mentioned at the beginning, does. This one goes right to the Arctic Circle (in this YLE article they called it the “Arctic Express“), and is one of the fastest trains in Finland. This, though, might not be saying a lot: it will cover the route between Rovaniemi and the capital of Finland in 8 hours, which is definitely an improvement over the 14 hours that the normal train takes.
These trains – Pendolino models – of the Lapland Express will reach 220 km/hour and at first there will only be one per week per route. The Helsinki-Rovaniemi train leaves on Saturday at 09:30 and arrives at 17:45. The train back, Rovaniemi-Helsinki, leaves on Sunday around 15:00 and reaches the capital at around midnight. In any case, and to be sure of the timetables and be aware of the possible changes, check out the VR trains website.
Perfect for a weekend visit to Joulupukki (the Finnish name for Father Christmas) and to head back to Helsinki, this new train link is definitely one of the many things to see on a trip to Finland.
What is your recommended way to travel to Lapland? Have you paid a visit to Joulupukki yet?
Topics: Finland Tourism, Helsinki, Lapland | 10 comments | Print This Post
Hi, I’m planning a trip to any city in lapland, but I really want to save some money. The prices on train trips from Helsinki to cities like Levi and Rovaniemi are too expensive reaching 200 euro. So I would like some tips on the cheapest way to travel to any city in Lapland region from Helsinki.
Besides checking train schedules, you can try buses (there is a link in the “useful links” section to it) or if you prefer flying, portals like Kayak would give you the best option.
Hello, I would like to travel to Lapland for the reason of Northern Lights. Could you advise me if it can be seen (high possibility) at anywhere in Lapland?
Travel period: early October 2015
There is a post about it in the blog. Look for “northern lights” and it won’t take you long to find it 🙂
Off to helsinki next Monday to Friday . No snow ! Where’s the nearest place To go on a snowmobile trip ? Lapland too far in the time I think . Any suggestions most gratefully received . Thanks x
hey there.i am from india and we (me.my husband and our 10 yr old boy) are planning a trip to finland for a week around jan’17…could u guide us on all the fun activities and places that we can take him to..
Did you make the trip?? Can u tell me about it??!
Hi Khushboo I’m from Bombay n planning a trip to Lapland could u pl tell me how yr trip went n which is the cheapest way to see the northern lights Father Christmas n takes. The husky ride. Thank u
Hi there. i keep thinking booking a flight from helsinki to lapland , or going by train . what can you tell me about prices? to go and head back to helsinki then
I am traveling from Helsinki to Rovaniemi in November. I have checked the pricing on flights and up to October, the pricing is very reasonable. However, once I put in a November date, the price is 5 times more expensive? Is that because I am looking 10 months ahead of time?
We are taking the overnight cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki. Saturday to Sunday. The cruise doesn’t embark until 10:10am on Sunday. Any suggestions are getting to Rovaniemi on Sunday after the 10:10am embarkment time?