How to Travel Finland on a Budget
Meaning One week in Finland cost us €156 p/p
Being the Capital of Finland this can be a very expensive place to visit. However, with the right planning and organisation you can spend roughly just 15-20 EUROS per day. People here tend to be friendly and helpful and English is very well spoken.
This can be where most of your budget will be spent on IF you actually pay for somewhere. Couchsurfing is a FREE and easy way to travel Finland as well as learn a great deal about their culture and make new friends. Just bring a small gift with you as a thank you.
Food in Finland can be expensive, especially if you plan to eat out at restaurants and cafes. Buying food from a supermarket is a cost effective way of eating in expensive countries. Food is usually cheap and there is also on times a hot food counter if you fancy something warm.
At a supermarket, breakfast usually cost about €3 , €5 for lunch and €5 dinner. Extra snacks will obviously cost you a little extra, but tap water is free and drinkable! Sometimes your couch surfing host will also cook you meals, usually breakfast and dinner. This will of course depend on who you stay with.
Getting around in Helsinki is fairly cheap, but still might burn a hole in your pocket if you are using public transport constantly. Walking is however free! and it is a great way to see the city properly. If you are staying a little too far to walk both ways, then walk one way and get the bus/tram the other way.
There is so much to do in Helsinki for activities, and surprisingly there is a lot to see and do for FREE. For example: the Rock Church; many historic monuments; museums on a Friday; beaches; entry to Suomenlinna and entry to Seurasaari. Suonmenlinna is free to enter, but you do have to pay for the boat to get there. This costs €2.70 for a single.
Hiring out bicycles is a little more expensive. The best place and cheapest to hire one out is from Bicyclean. Four hours is €10, 1 day is €15, 2 days €25, 3 days €39, 1 week €65.
Our first impression of the city was dismal and we both felt slightly disappointed!... But don't let this deceive you! This is truly a magical place with lots of hidden treasures!
A return train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi will cost €77, but will only be this cheap if you book way in advance! The train ride lasts for roughly 8-10 hours and there is a choice for an overnight one or a day one.
Accommodation and food:
Again, Couchsurfing is your best option and is FREE! Here we arranged to stay with Ali who was from Iraq. He is quite possibly one of the nicest guys you will ever meet and full of so many stories. He will make you feel right at home as soon as you enter his home.
Again buy your dinner from supermarkets. You can even cook at your couchsurfing hosts home and save even more money.
Rovaniemi is quite a small town, so walking is definitely the best option. You can also easily walk to places like Santa Claus village. It takes approx 2 hours, but the scenery is beautiful, especially in winter.
The best way to see the northern lights is to do it yourself and this is for FREE. No one really knows when they will appear, so there is no point in booking for an expensive €100 tour. They have an aurora forecast, and when it is high and the skies are clear there is an excellent chance of seeing them. Just head outside, go somewhere dark and away from city lights (A lake for example) and wait for hopefully the magic to appear. Ali, our host, took us and to our amazement they were right above our heads as soon as we stepped outside the front door. He also took us down to a lake where we stood for hours watching the beautiful aurora. Unfortunately on this night of seeing the northern lights we had no camera, which was a shame because the locals said it was the best aurora they had ever witnessed! We were however extremely blessed! on the second night we were in Roveniemi we saw them again! this time with a camera! not as strong, but still wonderful!
Arctic circle, Santa, huskies, igloos and beautiful scenery:
Santa clause village has FREE entry. and is roughly 8km away from the city centre. Instead of getting a bus or taxi, It is FREE to walk there and takes about two hours. The scenery is wonderful and when you're out of the city there is so much snow! You can easily take shortcuts along the ski paths through the pine forests.
During April time (when we visited) there is hardly any tourists in sight. Snow world is unfortunately closed for the summer, however didn't stop us! we found an entrance into snow world around the back and snuck our way in. We began walking over what appeared to be massive snow mounds. It wasn't until Nathan spotted a very large hole in the top of one that we realised we were walking on top of igloos! It didn't take us long to soon get off the top of them! Of course, we are not recommending people to sneak into snow world free of charge!
It is FREE to visit Santa at Santa Claus Village (apparently he's the real one). However it is a further €25 if you would like a photo with him. Self taken photos are apparently not allowed. Again, we were a little bad here and secretly took a photo of the screen of the photo of us. Very worth it for us and it meant the photo means a lot more for us now, although terrible quality...
There husky park also which has a €5 entry fee and if you want to go on a husky ride, expect to pay as high as €13 and up.
Skiing, Snowboarding and Snowmobiles:
The nearest ski center for Rovaniemi is Ounasvaaran - A golf course in the summer and ski slopes in the winter. It is quite small, but great fun still! A ski lift pass for just the three hours costs just €25.50 if you are a student, or €30 for a standard. It is also only another €5 if you want the full day. Renting all the ski equipment is exactly the same price and includes the snowboards too. The whole ski and snowboard day cost us just €51 and at the end you can get a FREE snowmobile ride because you're customers! It's not a long ride, but it beats paying a ridiculous price at a snowmobile center, especially if you just want to try it out!
- Accommodation - Free (couchsurfing)
- Food per day - €15-20
- Santa Claus Village, Northern Lights,
Friday Museums, Seurasaari Entry, - Free
- Travel costs per day - walking (free) or bus/tram - (€3)
- Pre-booked train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi - €77 return
- Skiing and snowboarding 3 hours - €51 (concession e.g. student) / €60 (standard)
- Skiing and snowboarding full day - €57 (concession e.g. student) €72 (standard)
- Full day bicycle hire in Helsinki - €15