Turku (Swedish Åbo) is a coastal city in southwestern Finland. It has an active harbour, with both commercial and cruise ships going to and from major cities in the region. From Turku, there are motorways leading to all different directions throughout Finland, so make sure you know which motorway is going your way, and always use a sign.
East towards Helsinki (National Road 1)
From Stockholm it is less expensive to taking a ferry to Turku rather than Helsinki, and you can always hitchhike the remainder of the way. The Viking Line cruise ships have free tourist maps of Turku at the information desks on board. Be warned that if you take a daytime cruise (which is about half the price), you will arrive in Turku at night. In the Fall, Winter, and early Spring, that means no daylight for hitch-hiking, and possibly extremely low temperatures, as well. Plus, there might not be much traffic on the icy (or slushy) roadways, since Turku is a rather small city.
The National Road 1 (European Route 18), being a major road, has a lot of exits to other motorways going to all different directions, but there are a few petrol stations/rest stops in between Turku and Helsinki, so it shouldn't be too hard to find a warm spot indoors between rides. However, since the distance between Turku and Helsinki is not very large, it should also be possible to get there in one single ride.
at the on-ramp
The motorway entrance to Helsinki (and a few other places) begins just after the hospital, from the right lane. There is a spot where cars slow down to turn onto the on-ramp, but can also stop & pull over.
You can also start from the very beginning of the motorway number 1/the end of the street called "Helsinginkatu". This is just next to both Student village (Ylioppilaskylä) and the University of Turku. Coming from the direction of the harbour and the bus station on "Helsinginkatu", after the bridge take the right side of the street. After the traffic lights there's a bus stop where you can start hitching. A sign is a good idea since there's a lot of cars driving to suburbs of Turku. NOTE: don't walk further than this spot, it gets worse and worse, if Helsinki sign doesn't work try Salo (middle size city on the way yo Helsinki).
North towards Tampere (National Road 9)
Buses 1 or 18 go a short distance north of the centre to a crossroads in a neighbourhood called Raunistola. The point at which the motorway to Tampere begins is signposted several hundred metres south of the crossroads, but unfortunately not at the crossroads itself. Look for a small sign reading "[HW] 9", a street sign reading "Tampereen valtatie", and an R-Kioski and a small Hesburger side by side. One can hitch from the north end of the parking lot outside of the Hesburger, сars will probably stop in the bus stop next to the parking lot. Use a sign due to the large amount of suburban traffic.
The common abbreviation for Tampere is TRE. So you can write this.
There are several big ferries from Turku to Stockholm, also stopping on the Åland Islands.
- Viking Line: You can try to ask people for the free tickets they got on the ferry. A lot of people just use this ferry to buy cheap alcohol on the open sea. If you buy a lot of things in the duty free shop, you get free rides (probably to increase customer loyalty). Ask the drunken people who exit the ferry when it arrives if they can give you one of these free tickets and check in for free!
On the Viking Line ferry to Stockholm, you can buy the cheaper ticket until Åland, and simply not get off when the ship arrives. Once on board no one ever asks for your ticket, considering that you don't draw attention to yourself. On deck 2(Anchor deck) there are freely accessible showers. Also, there is a quiet place on the floor to sleep down there, away from all the drunks.
- Silja Line: ...
- FinnLink: (only Naantali near Turku to Kapellskär near Stockholm)
You can also try to hitch-hike via the archipelago between Turku and Åland. You can get a map of the archipelago and the ferries at the tourist info in Turku. There are two possible ways from islands with a street connection to the Finnish mainland to the big islands of Åland via ferry for free (pay only for vehicles):
- North: Osnäs − Brändö, Kumlinge − Hummelvik
- South: Galtby − Sottunga − Långnäs
Check alandstrafiken.ax for more info.
Viking Line Timetable and prices: http://www.vikingline.fi/timetables/timetables/timetables/
Northeast towards Forssa, Riihimäki, Hämeenlinna (National Road 10)
A good place is about 4km from the centrum of Turku, on Hämeenlinnantie, at the crossroad of Nummi and Halinen. There is a bus stop there, and the correct bus is #4. Leave the bus at the Nummi library and walk 100m to the crossroads.
Or walk 6km on Hämeenlinnantie past the motorway ramps of Porintie. On the hill there is a bus stop, which is probably the best place to hitch-hike out of Turku.
You can also go to Lahti this way. In that case, go via Riihimäki.
Free Internet hotspots & lockers
The library at Linnankatu/Kauppiaskatu (Slottsgatan/Köpmansgatan) has free lockers (only 30 cm wide) and free internet access for 15 minutes. To reserve an hour at the computers for you, you can ask at the desk next to the computers.
To catch the morning ferry to Sweden, Scandinaïve slept in the bushes not far from the castle Turun Linna twice and considers it a safe place. Better stay out of sight and beware of ticks. The eastern riverside north of the big bridge (Helsinginkatu) was a calm place for Scandinaïve's tent.
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