Helsinki is the capital of Finland. Many foreign hitchhikers enter the country here, either by boat from Tallinn or by plane to the Helsinki international airport (which is not actually in Helsinki, but in the neighbouring community of Vantaa).
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If the driver is not going directly to the Helsinki city centre, then it is a good idea to ask to be dropped off at a train stop. At train stops there are ticket machines that sell the 1-day and 3-day public transportation passes if you need it, while on buses you can only pay the price of a single journey (2.80€ - or €2.20 if bought in advance from a ticket machine). You can extremely easily blackride all metro buses and tramways since there are not so many checkers and metro doesn't have tolls..
Note, however, that if the driver drops you off in the neighbouring communities of Espoo or Vantaa, a journey to Helsinki by train or bus will cost 5€ (regional ticket).
July 2015: Commuter trains (named with letters) are blackrideable. There is staff in grey vests and green-white striped shirts selling tickets but not checking. Beware of groups of controllers in blue uniforms, they happen randomly, not too frequently.
If you hitch a cargo boat from Tallinn your driver will most likely land at Vuosaari marina that is a bit far from the city as from the closest metro stop (last stop, Vuosaari). Better if you can ask him/her/them to take you at the station otherwise you might have to walk a bit..
When arriving on a normal ferry from Tallinn, you can hitchhike already on the car deck of the ferry some 30 minutes before arrival. You will leave the ferry sitting in the car and it will take you somewhere far beyond the city limits.
North to Hämeenlinna, Tampere
The easiest place to get a lift north is the petrol station complex Neste Keimolanportti itä situated in the suburb of Vantaa. There is one bus station right in front of the petrol station called Keimola. Check the easiest way to get there with the Journey Planner of Helsinki Region Transport. The journey from the west side of the central railway takes about 40 minutes and you need a Helsinki region ticket (€4.50). The petrol station is located north of Helsinki's ring roads, so traffic is going long-distance. It is very easy to get a lift straight to Hämmenlinna or Tampere if you just stand at the exit with a sign.
Since July 2015 a new ring railway is open. It is possible to take commuter train P from central railway station to Kivistö, which is very near to the targeted petrol (check map). Commuter trains may be blackrideable, frequency of controllers is unknown (controllers wear blue uniforms. Grey + green-white striped uniforms belong to train staff who sell tickets, not check).
If you don't wait to spend 4€ on a regional bus ticket, you can also take a bus with a cheaper city ticket (€2.80 to the northern end of the street Mannerheimintie, where the road Hämeenlinnanväylä starts. From the west side of the central railway station, take bus 43, 452 or 63 to the stop Ruskeasuon varikko and hitchhike straight from the bus stop. The downside of this place is that traffic passes by very quickly, and many drivers are reluctant to stop at a busy bus stop. If your driver is not going very far, ask him to drop you off at the petrol station Neste Keimolanportti itä mentioned above.
There's a bus stop called "Valtimontie" and you can reach it with several bus lines: 68X, 70, 70T, 73, 73N, 75, 77, 730-732, 734, 740-742, 738. The motorway splits into two slightly before Ring Road 3. Road number 4 goes towards north/northeast (Lahti, Jyväskylä), while road number 7 goes towards east (Kotka, Kouvola, Saint Petersburg, and so on). This place works okay with a sign, but it is impossible without one. Stand just behind the traffic lights and there will be plenty of space for the cars to stop. It could be a good idea to stand before the bus stop, so that the cars can actually pull over into the stop, because it is actually illegal to stop after the traffic lights (at least some drivers think so). You should also make sure the driver is really going to your way, because there's no place to drop you off between the bus stop and the junction where the motorways split.
In case you can't find a satisfying ride within a reasonable time (can happen, especially on Sunday mornings), hitch from here to the junction with ring road III (make a sign for one of the suburbs behind, e.g. Järvenpää). Get out once you have passed the junction, and hitch on the road connecting the ring road and the motorway. Half of the traffic is driving very fast, the other half rather slow – however, you'll find much more long distance traffic here than in Valtimontie. Note that this is officially a motorway, so hitching is actually forbidden! However, Joeri found this spot much better than Valtimontie.
There is another option using the tram, which are easier to blackride than buses. Go to the crossroad of Valtimontie and Kustaa Vaasantie using tram #6 or #8 : Arabiankatu stop. Walk 800m back to the main road. Try the super long bus stop or go further up following the same street until it becomes a highway. There is a bus stop after the motorway sign, but the police usually don't care. Sign highly recommended since the road splits in two.
East to Porvoo, Kotka, Russian border, Saint Petersburg
The fastest way to go east is to walk to the junction of Ring Road III and the motorway from the metro station Mellunmäki. This is about a 40 minute journey on foot (see image). Once at the junction, it is easy to get a ride as short as the suburbs or as far as Saint Petersburg. With so many options, it is wise to turn down any ride not going all the way to your destination.
If you go further than to Porvoo, there is a rest stop halfway between Helsinki and Porvoo, so ask to drop you there. All there is is toilets and a café, so it's most efficient in the morning time. From there, find a ride at least to Kotka.
West to Turku
Take bus 18 from the west side of the Central Railway Station to the Niemenmäki stop. A little further ahead from the bus stop and across from the street is the entry ramp onto the motorway. Unfortunately, there is absolutely nowhere safe for cars to pull over and stop for you here, at least not before the motorway sign. However, if you walk on 100m further after the sign, you will find that the hard shoulder begins and you can hitch there (of course, it's not legal). If you want to stay the right side of the law, it's recommended to hitchhike with a sign at the Niemenmäki bus stop; however, traffic going in this direction will already be filtering into the left lanes (away from the bus stop) to turn onto the on-ramp. Alternatively, it is possible to stand on the grass verge dividing Huopalahdentie and ask drivers as they are waiting to turn at the lights.
West (direction Hanko)
Take the national road/motorway 51 that starts in the southwestern part of the central city area. You can take the metro to the end station in the west: Ruoholahti. Walk (north) for one block past the Kauppakeskus (shopping centre) to the next big street (Porkkalankatu). Cross over to the other side of the street and a bit further on is the junction of the motorway and Porkkalankatu. The best place to stand is on Porkkalankatu at the start of the bus lane before the Länsiväylä bus stop. Use a sign here. On the motorway, the hard shoulder starts about 50m up and it is not very wide and so it is very difficult for cars to stop there. However, hitching right at the beginning, at the corner where the continuation of the 'bus lane' turns into the motorway, it is possible for cars to pull over into this lane (if there are no buses coming!)
It's not possible to hitch rides with people going by car. If there is an extra passenger in a car or truck, an extra ticket has to be paid.
But you can try to become a member of the Viking Club (only in Finnish, Swedish and Estonian) and get a free "picnic cruise" and just not use the return ticket.
This didn't work when I was there in summer 2016. Both website and staff told me there is no free cruise on becoming a member. However, the ticket price was 10€ on the website in finnish and/or swedish language. 20€ on the website in english language(!) And buying offline in the passenger terminal was even more. I sat in the terminal using the free wifi to buy the ticket, using online translator and common sense for figuring the finish website!
As of January 2020, the ticket price for viking lines buying it through the website in finnish is 12€ round-trip (you can use the outgoing way only, if you want). It is around 30€ (?) the website in english language. You will have to fill a rather long form in the finnish version but you can always ask for help to a native finnish or use google translator. Note that you need to buy the ticket online at least 1h 30' earlier than when the ferry departs.
While on the ferry, you should hitchhike already on the car deck of the ship. Go to the car deck at least 30 minutes before arrival time to the harbour and start asking around. If you have a large backpack, keep in mind that at some point the car deck's doors will open and the cars will start flowing out into the harbour. You don't want to be between large trucks at that point! You should be able to get a ride at least until Pärnu this way, often all the way to Riga or through to Lithuania. If you're on your way to Poland or beyond, obviously look for Polish licence plates and talk to those people first.
- Eckerö line -> The cheapest one. 2 / 3 ferrys per day. One in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Terminal 2 West.
- VikingLine -> Cheaper when bought from the finnish website. They take longer and depart from a different terminal not close to the other ones.
- Tallink -> Many times available but expensive and bad service. Terminal 2 West.
- Linda line
Even within the Helsinki city limits, there are plenty of secluded wooded areas where one can set up a tent, and these can be reached by local train. A glance at the map will show many ideal places around, for example, the intersection of Ring Road I and Vihdintie (local train M direction Vantaakoski to the stop Pohjois-Haaga then some walking). If you are discreet, then you should have no problem; even if you are discovered by police, they are more concerned about Roma camps than foreign hitchhikers. Kaivopuisto park, in the south part of the city centre is a very calm and cool place for wildcamping. If you don't have or prefer avoid put tent there are also some rocks at the very edge of it, near the sea, where you can lay on your mat without any problem, just maybe geese will arrive to wake you up in the morning..
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