Finland is a part of the Northern Europe and one of the Nordic countries. It is a member state of the European Union as well as the Schengen Agreement. Its neighbouring countries are Sweden, Norway and Russia, but the most probable transit country on your way hitchhiking there from Southern Europe is Estonia as the Via Baltica (E67) road connects Finland with Prague via the Baltic States and Poland.
|Language:||Finnish, Swedish; recognised regional languages: Sami|
|Hitchability:||<rating country='fi' />|
|Meet fellow hitchhikers on Trustroots or BeWelcome|
|<map lat='64.8' lng='25.9' zoom='4' view='0' width='300' height='350' country='Finland'/>|
It is illegal to hitchhike directly on motorways (moottoritie) and some two-land expressways roads (moottoriliikennetie) in Finland. You can recognize these from the green signs. On these roads, you can hitch from on-ramps (which often have bus stops that drivers will stop at) and petrol stations. The cars cannot stop in crossing areas, and some drivers who disobeyed this rule and picked up hitchhikers have been fined.
In the south, it is a good idea to avoid motorways and opt for smaller local roads. Though there is less traffic, there is more room for cars to stop. Finnish drivers will only stop where they feel it is safe, so try to thumb at bus stops.
Hitchhiking is quite safe in Finland. As always, common sense is your friend.
Hitchhiking used to be popular in the 70's and 80's, and many drivers will tell the hitchhiker(s) they've hitched themselves back in their days. Nowadays this practice is rather rare among Finns, but there are always some, especially in summer time around music festivals. Hitching in Finland might be difficult during the winter time because lack of daylight. The weather differences in Finland seem to effect greatly how well people pick you up. Sunny weather might help you a great deal because it makes people more happy and open-minded.
Hitchhiking seems to get easier the more North you go in Finland, because towns get smaller and people feel more open to help others. However, the highways are better in the South and there is more traffic.
The language most people in Finland speak is Finnish which isn't a Scandinavian language. The country is officially bilingual as there is a large Swedish-speaking minority on the west coast of Finland. Most people speak English too, so most of the foreign hitchhikers won't have communication problems in Finland.
Some older people, however, might have no English language knowledge at all, so you might as well learn some basic Finnish phrases. Note, that with a knowledge of Swedish, however, you can come pretty far (it is useful all over Scandinavia).
Useful Finnish expressions for hitchhikers
- Hello = Terve
- Hi = Moi or Hei
- Hitchhiking = Liftaaminen
- To hitchhike = Liftata
- A ride = Kyyti
- Thank you very much = Kiitos paljon
- Where are you driving to? = Minne ajat?
- I don't speak Finnish = En puhu suomea
- Finnish Hitchwiki
- IRC Channel Liftari @ IRCnet
- Finnish hitchhikers FB group
- Hitchhiker's guide to Europe − a hitchhiking site by a Finn
- Liftausvinkkejä − hitchhiking tips in Finnish
- List of Laavus − a site with all the Laavus (hiking shelters) in Finland. Download the gpx-file.
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