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).
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 4.50€.
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. Take bus 474 from the west side of the central railway station until the stop Kivistön kirkko. The journey takes about 40 minutes and you need a Helsinki region ticket (€4.50). When you get off the bus, walk southwest along the road Laavatie and then south on the national road Vanha Hämeenlinnantie. After 100 m you can see the petrol station complex to the west. 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.
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 is impossible without it. 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 to 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 leave you out 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, specially on Sunday morning), hitch from here to the junction with ring road III (make a sign for one of the suburbs behind, e.g. Järvenpää). Get off once you 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, here are much more long - distance - going - cars to find 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, easier to blackride than buses. Go to the crossroad of Valtimontie and Kustaa Vaasantie using tram #6 or #8 Arabiankatu stop. Walk back to the main road 800mts. 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 2.
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.
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. Going a little further from the bus stop and cross to the other side of the street. You'll find the entry ramp onto the motorway. I recommend standing right in front of the large side with a graphic symbolizing the motorway, as then you'll be seen by cars coming from both directions, and there's sufficient room for a car to stop. Use a sign, not everyone taking this route is going all the way to Turku.
Some of the drivers say though that it's pretty hard to stop there and have advised hitchhiking with a sign at the bus stop on Huopalahdentie right before the ramp.
West (direction Hanko)
Take the national road 51 that starts in the southwestern part of the central city area. You may take the metro to station Ruoholahti. When you leave the station it's to the north (to the right hand side as compared to the direction of travel). You have to go through one block of buildings past Kauppakeskus (shopping centre) to the next big street. You should find yourself right there near a big junction where the motorway goes off onto a bridge. There are good possibilities to stand – either a bus stop right before the traffic lights or a large hard shoulder around the corner on the beginning of the motorway.
It's unclear if you can find rides with people going by car. If there is an extra passenger in a 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".
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.
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