Mistress Johanna af Hucca’s advice on
Travelling to Finland
- As people with bonus cards prefer to stick to the same airline alliance, the alliances have been marked on the list. Especially with the Star Alliance airlines Lufthansa/SAS/Blue1/Austrian it sometimes pays off to check all of them as they sell tickets to the same plane, but pricing may differ; same goes for OneWorld airlines Finnair and BA from the UK, sometimes BA sells a lot cheaper tickets to Finnair planes than Finnair and vice versa.
- Remember to check the baggage rules of the operating airline and be careful with hand baggage size. Especially when flying with armor, the sports baggage rules may make a difference between two equal airlines.
- All airlines allow one to carry an overcoat separately to the cabin (and in early April you may really need one!); if you have a heavy cloak, stuff your coat into the baggage and take the cloak to the plane as your overcoat… Johanna has tested this with her heavy wool cloak on Blue1, Finnair, Lufthansa and SAS and it has never been a problem – and gets several kilos off her checked luggage.
Flying to Turku airport (TKU)
You can get to Turku on Air Baltic, Blue1/SAS and Finnair. You should be able to mix-and-match Blue1 and Air Baltic tickets, taking different routes in and out. You can also get to Turku with Finnair, but there you need to compare with the Helsinki option to figure out if flying via Helsinki to Turku is a viable option.
All the facilities and services of Turku airport are listed on the airport homepage.
Turku airport opening times: 05:00 to 02:00, th airport café is open Mon-Fri 08.00 – 20.30.
flies from Riga (RIX) in Latvia to Turku. They have a small allocation of cheap seats, which enables you to get e.g. from Berlin to Turku for under 200 euros. See Air Baltic homepage for flights. This company will sell reasonably priced one-way tickets, too.
Important: on Air Baltic checked bags, even the first piece, costs 15 eur per piece per segment, i.e. to get one bag of 20 kg from Berlin to Turku costs 60 euro extra return. Also, if you use an airport where online check-in is available (not Turku) but use the counter to check in, you have to pay a small extra fee (if you join their frequent flyer program, they waive this fee). But be aware of hidden costs!
the Finnish SAS partner (both Star Alliance), flies daily from Stockholm and Copenhagen to Turku. Look for flights at both Blue1 homepage and at SAS homepage (other Star Alliance companies may also sell this route). SAS will mostly do return tickets, but Blue1 website sells reasonable one-way tickets, too.
Note.: The ticket price includes luggage and on Blue1 tea/coffee/water, but food on board costs extra.
sells flights from Helsinki to Turku, operated by Finnair’s daughter company Finncomm airlines (both OneWorld airlines). This is an option to consider, if you do not want to deal with the bus from Helsinki to Salo and don’t want to rent a car. The ticket price includes both luggage and some drinks and food, there’ll be no extra costs. See the Finnair website for information on schedules and prices. Finnair nowadays has a limited number of reasonably priced one-way tickets per flight, but usually one has to buy return to get decent price. (Other OneWorld companies may also sell this route.)
Before booking, compare with a flight to Helsinki (HEL); mostly the second flight is not terribly useful compared with the flight+bus option (see below): flying probably doesn’t save any time, it is usually more expensive and your luggage is more likely to get delayed. Also, this is one of the flights that is easiest to cancel and replace with a bus (!), so that regularly happens. If you hate small planes, forget about this connection: Finncomm flies it with pretty tiny 40-70 person propeller planes (good sightseeing in clear weather, but noisy as heck).
Flying to Helsinki airport (HEL)
More info on Helsinki airport (earlier known as Helsinki-Vantaa airport) on the airport homepage.
The following list of airlines is not necessarily complete, but we’ve tried to cover as much as possible.
Air Baltic (Star Alliance?)
is a multi-national airline based in Riga and Vilnius. If you don’t mind transferring (mostly at the quite decent and compact Riga airport, RIX), Air Baltic may offer competitive prices for flights from Central Europe to Helsinki. However, you have to pay extra for almost everything, including hold luggage and doing desk check in if internet check in is available (doesn’t apply to Turku or Helsinki).
Air Berlin (low-cost airline)
This German low-cost airline flies directly from Berlin (TXL, Tegel airport), D¸sseldorf and Hamburg. It also offered flights with guaranteed transfer from other German and European airports. Note though, that most of these options don’t have a return flight on Sunday.
Checked baggage, snacks and beverages are included in the ticket price.
Air France (Sky Team)
Air France sells the tickets to the route Paris CDG-Helsinki, but it is actually flown with Finnair planes, so ticket price includes checked baggage and a meal.
Austrian Airlines (Star Alliance)
Direct flights from Vienna to Helsinki. For flights from the other Austrian cities, check both Austrian and Lufthansa, the latter may be cheaper. Checked luggage and a meal are included in the ticket price. Web check in available.
Blue1 (Star Alliance)
Blue1 is a regional member of SAS/Star Alliance and Finnair’s closest competitor on many routes to and within Finland. Direct flights from Stockholm, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, London Heathrow, Berlin-Tegel, Paris, Zurich and Athens (and a few other cities too) to Helsinki. Ticket price includes checked baggage and water/tea/coffee, but you have to pay for all food and most drinks onboard. Good online check in facilities, uses SAS check in desks/dropoffs at most airports.
British Airways (One World)
Direct flights London Heathrow to Helsinki, sometimes worth a look also for flights from elsewhere on the British Isles to Helsinki, but these mostly involve a transfer, usually at LHR. Price includes checked luggage and a cold meal/snack.
EasyJet started flying from London Gatwick (LGW) to Helsinki in November 2008 and the route has been such a success that tickets to the new routes Manchester to Helsinki and Paris-CDG to Helsinki are now on sale and start operating before theApril Crown Tourney. EasyJet tickets don’t include any services and you have to pay for hold luggage.
Finnair (One World)
The Finnish national carrier flies directly to Helsinki from most of the European capitals and several other larger cities, for example Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Manchester, Gothenburg… Ticket price includes hold baggage and a reasonable meal, also good with online check in. At Helsinki airport Finnair check in is open all day, so you if you have an evening flight back home, you can drop off your checked baggage in the morning, visit Helsinki and come back an hour before your flight.
Lufthansa (Star Alliance)
The German national carrier flies to directly from Frankfurt and Munich to Helsinki, flights from other German cities are sold with a transfer and usually expensive. Helsinki is now included in their online check in system.
KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) (Sky Team)
Direct flights from Amsterdam to Helsinki, also good for flights from smaller UK airports like Bristol, Birmingham and even London City, with a transfer at Amsterdam (a lot of walking and security checks, but otherwise easy – Johanna has done this ten times and this far baggage has always made it on the same flight, even on the 25 minute transfer, but that was pushing it…). Flight ticket price includes hold luggage and a cold meal/snack.
SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) (Star Alliance)
Direct flights from Stockholm, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Hamburg, London (LHR), Berlin-Tegel, Paris and Zürich to Helsinki (with transfer flights from other Swedish cities to Helsinki, but these are usually expensive). Only Stockholm and Copenhagen are flown on SAS planes, the other routes are Blue1 codeshare and mostly tickets are cheaper when bought directly from Blue1. Ticket price includes checked baggage, but food and drink have to be purchased.
Baggage allowance same as for Blue1: checked bag allowance 20 kg, hand baggage max. 8 kg. Normal overweight charges apply to sports equipment in economy class.
Swiss (Star Alliance)
Switzerland’s national airline flies from Zurich to Helsinki. It seems that checked baggage and a meal are included in the ticket price.
And what about Ryanair?
Ryanair isn’t included in the above list, because it flies to Tampere (TMP), a city 2 hrs north of Helsinki. The drive from Tampere airport to the site takes 3 hrs or if you decide to use public transportation to get to either Turku airport or Salo bus/railway station, you are looking into spending 40-50 euros and 5-6 hrs (and two transfers) each way to get to a pickup point.
In practice this means that if you decide to fly from Frankfurt-Hahn, London-Stansted or Bremen to Tampere by Ryanair, you have to find yourself a local ride or rent a car.
Ferries from Sweden to Finland
Especially if you want to come over by car, you can take a ferry from Stockholm to Turku (Åbo in Swedish) or Kapellskär to Naantali (Nådendal) and then you are just a 45 minutes’ drive from the site. On arrival you can either take the overnight ferry on Thursday evening and spend a day in Turku or then you can take the day ferry early Friday morning and be on site definitely by 22:00 in the evening.
On the way back you can either leave the site very early on Sunday morning to catch the morning ferry or then leave late, spend a few hours in Turku, then take the overnight ferry to Stockholm to arrive just in time to get to work on Monday morning.
There are three ferry options: Viking Line, Tallink Silja (=Silja Line) and Finnlink.
(The formerly popular Seawind Line doesn’t take passengers any more (just freight) as of January 1, 2008.)
Please note, all departures and arrivals below are indicated in local time, Finland being one hour ahead of Sweden.
- The Stockholm-Helsinki route really isn’t worth the effort this time as it’ll be a lot more expensive, takes a lot longer time (leaving already at five on Thursday afternoon) and means a lot longer drive from port to site. Yes, the Helsinki ferries are fancier, especially on Silja, but if you just want to get to the event, they aren’t worth the money and time.
- The Crown Tourney being a week after Easter, you might be able to snap up a really good deal if you keep your eyes open – either read your newspapers’ travel ads really well or get a club card for either Viking or Silja Tallink (or both) and sign up for the club email newsletter to get the best stuff!
Car packages are often a very good deal on Viking, they include either a car (normal size) + 2-5 persons or a car + 2-4 persons + a cabin (cabins are available also on the day ferry; well worth the money if you have an early start as you can take a nap and shower…). Book and pay at least 30 days before the trip (i.e. by early March) to get your trip even cheaper.
Schedule, Viking Line
Route Dep. Arr.
Stockholm-Turku, day ferry – Departure 07:45 – Arrival 19:50
Stockholm-Turku, night ferry – Departure 20:10 – Arrival 07:35
Turku-Stockholm, day ferry – Deperture 08:45 – Arrival 18:55
Turku-Stockholm, night ferry – Departure 21:00 – Arrival 06:30
Tallink Silja (aka Silja Line)
Generally pricier than Viking, the higher price is justified with fancier ferries. The night trip from Stockholm and day trip from Turku is now run with Tallink’s Galaxy, built only a few years ago and bigger than the old ferries. Again, car package price (with or without cabin) is worth checking out.
Schedule, Tallink Silja
Stockholm-Turku, day ferry – Departure 07:10 – Arrival 19:15
Stockholm-Turku, night ferry- Departure 19:30 – Arrival 07:00
Turku-Stockholm, day ferry – Departure 08:15 – Arrival 18:15
Turku-Stockholm, night ferry – Departure 20:15 – Arrival 06:10
Finnlink has day and night ferries on the Kapellskär-Naantali route, and it only sells car packages. Finnlink is owned by freight company Finnlines that operates roro ferries on many routes. These ferries are in the first place freighters, but take some passengers, just like Seawind used to do. The company is not as reasonably priced, but note that two meals and a berth are always included in the prices and the shop is minimal, so you probably won’t spend much once on the ferry. Kids are welcome to Finnlink and all ferries have playrooms.
The Finnlink schedules vary a lot depending on the date and the time, so please check themout on the Finnlink website
Note also that MS Finnsailor doesn’t have elevators, so it is not suitable for disabled passangers. Trips on MS Finnsailor have to be booked by phone, they cannot be booked online.