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Kirkenes Norway - after the ferry cruise

We are considering taking the Hurtigruten cruise from
Bergen to Kirkenes in Sept 2024. How is it best to get back south to Helsinki? We have about 10 more days in Scandinavia after the cruise. Are there regular busses running. Is a rail pass better?

I have the first part of trip planned but stuck after Kirkenes. We don’t want to do the round trip back to Bergen. Helsinki is not a “must” either would be nice to explore Finland while there.
We are traveling light and like outdoor activities and also cultural and casual.
Tentative plan:
Fly into Stockholm - stay several nights.
Train ride to Oslo. Stay Several nights.
Norway in a nutshell to Bergen.
Bergen a few nights.
Bergen to Kirkenes.
Then TBD.
We are retired and were planning about one month. In our early 60s.
Thanks for insights and tips.
I realize we are planning last minute but circumstances happened this time.
Betsy

Posted by
8613 posts

Have you looked into flights? I can’t help but think that would be quickest/easiest option.

Posted by
2641 posts

Heads up: far above polar circle there are no trains in the far north. Winter and so. Not enough people and so.

Idea: fly to Bergen - NiN to Oslo - fly / bus to Stockholm - Tallink to Helsinki.

Or spend time around Kikenes or Tromso for chasing Northern Lights - if not seen on the ship.

Posted by
6677 posts

Not doing the round trip means that you are missing half the scenery. The timing of the ship is such that what you pass by night on the way north you pass by day on the way south and vice versa.

Apart from the ship there are only two ways out of Kirkenes
Fly-at least as far south as Narvik.

Bus to Rovaniemi in Finland for the Arctic direct day or overnight trains to Helsinki.

That is the daily bus at 0616 to Karasjok, arrive at 1110, overnight there, then next day bus at 0915 arrive Rovaniemi 1725. Either stay overnight in Rovaniemi or that is a nice connection into the overnight train.
This is the bus from Karasjok- https://www.eskelisen.fi/en/product/ticket/#matkakauppa-search-results
and this the Kirkenes to Karasjok bus- https://snelandia.no/

Or- Overnight train from Narvik to Stockholm, then overnight cruise ferry to Helsinki or Tampere (for train to Helsinki- but note that this line currently has long term bus replacements due to engineering work).

Two companies run the ferry from Stockholm to Finland- Viking and Tallink Silja

The challenge is getting out of Kirkenes, and how much of the arctic you want to see. If the answer to the latter is as much as you can then the bus is the best option.

This is the Finland Railways official website- https://www.vr.fi/en
This is the Vy Norrtag website for Narvik to Lulea and Haparanda- https://www.norrtag.se/

If you fly to Narvik then there is the train to Lulea (overnight stay) for the international train to Tornio/Haparanda (Finland) then day and night trains direct to Helsinki. The twin towns are Haparanda on the Swedish side and Tornio (over the bridge) on the Finland side.

Note that there is normally a better train service from Narvik (including an overnight train to Stockholm)- currently it is constrained by track repairs after a freight train derailment- the time frame to complete repairs is a bit uncertain.

Posted by
81 posts

Thank you all for good advice. Especially @isn31c it was very clearly defined and I appreciate your specific bus routes and stopovers. That said, I relooked at the Hurtigruten cruise round trip and decided it would be OK to do that. It makes sense with our itinerary.

Betsy