I want to travel from Stockholm north through Sweden into Finland and south to Helsinki by train and bus (when necessary). I know I could go faster by ferry, but I have the time and I want to see the countryside of both, plus I have a Scandinavian rail pass that covers the cost of rail and bus. Any thoughts on how to route this trip?
It's quite a long trip by train and bus, but if you have the time and a railpass, why not? I don't believe the bus portions of the trip are covered by your railpass, but you can ask at the train station in Stockholm beforehand. The bus rides are relatively short and you shouldn't have any problem buying tickets on the spot.
You will probably need to spend a few nights in several spots along the way, most likely Gävle or Umeå, Sweden and possibly also Kemi, Finland, depending on what time of day you leave Stockholm.
Here are a few options:
You can take a direct overnight train from Stockholm to Luleå (13 hours; departs Stockholm at 17:30 and arrving in Luleå the next morning at 06:30). There are also several day trains, taking about 11.5 hours and involving a change in Umeå or Sandsvaal and/or Gävle. Use the Swedish Railway website for schedules: www.sj.se.
From Luleå you will need to take a bus to Tornio-Haparanta (about 2.5 hours, see www.lanstrafiken.se for schedules).
In Tornio-Haparanta, you will need to switch to another bus to Kemi, Finland (about 30 min., several bus companies service this route).
From Kemi, Finland it's a bit more than 7 hours by train to Helsinki (some direct, most involve a train change in Oulu/Uleaborg). See the Finnish Railways website for schedules: www.vr.fi
The Tourist office in Stockholm may be able to give you additional information once you are in Sweden.
Hope that helps!
I say you should take the ferry. It's one of the most scenic and beautiful journeys I have ever taken.
Thanks Rich, it sounds doable. I've already done the ferry; this sounds much more adventurous to me.
You're welcome Brenda! I haven't traveled this particular route, but I have traveled by train through Northern Sweden and there are very few American tourists there. It's has some beautiful countryside and is definitely off the beaten path. Enjoy!