So here we are in Lapland, we have already seen together how to organize the trip and where to stay, now what else? Understanding what is the best way to move. Despite the adverse climatic conditions, the road conditions in Lapland during the winter are not compromised. In fact, you have to think that it is a country used to being under the snow for half the months of the year…and life here goes beyond this.
To move the available alternatives are: plane, bus, taxi, car. We will therefore focus on the transport of this part of Finland, placing the emphasis on those that we have used in the first person. Let’s go and analyze them together.
It is the fastest (but not the cheapest) method to cover long distances, in the hundreds of kilometers. If you have to move between the main locations like Ivalo, Rovaniemi or Kittila can be taken into account. For these domestic flights you can rely on the Finnair flag flight company.
The train does not serve the northern part of Lapland, so it can only be used for travel in the central-southern part of the region (near Rovaniemi). It can also be taken into account as an alternative to the plane to reach Rovaniemi from the capital Helsinkii, but obviously travel time rises. For information on trains in Lapland you can consult the Finnish railways website www.vr.fi.
Public buses are efficient, cover a capillary network, touch all tourist destinations and make stops in front of each hotel; in this case the stops take the name of the hotel in front of which they are located. The stops are recognizable thanks to their red wooden shelters with a small sloping roof, like the local houses.
Buses are on time and comfortable, you will have no problems in transporting your luggage and the ticket can be purchased on the company’s website or on board directly from the driver. The only downside is that the rides are not so frequent, so we advise against going to the bus stop before having consulted the timetable or to travel without being satisfied to have a coincidence for the return. On long-distance buses, we suggest buying in advance the ticket on the website in order to avoid the unpleasant surprise of finding it already full.
Prices are perhaps a little bit above average: go from the airport to the center of Ivalo, whose distance is 7 km, has a cost of € 7 one way. To go from Ivalo to Rovaniemi, about 280 km away, the cost of the ticket is around 100 euros per person, round trip, and the journey time is about 3 hours and a half. If you do not have a car, it’s definitely the cheapest way to move. We have used the main company, Matkahuolto, but it is not the only one available.
Let’s see how to consult the timetable and buy a bus ticket on the company’s website.
Go to the Matkahuolto website.
Click on the “+” to open the “Timetables and ticket purchase” section.
To search for the departure stop, use the name of your hotel. For the arrival stop indicate the attraction of interest (i.e., the Siida Museum), a place or another hotel.
Click on the “Search for timetable” button, page with all the options for the chosen date will be opened; select the desired solution and proceed with the purchase.
Warning: once the bus has left the terminal, the system will no longer give you the chance to buy a ticket, but does not mean that the bus is full; on the contrary, if the bus has not left yet and the system does not allow you to buy the ride, it means the bus is already full.
Taking a taxi in Lapland is not a simple thing. There are not many, so they are often busy, especially in high season as it can be for example the period of Christmas, in which even the smaller hotel use them to arrange their transfers. Above all, forget of being in the city: you cannot go at the road side and wait for stopping with your hand the first taxi you see, it might never pass unless it knows you are there! You have to call and reserve it, you have to say where you are and where you want to go, then wait for the first one available. If you have difficulty with the language, ask your hotel to call it for you or if you are at the airport, contact the information desk. Even at the arrival of the flights you will find very few taxi available outside the airport, probably already booked, we managed to have one only after 1 hour of waiting and several calls.
The cost of the single ride is quite high, from the airport to the center of Ivalo (7 km) we paid about 20 euros.
The taxi in our opinion may be fine only for small trips if you do not have other alternatives, otherwise it is preferable to opt for the bus or car. If you have just landed and you do not know how to go to your hotel from the airport, before deciding to take a taxi we suggest you try to see if one of the buses parked outside can be useful.
It is certainly the most versatile and convenient solution. The roads, although icy, can be traveled without difficulty thanks to the winter tires with which the cars are equipped. The main road, the E75, with only one lane in each direction, is clean, predominantly straight with very gradual curves and can be traveled safely. It is the only highway to move between the main localities of Lapland and does not require payment of a toll. On the other hand, petrol costs slightly more than Italy (and more than most European countries).
How and where to rent a car? The advice is to book it in advance online to enjoy more advantageous rates. The minimum rent cost is about 60 euros/day plus petrol for your travels. The counters of the car rental companies, such as Europcar, Sixt, Hertz, Avis, are located at the airports. The operators are present intermittently, only at the arrival of the flights, so if you do not find anyone because you have gone to the airport in an intermediate time, try to call and promptly someone will come to serve you. Small recommendation: make sure you have a credit card with you, otherwise you will not be able to rent the car in any way.
The convenience of the car is also that which can be taken in one location and left in another (with a fee of about 150 euros): you could for example take your car at the Ivalo’s airport and return it at the Rovaniemi’s one.
During our stay in Lapland we moved by bus and taxi, but for the reasons we have showed, in terms of convenience and money saving, we recommend you opt for the rental car: you will be free to customize your itinerary and to stop if necessary to capture some postcard views.
See you soon