In Finland, distances are long, but public transport works well and the roads are in good condition. In Finland, you drive on the right. People with driving licences issued abroad are usually allowed to drive in Finland, but in some situations such licences must be exchanged for a Finnish driving licence. This page contains information on public transport, the use of your own car and driving licences in Finland.
Public transport works well in Finland. You can travel almost anywhere in Finland by train or bus. You can also reach many cities by air. In addition, the largest cities and their neighbouring areas usually have well organised local public transport. Buses are normally used for local transport.
The railway traffic in Finland is handled by VR. You can buy a ticket for a train on VR’s website, VR Matkalla app, a ticket vending machine or ticket point at a railway station, by phone at VR’s customer service or at R-kiosks. Information on train timetables is available on VR’s website and at railway stations.
There are many bus companies in Finland. You can buy a ticket for a long-distance bus, or coach, on Matkahuolto’s website, Routes and Tickets app, Bus Tickets app, Matkahuolto offices or from the driver. Information on bus timetables can be found on the Matkahuolto website and at Matkahuolto offices.
Discounts on train and bus tickets are available to
- conscripts in military and civil service
You can plan a travel route that suits you, for example, in Traficom’s Matka.fi service.
Finland has 21 airports. The largest is Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Many airlines offer flights from Finland to foreign countries. Most of the foreign flights depart from Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.
Buying and operating a car in Finland is fairly expensive. Cars in good condition cost several thousands of euros. Many expenses are related to the ownership and use of a car, such as
- insurance policies
- maintenance and repair
- car taxes
If you own a car, you must take out a motor insurance policy (liikennevakuutus). A motor insurance policy can be obtained from an insurance company.
In Finland, cars must be inspected and registered. Vehicle inspections are conducted by inspection stations. Registrations are carried out at inspection stations, insurance companies and car dealerships, for example. You can also register a vehicle online on Traficom's website.
The Finnish law requires cars to have winter tyres in the winter. You can use either studded or snow tyres. A car with studded tyres is easier to handle on a slippery road. However, you cannot use studded tyres in the summer.
In Finland, traffic rules must be observed carefully. The police enforce adherence to the traffic rules. You can get fined for breaking the traffic rules.
Driving any motor vehicle is a crime if the driver is intoxicated (alcohol or drugs).
Bringing your own car to Finland from abroad
If you travel to Finland using your own car, you need to complete the following tasks:
- Submit a declaration of vehicle use to the Tax Administration.
- File a car tax return to the Tax Administration.
- Take the vehicle to an inspection station for a registration inspection.
- Handle the first registration of the vehicle. During the first registration, you will receive Finnish number plates for your vehicle.
For more information about importing a vehicle to Finland, visit the Traficom website.
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You can only drive a car in Finland if you have a valid driving licence. To qualify for the licence, you must be at least 18 years of age. Before gaining a driving licence, you must take part in driving training and take a driving test. Driving training is provided at driving schools. You can also be taught by a family member or friend, for example, who has a driving licence and at least five years of experience. This requires a teaching permit from Traficom.
A motorcycle licence is required to ride a motorcycle. The type of the licence depends on the motorcycle you wish to ride.
If you do not have a driving licence, riding a moped requires a moped licence. The moped licence is not required if you turned 15 before 1 January 2000.
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Foreign driving licences in Finland
If you have a driving licence issued in an EU member state or an EEA country, it is also valid in Finland. If desired, you can exchange it for a Finnish driving licence if you are residing in Finland permanently.
If you have a driving licence issued in a country that is party to the Geneva or Vienna Conventions on Road Traffic, the licence is valid in Finland for two years. Once you have permanently settled in Finland, you have two years to exchange your foreign driving licence. If you do not exchange your licence in time, you need to complete a driving test (theoretical and practical tests) in Finland.
If you have a driving licence from a country that is not party to the Geneva or Vienna Conventions on Road Traffic, the licence is valid in Finland for one year after you are entered into the Finnish Population Information System. You must take a driving test in Finland if you want to exchange your driving licence for a Finnish driving licence.
You can apply to exchange your driving licence for a Finnish driving licence at an Ajovarma service point. Book an appointment in advance through Ajovarma’s website.