Finland is a sparsely populated country but it has an excellent nationwide network of well-maintained and uncrowded roads highly suitable for tour biking.
Tour biking is a relaxed activity that allows you to experience some of Finland’s most spectacular natural areas and other attractions on two wheels. Tour biking is a fun activity itself, but also a perfect way to get around if you don’t have a car. Tour biking takes you around faster than walking, thus allowing you to see more on a single visit. Finland is a relatively flat country, which makes tour biking an ideal activity for families and enthusiastic cyclists alike.
This article is about tour biking only. Read more about mountain biking.
Generally, tour biking is possible on all roads where cars can also travel, both paved and unpaved. Those wanting to do a multi-day bicycle tour can choose from a variety of biking routes in all corners of the country: Lapland, Lakeland, the Archipelago and elsewhere. The most suitable and popular biking routes run though magnificent landscapes, picturesque farmland, pretty towns and villages, varied tourist attractions and stunningly beautiful natural areas, like national parks. Many biking routes have services, such as supermarkets, restaurants and accommodation options along them, as well as scenic spots for resting. In national parks, however, services tend to be limited. Usually biking routes consist of both designated bike paths, shared paths and cycling on-road, on the right side of the road next to cars.
How to get started?
In many regions extensive networks of forest roads in and around national parks make enjoyable and challenging biking routes. Destination Search helps you find a biking destination close to you. However, it only shows biking routes in or near national parks and other areas managed by Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland. More information on bicycle routes in Finland is available on Outdoor Active website.
Certain national parks and popular recreational areas have specific trails designated for biking. Check the web pages of each destination for details of routes, facilities and opportunities to rent bikes.
Once you’ve decided on your biking destination, acquire a good map. For longer bike tours, a regular road atlas can be useful.
When planning to bike across National Parks and other protected areas, consider these:
- Choose a route that is meant for biking. Stay on clearly visible tracks. Be considerate to others!
- If you ride a bike at dark, make sure your bike is lit, especially when sharing a road with cars. Although there is plenty of sunlight in summer, it can get dark in the forests after the sun goes down. Biking on a busy road is not recommended at dark.
- When possible, take advantage of the maintained campfire and picnic sites for breaks on your biking trip. For overnight stays, use huts, lean-to shelters and designated camping sites.
- For those who prefer sleeping indoors, rental cottages or reservable huts of Metsähallitus are an excellent option.
- Only build a campfire in one of the designated campfire sites provided.
Good to know about biking in national parks and other protected areas
Familiarize yourself with Everyman’s Right, i.e. the responsibilities and rights you have when moving about in Finnish nature. They apply to both Finnish and foreign citizens.
No permit is required when biking in Finland. There are no entrance fees to National Parks or other protected areas. However, groups of 10 or more are asked to notify Metsähallitus in advance when planning to camp out. Ask about group campsites.
When biking in the Archipelago or in Lake Saimaa area, you may have to take a ferry. Yellow-coloured short distance ferries (“lossi” in Finnish) are free to take. If you need to take a ferry, it is a good idea to find out its timetable beforehand.
The first thing you need is a bike. For paved roads, a regular road bike will do. If you plan to travel along unpaved paths, a mountain bike is recommended. The second crucial item is a helmet. Depending on the length of your bike tour, you may also need:
- Bike bags, preferably waterproof
- Multi-tool, bike tools, a patch kit and a wheel pump
- Drinking water, snacks, meals and cutlery
- Up-to-date map of the area
- A backpack with rain cover
- Clothes and personal belongings
You’ll be more relaxed and have more fun with the peace of mind knowing you have everything you need. However, when biking through towns, you can easily get more supplies. Tap water is safe to drink everywhere in Finland, unless otherwise stated.
If you need to rent a bike, turn to one of the bicycle rental shops in the area. In and near National parks, we recommend using services of authorized Parks & Wildlife Finland partners, who are committed to the principles of sustainable nature tourism.
Before hitting the road, check that brakes, lamps, and gear of your bike function normally.
The number one rule is: wear a helmet!
Make sure you are familiar with traffic rules in Finland.
Be visible. Make sure that the lamps of your bike function normally. In Finland, your bike lights must be on when biking at dusk or in the dark. Wearing a safety vest makes you more visible to others.
Biking alone is not recommended. When biking in a group, aid is near if you need it.
Summer weather in Finland can be unpredictable. Daylight hours are plentiful in the summer, but nights can be cold. Whenever the temperature drops below freezing, roads and paths can get icy and slippery. Studs in tires are recommended in spring, fall and winter.
Help us to prevent forest fires and grass fires. In Finland, a fire warning is given when the risk of quickly spreading forest fire or grass fire is high. Don’t make a fire when there’s a fire warning in effect. It is your responsibility to be aware of warnings in effect. For up-to-date warnings of storms and forest fire hazards, see the website of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi).
Carry a fully charged mobile phone. However, do not rely on it. Not all areas have mobile network coverage. Battery may also run out.
Emergency number in Finland is 112. You can call 112 from a foreign mobile phone connection, too. Consider downloading the 112 Suomi application beforehand. It enables the automatic delivery of your coordinates to the emergency service dispatcher when dialing 112.
Popular biking routes
One of the most popular routes tours the unique Turku Archipelago off Southwest Finland using ferries to hop between some of the region's best known islands. Read more (www.visitfinland.com).
The Kvarken Archipelago UNESCO World Heritage Site also offers enjoyable island-hopping routes.
Other popular areas among adventurous cyclists include Lake Saimaa, and rural backroads along the coast between Helsinki, Ekenäs and Hanko. Read more on Biking in Finland (www.outdooractive.com)
Recommended for Tour Biking