Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lulea to Helsinki via Kemi

Carl dropped me off at the Lulea Bus Station in time to take the bus No 20 to the  border of Finland at Haparanda leaving at 10:50.

The departures board.

Lulea to Kemi at EveryTrail

This blog is basically for those who are planning to do this bus journey.

The buses are double-deckers. The driver took my bag and put it in the hold.

In the background you can see typical Swedish buildings. Mostly plain with small windows.

The bus started off on time and meandered around Lulea picking up passengers.

Lulea is surrounded by water on three sides.

Some of the older buildings are interesting. Most of the newer ones are fairly plain.

Eventually we got on to a four lane highway heading to Haparanda. Very quickly, the road narrowed to a regular two lane road.

We crossed a few rivers that were fed by snow in the mountains. 

We would stop at virtually every town along the way. One of them had this interesting building.

The other buildings in this town were as boring as these.

Some people would get on or off at a Bus Station but most simply used a bus stop.

The bus was clean and comfortable. There were not too many people on board and got a seat up the front above the driver so that I could take photos.

The scenery reminded me of outback Australia. Not too much to see.

I noticed these fences on either side of the road that went on for miles in the non built up areas.

I presume they were to stop these animals (moose?) from wandering onto the road. I would imagine a collision with a moose would be even worse than a collision with a kangaroo.

We stopped at a village with this curious war museum. I can't remember a war with a space ship but maybe they are ust getting prepared in case.

If you look at the barn on the right, you will notice that it leans out at the sides. Most of the older barns have this shape in this area.

Eventually we got close to Haparanda at the northern point of the Gulf of Bothnia which is the northern part of the Baltic Sea.

The most northern Ikea in the world. It's very close to the border with Finland.

The old Haparanda train station. Up until 1988 you could take a passenger train from Lulea to Kemi and because Finland used the same wide gauge as Russia, passengers would need to change trains. Lenin passed through here in 1917.

The bus wandered around the back streets of Haparanda before stopping at the bus station.

The old bus station.

The new bus station which is modern inside but distinctly boring from the outside.

I waited for a couple of hours. Fortunately there was free internet so I took the opportunity to get a couple of blogs done. I was so engrossed that I almost missed the bus that cost 7 euros to take me to Kemi.

The bus crossed the river that is the border between the two countries.

One of the few interesting buildings in Tornio.

More moose fence.

A barrage at Kemimaa that generates hydro-electric power.

The bus ride to Kemi did not take long and the bus passed quite a number of interesting buildings as it meandered around the back streets before heading to the bus station.

This church had a distinctly pink hue.

The bus station which is quite close to the train station.

The train station at Kemi.

Since I had about three hours to wait for my train, I left my luggage in a locker at the station and walked up to the main street. Since it was late in the day and cold, there was not too much activity. It reminded me of some outback towns in Australia.

I found a shopping center at the northern end of the main street and decided I would look for some food.

I found a fast food chain that sold a Tortilla Burger. Essentially they take the ingredients for a double patty burger and stuff if into a wrap. It wasn't too bad and the wrap made it easier to eat than a regular bun.

I was glad to get back to the warmth of the waiting room at the station.

The ticket office. Since I was a day late getting to Kemi, I was not sure what the story would be about my ticket. Fortunately, they replaced the old ticket with a new one for that evening's train but I had to pay just 5 euro which was quite reasonable.

There is a ticket machine as well as the ticket office.

Elegant entrance to a bathroom.

The luggage locker which cost 2 euro.

The train arrived about 10 minutes before departure time.

I was in a double decker sleeping carriage. The lower level cabins are relatively inexpensive, particularly if you are over 65. I think you get your own bathroom if you get a more expensive berth on the upper level.

A small but adequate cabin with a small window and fixed steps leading to the upper berth.

Space for your luggage for the lower berth.

Space for the upper berth.

The upper berth.

Finland's time is an hour ahead of Sweden so the sun was low in the sky much earlier.

After looking at my blogs, Robin wrote that she would buy stocks in red paint in Norway. That would also apply in Sweden and Finland. My sister Clare sent this explanation.

I really enjoyed my night on the train and I slept well. There were power points to recharge my cell phones and I could use my little netbook to work on photos for the blog. There was also an internet connection that worked when the train arrived at a larger city.

The train arrived on time at Helsinki.


  1. Hi!! I will be living in Tampere (finland) and I was planning to do this bus trip to visit some friends in LuleƤ. Do you recommend it or should I rathet take a plane?
    Thanks!! HELENA

  2. That would depend on how much time you have. If you are going for just a couple of days, the plane will be faster and give you more time at Lulea. If you will be in Lulea for a longer period, try the train and bus. I am not sure if you can get a one way plane ticket but you could consider doing plane one way and train / bus the other way.

  3. Take a look at the Rome2rio website which will give you some ideas.