Finland state

The intercity trip to Helsinki was comfortable, comfortable

My route was from Pori to the capital Helsinki, with a change in Tampere.

To get to Helsinki, I would take two connecting trains in Tampere, for a total journey of less than 4 hours.

Google Maps/Insider

I was on a reporting trip and needed to get back to Helsinki for the flight home.

Pori to Helsinki by car is approximately 151 miles.

By car it’s about three hours, or half an hour more by train.

I got tickets online. It was around $60 to book short term.

Tickets from Pori to Helsinki via Tampere are displayed here.

I took the tickets online. A friendly controller came to check the tickets at each stop.

Marianne Guenot/Initiate

I left Pori at 10 a.m. and was due to arrive in Helsinki at 1:35 p.m.

The base ticket price was €45 (about $47 – one euro is $1.05).

I also got upgraded seats on the first leg for €6.90 and on the second for €5.90.

This gave me a total price of €57.80 or $61.

The train was double decker. Like all passenger trains in Finland, it is state-run.

The double-decker train from Pori to Tampere is pictured here.

The train on arrival in Tampere.

Marianne Guenot/Initiate

The train was operated by VR, Finland’s government-owned railway company.

My extra fee for the first stage meant I could go up to the top floor for a better view

The upper part went up a small staircase.

A photo shows the stairs of the double-decker train.

The train is double decker. I chose to go upstairs for a small bounty

Marianne Guenot/Initiate

This is what the cabin looked like.

The upper deck cabin is shown in the VR train from Pori to Tampere

The upper cabin is not too crowded, with space to put your small luggage overhead.

Marianne Guenot/Initiate

There was a working toilet at the end of the wagon

Downstairs, the seats were similar. The train also had a place where you can park your bike if you book in advance.

Between the main carriages, you can book small private cabins.

A photo shows two two-person cabins on either side of a hallway on the VR train

There were small private cabins that you could rent for a small premium.

Marianne Guenot/Initiate

These are cabins for two people which were empty when I boarded the train.

And I had time to chat with a Finn!

A friendly Finn sat next to me halfway to Tampere.

I had read that it could be interpreted as rude to start a conversation, but he initiated the chat, so I accepted it. We talked about Finland, Tampere, the rules of the road, the differences between French, British and Finnish cultures and other things for about 20 minutes.

I learned that just because a Finn hasn’t spoken for a few minutes doesn’t mean the conversation is over.

Finns seem much more accustomed to taking a moment to think about their thoughts before continuing.

Helsinki’s main train station is in the middle of the city, a good place to keep exploring.

Helsinki train station

Ready to visit Helsinki!

Marianne Guenot/Initiate