finland-04

Finland

DOWNLOAD THE GPX TRACK

By downloading this GPX track you agree to these conditions - READ HERE
The trail has been put up by country based volunteers. The accuracy of the trail is not guaranteed, nor are the GPS co-ordinates. We do not represent or warrant that materials in the site or the services are accurate, complete, reliable, current or error-free. We cannot represent or warrant that the site or its servers are free of viruses or other harmful components. If you stray onto private land, apologise and get back onto the byway or trail. These trails can be shut or permanently closed at short notice under local law. Do not ride trails beyond your capability. If unsure, get off your bike and walk the trail first. Trail riding alone, especially on trails you do not know is really unwise. Wear the proper safety kit. Many country trails are rarely maintained. You will find ruts, holes, floods, treacherous surfaces and the occasional booby trap hazard deliberately placed by people who do not like motorcycles using trails. When you use the trails, you are on your own. You exercise your judgement in your own skills and your own navigation. All we can do is show you where some of the trails are, but this can change at a moment's notice.

Practical tips for trails you do not know;

1: Ride in at least a pair. If you fall with a motorcycle pinning you down to cold and damp earth, in the Europe we do not have to worry about being eaten by exotic carnivores (usually!) but exposure, hypothermia and shock can do a very effective job of killing you. Do not rely on the trails having a regular through flow of users to come to your aid;

2: If your riding companion cannot pick your bike up off you then get a lighter bike, a stronger riding companion or ride in a bigger group;

3: Trails can vary immensely. A vehicular right of way can be a rocky or muddy scramble;

4: Adventure bikes – especially on adventure tyres – can struggle with some trails. Do not just bowl into trails because they are on a map – they can be horribly technical and totally unsuitable for even fairly competent riders on light machines or experienced riders on bigger machines;

5: Stop for horses and kill your engines to let equestrians pass. A horse spooking at a bike revving will be likely to result in criminal charges if the police get involved and a motorcycle is a lot easier to control than a horse;

6: On the trails there will be free running dogs. Do your best to be nice to them;

7: Mobile phone coverage can be patchy on the trails. Do not rely on calling an ambulance – if you’ve got stuck, the emergency services are going to get just as stuck trying to retrieve you. That is if you can raise them by telephone;

8: Finally, obey the golden rule, which is don’t be a dick by unnecessarily annoying other country side users or letting ego outstrip talent.

ROUTE INFO

1Length of TET in country
2177km
2Expected time to cover TET in country
6 days
3Best time of year to ride TET in country
It's best to ride the Finland leg of the TET in June, July or August. Timing is especially important for the northern part, where the riding season is particularly short. Riding in the South is possible until September. Whatever the month, don't forget to pack your wet weather gear!
4Entry point into country
Helsinki
5Exit point from country
Kivilompolo into Norway and Lahdenranta into Sweden
6Language(s)
Finnish, Swedish, English
7Currency
Euro
8Emergency telephone number
112
9Drive on the...
Right
10Laws regarding wild camping
Wild Camping in Finland is allowed as long as you stick to the basic rules: a) do not leave roads, tracks or trails with your bike and b) keep reasonably sufficient distance to inhabitated houses. Camp fires are only allowed in designated areas, so better stick to your small camping stove. If you can't find a proper spot for wild camping you can always resort to one of the commercial campsites that are spread across the country.
11Trail riding and the law
Finland has a vast network of dirt/gravel roads and trails that can be used by motorcyclists as long as they are not explicitely marked as private property or otherwise closed. Many gravel roads are part of the normal road network and can be used by any street-legal vehicle.
12Bike events on or near the TET
Imatra - International Road Racing Championship: Early July

STOP PRESS...

11 Jan 2017
No known issues

ROUTE OVERVIEW

If entering Finland from Russia (Vaalimaa border crossing) make sure to not miss out on the 'Tallimäki Virojoki tie' (road 3513) - a scenic coastal road connecting Virojoki and Hamina. It's tarmac, but very entertaining with plenty of second and third gear sections.

The ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki takes about 2 1/2 hours, with ferries operating multiple times a day.

Helsinki is a typical capital city, with lots of traffic and busy rush hours. The city itself is well worth a visit and offers quite some sightseeing. The gravel fun starts about an hour outside the metropolitan area and leads mainly through agricultural districts for some time.

Northwest of Lappeenranta the TET enters the lake district, probably the most stereotypical part of the country with some 180,000+ lakes. In this area it's well worth exploring some of the numerous side roads that divert from the TET. Small bays, beaches and other hidden places near the water are waiting to be found. Some of those side roads may spit you out on dead ends, but you're never far from the main trail anyway.

Around Suomussalmi you will encounter the Battle of Raate road featuring museums and relics (trenches, tanks) of the fierce fighting that took place in this area during WWII between Finnish and Soviet forces. Well worth exploring for those interested in history.

A few hours farther north it is very important to fill up with fuel and stock up on water in a town called Salla. It's the last chance to do so before entering the remotest part of the trail in Finland with almost 300km without guaranteed access to petrol. You'll enter a rather bizarre yet beautiful landscape featuring a confusing network of gravel roads and trails, called 'Tuntsan erämaa' (Tuntsa wilderness area).

Watch out for reindeer that might jump out of the bushes at the very last moment! Also remember to close the gates behind you.

After a few hours you'll come within a few hundred meters of the 'Lokan tekojärvi' (Lokka Reservoir), said to be the biggest European water reservoir west of the Dnieper. If you want to see it you'll have to turn right to enter the village of Lokka, otherwise it's hidden behind forest.

Beyond Sodankylä the TET will lead you north-west to the Norwegian border. In the border region itself you will have to cover some kilometers on tarmac.

The Finnish part of the TET largely consists of wide, hard-packed gravel roads that take turns with narrow, freshly graded single-lane tracks and worn-out dirt trails that don't appear to be travelled very often. The North is decidedly different from the South, with its own fauna and flora, and more rugged sections.

Around the Arctic Circle and northwards it's very important to watch out for reindeer and other animals such as moose.The former roam the vastness of the country in thousands and you will frequently encounter them in groups. Usually where there's one reindeer, there are many and it's best to approach them at walking pace. Their escape route either takes them straight back into the wilderness or farther down the road for a few meters - but they'll get out of your way eventually.

The TET in Finland can easily be travelled on big adventure bikes although one or two sections might be a bit narrow for big boxers. In dry conditions tyres of the likes of TKC70 or K60 work decently enough, but extended rain may turn some trails into mud-baths.


WHAT NOT TO MISS

Finland has been settled for thousands of years and there are numerous artefacts and old structures hidden in the wilderness. Finding them is often a matter of luck since not all archeological sites are clearly marked as such. Major parts of the TET follow the Finnish-Russian border, which has seen massive battles during WWII. Relics of that period can be found especially in the area around Suomussalmi.

Top tips: Reindeer meat, salmiakki (you'll either love it or hate it) and Fazer chocolate. Koskenkorva viina and vodka for those brave enough.

RESOURCES