In the summer of 2020, when the pandemic caused the closure of national borders and restriced holiday options, Finland did something remarkable to expand the travel possibilities of people living in and visiting the country. It created the new national Bicycle Tourism Centre, Bikeland. Bikeland’s purpose is to develop and coordinate cycling throughout the country in all its different forms: traditional cycle touring, mountain biking, bikepacking (backpacking while cycling), cycling events and city-cycle tourism. As such, Finland offers a wide variety of means to explore the country through cycling.

Bikeland sees Finland as an ideal cycling destination for cyclists of all levels, whether for a relaxed holiday or an adventure. During the last couple years, multiple new cycling routes have been opened all around the country, including its first official bikepacking routes: a 900kilometre-long cycle-route network on the south coast of Finland, and an Arctic cycle-route network in Finnish Lapland over 2,000 kilometres long. Both are open to the public and incorporate a series of paths that vary in landscape and level of complexity, to suit all levels and types of cycling.

Besides routes, cyclists need services. Bikeland developed a programme for bike-friendly businesses and there are now over 300 of them across Finland working to make cycling easy and enjoyable, wherever travellers choose to explore. All the businesses in the programme provide cyclists with safe bicycle storage, basic tools, tire-pumps and information about the cycling routes in the area. These businesses are easily identifiable thanks to the Welcome Cyclist badge.

Finland’s Everyman’s Right law makes it a unique biking destination and allows for safe travel in forests and natural areas. The law protects the freedom to roam in the countryside and to enjoy the recreational use of natural areas. In addition, cyclists may often use the same trails as hikers. It is therefore important to understand biking etiquette in Finland before beginning a cycling journey.

Bikeland: showcasing cycling in Finland

The Finnish love of cycling

Cycling is deeply rooted in Finnish culture. In Finland, children learn to cycle at an earlier age than almost anywhere else – around the age of four and a half, while Finns famously cycle all year round. Finland is home to the capital of winter cycling, Oulu, where adults ride their bikes to work and students cycle to school even when it’s -20 degrees Celcius. Well-maintained winter trails can be found all around Finland and, with the right equipment, are a wonderful way to experience the snowy countryside.

The country has diverse habitats and scenery with low population density. This provides peace of mind for cyclists to enjoy quiet country roads and forest trails. From coastal areas to the Finnish Archipelago, and from Lakeland – Europe’s largest lake district, to the fells of Lapland, cycling in Finland is a gateway to explore an endless variety of landscapes.

Suggested routes

On its website, Bikeland offers numerous suggestions for cycling trips in different regions of the country for all levels of cyclists. To sightsee like a local, Bikeland recommends exploring cities and towns by bike. In the Helsinki area, for example, cyclists can hop on the metro with their bicycles and head out to explore the surrounding nature and countryside. Bikeland suggests bike-touring or bikepacking as an ideal means to discover Finland’s numerous lakes, peaceful forests and hills. Bike-touring is generally via paved roads, while bikepacking routes tend to be unpaved roads and smaller trails through the forest.

For beginners and intermediate-level cyclists, recommended areas are Kotka and the southeast coast of Finland. Here, cycle routes include winding along the Kymijoki river, exploring Kotka’s magnificent and award-winning parks, and cycling a 94-kilometre coastal route to take in the numerous architectural landmarks by renowned Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto.

Bikeland: showcasing cycling in Finland

Mountain biking is also popular in Finland. It’s one of the few cycling destinations where cyclists can ride around the clock in the summer season. Biking under the midnight sun is a memorable experience and one of the best places to experience it is in Saariselkä-Kiilopää, Finnish Lapland.

In Saariselkä-Kiilopää are 230 kilometres of summer mountain-biking routes. Riding here is a one-of-a-kind experience, with infinite chains of fells on the horizon. This unusual landscape is the result of ancient mountains being rounded by ice-age activity, making them perfect for mountain biking. The Saariselkä-Kiilopää terrain caters both to those eager to try mountain biking for the first time and for those who want the ultimate adventure in the Arctic wilderness. Those looking for a weekend bikepacking adventure in the area can ride the Urho Kekkonen National Park Loop that is part of the Arctic by Cycle bikepacking route network. Finland has many possibilities for cycling, and Bikeland is there to help all travellers explore their options.

Bikeland: showcasing cycling in Finland


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