How to get there

A rough not-guide on how to get there (and why the heck ‘soo difficult and far away’)

‘Sorry’ that it’s difficult to reach Finland, and Baltics, for most. Our practice is to go to different places and promote de-centralisation of some sort. Most of the time ppl from there have had and have it hard to reach us. And there are good things to geographical and logistical isolation. (Btw, the relative lack of international trains in the Baltics is due to Soviet colonial policies during the heyday of railways.)

It’s good to plan the trip asap, as there are a lot of tourists around in the season and the connections may be smwht tricky…

*The* default option for most is getting to Tallin with some bus(es), or trains plus buses through the Baltic countries, and from Tallin to Hki with a ferry.*


Alternatives include, among others, just one ferry from DE (Travesmuende), or Stockholm, or maybe from smwhre else.

You may want to play a detective game with railways, like I did… Something told me I shall try to find the unicorn, the train option no one ever used before. And indeed, it looks that it does exist, at least theoretically. In some areas, for a time, you can even try it without much pain, in some cases. Hints at the end of this part. Plus, if you join during the tour smwhre around Baltics, the local, not border-crossing trains work better, which might prove useful.
You may also want to combine some trains with some buses if you need/like.

Regarding ferries, take into account the following. It’s slow and burns thru massive amounts of fuel (never managed to make a proper research, but to my vague knowledge or half-educated intuition, it’s still noticeably better than bloody planes). They check ID, like always. And it’s expensive – well, here I mean, the short ones from very Tallinn can be more affordable, down to around 20 e among several daily courses avlbl. (There might be group discounts perhaps?!). One shall mind also that the harbour halls and terminals are big and one needs to appear there at least some 15 or 30 mins before actual time, don’t remember exactly, and count some extra to walk through the harbour and parking lots and stuff to the terminal. On the other hand, it could be tempting to just walk a bike onto the board like it’s a suitcase and not worry about its transport.

There are search engines for such ships. I used

Going through Russia or Belarus one can encounter surprises and difficulties and some would be considered citizens of hostile countries and/or need to get a visa.

Planning the trip, don’t forget that in the Baltics it’s 1 h later than in PL (and whole CET zone)


* B i c y c l e    t r a n s p o r t ?!*


…Now the question may arise, what with my bike? If I don’t take a ferry for the whole way, nor a car, and there’s no trains even, unless I really Try Hard?*

If you count on the F-company that sometimes offers bicycle transport to passengers, last summer it wasn’t the most reliable. What if they suddenly anounce last minute ‘no option for the bike to go’, you can leave it at the station (maybe at the change point and not your starting point) and go without it, take money back or wait until we reschedule your and your trip with the bike some, say, day or two later when you have a tight schedule and a precise plan to catch the tour at a particulare time and location?

The Luxexpress bus company that operates in the Baltics and Poland’s capital, Warsaw – and is not displayed on many travel search engines – claims to transport a bike, for sure and for free, if only you tick the free ticket for it when booking for yourself. I didn’t manage to find such option when booking a travel to Hki which had almost no seats booked at the moment, but I did on my return trip booking, so perhaps the number of bike places is small and you’d better hurry. In the past, I had very good experience with that company and luggage there and its drivers, hope it won’t change. It doesn’t speculate with prices as much as the biggest competitor. But it forces you to reach at least Warsaw first (further advice below).


A handful of other possibilities:


sending your bike with delivery services to Helsinki Bike Kitchen (thanks to it for the possibility!), of course keep in mind it makes sense only when the tour is in Hki when you join:) obviously, it’s good to mark it or drop them a line or write a brief explanation it’s ecotopia participant’s bike
disassembling it and packing it in a neat, compact way, preferably masked to look like a huge luggage and not a vehicle, only to assemble it back on arrival at (yourself, at the port, or at the ecotopia base at the given moment if you can reach it, check; easiest before the very start of tour, during the prep days)
buying (or building from whatever) it on site or on the way and possibly modifying or fixing it. May be smwht risky and/or overpriced, you won’t have too much time/too many options. The vehicle may turn out partly broken, as is often the case with used stuff, not so reliable, or simply not so nice to ride on.
– luckily being able to make use of someone else’s generous offer from the bikesharing sheet
making a deal with some motorist, hitchking or smwht less ecological option of carpooling, commercial or social (in some areas there function telegram channels and other things for that), or even with other willing bike tour participants, prolly also you’d need to disassemble the bike at least a bit.
– ‘simply’ getting as far as possible with trains (don’t ask me about the details of bike transport in the Baltic trains, some hints you may find in the text and links below, tho), buses etc and continuing riding alone/in yr ‘team’ and camping on the way until you meet Ecotopia tour (it will be far and long, most likely; check EuroVelo long distance bike paths, Komoot for route planning, RMKapp for campsites etc and/or and tulikartta too)

Now for ones who travel with the bike mounted on the rack on the car or at the back of the bus. Check the bolts afterwards if they didn’t untighten from vibrations and rememeber it may get much dust and mostly rain on the way smtms, maybe even into the guts, under the seals with bad luck bcuz of some strong winds.


Once you have a rough idea… and assuming you wanna take a bus to the Baltics:


The monopolist is not always the best and search engines are neither perfect (wanderu may be one of the better at first sight, but rly hard to say…).
Most transport hubs from/via which one may find connections (also incl. trains) would be Berlin, or Prague or Vienna or Budapest etc and further Warsaw (where you have ie. that Lux buses).

[Btw, within the cities itself, if you can’t pay for the city transport, you might look for internet channels/groups where ppl warn each other of the inspectors, like Freifahren BE; in Berlin they’re hard to spot and work in the Mitte and S/U Bahn mostly, in Hki there’s two types of inspectors, one type only asks you out without any other trouble, in Waw they usually wear at least one piece of clothing looking somewhat official/uniform-ish, smtms smwht disguised/covered/etc and work mostly in the center and metro stations, resp. trams more than buses, usually during daytime hours, in the night, rarely and with extra security personnel along, which could be in a car.]


…In case you go to Warsaw first, in order to head further from there.


Except for buses, trains may look as a viable option. They may be noticeably cheaper than in richer countries. Hitchiking that is probably slightly more difficult than in many western/southern countries.

(Some buses go across the border but not to very Warsaw, some lines operate only within PL and could be found on search engines like …btw, with F-company and not only with this one, some say it was smtms making economical sense to purchase a ticket to a border city/town and another from there making it cheaper, or even, on less frequented occassions, to sleep over one’s bus stop and get further.)

There are many companies operating trains in Pl, with different policies and prices. Bikes are often accepted, especially on faster/international rides. IC, expensive EC. Among regional ones, ie. Regio was especially bike-friendly/cheap. Bike tickets can be often ca. 2-3 e. Sometimes all the bike places (end and beginning of the train?) are occupied, especially if you don’t get in at the early station on the route/within a city. Usually taking a wheel or two off the bike makes it a usual piece of free luggage without any questions. Remember however, if any part of the rails is undergoing maintenance and there are buses organized by the railways there, instead: bikes won’t be allowed.
Combining trains run by different companies is possible and make more sense in the border areas, otherwise it’s likely to raise the overall price, as usually price per km lowers with total distance via one company’s trains.
If you change, make sure you have a safe time margin for it, also.

To search for connections, one may check, (one company that operates a lot of cross-border and other trains), (Poland only), (http only)
The prices might fluctuate with the trends and booking early is often safer price-wise.


Bottom line:
from futher away it can be often reasonable to get an affordable-ish train to Waw and ie. Luxexpress bus to the Baltics (typical price from Waw to Tallinn is 50-55 e). Ferries from there to Helsinki cost around 20 e, some more (several a day, nothing deeply at night tho).



And now for the ‘trainheads’ (trains die-hard fans)

and ppl who combine trains with other means


…and all the people who can’t go for any of the above options. Or who wanna catch with the tour on its way hopefully with the help of some trains.

So first, to Warsaw and Vilnius/to Vilnius via Warsaw is nothing so complicated. Tho, by the time of writing, I’ve found just one: 7.50-> 17.34, which is <9 h bcuz of timezones, for some 25 e from WAW to said VLN… leaving more than whole night (!) of waiting for the next train ride north (maybe camping outta city).

In the Baltic countries the websites of railway companies often have limited functionality, and so the international connections as such, with the recent and notable exception of just another once-daily connection from Vilnius to Riga (6.30-10.43 am, the sole mandatory seat reservation was some 4 or 5 e, and maybe even some 10 for the bike, but I’m lazy to check/unsure if the option is of use for anyone actually…I recall one day during the construction they were saying the passenger ticket would be ca. 14 e, didn’t check either, sry).

From Riga you go to the border station Valga on a Latvian ticket, and from there with an Estonian on to… well, in theory, to Tallinn should be possible, but as of 6.6.24 it’s only to Tartu in practice (from where to Tapa, most of the way to T-n, there’s a replacement bus:) …Will it take a bike? I don’t hold much hope, call and ask. At least to that Tartu city it shall be affordable for many.

See: (it’s a bit too optimistic both with fares and travel times, though) and (click on the bike icon and other icons to read the details, it’s useful:) ps 06.06, bcuz there wasn’t an option to see further into the future there;)


General Travel Advice

There are different ways to get around Europe taking your bike with you.

  • Cycle!
  • Hitchbike (take your bike with you while hitchhiking). It usually takes much longer, but is generally possible. People have also hitchbiked on boats.
  • Take a bus. Some buses officially take bikes. Usually you have to take the luggage off, sometimes you have to take off the wheels and pedals and wrap the bike in a plastic bag. Sometimes, the bike is stored in the luggage compartment of the bus, sometimes there is a special bike rack in the end. If a bus company officially takes bikes, it is usually written in the section about luggage on their website. Usually it costs around 10 € per bike. One website where you can search for buses across Europe is Busradar, although it doesn’t know about all the lines. Rome2Rio can also be good to get an overview over the available connections.
    In the past, a lot of participants were travelling with their bike across europe. We had different expieriences, it is often somehow possible to take the bike, even if they say beforehand that its not. As long as the bus is not completely filled up. Although, this might include some stressful discussions with busdrivers… But it also happens that people get rejected. If you search for the bus company and ‘taking bikes’, there are always many stories from people about how to do it. We made a table with bus-companys and how they are with bikes: (might be a bit outdated).
  • Extra Tipp for Flixbus: As mentioned before you can take a bike on some Flixbuses. But actually it’s the fewest of the connections where you can actually take a bike with you on a special rack. More often it’s possible to take a bike with you as an oversize luggage which costs you 9€. In this case you have to disassemble the frontwheel and handlebar and wrap the bike in some sort of sack. But it’s a bit more tricky than that. With flixbus, you have to book a ride, and you are only able to call Flixbus EARLIEST 48h before the bus goes to reservate your oversize luggage. The problem is, sometimes they don’t allow oversize luggage, and now you stand there, and have to cancel your ride, book another one and hope to get your bike on that one. But there is a way to increase chance. The thing is, that they never allow oversize luggage on doubledecker busses. During booking your ride, you can check that through clicking on seat reservation, and there you go. Here you can see whether it’s going to be a doubledecker bus or not! If it’s doubledecker, don’t book it and look for a different connection. If it’s not, go for it! A Flixbus employee once told me this trick. I’m not sure why they are only able to tell you 48h earliest before, but maybe the bus size might change. So be carefull, and don’t trust this method 100% :)
  • Take a train. The regulations are different in every country. On the website of Deutsche Bahn, you can search for connections that take bikes across Europe. For international journeys, you need an international bike ticket, which costs 10 €. Usually, if you take your bike apart and wrap it up, it counts as regular luggage and you can take it on any train without paying for it. For train journeys that cross country borders, it always makes sense to check the railway companies of all countries, as prices might differ greatly. Sometimes, it is even cheaper to book a ticket from a country where you don’t even want to go (a ticket from Berlin to Cologne might cost 89 € with German railways, but a ticket from Prague to Cologne via Berlin might cost only 45 € with Czech Railways, and you can still use it to travel from Berlin to Cologne). Bikes in train in Spanish territory and Bikes in train in Portugal
  • Find a rideshare. The most known website is BlaBlaCar, although it is commercial and evil. Some German alternatives (that also have international journeys) are BesserMitfahren and Fahrgemeinschaft. Most rides cannot take a bike, but some go with a van and have space. French alternative: LaRoueVerte
  • Take a ferry.
Travel groups

You can try to organize a group travel with other participants via the 2024 signal group, or other channel that will probably be set up, or via

Comments are closed.