Extra trains for Russia rush as winter tourists arrive in Finland

Thousands of tourists take advantage of the Orthodox Christmas holidays to visit Finland.

Allegro train waiting to depart Helsinki for St. Petersburg / Credit: News Now Finland

This week is one of the busiest of the year for Russian tourists to visit Finland.

It’s because of Russian Orthodox Christmas, and the holidays when many people will be off from school and work.

State railway company VR has laid on extra space on Allegro trains coming from St. Petersburg, and noticed an increase in the usual number of passengers coming on the overnight train from Moscow.

“More than 10,000 passengers are coming on the Allegro from St. Petersburg alone, and there are several double-length trains in operation, with two Allegro trains connected together” says Viktoria Hurri, VR’s Russia Manager.

“Moscow is also seeing a significant number of passengers on both the Tolstoy night train, and the extra trains” she says.

November already saw a growth in passenger numbers, with Russian visitors up 15% compared to November 2017.

There’s an estimated 180,000 Russian visitors coming to Finland between the end of December and middle of January, and although this figure might not be much higher than the previous year, it means that shopping centres are hosting plenty of Russian tourists.

“A lot of Russian tourists are visiting shopping centres including in Jumbo this week” says Olli Lehtoaro, the Director of Jumbo shopping centre in Vantaa.

“I discussed with our information desk and they say they don’t see any big changes although of course a lot of Russian tourists are visiting Jumbo at this time” he adds.