After our amazing Lapland adventure we opted to take the day train from Roavaniemi to Helsinki. This was mainly because you need to leave most accommodation by 12, and I didn’t fancy waiting around in -20 degrees for the night train. The night train also get you into Helsinki at 7am in the morning, and I didn’t think it would be much fun to wait for our afternoon flight with 3 smalls. They’re good travellers and all, but the Christmas spirit would have been well and truly lost after a couple of hours of killing time.
By taking the day train we would be able to spend a night in Helsinki and enjoy a morning sight seeing before flying home, in the afternoon.
The question was, how would we survive a 9 hour journey with 3 children under 8! As it turns out, the Polar Express is far superior to its British Counter parts. This wifi providing, family cabin offering, play carriage giving super train was lots of fun. After a busy few days it offered a great opportunity for some enforced rest, and really added to the adventure of our trip.
We booked out tickets directly with VR 60 days before travel. Unfortunately children aren’t free on day trains so we paid €38 per person. This was quite expensive when compared to the night train, but was worth it for the day in Helsinki ( see the next blog). The family carriage is easily identifiable from the outside as it has cartoons drawn on the outside. There is a large toilet with baby change / potty and bottle warmer.
Top Tip: By booking as soon as the tickets were released I was able to book a family cabin free of charge. You can do this online by simply selecting the cabin when selecting your seats.
The cabin is a private area, with a sliding door. It has 4 seats and two stools, along with a large table and low table for the kids to colour etc. It also has a number of electronic points, so you can keep tablets and phones charged. There is plenty of space for your luggage int he storage compartments above the seats.
We stocked up on food before boarding the train, and had a lovely picnic for lunch and dinner whilst on board.
The staircase you can see just outside the door in this photo leads upstairs to the play carriage. It has a slide play train, some books and an area to generally apply in and stretch your legs. The kids loved going between our cabin and the play area, they made some friends, and we enjoyed an opportunity to sue the wifi ( to book next years trip) whilst they played away!
Top Tip: Take a small tennis ball with you not he train, the kids played for hours rolling it down the slide and seeing if they could catch it at the bottom. Other kids joined in, so it must have been fun!
Our trip on the day train went without any problem, the 9 hours really did fly, and we all thought it was a great adventure.