Driving advice for every country in Europe

Find up-to-date driving laws and advice for any country in Europe before you visit, including any accessories you may need to purchase. Don't forget the RAC provides European breakdown cover while you're driving in Europe.

Driving in Finland

Finland
Population: 5.5m
Area: 338,145 sq.uare kilometres
Currency: Euro (EUR) € = 100 cents

European Breakdown Cover

Get covered when driving in Europe from just £7. Plus, get a full refund if Covid-19 restrictions prevent travel.†

Officially the world’s happiest country in 2019, Finland certainly has an abundance of amazing places to put a smile on your face, from the crystal-clear blue lakes around Helsinki to the magical winter wonderland of Lapland. 

Driving on traffic-free roads is a blissful experience, but if you’re planning a road trip to Finland, it’s essential you’re fully prepared ahead of time as driving there has many differences to the UK. 

To make your trip to northern Europe as safe and effortless as possible, we’ve put together a guide to everything you need to know before you go, from required documents to rules of the road.  

Driving a rented vehicle? Jump to the advice for driving a hire car in Finland section.

RAC European Breakdown Cover (Basic and Comprehensive) provides a wide range of benefits should you breakdown in Finland to ensure you stay safe, whether you travel to the area reguarly or are just heading there for a one-off trip. 

To supplement this, RAC also offers travel insurance. Cover will include medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings, among many other benefits.

Things to take when driving in Finland

driving-advice-for-finland

Documents for driving in Finland

  • A valid, full UK driving licence (you must also be 18 or over)
  • A GB sticker (unless your car is equipped with EU number plates showing the country code in a circle of 12 gold stars on a blue background) 
  • Your motor insurance certificate
  • The V5 registration document for your own car or the hire car paperwork for a rental

Driving in Finland packing checklist

Aside from the documents above, there are some legally-required items you must bring with you to drive in Finland.

Unless your headlights can be adjusted, it's a legal requirement to carry headlamp converters (stickers for your headlights when driving on the right, so your lights don't dazzle motorists coming the other way).

A warning triangle is also compulsory to carry in vehicles in case of a breakdown.

Winter tyres are compulsory if you're driving between 1 December and 28 February.

It's also recommended to have:

  • Spare bulbs for your car's external lights
  • A fire extinguisher 
  • A first-aid kit
  • A reflective jacket
  • A Green Card (this is no longer a requirement, but it could be useful to back-up your insurance documents and show you've got the minimum legal level of cover. To find out more, contact your insurance company)

You can pick up all the car kit you need from RAC Shop.

Rules of the road in Finland

  • Wear a crash helmet if you're riding a moped or motorcycle
  • Use dipped headlights day and night, all year round
  • In Finland, you drive on the right and overtake on the left. Vehicles from the right, trams and emergency vehicles have priority
  • In built-up areas, horns should only be used in cases of immediate danger. On country roads, they can be used on bends, slopes and when visibility is poor
  • Cars towing a caravan or trailer must be equipped with two side rear-view mirrors
  • All main roads are kept open in winter, but secondary roads in the north of the country may become impassable between November and March
  • Any accident involving an animal must be reported by phoning the emergency services on 112
  • There are no toll roads in Finland
  • If you're caught committing a motoring offence while driving through Finland, you could be given an on-the-spot fine of up to €200. The police can issue the fines, but they can’t collect them. Payment must be made at a bank within 2 weeks
  • Seat belts should be worn in all seats where a belt is available
  • Children less than 135cm in height must use an appropriate restraint or child seat. Children under the age of 3 cannot travel without a suitable restraint
  • The drink-drive limit for all drivers is 0.05%. Both breath tests and blood tests can be carried out at random

Finnish speed limits

The speed limit is 50km/h in built-up areas, reduced to 20km/h in residential zones. On open roads, the maximum speed allowed is 100km/h, while on motorways it’s 120km/h.

Other things you should know when driving in Finland

driving-in-finland-rules

  • Parking can be limited in built-up areas, with restricted zones signposted. Wheel clamps may be used if a car is parked illegally for more than 2 days. 
  • Unleaded petrol and diesel are readily available, even in small towns and villages. However, there may be distances of up to 100km between filling stations in rural areas, particularly in Lapland in the north of the country

In an emergency

112 - Here's a really important bit of knowledge; you can dial 112 from anywhere in Europe and an operator will connect you to an emergency service in the country you're visiting.

Operators can answer your call in their native language, English or French.

Breaking down in Finland

RAC offers great-value, flexible RAC European breakdown cover tailored to meet your needs. We also offer comprehensive travel insurance, including cover for medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings.

Driving a hire car in Finland

Not all of the information in the guide above will be relevant to those looking to rent a hire car in Finland.

Though it might be a good idea to read through everything anyway, here are the most important things to know for drivers of rental vehicles:

Rental information

  • The minimum age to hire a car is 19
  • You need a full, valid UK driving licence and usually a second proof of ID (passport)
  • Car rental companies ask that you have held your licence for a minimum term of 1 year
  • Some companies require you to use a credit card for deposit
  • You may not be able to drive outside of Finland unless planned in advance - check with your hire company first
  • Make sure you get car hire excess insurance before your trip to protect yourself from unexpected costs. It's almost always cheaper to do this with a separate insurer and in advance

Hire car driving tips

  • Finns drive on the right and overtake on the left - the opposite to the UK
  • The national speed limit on Finnish motorways is 120km/h (74mph). On a main road outside a built-up area it's 100 km/h. For built-up areas it’s 50km/h, reduced to 20km/h for residential areas
  • Dial 112 in an emergency
  • It’s compulsory to wear seat belts in the front and rear seats
  • The blood alcohol content limit for drivers of private vehicles is 0.05%. That's lower than the 0.08% in England Wales and Northern Ireland, but the same as Scotland.

Car hire excess cover

Protect yourself from unexpected excess costs when hiring a car.

European Breakdown Cover

Get covered when driving in Europe from just £7. Plus, get a full refund if Covid-19 restrictions prevent travel.†

Driving in Finland FAQs

  • Is it safe to drive in Finland?

    Yes, Finland is a very safe country. The roads are mostly quiet and in excellent condition. Driving in the winter months can be hazardous, however, and you should be prepared for icy conditions from as early as October.

    Collisions with wild animals such as elk, deer and moose are also a common occurrence, so you need to be particularly vigilant when a sign indicates their presence.

  • Can you drive in Finland with a UK licence?

    Yes. You can legally drive in Finland with a full and valid UK driving licence. In addition to this, International Driving Permits are recognised but not required.

  • Do I need a green card to drive in Finland?

    Like the UK, Finland is a member of the Green Card System, a Europe-wide scheme that allows countries to recognise foreign vehicle insurance policies of visiting motorists.

    UK motorists are no longer required to carry a green card to drive in Finland, but you should check that your policy will cover you in all countries you plan to visit before setting off.

  • What side of the road do they drive on in Finland?

    As in most of mainland Europe, motorists drive on the right-hand side of the road in Finland.

  • Do I need a GB sticker for Finland?

    You will need to display a GB sticker on the rear of your car unless it has EU number plates with the country code in a circle of 12 stars on a blue background.

  • Can I drive my car in Finland?

    Yes, so long as you have all your essential documents, including a valid UK licence, V5 document and at least third-party insurance for your trip.

    You should also familiarise yourself with the laws around driving in Finland and ensure you have all the required items needed for your journey (such as a warning triangle and headlamp converters). That applies to any other country you’re planning to drive through too.

  • How do I drive to Finland?

    Driving to Finland from the UK is a lengthy three-part journey, so you’ll need to allow plenty of time if you’re making the trip, but it’s definitely a Scandinavian adventure.

    Firstly, you’ll need to catch a ferry to the Netherlands from Newcastle, Hull or Harwich. Then drive up through Germany, Denmark and Sweden, before catching another ferry to Finland.

    If you’re taking your car on the Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais, drive up to Finland through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden.

  • What age can you start driving in Finland?

    To legally drive in Finland, you must be 18 years or older and in possession of a full valid driving licence.

  • Do I need winter tyres to drive in Finland?

    Yes, winter tyres marked M+S are compulsory from 1 December to 28 February and must have a minimum tread depth of 3mm. It may also be necessary to use winter tyres beyond these dates as roads can be icy any time between October and April.

    Spiked tyres are allowed from 1 November to the first Monday after Easter. Snow chains may only be used temporarily as conditions require, and you must be careful not damage the road surface.

  • Are there toll roads in Finland?

    No, there aren’t any toll roads in Finland. If you’re driving there from the UK, however, you may face charges for using the motorways in other countries you travel through.

UK Government travel advice

See up-to-date travel advice


Information in this guide is subject to change

British Embassy Helsinki

Office: British Embassy Helsinki
Street Address: Itäinen Puistotie 17
ZIP Code: 0244
City: Helsinki
Country: Finland

Telephone: +358 (0) 9 2286 5100
Fax: +358 (0) 9 2286 5284
Email: [email protected]

† Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year old in Zone 1. For more information visit rac.co.uk/breakdown-cover/european-breakdown-cover

† Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year old in Zone 1. For more information visit rac.co.uk/breakdown-cover/european-breakdown-cover