As you may expect from a Nordic city – Helsinki has an excellent system of public transport. Wherever you want to go, you can easily arrange your itinerary by public transport.
From the Airport
If you arrive to Helsinki Vantaa airport and you plan on traveling to the city center, you can take a direct ‘I’ train that will take you there. You can buy your ticket in advance from a vending machine for €5, or by downloading the HSL travel App. You will find that there are three ticket types of tickets available- for 1, 2 or 3 zones. When travelling from Helsinki Vantaa airport to Helsinki center, you have to buy a 2 zone ticket, as the airport is located in the city next to Helsink, called Vantaa. However, if you travel within Vantaa region only, you can buy a 1 zone ticket for €2.90 (the info is valid for the 24th of October 2017) . If you’re staying a little longer, you can buy a mix of one zone, two zone, daily, 3 daily, or even weekly passes.
*This little heart-shaped map shows you all the stops you can reach from the Vantaa Airport by train.
The train schedule and frequency varies depending on the day of the week. During weekends trains usually travel less frequently. The last train from the airport to the city center leaves just after midnight from Monday-Friday. Therefore if you are planning on travelling any time after midnight, you will more likely have to arrange a taxi or take a midnight bus. These can take up to an hour to get to the center. All the timetables can be found on the local public transport website -www.hsl.fi, which is also available in English.
Travelling around the city
You have plenty of options on the modes of public transport in Helsinki which can take you around the city. Various buses, trams, trains and metro are there for you 24/7. NOTE: the schedules change at night time and it is mainly buses that run after midnight. The night tickets are also more expensive than day tickets (almost double the price).So remember to consider that in advance too.
If you feel like you get to travel quite a lot through the day you can buy a day pass for Helsinki region. It will be good value if you plan to make four or more trips in a day. The price for a day pass on the 24th of October 2017 is 9 euros (the prices do annually change). You can buy a day pass from some vending machines as well as ‘R-kioski’ shops, which you will find doted all around the city. Staff in the kiosks usually speak good English so they will be able to easily understand and give advice on what you need.
*Look out for this sign
You can buy a travel pass for unlimited travelling in Helsinki or Helsinki regions for up to 7 days. All the modes of public transport are included into your ticket.
NOTE: If you bought a travel pass for Helsinki region and you plan on travelling to the regions of ESPOO or VANTAA – the pass will NOT be valid. You will have to buy a separate regional ticket in this case.
Boat to Suomenlinna
Here is another commonly asked question – Is a Suomenlinna boat a part of Helsinki region?
If you plan on travelling to the Suomenlinna islands, all you have to do is to buy a ticket valid for Helsinki region. It can be a day pass, a single ticket or a special Suomenlinna ticket which can be purchased from the vending machine next to the Suomenlinna boat point.
Is it worth using Hop on Hop Off Services?
We believe it is absolutely unnecessary. If you do your research before-hand and decide which sights around Helsinki you want to visit, you will find out that nearly all of them are very easily reachable by public transport. In addition to that, using public transport is a great way to see the local life and the way we travel in Helsinki! Remember that daily pass is only 9 euros for unlimited travel. You could then use the money you saved to pay for a private tour in Helsinki with real people… beats paying 40 euros to sit on a bus and listen to a speaker, right?!
NOTE: There is great news for those travelling to Helsinki in 2018. The prices for the tickets will be reduced in the beginning of the year. The night fare prices will also be discontinued!
Enjoy your travelling!
Helsinki Guru ^^