Helsinki, which is located in the Uusimaa region in the southern part of Finland, is the capital and most populous city of Finland. Situated on the shores of the Gulf of Finland within the Baltic Sea, Helsinki is among the leading European cities in terms of culture, finance, and science.
Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, which is located in the neighboring city Vantaa that is the border of the north and east of the city, welcomes the passengers traveling to Helsinki, Finnish and Swedish are spoken. The indented peninsula, which is in the southern part of the city, is also known as the city center. The central stations of all means of public transportation are located in the city center. Senata Square on the west coast of the city center constitutes the historical part of the city. There is a tourist information office near the Market Square which is in the south of Senata Square. You can ask every kind of question about transportation as well as you can buy tickets for various tours and museums at this office.
Metro, tramway, train, and bus are the most preferred means of public transportation. In addition, minibuses and ferryboats are also available for transportation between the coastal regions. The large overpass called Baana connects the Western Harbour area with Kamppi and Töölö Bay areas. This overpass facilitates transportation for pedestrians and bike riders. Public transportation in Helsinki is organized by the company named HSL (Helsinki Regional Transport), just like in the cities of Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen. You can buy tickets from ticket booths, from the drivers or by mobile phone to take advantage of public transportation. If you buy the ticket from the driver, the ticket costs a little more. You need to buy a different ticket to take a tramway; the price of the tramway tickets is more affordable than the tickets of other transportation option. These tickets are valid for one hour. If you are going to travel to the cities Espoo, Vantaa or Kauniainen, you need to buy an interregional ticket. These tickets are valid for eighty minutes.
If you are going to use public transport very often during the day, daily tickets will be more practical for you. The children under the age of seven can travel free of charge, while those who are under the age of sixteen can travel by paying half price of the tickets. Transportation options are very limited after midnight in Helsinki. Bus services are available until 2 am, while other public transportation vehicles generally depart for the last time before midnight. On weekends and official holidays, the buses departing from Elielinaukio and Rautatientori area near the railway station are available after 2 am; however, ticket prices cost twice as high as the standard price. Although ticket controls are very rare on public transport in Helsinki, ticket controllers get on the vehicles at certain intervals and ask for tickets. If you haven't got a ticket during ticket control, you have to pay a high amount of penalty.
There are various transportation options to reach the city from the airport. You can benefit from public transportation options such as train, private shuttle services or bus to reach the city center, where you can transfer and travel to different parts of the city, or you can get to anywhere you want in a shorter time by taking the advantage of taxi or car rental options.
Kutsuplus (Minibus Shuttles)
The minibuses shuttles called Kutsuplus are private-public transportation minibuses, which have recently been in service. These on-demand shuttles are the minibuses that depart by bringing together the passengers going to the same destination. The minibus shuttles that run on online reservation pick up its passengers at certain stops and drop them off at the places where they exactly would like to arrive. The cost of this journey depends on your destination and you have the opportunity to pay the price during booking by credit card. Kutsuplus option is much more affordable compared to taking a taxi.
Although taking a taxi is more costly compared to public transportation options, it is a quite practical transportation option. You can get a taxi from the taxi stands at the airport, as well as you can book a taxi in advance by making anonline reservation. VIP taxi service is also available if you prefer a more luxurious travel. Taxi minibuses called yellow lines can take up to 8 passengers. The minibus taxis don’t follow a specific route. All the passengers taken from the airport are dropped off in turn. The price of this service may vary depending on the number of passengers. If you want to take the advantage of this service, you can contact the yellow stands at the incoming passenger side of the airport.
A new railway line connecting the airport to the central railway station has been in service as of 2015. Journey by train takes about half an hour and the trains usually depart every 10 minutes. You need to buy a ticket by means of the ticket booths on the platform at the airport. The train is not very close to the airport for now. For this reason, you will have to get on the shuttle services running between the airport and the railway station to board the train until the construction of the last (airport) station is completed. You can arrive at the station in a few minutes thanks to the shuttle services.
Helsinki Central Railway Station is the central station of all trains and it is very close to the city center. The train lines Y, S, U, L, E, A, M, I, K, N, T, H, and R are the lines for urban transportation and these lines move in three different directions to the north of the central station. If you are going to travel to the neighboring cities like Espoo, Vantaa or Kaunianinen, it would be useful to remember that you need to buy an interregional ticket.
The intercity bus 615 departs every 30 minutes and takes you from the airport to the Helsinki Central Railway Station in about 30-40 minutes. You need to buy an interregional ticket to take the advantage of this bus line because the airport is within the borders of Vantaa. Once you arrive at the central railway station, you can benefit from transfer option by bus, tramway or metro lines that go to many parts of the city. Your ticket will still be valid for transfer since journey time doesn’t exceed one hour.
In addition, the Finnair City Bus is another alternative to reach the city center from the airport. This bus line departs every 15 minutes and goes to the central railway station from the airport in about half an hour. The bus ticket for this bus costs a bit more compared to the bus number 615 and doesn’t include transfer option. However, this bus line provides you with a more comfortable journey as well as it offers free Wi-Fi service during your journey.
If you are planning to go to the resorts in Espoo, the U-line bus, which provides inter-regional transportation service, depart from the airport to Leppävaara, Nihtisilta and Espoonkeskus regions. Transportation is mainly provided by tramway lines in the city center, while buses are much more preferred for transportation in other urban areas.
The buses departing from the bus terminal on Eliel Square near the central railway station move to the north side of the city and the buses departing from the terminal on Railway Square go to the east, while the buses going to the west depart from the underground bus terminal at the Kamppi Center, which is connected to the Kamppi subway station.
Taking a tramway is a convenient option for touristic transportation. The tramway lines mostly provide transportation in the southern peninsula, which is the central part of the city, yet the extension of tramway network still continues. There are nine tram lines that provide transportation service throughout the southern peninsula in Helsinki. Taking a tram from the airport is not possible for now; however, if you get to the central railway station from the airport, you can go on your journey throughout the peninsula by tramway transfer.
Subway network of Helsinki provides transportation service on a much shorter route compared to other major European cities. Metro provides eastbound transportation from the city center in the south. The journey from Ruoholahti station to Mellunmäki or Vusaari stations takes a little more than twenty minutes. The westward extension of the metro network towards Espoo is currently under construction.
Rent a car
You can rent a car from the car rental offices in the terminal building once your plane lands at the airport. However, traveling in Helsinki by car is not a very practical option. Parking fees are quite high and it is very difficult to find a convenient parking space in the city; parking lots are charged at hourly intervals. However, if you are going to travel onweekends, you can prefer to rent a car since parking is free of charge at the weekend. You can also rent a limousine as a more luxurious option.
Last Updated: 17 Mar 2017