Helsinki Travel Guide and Tips: All you need to know

helsinky finsko průvodce

Helsinki guide to everything you need to know before you go to Helsinki – transport, airports, public transport, accommodation, prices, food and when to visit Helsinki.

Helsinki

Helsinki is a relatively small and quiet city with a small-town feel. Plus, there are no crowds of tourists waiting for you. Helsinki is full of the green and original design that not only Finland is famous for, but also Scandinavia.

Transport to Helsinki

By air to Helsinki

Air travel is the most convenient and fastest way to get to Helsinki. There are no direct train or bus connections and you would spend almost a day on the road by car.

Helsinki has only one airport, Helsinki Airport (HEL) in Vantaa, which is about half an hour from the city.

Helsinki has direct air links to major European cities such as Prague, Berlin, London, Krakow, Vienna, Paris and Amsterdam. Cheap return tickets start from €40 (e.g. London and Paris). Usually return tickets are around 160-190 € (Prague, Berlin).

How to get from the airport to Helsinki?

The fastest and most cost-effective way to get from the airport to Helsinki city centre is to take the suburban trains. A one-way trip costs €4.10. You can buy your ticket directly from the ticket machine on the train platform or via the HSL app. Trains run every 10 minutes and the station is located in the arrivals hall on the first floor. You can choose between 2 train lines:

  • Line I via Huopalahti to Helsinki Central Station
  • P line via Tikkurila to Helsinki Central Station – long-distance trains stop at Tikkurila station, making it an ideal location for onward journeys further into Finland.
trains in Helsinki

In addition to trains, you can also take the 615 bus to Helsinki city centre. The ticket price is again €4.10 and the journey takes 40 minutes. There are ticket machines at the bus station just outside the arrivals hall or you can buy tickets via the HSL app.

Public transport in Helsinki (metro, buses, ferries)

Helsinki has a well-developed public transport system like most major metropolises. There is a metro, trams, a ferry to the Suomenlinna archipelago, buses and regional trains. The same conditions and ticket prices apply for all modes of transport.

Ticket prices in Helsinki vary according to the zones you are travelling to. The further you go from the centre of Helsinki, the ticket price rises proportionally. There are 4 zones in total:

  • A – Helsinki city centre
  • B – wider Helsinki circuit
  • C – airports and neighbouring cities (Kauniainen, Espoo, Vantaa)
  • D – towns Tuusula, Kerava, Sipoo, Siuntion, Kirkkonummi

Before you buy your ticket, you will check which zones you will be travelling through and purchase the appropriate ticket accordingly. Zones A, B and C do not have a separate ticket. You can only buy combinations of AB, BC or ABC.

As far as zone D is concerned, you can again buy combinations of individual zones – ABCD, CD, BCD, but also a separate ticket for zone D only.

Ticket prices in Helsinki

Single tickets

Single ticket prices vary depending on where you plan to go. To visit the city, you only need zone AB, which includes the city centre and the wider area. In this case, the ticket costs €2.80 and is valid for 80 minutes.

Prices for specific ticket combinations:

  • Zone AB, BC and D – 2,80 €
  • Zone ABC and BCD – 4,10 €
  • Zone ABCD – 5,70 €
  • CD zone – 3,20 €

Children aged 7-17 can get tickets for 50% off. Individual tickets are valid for 80 – 110 minutes depending on the zones you are travelling through. You can buy your ticket on the HSL app or at a standard ticket machine.

trams in Helsinki

Daily tickets

Another option is to buy a ticket for the whole day, or. more days and travel without worry. But again, you need to think in advance about which zones you will be driving through.

For AB zones, the prices are as follows:

1 day – 8 €
2 days – 12 €
3 days – 16 €

Tip: With the Helsinki Card you have Free unlimited travel in AB zones and access to most of the most famous places in Helsinki . The card does not include transport from the airport (zone C), from where you can buy a single ticket for travel from the airport (see previous section Single tickets). Learn more about the card in separate article .

For the ABC zone (including travel to the airport), ticket prices are as follows:

  • 1 day – 11 €
  • 2 days – 16,50 €
  • 3 days – 22 €

You can buy a ticket for up to 7 days and again, children aged 7 – 17 ride for half price. The easiest option is to download the HSL app directly to your phone and buy your tickets online.

In addition to the app, you can buy a ticket at vending machines, newsstands, shops, etc.

Taxi in Helsinki

Taxis in Helsinki are black and you can take them book via a simple app . The entry fee starts at €4.90 (on weekends and between 18:00-6:00 the entry fee is €6.90). The rate per kilometre then ranges from €0.99. A taxi will take you from the airport to Helsinki city centre for a fixed rate of €35.

Rent a bike in Helsinki

Helsinki bike rental

The bicycle is a popular and preferred mode of transport in Helsinki. You can rent it from April to the end of October.

How does bike rental work in Helsinki?

  • Register on the official website.
  • You choose how long you plan to use the bike.
  • Determine your PIN and enter your payment method.
  • You will then be given your personal ID number, which you need along with a PIN to unlock your bike.
  • The first half hour is free. You will then pay €1 for every additional half hour.
  • You can rent a bike for a maximum of 5 hours at a time. You must then return it to any station with wheels. Simply insert the wheel there and wait for OK to appear on the wheel display.

Helsinki accommodation

Hotel Haaga Central Park is located halfway between Helsinki city centre and the airport, surrounded by nature. There is a cycle path leading to Helsinki (free bike rental is available at the hotel). The bus to the airport is just a few minutes away. The rooms are double with private bathrooms and free wifi and the option to use the pool and fitness room. You can be in the centre of Helsinki in half an hour by bus.

Hotel Haaga Central Park in the heart of nature, 30 minutes from the centre

Eurohostel is a budget accommodation option in Helsinki. It offers 1-2 bed rooms with shared bathroom or single beds in larger rooms. There is also a kitchen, living rooms and a sauna. The accommodation is just 5 minutes from the city centre and close to the tram stop.

Hotel Helka is a great choice for everyone. It has cosy and bright rooms with quality beds and private bathrooms. The advantage is also the strategic position in the city centre, where you have everything at your fingertips. The train station and beach are just a 10-minute walk away.

Hotel Helka is located right in the centre of Helsinki

Hotel Arthur Located just 5 minutes from the train station and within walking distance of Helsinki’s most beautiful sites. The double rooms are clean and cosy and have private bathrooms and wifi. A sauna is also available by prior reservation.

When to visit Helsinki?

The high season in Helsinki runs from April to September, when it is at its warmest. Summers are sunny and average temperatures are around 17 °C. As temperatures rise, so do accommodation prices.

Winters here are freezing and relatively long, but Helsinki is still a great choice in winter. The Finns are used to long winters and have adapted the number of activities you can do in the off-season to suit.

How to enjoy Helsinki in winter?

  • Visit the Suomenlinna Fortress – the snow and frost give it a completely different face that is definitely worth seeing.
  • Grab a bite to eat at the Old Market (Vanha Kauppahalli), a short walk from Market Square.
  • Go warm up in the sauna. Finns are famous for their saunas. They’ve got more of them than cars.
  • Enjoy the show at LUX light festival which takes place annually in January (the next one will take place 6-10 January 2021) across Helsinki. The Evangelical Cathedral on Senate Square is one of the places that are illuminated with interesting effects.
Helsinki in winter

Helsinki typical food

Finnish cuisine is based on a combination of country cooking, haute cuisine and contemporary continental style cooking. The kitchen offers fresh vegetables, meat (pork, reindeer and beef) and fish.

Mushrooms and berries (blueberries, cranberries, mulberries and sea buckthorn, as well as wild strawberries for cake decorations) are widely used, and the locals go into the woods to pick them.

Some of the dishes are similar to German cuisine, but in Finland they rely more on fresh ingredients.

For breakfast or a snack, you can try the Karjalanpiirakka rice cake with a rye crust and a filling of rice porridge and egg butter. Or Korvapuusti, which resemble cinnamon rolls. The coffee is often accompanied by Leipajuusto bread cheese made from the milk of a freshly calved cow.

Helsinki food
Karjalanpiirakka rice cakes

You may be familiar with Swedish meatballs. Finland also has Lihapullat meatballs, but they are less spicy and with extra cream cheese. Served with mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry jam and pickles.

Another option is Poronkaristys, a reindeer stew with mashed potatoes, cranberries and pickled cucumber. On bread (dark, made from 100% Finnish rye) you can taste cold salmon marinated in dill, salt and sugar.

Prices in Helsinki

For a meal in a cheap restaurant you will pay about 12 € and for a 3-course dinner for two about 80 €. Prices for basic food in Helsinki are as follows:

  • Milk 1 l – 0,98 €
  • White bread 500 g – 2,24 €
  • Eggs 12 pcs – 2,29 €
  • Cheese 1 kg – 7,19 €
  • Chicken breast 1 kg – 10,46 €
  • Bananas 1 kg – 1,63 €
  • Potatoes 1 kg – 1,07 €
  • Water 1,5 l – 1,63 €

Helsinki map

HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you will find a detailed map of Helsinki. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places I mention in the Helsinki guide. If you want to save the map, star it. For a larger version, click on the icon in the upper right corner.

Helsinki practical information

The official currency of Helsinki is the euro (EUR).

Payments by card: It’s better to carry a small amount of cash for market purchases or toilet charges, but otherwise you can pay by card everywhere without any problems.

ATMs: there are also plenty of ATMs in the city where you can withdraw cash if needed. Look for ATMs marked “OTTO” that accept international debit and credit cards, including MasterCard or Visa, without any problems.

Electrical outlet: 220-240 V AC. In Finland, the sockets are type C and E/F.

Language: The official language is Finnish and Swedish. You can usually speak English or another world language without any problems.

Safety: Helsinki is one of the safest cities not only in Europe, but also in the world. It’s always better to be on the lookout for pickpockets in more touristy areas, but even petty theft is a rarity.

Tipping: there is a service charge in hotels and restaurants. If you really liked the food or were satisfied with the service, you can tip.

This was our travel guide for Helsinki. Did you like the article? Leave a comment or share. Have a safe journey!

More information about Helsinki

HELSINKI ITINERARY: Check out the best places to visit in Helsinki (including a map and information on entrance fees and opening times).

HOW TO SAVE IN HELSINKI: The Helsinki Card is a way to save money in Helsinki.

STOCKHOLM: Stockholm is a popular Scandinavian capital. See what to see in Stockholm in a separate article. We have also prepared a guide to Stockhol with practical tips.

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