Getting Around, Helsinki Travel, Transport and Car Rental
(Helsinki, Uusimaa, Southern Finland, Finland)
Apart from the suburban rail network, all public travel in the city is run by Helsinki City Transport, which is often better known locally as 'HKL'. Helsinki is a fairly sparsely populated city and as such, public transport is often embraced by many locals and visitors, particularly the underground metro trains, which travel around much of Helsinki and will soon be operated solely by computers, without the need for drivers.
If it is your intention to make full use of the various public transport options during your stay in the city, then it may be prudent to first purchase a Helsinki Card. Sold for periods of one or three days, these cards provide unlimited travel on buses, trams and the metro trains, along with discounts to many sights. A Travel Card may also be of interest and once purchased, allows discounts of 15 percent.
Helsinki Airport (HEL) / Arriving by Air
Address: Lentajantie / Ilmakeha / Flygstationsvagen, FIN-01531, Vantaa, Finland
Tel: +358 20 708 000
The premier air facility in the whole of Finland, Helsinki Airport (HEL)
lies to the north of the city centre and is approximately 15 km / 9 miles away. Serving almost 15 million passengers each year, this is a particularly busy airport, with both a domestic and international terminal, and almost 40 different airlines, of which Finnair is the most prominent, providing flights to around 70 mainly European destinations. Highway 45 links central Helsinki with Vantaa Airport and the main transport options include Finnair City buses, Yellow Line shuttles and taxis, all of which travel into the city centre, and also to neighbouring towns and cities, such as Espoo
, Tuusula and Vantaa
Helsinki Airport Guide
Renting a car at Vantaa Airport may be a convenient way to actually reach Helsinki, although driving around the city itself can be slow, particularly if you choose to travel during rush hours. Parking in some of the most centrally located areas can also be both difficult and expensive. However, if you intend to use your car to sightsee outside of the city proper and drive to resorts such as Espoo, Ikkala and Ojakkala, a car is the perfect transport and provides a level of freedom that is hard to match.
Buses and Trams
Buses and trams offer one of the simplest and cheapest ways to travel around much of Helsinki. Trams tend to operate within the actual city centre, while buses travel further afield and cover the surrounding areas. Tickets can be purchased from the driver and most are valid for just one hour. The two main bus stations in the city can be found on the Railway Square and also on Eliel Square, where timetables are freely available.
Trains and Metro
The central train station (Helsingin Rautatieasema) is easy to find and is a stylish building in the city centre, being easy to recognise by its tall clock tower. Train transport is perfect for those planning to head outside of the city, while the modern metro network is more suited to inner-city travel. The Rautatientori metro station lies directly underneath of the central train station and features a stylish glass roof, and includes routes to the city's easterly suburbs, such as Vuosaari and Mellunmäki. The city's network of metro trains first opened as long ago as 1982 and remain as Finland's only underground train system.
All of the taxis operating within Helsinki have one thing in common - they are expensive. However, if used for short journeys around the city centre, they can offer reasonable value and also considerable convenience. Many taxi drivers will not pick up passengers trying to hail them from the street, and so it is often easy to look out for the many ranks, which are usually around the bus stations, train station and outside of the largest hotels.