TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Google Maps – Helsinki Points of Interest
2. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport
• Strict Security Customs Check in Helsinki Airport
• Helsinki Airport Wifi and Tourist Information
3. Helsinki Airport to City
• By Airport Taxi
• By Finnair City Bus
• By Helsinki Bus 615
• By Helsinki Airport Train
4. Helsinki Central Train Station
• Train to Helsinki Airport Timetable
• Beautiful Railway Station Title
• Most Expensive Toilet
5. Helsinki City Sightseeing
• Hop-On Hop-Off Helsinki Bus Tour + Royal Line Sightseeing Cruise
• Helsinki City Pass or Helsinki Card
6. HSL Helsinki Public Transport Ticket Prices
7. Finland Time Zone
8. What to Do in Helsinki
Transport from Helsinki Airport to City Centre
How to get from Helsinki airport to city centre? With a 30-minutes train journey connecting from Helsinki-Vantaa Airport to Helsinki city centre since 2015, it is even easier and more convenient to reach the Helsinki city centre in a whizz.
For the second time in Finland with the 9-hours stopover in Helsinki and the cheapest airfare ever purchased for my regular European trips, I decided to take advantage of the layover and travel in Helsinki once again.
I benefitted from Finnair long stopover programme a few years ago with an unbelievable 7-days layover in Helsinki from Singapore to Brussels without additional cost comparing to the usual airfare purchased over the past few years.
Finland promotes its tourism that there are programmes for stopover aiming at the Chinese, Japanese and South Koreans travelling to other parts of Europe via Helsinki Airport. This programme ensures that there are always things to do in Helsinki or other cities in Finland.
If you take Finnair Airline and have a layover in Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, be sure to include Helsinki as another destination under a low or no cost travel. This article will introduce you a few ways how to get from Helsinki Airport to city centre so that you would not spend the long stopover time sleeping in the airport.
Do check out the article on 25 Helsinki Attractions and Things to do in Helsinki City.
Google Maps – Helsinki Points of Interest
Strict Security Customs Check in Airport Helsinki
With the fear of terrorism and overstayers, the security check in Helsinki airport is even stringent than before. The Customs officers asked EVERY passenger exiting out of the airport at 6 am on their intention in Finland and to show proof of return ticket or other documents.
What I witnessed in the past was random checks and screening was never done on every passenger. I had to admit that even though it took more time for clearance, I appreciate the stringent control because it made me feel safe in Finland. Kudos to the serious Finnish Customs Officers!
Helsinki Airport Wifi and Tourist Information
There is free wifi in Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Other than that, if you have a SIM card from one of these 28 European countries, you can call and use the mobile data in Finland with no additional roaming charges. Pick up a Helsinki city map or other cities’ travel maps in Finland from the Tourist Information Counter located on the first floor of Terminal 2.
Helsinki Airport to City
How to get from Helsinki airport to city centre? The Helsinki city centre is 20 km from the airport. Getting a public transport to reach the destination is easy and takes about 30 minutes by bus, taxi or train. The only challenge is the Finnish language written on the board with no English translation when buying a train ticket. Hence, it is important to know what are your options to go to Helsinki city and to come back to the airport without booking a taxi which will cost you a bomb or stuck in a traffic jam.
By Airport Taxi
There is a taxi counter in Terminal 2 where you can call a cab or ask some questions. The taxi from Helsinki Airport to City would cost between €40 to €55. Taking a cab is perfect for those who landed in the airport at night when there is no more public transport or those with small children.
Of course, there are some who do not want to bother too much about how to go about using public transport or their company reimburses fully on their business trip expenses. Hence, taking cab seems to be a hassle-free option to take you exactly where you want to go.
By Finnair City Bus
Finnair City Bus operated by Pohjolan Liikenne is an express shuttle bus service that leaves the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport every 20 minutes from the Finnair bus stop outside Terminal 2. A single trip ticket costs €6.60 whereas a round-trip ticket is €6.05 for one way if you purchase online. Alternatively, you can pay exact amount in cash €6.70 directly to the bus driver. 6 to 16 years old pay half price and children under 6 are free. Many credit cards are accepted on board of the bus too.
Online e-ticket has a flexibility which allows the user to travel within 30 days from the date marked on the ticket. Customers receive a link after online purchase which they can either print out the e-ticket or show it on their phone screen. I had used the Finnair City Bus service in 2013 before the airport train was in service then. The Finnair Bus has a free wireless internet connection onboard. The ride was comfortable and reliable throughout my journey to the Helsinki Airport.
Click on the link above. Select departure from ‘Helsinki Airport Terminal 1 or 2’ and choose arrival point at ‘Helsinki City Elielsquare’ which stops at the ④ Finnair City Bus Station in Helsinki city centre as shown from the images below.
Refer to the Google Maps above for ④ Finnair City Bus Station in Elielsquare.
By Helsinki Bus 615
Helsinki Bus 615 run by HSL will take you from the airport to the Helsinki city centre in 40 to 50 minutes. The bus stops for both arriving and departing buses are located in front of both terminal ① and ②. In Helsinki city, you can stop at ⑤ Rautatientori Bus Stop right in front of the ⑥ Helsinki Railway Station. Refer to the Journey Planner for Bus 615 for the timetable and the Google Maps above for the exact bus stop location.
The ticket costs €5.50 if you pay directly to the bus driver, €5.00 if you purchase from the ticket machine or the HSL mobile app after the download. Give exact or smaller amount as the bus driver is not obliged to receive notes more than €20. When purchase from a mobile app or vending machine, always choose ‘Regional Ticket’ because you are crossing from the region of Vantaa (airport) to Helsinki.
By Helsinki Airport Train
Since July 2015, the fastest and most convenient option is the new Helsinki Airport train line directly to the city centre in 30 minutes operated by HSL. By taking the train to Helsinki city, tourists do not have to worry about the traffic jam on the road by travelling in a vehicle especially when going to the airport.
I opted to take a train to and fro the Helsinki city centre during my 9-hrs layover trip in Finland for this time. Do note that some ticket machine only accepts bank card or credit card and no cash especially on the airport train platform. If you want to pay by cash, you have to look for the ticket machine which accepts it at Terminal 2 or for the location of this cash machine at the Tourist Information Counter.
» Where is Helsinki Airport Train Station?
The ③ Helsinki Airport Train Station is located at the end of Terminal 2 or upon seeing a signboard which states “Railway Station”. Along the 200 metres walk, you can see some ticket machines. Check out the 360° view of their location.
» Ticket Machine Available at Underground Train Platform
Likewise, there are similar ticket machines on the underground train platform where I had bought my ticket. There is English option on it. Select ‘Single Ticket’, then ‘Helsinki’ and pay only with a bank card. The Helsinki Airport train ticket price will reflect €5.00 instantly. You will then receive a paper train ticket.
» Single Trip Ticket from Helsinki City Central Railway Station (Helsingin Päärautatieasema) to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport
When I bought the single trip ticket from Helsinki City Central Railway Station back to the airport, I had an additional selection. Please choose ‘Regional’ ticket to go back to Vantaa region where the airport location is. The ticket should cost you €5.00. If you select ‘Helsinki’, it means that you can only travel within the Helsinki city and would cost just €2.90. Don’t buy wrongly as there are train inspectors on board the train who will check your ticket.
» Two Types of Trains – I & P Train
There are two types of trains (I & P) that run from the airport to the Helsinki Central Station (Helsingin Päärautatieasema) in a Ring Rail Line. The difference is that both trains run in opposite direction (westward and eastward) towards the south to Helsinki and vice versa.
The good news is that you do not have to be concerned about which train to take because they will reach your destination all the same with a mere difference of 5 minutes arrival time. In short, just hop onto any train that arrives at the airport. The screen on the train platform will reflect “Helsinki Helsingfors” which confirms the journey towards the Helsinki city centre.
- I train – from Helsinki via Pasila to Tikkurila and the airport and back to Helsinki
- P train – from Helsinki via Huopalahti to the airport and from there via Tikkurila back to Helsinki
» Helsinki Train and Charging Station
The interior of the train is new, clean and attractive. What I appreciate most about the train is that every seat has two 230V charging station which gives me a chance to charge my mobile while taking the 30-minutes ride to Helsinki city.
Helsinki Central Train Station | Helsingin Päärautatieasema
Train to Helsinki Airport Timetable
When returning back to the airport from⑥Helsinki Central Railway Station (Helsingin Päärautatieasema), look for the train timetable board below for the text “Flygplatsen Airport” or “Lentoasema” which means “Airport” together with a plane symbol. There will be a few trains going back to the airport at different timing and platforms. When in doubt, always confirm with a local there before you board the train.
Beautiful Railway Station Title
The Helsinki Train Station should be another point of interest even if one is not taking a train. Inaugurated in 1919, BBC chose it as one of the world’s most beautiful railway stations in 2013. Apart from the acclaimed Antwerp Central Station rated by Mashable as being the most beautiful railway station from around the world, Helsinki Central Station earns its due recognition and well-deserved for the title.
Most Expensive Toilet
Although voted as one of the most beautiful stations, Helsinki Central Station has the most expensive toilet I have paid in my memory. It costs €1 per entry. When I walked out from the station to begin my travel journey, I saw a FREE public toilet just outside. So, people. If you have an urgency, use the free public toilet instead. I have used it somewhere a few hours later. It is safe, reliable and of decent hygiene standard.
Helsinki City Sightseeing
Hop-On Hop-Off Helsinki Bus Tour + Royal Line Sightseeing Cruise
If you prefer a more leisure travel for a layover in Helsinki city, Hop-On Hop-Off Helsinki Tour departs every 20 minutes to 20 tourist attractions on a double-decker bus. The tour bus will bring you on a sightseeing trip to the most popular travel destinations in Helsinki city. The bus has audio guides in 10 languages and equipped with wifi connection.
For €30, you can hop on and off to any stops in 24 hours. For an additional €5 combo ticket, visitors can enjoy 1.5 hours sightseeing cruise by Royal Line on top of the land tour. The cruise departs from Market Square. Get your ticket from Red City Buses or City Tour.
» List of Hop-On Hop-Off Stops
- Senate Square
- Havis Amanda
- Olympia Terminal / Mannerheim Museum
- Kaivopuisto Park
- Compass Square
- Hernesaari Cruise Terminal (for cruise ships)
- Hernesaari Seaside
- Melkki Cruise Terminal (for cruise ships)
- Hietalahti Flea Market / Market Hall
- Kamppi / Tennis Palace
- Rock Church
- Sibelius Monument
- Olympic Stadium
- Sea Life / Linnanmäki
- Parliament / National Museum
- City Centre / Lasipalatsi
- Swedish Theatre
- Esplanade / Market Square
Helsinki City Pass or Helsinki Card
To get the maximum benefit, get a Helsinki City Pass at €39 from City Tour which lasts for 48 hours inclusive of the above 24-hours land and sea tour OR a Helsinki Card from Stromma which costs between €46 to €72 from 1 to 3 days. Ferry and entrance to Fortress of Suomenlinna are free for both passes. More discount is available for both cards.
Helsinki Card also acts as a travel card to allow unlimited travel across all transport networks in Helsinki for the duration of your pass. You do not have to worry about spare change for your daily transport tickets.
- Local Trains
- Suomenlinna Ferry
As both companies run their separate promotion, it would be wise to check both out to find the package most suitable for your needs.
HSL Helsinki Public Transport Ticket Prices
If you are just looking for some public transport tickets for 1 to 7 days of travel or just for a single trip, you can get more information about the HSL ticket prices from the website. Always select “Regional” if you need to use the ticket to travel to and fro from the airport to Helsinki or other parts of the cities. If you want to take the public transport solely in Helsinki, then select “Helsinki”.
Finland has an Eastern European Time (EET) time zone which is 1-hour ahead of Belgium in the Central European Time (CET) zone. If Belgium is 12:00h, then Finland is 13:00h.
What to Do in Helsinki
In the next article, follow me on 25 Helsinki Attractions and Things to do in Helsinki City. As Helsinki is a compact city, you can see many points of interests just by foot according to the number sequence in my customised Google Maps.