homeFinland > Helsinki travel guide > Helsinki getting around
Helsinki guide
Regions
Traveler café 
Travel directory
 
Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Helsinki Getting Around
Getting Around Helsinki - TravelPuppy.com
Public Transport

The metro, local trams, buses and the ferry to Suomenlinna are operated by Helsingin Kaupungin Liikennelaitos – HKL (telephone number: (09) 010 0111).

Buses and trams run 0545-2400hrs and the metro operates 0600-2400hrs.

Tickets

A ticket for a single journey on the metro, buses and ferries costs €2 if purchased on board or €1.40 if purchased in advance of travel.

A carnet of 10 tickets costs €15.50. Tickets for trams cost €1.50 if bought on board or €1.20 when pre-purchased. Transfers are allowed for single and multi-trip tickets within 1 hour of the time stamped on the ticket upon initial boarding. Tickets are available from newsagents (R-kioskis), metro stations, the City of Helsinki Tourist Office (see Sightseeing) and the post office.

The HKL Tourist Ticket allows for unlimited travel on all the buses, trams, metro and local trains within Helsinki. A 1-day ticket costs €4.80, a 3-day ticket costs €9.60 and a 5-day ticket costs €14.40.

Transport into the city centre

Kanava and Katajanokka terminals are served by bus number 13 and trams 2 and 4.

Olympia and Makasiini terminals are served by trams 1A, 3B and 3T. Länsisterminaali is served by bus number 15.

Taxis

Most of the taxis in Helsinki are Mercedes and can be hailed on the street or booked by telephone. Vehicles in the city are operated by Helsinki Taxi Centre (telephone number: (09) 700 700 or (0100) 0700). A taxi is available for hire if a yellow ‘TAXI’ dome is lit. A journey around town will cost about €25 and as a general rule, tipping is not expected.

Limousines

Companies providing a service include:

Limousine Service Helsinki,
Kääpätie 4A
Telephone number: (09) 279 7800
Fax number: (09) 2797 8027
e-mail limo@netti.fi
Website: www.limousineservice.fi

Prices start at approximately €45.50 per hour.

Kovanen Companies Ltd
Varastokatu 2
Telephone number: (0200) 6060 or 6161
Website: www.kovanen.com

Limousines and luxury minibuses are available for a similar price.

Driving in the City

The public transport system is excellent and most of central Helsinki is accessible on foot, and therefore it is not necessary for one to take a car into the city centre. Visitors who do drive should be aware that Helsinki rush hours are from about 0730-0900hrs and 1700-1800hrs.

Parking

The city is divided into 3 parking zones, of which Zone I (I-vyöhyke) is the most central and accordingly the most costly. Parking is reasonably expensive with the meters costing from €0.50 to €2 per hour and parking spaces cost as much as €3 per hour and upwards. With few exceptions, parking is free after 1800hrs. Parking meters take ordinary coins or parking cards, which can be purchased in advance from R-kioski (newsagents) and service stations.

The major car parks are located at the Shopping Centre Forum, Mannerheimintie 20, and Shopping Centre Kluuvi, Aleksanterinkatu 9.

Every major road has a number: national highways are numbered with 1 or 2 digits, running from east to west. Designated European routes bear a prefix ‘E’.

Regulations

The speed limits are:

80-120kph (40-75mph) on motorways and dropping to 100kph during the winter (60mph)

50kph (31mph) in the built-up areas.

Traffic drives on the right and overtakes on the left. It should be noted that cars entering an intersection from the right always have right of way, even when the car is on a minor road.

Seatbelts are compulsory for all passengers in the front of the car and children under the age of 12 years must travel in the back.

All motor vehicles must have headlights on at all times.

The maximum legal alcohol to blood ratio is 0.05 per cent.

The legal driving age in Finland is 18 years.

A pink-format EU driving licence or an International Driving Permit are required. EU nationals taking cars to Helsinki are advised to obtain a Green Card.

All drivers must be fully insured and accidents must be reported promptly to the Motor Bureau, Bulevardi 28 (telephone number: (09) 680 401, fax number: (09) 6804 0391).

Additional information is available from:

Autoliitto – Automobile and Touring Club of Finland,
Fourth floor,
Hämeentie 105A
Telephone number: (09) 7258 4400
Fax number: (09) 7258 4460
e-mail: autoliitto@autoliitto.fi
Website: www.autoliitto.fi), which also runs Tiepalvelu (see below).

Emergency breakdown service:
Tiepalvelu: telephone number(09) 8502 0708.

Approximate driving times to Helsinki:

From Turku – 2 hours 15 minutes
Vaasa – 4 hours 30 minutes
Rovaniemi – 11 hours

Coach services

The main provider of coaches in Finland is Oy Matkahuolto Ab (telephone number: (09) 682 701, fax number: (09) 692 2084 or 2864, website: www.matkahuolto.fi), which handles all long-distance and express bus travel. International coach options include destinations in Sweden, Norway, Russia and the Baltic countries. There is a national timetable service (telephone number: (0200) 4000, at €1.15 per call plus local charge), operating Monday-Saturday 0700-2100hrs and Sunday 0800-2100hrs. Coaches arrive at and depart from Helsinki Bus Station, between Salomonkatu and Simonkatu, which has a café and an ATM.

Car Hire

Car hire is available at the airport, railway station, major hotels and tourist offices.

Operators include:

Avis,
Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 17
Telephone number: (09) 441 155
Website: www.avis.com

Budget,
Malminkatu 24
Telephone number: (09) 686 6500 or (0800) 124 424
Fax number: (09) 685 3350
Website: www.budget.fi,

Europcar
Telephone number: (09) 4780 2220 or 7515 5444 or (0800) 12154
Fax number: (09) 478 02222
Website: www.europcar.fi

Bevari
Helsinki Airport
Telephone number: (09) 8516 4460;
Website: www.carrentalbevari.fi),

Hertz
Mannerheimintie 44
Telephone number: (020) 555 2300
Website: www.hertz.fi

The minimum age for car hire varies from 19 to 25 years, depending on the hire company, with extra charges made for any additional drivers.

A pink-format EU driving licence or an International Driving Permit is required including 1 year’s driving experience.

A credit card is needed as a deposit. Car hire costs vary from €28.50 per day and €0.30 per kilometre. The Fuel charges are not included in the rates and Collision Damage Waiver costs approximately €5-17 per day.

Bicycle Hire

Bicycles are available for hire from Cat Sport Oy, Toolonlahti kiosk on the Finlandia Hall shore (telephone number: (0400) 404 012), where rates are €5 per hour or €10 per day, with a €17 deposit.

Rastila Camping, Karavaanikatu 4 (telephone number: (09) 3211 66551). Citybike (telephone number: (09) 168 3515) hires out bikes from stands around the city. Cyclists pay a deposit of €2 and return the bike to any one of the 26 stands, these only operate during the summer. The City of Helsinki Tourist Office can also provide information on this hire scheme, while information about cycling events is available from the Cycling Union of Finland, Radiokatu 20 (telephone number: (09) 278 6575, fax number: (09) 278 6585).

Getting There By Water

There are 5 ferry terminals in the city:

Harbour Kanava Terminal,
off Katajanokanlaituri

Katajanokka Terminal,
off Mastok

Makasiini Terminal,
off Laivasillankatu

Olympia Terminal (South Harbour),
off Laivasillankatu

Länsisterminaali or West Terminal (West Harbour),
in the Lansisatama area,
off Hietasaarenkuja.

For further information contact:

The Port of Helsinki,
Olympiaranta 3
Telephone number: (09) 173 331,
e-mail: port.helsinki@hel.fi
Website: www.hel.fi/port/english

Ferry services

Car ferries operate between Helsinki and Germany, Sweden and Estonia.

Providers include:

From Germany

Finnlines,
Lönnrotinkatu 21
Telephone number: (09) 105 440)
Nordic Ferry Centre Tel: (09) 251 0200
Website: www.finnlines.fi

From Sweden

Silja Lines,
Mannerheimintie 2
Telephone number: (09) 180 4590 or 0203 74552 (customer number, lines open 0800-2115hrs
Website: www.silja.fi

From Estonia,

Tallink,
Erottajankatu 19
Telephone number: (09) 228 311 or 282 1277
Website: www.tallink.fi

From Stockholm,

Viking Line,
Mannerheimintie 14
Telephone number: (09) 123 577
Website: www.vikingline.fi

Catamaran services to Tallinn from Harbour Kanava Terminal.

Nordic Jetline,
Kanavaterminaali
Telephone number: (09) 681 770
fax number: (09) 6817 7111
e-mail: booking@njl.fi
Website: www.njl.fi

Boat Hire

In the summer, rowing boats and kayaks are a popular way of island hopping and getting around Helsinki’s shoreline. These are available for hire from Cat Sport Oy and Rastila Camping (see Bicycle Hire above). Hire prices vary but are approximately €960-1420 per week.

Rail

The main passenger rail service provider is Valtion Rautatiet – VR (telephone number: (0307) 20902, fax number: (09) 707 3593, website: www.vr.fi).

Trains in Finland are clean and efficient. Services depart from Rautatientori (Railway Square), located on Kaivokatu, off Mannerheimintie. ATMs, exchange facilities, newsagents, a car hire office and hotel booking centre are all available within the station.

Rail services

3 main lines arrive from Turku in the west, Tampere in the north and Lahti in the northeast, through which trains from St Petersburg and Moscow pass and there are three daily direct train services to Russia.

The Finnish morning train, Sibelius, to Vyborg with a journey time of approximately 6 hours and departs before 0700hrs.

The Russian afternoon train, Repin, to St Petersburg with a journey time of approximately 6 hours departs mid-afternoon.

The Russian night train, Tolstoy, to Vyborg and then on to Moscow departs early evening with journey times of approximately 15 hours. It is possible for travellers to continue on to Berlin in Germany on the Repin.

The railway station is located centrally and is linked to the Helsinki metro system by a pedestrian tunnel.