Helsinki Stories and Tips


Airport bus Photo, Helsinki, Finland

Internal bus routes can be found almost everywhere in Helsinki and for some parts of the city these buses provide the backbone of the public transportation system. While some buses operate in the central city, many of the buses operate as feeder lines for the Helsinki Metro or the commuter rail network. This is especially true for eastern Helsinki. Most regular lines are operated between 5:30 and 11:45, and some until 1:30am. The Kamppi Bus Terminal which is located in the heart of Helsinki, is the busiest bus terminal in Finland. Every day, the terminal has around 700 bus departures, transporting some 170,000 passengers.

As in many other cities, bus routes are not nearly as obvious as tram routes and they are generally not shown on maps. This makes it difficult for visitors to use the system unless they have been told what bus number to catch from where. The only buses we used in Helsinki were those to and from the airport. Luckily for foreigners Helsinki has several very good free online planners such as Journey Planner for planning public transport connections, which are available in English. They can also be used with an Internet-enabled mobile phone.

Single fare tickets can be bought from bus drivers, tram operators, automats, and by a text message. Single trip tickets are valid for one hour. Day tickets s are available for unlimited use on public transportation for 1-7 days. They can be purchased from ticket machines, from the Tourist Information office or from the Helsinki City Transport service point in the Central Railway Station. The one day ticket is also sold by drivers.

Most local users of public transport have a Travel Card which is used as an electronic ticket. The price of a single trip is lower when paid with the travel card instead of buying a single fare ticket. The bus driver checks the tickets as passenger step in. Note that ticket controllers check tickets at random and a penalty fee of 80 EUR and the price of a single ticket is charged if you are caught without a valid ticket.

Bus is the logical way of getting between the airport and the city. The Helsinki-Vantaa Airport is located about 15 km from the Helsinki city. There are two bus connections between the main railway station and Helsinki airport. The Finnair shuttle bus leaves from Elielin aukio, which is on the left side of the railway station. The bus is blue-coloured and the platform is beside a Vltava restaurant. Travel time is about 35 minutes and ticket costs 5,90 €. Going to the opposite direction the bus departs from the international terminal. Heading towards the airport, the bus stops only at the Scandic hotel and the terminals. Going towards the city centre the bus will stop at certain places by request.

Another option to go to the airport is line 615. This is a regular city bus route and the one we used. The bus departs from platform five of the bus terminal on the right side of the railway station. It takes about 35-40 minutes to reach the airport depending on traffic and how many local passengers it has. From the airport the departure point is currently platform 21 in front of the international terminal. A ticket costs 4 € which is a current regional fare.

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