The Helsinki Card: is it worth buying?

Planning a trip to Finland’s capital city? Then you’ve probably heard about Helsinki’s very own discount pass – the Helsinki Card.

Should you buy the Helsinki Card?
Pedro Szekely (CC)

The Helsinki Card is aimed at tourists and other short-term visitors who want to check out a few of the city’s biggest attractions and save money in the process. But does it really work out cheaper?

TL; DR: If you want to pack your trip with museums, attractions and 24-hour sightseeing, you will definitely save money with the Helsinki Card. (See how much you could save here).

But what about more relaxed trips, with one or two museums and maybe a little boat trip? Is it still worth buying the Helsinki Card?

Read on to see whether a Helsinki Card will save you money, with real examples to help you decide!

What’s included?
How it works
How much it costs
Is it worth it?
Where to buy it
Getting more for your money

What’s included?

Once you buy the Helsinki Card, you’ll get free access to more than 25 attractions across the city, including the extraordinary Rock Church, the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the impressive Suomenlinna sea fortress.

The Helsinki Card – is it worth buying?
Pic: Giuseppe Milo (CC)

You’ll also have free access to popular city tours, including Helsinki’s hop-on, hop-off tourist buses and a canal cruise that lets you see the city from the water (both summer only).

Two of the cards also include free use of the city’s public transport network for the entire time that your Helsinki Card is valid, including buses, trams, the metro and local trains within the city centre.

In addition, the card gives discounts at a variety of cafés, restaurants, shops and attractions, including the SkyWheel Helsinki, day-trips to Tallinn and Sea Life Helsinki.

As a nice bonus you’ll also get a free digital guidebook that includes handy maps and some information about the different attractions that you can visit with the Helsinki Card.

How it works

The Helsinki Card comes in three different versions. The basic Helsinki Card is available in digital form only and does not include public transport.

The Helsinki Card City and the Helsinki Card Region are both physical cards that include unlimited public transport.

The Helsinki Card City includes free transport within travel zones A and B, while the Helsinki Card Region covers unlimited travel within zones ABC and includes Espoo (Finland’s second-largest city) plus travel to and from Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

The Helsinki Card  can make it cheaper to travel around
Olga1969 (CC)

All three types of Helsinki Card can be bought in versions that are valid for 24 hours, 48 hours or 72 hours respectively.

All the cards work in the same way. You simply scan the card or the QR code on your phone when you first use it at an attraction or on public transport.

This activates it, and you’ll then be able to travel around and gain entry to attractions until the time runs out.

You can only visit each museum or attraction once with each card, but to be honest, it’s very unlikely that you’d want to visit the same place multiple times in the same trip.

What’s NOT included with the Helsinki Card?

Most of Helsinki’s main attractions are included on the Helsinki Card, though there are a few sights and attractions that are not included. 

Admission to Finland’s Natural History Museum is not covered (it costs around €18 per adult) and neither are the city’s two botanic gardens, Kaisaniemi and Kumpula.

However, admission to Kaisaniemi is free anyway (you only pay to enter the greenhouses – €12 an adult) and entrance to Kumpula gardens costs €9.

Neither of Helsinki’s landmark cathedrals, Uppenski and Tuomiokirkko are included but entrance to both is free anyway.

Some sights, such as Sea Life and the Skywheel are not included but both give a discount on the entrance fee to Helsinki Card holders.

The Suomenlinna Fortress - one of the attractions included on the Helsinki Card
Pic: Michal.Pise (CC)

How much does the Helsinki Card cost?

There are several different versions of the card, with validity periods of between one and three days. Passes are available on Get Your Guide.

Adult (age 17+)1 day2 days3 days
Helsinki Card€48€58€68
Helsinki Card City€58€69€84
Helsinki Card Region€63€74€89
Child (age 7–16)1 day2 days3 days
Helsinki Card€24€29€34
Helsinki Card City€29€35€42
Helsinki Card Region€32€37€45
Costs (in euros) are correct as of June 2024

So, is the Helsinki Card worth it?

If you’re visiting for the first time and want to squeeze in a few of the city’s big attractions, then yes – buying the Helsinki Card could save you a lot of money.

You’ll also benefit from unlimited public transport during your stay. This includes buses, trams and local trains – even the ferry to the Suomenlinna sea fortress is included.

Another advantage is that you won’t have to worry about standing in line for tickets at each attraction you choose to visit, saving you valuable time during your visit. You can order the card here.

One day in Helsinki: how much could you save?

We’ve worked out a typical itinerary for a one-day whizz round Helsinki’s top sights and how much it would cost if you paid for each attraction individually compared to the price of the one-day Helsinki Card.

The DIY optionHelsinki CardHelsinki Card CityHelsinki Card Region
Upfront costn/a€48€58€63
City highlights cruise€26n/an/an/a
Museum of Contemporary Art€20n/an/an/a
Hop-on, hop-off bus ticket (24hr)€32n/an/an/a
Total cost€78€48€58€63
The costs above are in euros and for one adult. All prices correct at time of publication.

Since the hop-on, hop-off bus stops near the Museum of Contemporary Art, you won’t need public transport for this itinerary. 

And, you’re unlikely to have the time to travel outside the city centre on a one-day trip – unless you really are on a whistle-stop tour!

So the basic Helsinki Card works out as the best value for a one-day visit, with a saving of €30.

Two days in Helsinki: how much could you save?

Take a look at the example below to see how much you could save when visiting Helsinki for two days, compared with doing it yourself (the ‘DIY option’).

We’ve included some of the city’s main attractions and a couple of smaller sights and tours.

The DIY optionHelsinki CardGo Helsinki Card CityGo Helsinki Card Region
Upfront costn/a€58€69€74
Suomenlinna fortress, tour and museums€40n/an/an/a
Museum of Contemporary Art€20n/an/an/a
Rock Church€5n/an/an/a
Hop-on, hop-off bus ticket (24hr)€32n/an/an/a
Canal cruise€26n/an/an/a
Design Museum€15n/an/an/a
Return airport trip (train)€8.20€8.20€8.20n/a
2-day ticket on  public transport€13.50€13.50n/an/a
Total cost€159.70€79.7€74.2€74
The costs above are in euros and for one adult. All prices correct at time of publication.

As you can see for two days, buying the Helsinki Card Region is the cheapest option. If you need to use public transport on your trip, the Helsinki Card City can save you a whopping €86.

Three days in Helsinki: how much could you save?

And if you’ve got three days to spend in Helsinki, you can really get to grips with the city and still have time to see some of the surrounding attractions too.

The DIY optionHelsinki CardHelsinki Card CityHelsinki Card Region
Upfront costn/a€68€84€89
Suomenlinna fortress, tour and museums€40n/an/an/a
Amos Rex Museum€20n/an/an/a
Rock Church€5n/an/an/a
Hop-on, hop-off bus ticket (24hr)€32n/an/an/a
Helsinki Art Museum€16n/an/an/a
Canal cruise€26n/an/an/a
Design Museum€15n/an/an/a
Seurasaari Open-air Museum€10n/an/an/a
Return airport trip (train)€8.20€8.20€8.20n/a
3 day-ticket on public transport€18.80€18.80n/an/a
Total cost€191€95€92.20€89
The costs above are in euros for one adult. All prices correct at time of publication.

So, for a three-day trip, if you pack in the sights a Helsinki Card City and a Helsinki Card Region will both give you a huge saving of around €100.

For three days, there’s little difference in price between the City and the Regional cards, so it will probably depend on whether you think you have time to explore any of the surrounding area.

And while you’re in money-saving mode, check out our guide to free and cheap things that you can do while you’re in Helsinki.

Using the Helsinki Card in summer and winter

One thing to bear in mind before you buy a Helsinki Card is the time of year that you’re travelling.

Helsinki is the second most northerly capital city in the world – after Reykjavik – and there’s a big contrast between summer and winter conditions.

Average temperatures in Helsinki in January and February are -7C and it’s often snowy and icy. 

For more on weather conditions in Helsinki, read our guide to the weather in Finland and when to visit.

So it’s not surprising that in winter some attractions don’t run or are closed.

The city highlights boat cruise, the canal boat tour, and the hop-on, hop-off bus tour, for example, only run from May to September.

And the panorama sightseeing bus only runs from October to April. The Seurasaari Open-Air Museum is only open from mid-May to mid-September, and whilst the Suomenlinna fortress is open year-round, some of the other Suomenlinna museums close in low season.

So, if you have a specific place you want to visit, make sure you check the opening and operating times on the Helsinki Card website before buying.

Where can I buy the Helsinki Card?

To get started, you need to buy the card online. You then print your order confirmation email and can pick the card when you arrive in Helsinki. 

For the Helsinki Card, you can either print out your QR code or keep it on your phone, and use that as your card.

For the City and Region versions, you print your order confirmation email and pick up the card when you arrive in Helsinki. 

There are several pick-up points across town but the easiest for most visitors is Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, where the pick-up point is at the Excess Baggage Company in the Arrivals Hall.

Alternatively, you can pick it up in central Helsinki: there are pick up points at the Hotel Holiday Inn Helsinki City Centre, near the main train station, at the Stockmann department store, Aleksanterinkatu 52, and at the Stromma sales kiosk on Market Square.

Both City and Region versions of the card can also be bought online in advance through Get your Guide, where you can pay in any major currency. 

What’s the cheapest way to get the Helsinki Card?

You can buy both City and Region versions of the Helsinki Card through Get Your Guide, and it’s worth checking the official Stromma website and Get Your Guide before you buy to see which is cheaper, since both sites have special offers and discounts now and again.

It’s also worth noting that Get Your Guide offers free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance of your trip and you can pay in pounds, dollars or any other major currency on its website, while the City Card website payment is in euros.

Alternatively, you can buy both City and Region versions of the Go Helsinki Card once you arrive at Helsinki airport or at selected hotels and ferry terminals within the city itself.

Because the Helsinki Card is valid for a full 12 months from the point of purchase, it makes sense to buy it as far in advance as possible, especially if there’s an online sale on (see below). This will ensure that you get the best rate and help you avoid any price rises.

Our favourite things to do with a Helsinki Card

One of the main problems with having a Helsinki Card is choosing which of the many sights and museums to visit!

Unless you’re awake 24 hours a day, you won’t be able to visit all the places that are included. So, which attractions should take priority? 

Here’s our pick of the top ten best places to visit and things to do in Helsinki that are completely free with a Helsinki Card.

  • The Suomenlinna fortress and museums
  • The Rock Church
  • Seurasaari Open-Air Museum
  • City Highlights boat cruise
  • Ateneum Art Museum
  • Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art
  • The Amos Rex Museum
  • The Design Museum
  • The Museum of Finnish Architecture
  • Helsinki Art Museum

What discounts can I get with a Helsinki Card?

As well as providing free admission to a range of sights, the Helsinki Card gives discounts on entrance to a load of other museums and attractions, including the Korkeasaari Zoo, Sea Life, the Suomenlinna Toy Musuem, the Helsinki City Museum and the Reitz Foundation Collection.

It also provides a discount on several boat and ferry trips including the Suomenlinna ferry, a day-trip by ferry to Tallinn in Estonia and an evening pizza cruise.

You can also get money off car rental with Europcar and at several Helsinki restaurants.

Is it worth buying a children’s Helsinki Card?

A Hesinki Card for a child costs half the adult version, but many museums allow children free entry anyway, so it may not save you as much as you think.

Under 18s have free entry to most of Helsinki’s museums, including the Amos Rex, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, the Ateneum, the Design Museum and the Seurasaari Open-air Museum.

Half-price tickets can also be bought for children on the canal cruise, the city highlights boat trip and hop-on, hop-off bus tour.

So, our advice is to check out where you want to go and what you want to do before forking out for a children’s card, as you may find that the places you want to visit don’t charge for children at all. 

The Helsinki Card: our verdict

Results will vary depending on what you want to see, but unless you’re sticking to completely free attractions and travelling very little, we think you’ll make a good saving with the Helsinki Card.

In fact, you can save more than €100 per person on a three-day trip to Helsinki with the Helsinki City Card!

Tips for getting more out of the Helsinki Card

  • Plan your trip in advance. The cards are valid for 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours after the moment you first use them, so if you activate a 24-hour card at 10am it will be valid unit 10am the following day. So, make sure you make full use of your time. 
  • Check opening hours and closing days. If you want to visit a specific sight or museum, check it’s not closed on the day you plan to visit.
  • Look out for discount codes and special offers. You can save even more money by checking the Helsinki Card website for occasional special offers.
  • Get a group discount. If you’re travelling with friends and can get together with some fellow travellers to make a group of 15, you’ll get a group discount on the card.
  • Check other websites. It’s worth doing some research and looking at other sites before you buy. Get Your Guide also sells both the Helsinki City and Region cards and sometimes they can be cheaper than on the official site.

See also:
Getting from Helsinki airport to the city centre
37 free and cheap things to do in Helsinki
Unusual Places to stay in Helsinki
One day in Helsinki: the ultimate guide

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