Getting into central Helsinki from the airport is fast and inexpensive, no matter how you travel. The train, private bus, public bus and taxi all have different benefits, so we’ll help you decide which is best for you.
And even if you’re just passing through, there’s good news – a layover of just a few hours is enough time to get for a feel for one of Scandinavia’s most rewarding capital cities. Read on and we’ll show you how it’s done!
The cheapest option: take the train
Trains leave from the airport every ten minutes during peak hours and run from early morning until late at night.
The journey from Helsinki airport into the city centre takes around 30 minutes. The train station is down the escalator, between terminals 1 and 2 – just follow the railway signs.
To get to Helsinki Central Railway Station, which is in the heart of the city centre, you can take the I or P train. It’s a loop train, so it makes no difference which line you choose. Just hop on whichever is at the terminal when you arrive.
You must buy your ticket before you get onto the train from the machine at the station, or you can use the HSL app, which is slightly cheaper.
If you want to use the app, it’s a good idea to download it before you arrive so you’re not relying on the spotty wifi in the airport.
Some of the station’s ticket machines only take cards, so if you want to pay cash, look out for the HSL machines in the airport terminals, or buy your ticket at the R-Kioski convenience store in the airport.
You’ll need to buy an ABC ticket, as the airport is in travel zone C. A single ticket costs around €4.10 on the app, or €4.60 for a ticket bought elsewhere. A day or multi-day pass only includes airport travel if you buy the ABC pass, so it’s unlikely to be cost-effective unless you’re travelling a lot outside the city.
Remember to validate your ticket before you get on the train!
Is the Helsinki Card worth buying?
Read this guide to see how much you could save during your trip!
The fastest (sometimes!) option: the Finnair Bus
The Finnair Bus claims it’s the fastest way into the city, and since there’s not much traffic in Helsinki and it’s only a 20km trip, it can be.
Usually, it takes just under 30 minutes, but there’s the Finnish weather to contend with, so you’ll need to use your judgement when you arrive.
Once you’ve checked the weather, you can catch the bus outside Terminal 2, on the bus platform right by the exit. Buses run every 20 minutes, have free wifi, plenty of luggage storage underneath, and are clean and comfy.
Get off at the last stop, Helsinki Central Railway Station, for the city centre. There are also on-request stops along the way that are announced in Finnish and Swedish on the TV displays, if you want to get off sooner.
Drivers are generally friendly and speak English, so just ask the driver if you need help.
The single fare is around €6.90, or around €12.60 for a round trip. You can buy tickets from the driver with cash or major credit cards, or buy online in advance – online tickets are slightly cheaper, at €6.80 for a single.
You can get a discount on the Finnair Bus if you have a Helsinki Card. Show your activated card to the driver and the fare will be around €4.40.
The Helsinki Card City does not include public transport to the airport, though the more expensive Helsinki Card Regional does. Check out our guide to see if buying the Helsinki Card makes sense for you.
The public bus
Public bus #615 leaves from outside both terminals and will also take you to Helsinki Central Railway Station. It takes about 45 minutes and costs the same as the train (around €4.60).
You can buy tickets from the machines, the R-Kioski shop or via the HSL app. The bus driver also sells tickets, but charges €6.50 and doesn’t take credit or debit cards or give change for more than a €20 bill.
Since the train costs the same and is quicker, the public bus only really makes sense if one of the stops is more convenient to your destination. You can check the map and timetable here.
Taking a taxi
If you have lots of luggage or want to be dropped right outside your accommodation, jump in a cab. There are plenty just outside the terminals. The fare costs around €40–45 and it takes about half an hour into the city centre.
Helsinki taxi drivers are some of the most relaxed and friendly in Europe. Most speak (serviceable) English, but be prepared with a written address just in case.
There are also Ubers in Helsinki, but they sometimes cost more than metered taxis and aren’t always available.
Have a leisurely layover
Because the city is so close to the airport, even a short layover can be a chance to see some of the city. Layover tours will pick you up at the airport, show you around the city, and bring you back in time for your next flight.
Three hours is enough to see to the main sights, while four hours is plenty of time to get a real feel for the spirit and soul of this beautiful, unique city. Make sure you insist on stopping for a cinnamon bun!