How to Get from Helsinki Airport to City Centre in 30 Minutes
1. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport
• Strict Security Customs Check at Helsinki Airport
• Helsinki Airport Wifi and Tourist Information
2. Helsinki Airport to City Centre
• Helsinki Public Transport System 2019: New HSL Zone Segregation
 By Helsinki Airport Bus 615
 By Helsinki Airport Train
 By Finnair City Bus
 By Airport Taxi
3. Helsinki Central Train Station
• Helsinki Railway Station Train to Airport Timetable
• Beautiful Railway Station Title
4. Helsinki City Sightseeing
• Hop-On Hop-Off Helsinki Bus Tour
• Helsinki Card / Helsinki Card Region
5. What to Do in Helsinki
With a 30-minutes train ride connecting from Helsinki Airport to City Centre since 2015, it is easy and even more convenient to reach Helsinki downtown in a whizz. Here are 4 airport transfer to get from Helsinki-Vantaa Airport to City Centre so that you would not spend the long stopover time sleeping in the airport.
For the second time in Finland with a 9-hours stopover in Helsinki Airport, and the cheapest airfare ever purchased for my regular European trips, I decided to take advantage of the layover in Helsinki for another time. I benefitted from Finnair long stopover offer a few years ago with an unbelievable 7-days stopover in Helsinki from Singapore to Brussels without additional cost comparing to the usual airfare purchased over the past few years. Be sure to include Helsinki as another destination under a low or no cost travel.
With the fear of terrorism and overstayers, the security check at 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 appreciated the stringent control because it made me feel safe in Finland. Kudos to the serious Finnish Customs Officers!
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. On top of that, pick up a Helsinki city map or other cities’ travel maps from the Tourist Information Counter located on the first floor of Terminal 2.
Helsinki city centre is 20 km from the airport. Taking public transport to reach downtown takes about 30 minutes by Airport Train, Finnair Bus, Airport Bus 615 or taxi. The only challenge is the Finnish language written on the board with no English translation when buying a train ticket. Hence, it is wise to know the most cost-effective transport to go from Helsinki Airport to City Centre without being stuck in a traffic jam.
With effect from 27 April 2019, Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) implemented a new ticketing system using zone segregations. Passengers pay according to the zones and distance travelled. The good news is that the Single Trip ticket is slightly lower as compared to the past from the airport to downtown. You can use the Single Trip Ticket or Day Ticket for both the Helsinki Airport Train and Bus 615.
HSL Zones are segregated into A, B, C and D area. Helsinki city is at Zone AB, and Helsinki Airport is at Zone C. So if you want to travel from Helsinki-Vantaa Airport to downtown, you have to purchase the travel ticket for Zone ABC.
Important: Tickets cannot be purchased on the train, trams or metro but you can buy single trip tickets from the bus driver. Don’t buy the wrong type of ticket as there are train inspectors who will come on-board to check.
If you want HSL Day Ticket from 1 to 7 days of unlimited travel for Zone ABC, check out HSL ticket prices from the website ranging from €11 (1-day) to €44 (7-day).
Helsinki Airport Bus 615, managed by HSL, will take you from the Helsinki Airport to City Centre in 40 to 50 minutes. The ticket costs €6.00 if you pay directly to the bus driver, €4.10 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.
The bus stops for both arriving and departing buses are located in front of both Helsinki Airport Terminal ① and ② (Finnish Name: Lentoasema T1 and T2). In Helsinki city, you can stop at ④ Rautatientori Bus Stop right in front of the ⑤ Helsinki Railway Station. Refer to the Journey Planner and Timetable for Bus 615 from Helsinki Airport to City Centre and the exact bus stop location on Google Maps.
Since July 2015, the fastest and most convenient option is the Helsinki Airport train line that goes directly to the city centre in 30 minutes, also operated by HSL. By taking the train to Helsinki city, tourists do not have to worry about the traffic jam on the road by especially when going to the airport.
I opted to take a train to and fro Helsinki city centre during my 9-hrs layover trip to Finland for this round. For my first travel to Helsinki some times ago, I took Finnair City Bus before the Airport Train even existed. Do note that some ticket machines accept only bank/credit card and no cash, especially those found 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 those located along the Tourist Information Counter.
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.
Likewise, there are similar ticket machines on the underground train platform where I had bought my ticket. There is an English option on it.
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 the 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 Helsinki downtown.
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
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.
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 €6.80 whereas a round-trip ticket is €12.60 if you purchase it online. Alternatively, you can pay the exact amount in cash €6.90 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 the bus too.
Online Single Trip e-ticket has a flexibility that allows a user to travel within 6 months from the date of purchase. Customers receive a link after online purchase which they can either print out the e-ticket or show it on their phone screen. 10 and 30 trip multi-journey tickets are also available for frequent travellers with a validity of 180 and 365 days respectively.
I had used the Finnair City Bus service as an airport transfer in 2013 before the Helsinki 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 Helsinki Airport. In case you are wondering, you cannot use the HSL ticket for Finnair City Bus as they are two different companies.
Click on the link. Select departure from Helsinki Airport T2 and choose the arrival point as Eliel Square City Centre. It stops at the ⑥ Finnair City Bus Station at Elielsquare as shown below.
There is an Airport 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 at the airport at night when there is no more public transport, those with small children or have many suitcases.
Of course, there are always some who do not want to bother too much about how to go about using public transport or perhaps, they are getting company reimbursements for their business trip expenses. Hence, taking a cab seems to be a hassle-free option to take you directly to your destination. Simply book a private transfer online ☟ which is easy and costs almost the same as that of a cab.
When returning back to the airport from ⑤ Helsinki Central Railway Station (Helsingin Päärautatieasema), look for the train timetable board below for the text “Flygplatsen Airport” or “Lentoasema” which means “Airport”. The text comes together with a plane symbol too. There will be a few trains going back to the airport at different timings and platforms. When in doubt, always ask a local there before you board the train.
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.
Although voted as one of the most beautiful train stations in the world, Helsinki Central Station toilet was the most expensive I have ever paid in my life. It cost €1 per entry! When I walked out of the station to begin my Helsinki tour for the day, I saw a FREE public toilet outside. So, if you have to answer the call of nature, use the free one outside. I had used the same type of toilet a few hours later along the way. It was safe, reliable, and had decent hygiene standard.
If you prefer a more leisure trip for a layover in Helsinki city, the 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.
To get the maximum benefit, get either a Helsinki Card or Helsinki Card Region from Stromma which costs between €49 to €79 for 1 to 3 days. Ferry and entrance to Fortress of Suomenlinna and a lot more Helsinki attractions are free for both passes. You can discount on some other places too.
Both types of cards also act 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. Consider getting one of these travel cards.
In the next article, follow me on 20 Things to Do in Helsinki » DIY Sightseeing + Top Attractions or if you like to visit some Helsinki Museums. 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.
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