Getting Around Helsinki

Written: The Top Thing Staff | June 22, 2023


Exploring Helsinki by Foot

1. Top walking routes and areas in Helsinki

When it comes to exploring Helsinki, there are several walking routes and areas that are worth checking out. The city is known for its beautiful architecture, vibrant neighborhoods, and stunning waterfronts. Here are a few top recommendations:

  • The Esplanade Park: This green oasis in the heart of the city is perfect for a leisurely stroll. Admire the statues, enjoy a picnic, or simply soak in the atmosphere.
  • The Design District: If you're interested in art and design, this area is a must-visit. Explore the boutiques, galleries, and cafes that showcase the best of Finnish design.
  • The Market Square and Old Market Hall: Located by the waterfront, these bustling areas offer a taste of Finnish cuisine, local produce, and handicrafts. Take a walk along the harbor and enjoy the picturesque views.
  • The Suomenlinna Sea Fortress: Catch a ferry to this UNESCO World Heritage site and discover the rich history and breathtaking views of the fortress. The walking paths and picnic spots make it a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

2. Must-visit landmarks and attractions on foot

Helsinki is packed with landmarks and attractions that can be easily explored on foot. Don't miss these highlights:

  • Helsinki Cathedral: Located in Senate Square, this iconic landmark is a symbol of the city. The stunning architecture and the view from the steps are not to be missed.
  • Senate Square: Besides the cathedral, the square is home to several historical buildings, including the Government Palace and the University of Helsinki.
  • Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Church): Carved into solid rock, this unique church is a popular tourist attraction. Attend a concert or simply admire the architecture and the natural light that pours in through the copper dome.
  • Olympic Stadium: If you're a sports fan, visit the stadium that hosted the 1952 Summer Olympics. Take a walk around the grounds and learn about Finland's sporting history.

3. Tips for navigating the city on foot and staying safe

Here are a few tips for navigating Helsinki on foot and ensuring your safety:

  • Wear comfortable shoes: Helsinki is a pedestrian-friendly city, but it's important to wear comfortable shoes to enjoy your walking tours.
  • Use a map or GPS: While Helsinki is relatively easy to navigate, it's always a good idea to have a map or GPS on hand to avoid getting lost.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Like in any city, be aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions to stay safe, especially in crowded areas.
  • Stay hydrated and carry snacks: Walking can be tiring, so remember to stay hydrated and carry snacks to keep your energy levels up.

By exploring Helsinki on foot, you'll have the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in the city's culture, history, and beauty. So put on your walking shoes and start exploring!


Cycling in Helsinki

1. Helsinki City Bikes: How to rent and use them

Are you ready to explore the beautiful city of Helsinki on two wheels? Then you'll be glad to know that Helsinki offers an extensive bike-sharing system called Helsinki City Bikes. Renting and using these bikes is incredibly convenient and straightforward. Here's how you can get started:

  • Download the Helsinki City Bikes mobile app, available for both Android and iOS users.
  • Create an account using your email address and payment information.
  • Use the app to find nearby bike stations and check bike availability.
  • Once you find an available bike, unlock it by scanning the QR code or entering the bike ID manually.
  • Enjoy your ride! You can keep the bike for up to 30 minutes for free, and after that, the cost is minimal.

2. Exploring Helsinki's bike-friendly routes and parks

One of the best things about cycling in Helsinki is the abundance of bike-friendly routes and parks. The city is known for its well-maintained cycling paths that take you through scenic waterfronts, lush parks, and vibrant neighborhoods. Some popular routes include cycling along the beautiful coastline, exploring the historic city center, and venturing into the idyllic suburban areas. Don't forget to visit the picturesque Seurasaari Open-Air Museum or take a relaxing ride through the serene Central Park.

3. Benefits and considerations of cycling in Helsinki

Cycling in Helsinki has numerous benefits that make it an excellent way to get around the city:

  • It's eco-friendly: By choosing to cycle instead of drive, you contribute to reducing carbon emissions, making Helsinki a more sustainable and greener city.
  • It's cost-effective: Compared to other means of transportation, cycling is a budget-friendly option. Helsinki City Bikes, in particular, offer affordable rates and even free rides for short distances.
  • It's healthy: Cycling is an excellent form of exercise, allowing you to stay active while enjoying the sights and sounds of Helsinki.
  • Safety is a priority: Helsinki prioritizes the safety of cyclists by providing dedicated cycling paths, clear signage, and traffic regulations. Ensure you wear a helmet and follow road rules for a safe and enjoyable cycling experience.

So why not hop on a bike and discover the wonders of Helsinki at your own pace? Whether you're a local or a visitor, cycling offers a unique and refreshing way to experience the city's vibrant culture and picturesque landscapes.


Taxis and Ride-Hailing Services in Helsinki

1. Traditional taxis: How to hail and use them

When getting around Helsinki, traditional taxis are a convenient option. You can find taxis at designated taxi stands, or you can hail one on the street by raising your hand. The taxis in Helsinki are known for their reliability and adherence to high-quality standards. Make sure to check that the taxi is equipped with a rooftop taxi sign, which indicates it is available for service.

2. Ride-hailing apps in Helsinki: Options and tips

Another popular transportation option in Helsinki is ride-hailing apps. The two main ride-hailing apps operating in Helsinki are Uber and Bolt. These apps provide a convenient and often more cost-effective alternative to traditional taxis. To use them, simply download the app, create an account, and enter your pick-up and drop-off locations. You can track your driver's location, estimated arrival time, and pay through the app.

3. Important things to know when using taxis in Helsinki

Here are some important things to keep in mind when using taxis in Helsinki:

  • Fair Pricing: Taxis in Helsinki operate on a metered system, so make sure the meter is always on during your ride and that the pricing is fair.

  • Cashless Payments: Most taxis in Helsinki accept credit cards and contactless payments, so you don't need to worry about carrying cash.

  • English Proficiency: Taxi drivers in Helsinki generally speak English, so communication should not be a problem.

  • Safety: Taxis in Helsinki are recognized for their safety standards, but it's always a good practice to fasten your seatbelt and keep your belongings secure.

  • Pre-Bookings: If you have a specific time and destination in mind, pre-booking a taxi through the taxi company's app or website is recommended to ensure availability.

Getting around Helsinki is easy and convenient with the various taxi and ride-hailing options available. Whether you choose a traditional taxi or a ride-hailing app, you can navigate the city with ease and comfort. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy your time exploring the beautiful city of Helsinki!


Ferries and Water Transport in Helsinki

1. Helsinki Archipelago: Exploring by ferry

If you find yourself in Helsinki, you absolutely must take the opportunity to explore the beautiful Helsinki Archipelago. One of the best ways to do this is by hopping on a ferry. The archipelago consists of over 300 islands, offering stunning views, picturesque landscapes, and a chance to experience the unique culture of the region.

Ferries in Helsinki operate during the summer months, typically from May to September. They provide a convenient and enjoyable way to explore the archipelago, with regular routes to popular islands such as Suomenlinna and Lonna. Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-visit destination known for its historic sea fortress and scenic trails.

2. Public transportation by water: Routes and schedules

Navigating Helsinki's waterways is made easy with the city's efficient public transportation system. Helsinki offers several water bus routes that connect different parts of the city, including the downtown area, islands, and coastal areas. These water buses operate on a regular schedule, providing a convenient and scenic way to get around.

For commuters and travelers, Helsinki also has regular ferry services to neighboring cities and countries, such as Tallinn in Estonia and Stockholm in Sweden. These ferry services offer a comfortable and enjoyable mode of transportation, with onboard amenities and stunning views of the Baltic Sea.

3. Private boat tours and rentals in Helsinki

If you're looking for a more personalized experience, consider taking a private boat tour or renting a boat in Helsinki. Private boat tours offer a unique opportunity to explore the city and its surrounding waters at your own pace. You can customize your itinerary, choose which islands or landmarks to visit, and enjoy the privacy and comfort of having a dedicated boat and guide.

If you prefer to be your own captain, Helsinki also offers boat rental services. Whether you're a novice or an experienced sailor, you can rent a boat and navigate the archipelago at your leisure. This gives you the freedom to discover hidden gems, secluded beaches, and tranquil spots that are off the beaten path.

Exploring Helsinki by ferry and water transport opens up a whole new perspective on the city and its surroundings. It allows you to appreciate the natural beauty, enjoy the unique culture, and create unforgettable memories. So, don't miss the opportunity to experience Helsinki from the water!



1. Summary of transportation options in Helsinki

When exploring Helsinki, you have several transportation options available. The city's efficient public transportation system includes buses, trams, and metro lines that cover the main areas. Additionally, taxis are a convenient option if you prefer a more personalized mode of transportation. Helsinki also offers rental bikes and electric scooters for those who enjoy cycling or want a fun way to get around.

2. Tips for getting around efficiently and cost-effectively

To navigate Helsinki's transportation system efficiently and save money, consider the following tips:

  • Purchase a travel card: Helsinki's travel card, known as the “HSL card,” allows unlimited travel on buses, trams, trains, and the metro within the city. It offers significant cost savings compared to buying individual tickets.

  • Use the Journey Planner App: The HSL Journey Planner App is a useful tool for planning your routes and checking schedules. It provides accurate information on public transportation options and includes real-time updates.

  • Take advantage of the city's bike-sharing system: Helsinki has a bike-sharing program called “City bikes.” This is an affordable and eco-friendly option for short trips around the city.

3. Final thoughts on exploring Helsinki's transportation system

Helsinki's transportation system is well-connected, efficient, and designed to cater to the needs of both residents and tourists. With a variety of options available, you can easily navigate the city and reach your desired destinations. Whether you prefer public transportation, taxis, or cycling, there are options for everyone. By planning your routes in advance and utilizing cost-effective options like the HSL card and bike-sharing, you can make the most of your time in Helsinki and explore all that this vibrant city has to offer.