Public Transport in Helsinki

On the road in Helsinki
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Helsinki has a well-developed transport network that covers both the city center and the neighboring cities of Espoo and Vantaa. The HSL/HKT transport network offers a variety of transportation options such as buses, streetcars, suburban trains, subway trains and ferries. On this page you will find detailed information about the different means of transportation in Helsinki as well as everything you need to know about tickets, prices and timetables.

  1. Transportation in Helsinki
  2. Tickets and fares
  3. Where can I buy tickets?
  4. What you should definitely bear in mind as a Helsinki tourist

Transportation in Helsinki


The yellow-green streetcars of the extensive streetcar network are a popular photo motif for tourists to Helsinki. The Finnish metropolis has a total of ten streetcar lines. More are currently being added to these, connecting the new Jätkäsaari and Kalasatama districts to the streetcar network. The special thing about streetcar lines such as the 2/3, 4 and 6 is that they run to the most important sights in the city center. Streetcar 4, for example, passes the Russian Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral, Senate Square, the cathedral, the Kiasma Museum, Finlandia Hall and the National Museum.

If you like design, art and good food, streetcar line 6 is the right choice. You can use it to explore parks and museums. And of course try out locations with Finnish specialties. If you are visiting Helsinki for the first time, you should start by taking line 2. It also stops at important tourist highlights such as Helsinki Cathedral and the Market Square.

Metro (subway)

If you want to use the orange-colored metro, you will probably be surprised when you look at the timetable. The metro system is very tourist-friendly compared to other world cities. You only travel west or east from the city center. And from Matinkylä in Espoo to Mellunmäki or Vuosaari takes just under 40 minutes.


The bus network covers the entire city area. You can even use buses to reach parts of the city that are not connected to rail lines. At weekends, additional night buses run during the night. They can be recognized by the N in front of the line number.

S-Bahn lines

The 15 S-Bahn lines run from the main station to the west, northwest and north. They are operated by the VR railroad company, but can be used with HSL tickets. Lines I and P take you directly to the airport.


If you want to visit Suomenlinna Fortress, which is located on six islands in the south of Helsinki, you can easily take the ferry that is part of the public transport system. This will take you to the main island in 15 to 20 minutes. The ferry is anchored at the penultimate pier to the east of the market square and operates daily all year round. During the summer months, it runs at shorter intervals. The sea fortress with the Swedish name Sveaborg was built around 1748 by order of the Swedish king. He ruled over Finland at the time and had it built to protect the port of Helsinki. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991.

Tickets and fares

The public transport network is divided into fare zones A, B, C and D from the city center. If you are only traveling in the city center, AB tickets are sufficient.
If you do not buy your one-way ticket from a ticket machine or bus driver, you must activate it at a card reader before starting your journey. This also applies to one-way tickets purchased at the ferry. Incidentally, these are only intended for crossings. One-way tickets purchased on the bus are generally more expensive and should ideally be paid for with change. In addition to euro coins, the ticket machines accept banknotes, card payment and the HSL Card. You can find the nearest ticket sales points on the website of the HSL transport association. All tickets for AB, BC and D are valid for 80 minutes, for ABC and CD 90 minutes, for BCD 100 minutes and for ABCD 110 minutes.

The day ticket, which is cheaper than one-way tickets, is worthwhile if you want to use all means of public transport for 24 hours. You can choose between day tickets for one day to seven days for adults and children. As usual, you select the fare zone you want to use before you buy your ticket. The Helsinki Card is a discounted card for tourists. It entitles you to use all means of transport in the city center (A, B). It also allows you to visit museums and other sights free of charge. The Helsinki Card Region is valid in fare zones A, B and C.

The price of the zone extension tickets depends on the number of fare zones and how far they are from the city center. The HSL Card can be topped up. Before starting your journey, simply hold it in front of the card reader, which will deduct the respective ticket fee from your credit. As a tourist, however, you can only use transferable (multi-user) HSL Cards.

Where can I buy tickets?

As a general rule, tickets are purchased before using public transportation. The only exceptions are the two S-Bahn lines to and from Helsinki Airport, where you can buy your ticket directly from the ticket seller on the train. And the bus lines (purchase from the driver). Otherwise, you can buy tickets at various points throughout the city:

It is much more convenient than buying tickets on the move to purchase them via an app that can be downloaded free of charge from the HSL website. It also offers important information about local public transport in Helsinki. And a best-route planner with automatic display of the required ticket.

What you should definitely bear in mind as a Helsinki tourist

Good to know: many streetcars in Helsinki do not stop at all stations at night. The last metro only runs until around 11.30 pm. You should also not get on a bus or metro without a ticket. This can be very expensive: Fare evasion in Helsinki costs at least 80 euros. Also bear in mind that not all ticket machines have the same range of tickets.

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