Helsinki-Espoo Guide

Public transportation in Helsinki

The public transportation system in Helsinki is a reliable and easy way to get around the city and beyond. The Helsinki Metropolitan area is operated by the same transportation system, HSL. Public transportation options include buses, trams, trains, the metro, and ferried.

The yellow “Alepa” city bikes are found all over the city and are convenient for short distance travel. Daily, weekly, and seasonal passes can be purchased online. The time limit to use the bike in one go is 30 minutes and reducing the bike will reset the time. Please note that in Finland, bikers over the age of 12 must cycle on car road or designated cycle paths. Cycling on the pedestrian walk is forbidden.

For more information: https://kaupunkipyorat.hsl.fi/en

Some other useful things to know:

  • Remember to hail the approaching bus as they only stop when requested. One stop prior to your destination, press the stop button. Same applies for trams, outside rush hours and outside the city center.

  • A valid ticket is always needed when boarding any public transportation vehicle. Upon ticket inspection, a 80€ penalty fee applies if traveling without a valid ticket.

The HSL journey planner helps you navigate and plan your routes: https://www.hsl.fi/en

Google Maps is a convenient way to find your way around, too.

Public transport tickets

A HSL public transportation ticket will be provided for everyone at the start of the course. Those staying at Hotel Helka or Both Helsinki (the rebranded Domus Academica) will receive the tickets upon arrival. If you have booked other accommodation, you will receive the ticket on your first day at Aalto.

Here are some instructions should you need to buy a ticket before the start of the course (e.g. when getting from Helsinki-Vantaa airport to the city center).

WHERE TO BUY TICKETS

  • Ticket machines at stations

  • R-kioski convenience stores

  • Mobile tickets (HSL Mobileticket / Mobiililippu app)

  • HSL service point at the Central Railway Station

TICKET TYPES

  • Single ticket

    • Valid for 80 minutes. You can switch from one type of transport to another with the same ticket.

    • Only needs to be shown upon inspection or upon entering a bus.

    • Check for zones: ticket prices vary.

  • Day tickets

    • Available for 1-7 days.

    • Only needs to be shown upon inspection or upon entering a bus.

    • Check for zones: ticket prices vary.

ZONES

  • From Helsinki-Vantaa Airport to Helsinki City center, you need to purchase an ABC ticket (4,6€).


Summer Weather in Helsinki

The summer weather in Helsinki can range from anything between +10°C/50°F to +30°C/86°F. July and August are usually our warmest summer months. For example, in July 2018, the highest temperature was +33°C/91,4°F.

Although warm weathers for the summer are expected, it is a good idea to bring layers and be prepared for changing temperatures and sea breeze. Bring along a light coat (water proof is even better!), a sweater, and pair of long pants along with your summer wardrobe. An umbrella is a good idea, too.

Also, keep in mind the abundance of sunlight in Finland. Next to covering your skin with sunscreen on warm days, especially light sleepers should consider brining a sleeping mask, as the sun sets closer to midnight and rises already at 4.30AM.


Food

STUDENT LUNCH

All menus can be found online (https://kanttiinit.fi/)

MUST TRY

Cafe Regatta (http://caferegatta.fi )

A cozy cafe by the seaside in Töölö, Helsinki. A great place to enjoy a cup of coffee and “korvapuusti” on a sunny day!

Savotta (http://www.ravintolasavotta.fi/fi/menu.html)

A restaurant that serves traditional Finnish food in Helsinki.

BUDGET (but delish):

Fafa’s (falafels)

Hesburger (burgers)

Lie Mi (thai food)

Cafe Bar N.9 (pasta, burgers, wok)

Putte’s (pizza)


What to do in Helsinki?

You can find great suggestions at: https://www.myhelsinki.fi/en

Must see locations include:

SUOMENLINNA SEA FORTRESS

Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in the 1700’s as a protection against the Russian empire, the sea fortress has seen its fair share of Finnish history. We are making a trip here together during your two-week stay in Helsinki, and will explore the island with a private tour guide. Please remember to bring along your warmer clothes too, as the wind can get chilly on the island!

https://www.suomenlinna.fi/en/

LÖYLY PUBLIC SAUNA

Sauna is an essential part of Finnish traditions. Löyly was built in 2016 as a modern public sauna that provides a relaxing bathing experience. Löyly is also a great example of Finnish wooden architecture. The cost is 19€ for a 2h sauna session (towels included). Feel free to also jump into the Baltic Ocean straight from the sauna, too! PS. Please note that the saunas as well as showers are unisex and wearing swimwear is mandatory.

http://www.loylyhelsinki.fi/en/front-page/

ALLAS SEA POOL

Fancy going for a swim in the center of Helsinki? Allas Sea Pool is located right next to the Market Square and Helsinki Cathedral. They have a warm water pool, sea water pool, as well as saunas separately for women and men (here you can enjoy the sauna either with or without your swimwear). Swimwear is mandatory in the unisex sauna.

https://www.allasseapool.com/front-page.html

ESPLANADE PARK

A beautiful park to just hang out and have your take away lunch or ice cream. It is next to the Market Square.

SEURASAARI ISLAND  

An open-air museum where you can go back in Finnish history. It’s a nice place to go barbecuing when the sun is shining. NOTE: Please use a barbecuing place, open fire is forbidden.

https://www.myhelsinki.fi/en/see-and-do/sights/seurasaari-island

OLD MARKET HALL   

An old market place where you can find a piece of an old world atmosphere and some local food to fill your belly.

http://vanhakauppahalli.fi/en/

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF FINLAND

National Museum of Finland presents Finnish history from the Stone Age to the present day, through objects and cultural history.

OODI CENTRAL LIBRARY

Opened in 2018, Oodi is more than a library: it is as an urban living room! With striking architecture and abundance of light, Oodi is a great place for reading, studying, working, and relaxing.

https://www.oodihelsinki.fi/en/