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Insider's Helsinki

Helsinki public transport 101

Helsinki public transport 101

How's the public transport in Helsinki? Excellent. Our metro map might only consist of one line (and thus be the butt of many jokes), but overall the public transport network in Helsinki – consisting of buses, trams, trains, metro, and ferry – is extensive, convenient, and usually punctual.

HSL (in Swedish HRT) is the company covering public transport in Helsinki

If you see the letter combination HSL, just know that it stands for Helsinki's public transport (Helsingin Seudun Liikenne in Finnish). That is the company that operates public transport in Helsinki and its neighboring cities like Vantaa and Espoo.

What vehicles are available in Helsinki public transport?

There's a good deal of different vehicles to choose from. Helsinki's public transport network consists of:

  • buses
  • trams
  • metro
  • local trains
  • ferry (to Suomenlinna island)

City bikes are available from April–October

If you'd rather use your own muscles to move around, biking is a nice change of pace. You'll recognize the official public transport city bikes by their yellow color. They are sponsored by a grocery store chain called Alepa and they feature the store's bright yellow branding.

The city bikes aren't included in the public transport tickets. Instead, you need to pay for the bikes separately. You have three options:

  • Whole-season pass €35
  • 1-week pass €10
  • 24-hour pass €5

To use the city bikes, you need to register with HSL and use their app. You can learn more about it on HSL's website.

The bike is available for a 30-minute ride at a time, and after that, you have to return it to a bike station. The stations are abundantly spread around the city.

Helsinki's public transport is divided into four zones: A, B, C, D

Helsinki's public transport system can be a little confusing. The whole service area of HSL is divided into zones A, B, C, and D. The zones cover much more than just Helsinki, including several neighboring cities and communities.

You can find the entire zone map here.

But the good news is that if you're only staying in Helsinki, you'll be just using the AB zone. In most of Helsinki, you'll be only in the A zone. But funnily enough, there's no ticket just for zone A. You need an AB ticket. Helsinki-Vantaa airport is located in the C zone, so for that trip, you need an ABC ticket.

Read more about getting from the airport to Helsinki here.

Metro station in Helsinki

How much are the tickets?

In 2023, the tickets for Helsinki's public transport are:

  • AB zone ticket is €3.10 (Covers all of Helsinki)
  • ABC zone ticket is €4.10 (Covers parts of Espoo and Vantaa, this is the ticket you need to get from the airport to downtown Helsinki)

There are also other tickets, like BCD, but if you're staying in Helsinki, you won't need them.

How to buy tickets for public transport in Helsinki?

You can buy tickets for public transport in the HSL app, ticket machines, R-kioskis (a chain of kiosks), and some selected stores.

You can't buy a ticket from the driver. You need to have a ticket before you enter a vehicle. You can find all sales and service points here.

By far the most convenient method to buy tickets for Helsinki's public transport is to use the HSL mobile app.

Helsinki public transport app: download the HSL app

I cannot stress this piece of advice enough: use the HSL mobile app. It is the official Helsinki public transport app.

You can dowload the HSL app from App Store or Google Play.

Remember that you can't buy a ticket from the driver in trams or buses – and not every stop has a ticket machine. So, if you want to hop on board from a stop that doesn't have a ticket machine, your phone and the app are the way to go.

Not only can you buy tickets with the app, but you can also you can use the in-app journey planner to see how to get to your destination.

Tram in Helsinki

Frequently asked about public transport in Helsinki

Do I need to show my ticket to the driver?

On the buses, if you have a ticket on your phone, you need to show it to the driver when you enter. Usually, they don't pay much attention, so just hold your phone up so they can see it if they're interested.

On the orange buses, you can enter from any door and you don't need to show your ticket to the driver. Why is this? These buses are considered part of the "trunk route services” that consists of trains and the metro. To be honest, it doesn't make that much sense to a layman but hey, you can enter through the middle door if you like!

Does Helsinki have good public transport?

Yes, Helsinki has an extensive network of public transport that runs (more or less) punctually. Getting around Helsinki is convenient with public transport and you have access to buses, trams, trains, the metro, and even a ferry.

While the public transport in Helsinki is convenient, you might not need it if you're mainly getting around the city center. The heart of Helsinki is very compact and can be easily explored on foot.

How much is the bus in Helsinki?

If you're traveling in Helsinki (zone A in the public transport network), you'll need an AB ticket which costs €3.10 when purchased with the HSL app or at a ticket machine.

Helsinki public transport doesn't make a distinction between vehicles, but instead, your ticket price depends on the zone you're traveling in. You can switch between vehicles with the same ticket.

How much is the tram in Helsinki?

To use the tram in Helsinki, you'll need an AB ticket which costs €3.10 when you get in with the HSL app or at a ticket machine.



I'm Ella, your local insider in Helsinki. In this blog I share my best tips to make sure everyone gets to enjoy Helsinki to the fullest.

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Insider's Helsinki

Insider's Helsinki