Making the most of the Helsinki Card

A three day Helsinki Card might at first glance seem expensive as it costs €74 but as it covers a wide range of attractions and scenic boat trips that can cost at least €20 each then it’s possible to make substantial savings whilst using the card.  It is also valid on public transport including trams, buses, metro, local trains and the Suomenlinna ferry.

Helsinki Card
Helsinki Card

Making the most of a 72 hour Helsinki Card 

Do remember to activate your card on public transport the first time you make a journey.  If this is prior to visiting an attraction then the 72 hours will commence from that time i.e. if you activate the card at 11.30 a.m. on the first day then it can be used up until that time on the final morning.

Hakaniemi, Helsinki
Hakaniemi, Helsinki

Equipped with our cards, the accompanying guidebook and a map, we formulated a plan covering the attractions we could visit without rushing around too much.  We actually managed to fit in a considerable amount by carefully grouping them into areas so that we were not wasting valuable time travelling around.

Uspenski Cathedral, Helsinki
Uspenski Cathedral, Helsinki

Detailed below is the itinerary that we devised which worked very well for us.  Naturally we didn’t get to visit everywhere and depending on your interests you may wish to vary the schedule but hopefully it will help with planning.

Day One

Ateneum Art Museum
Standard admission : €18, Getting there: Kaivokatu 2 Helsinki, Central Railway Station (Tram 2, 3, 5, 6, 9)

Ateneum Museum, Helsinki
Ateneum Museum, Helsinki

Housed in a beautiful building in the square adjacent to the Central Railway Station, the museum is centrally located and opens earlier than many of the other museums/attractions so is a good starting point.  The Ateneum boasts Finland’s oldest and largest art collection and is certainly worthy of a visit.

Museum of Finnish Architecture

Standard admission: €10, Getting there: Kasarmikatu 24 Helsinki, (Tram 10)

Museum of Architecture, Helsinki
Museum of Architecture, Helsinki

Design Museum

Standard admission €12, Getting there: Korkeavuorenkatu 23, 00130 Helsinki (Tram 10)

Design Museum, Helsinki
Design Museum, Helsinki

The Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum are located next door to each other about a 15 minute walk from the Ateneum so it is probably easier to walk than to wait for a bus or tram.  Both museums are comparatively small but equally interesting.  The Design Museum showcases the likes of Marimekko, Ittala, Alvar Alto, Finlayson and Arabia.

Mannerheim Museum

Standard admission €10, Getting there: Kalliolinnantie 14, Helsinki, Kaivopuisto (Tram 2, 3)

Mannerheim Museum, Helsinki
Mannerheim Museum, Helsinki

This museum depicts the life and times of Baron Gustaf Mannerheim, Marshal of Finland (1867-1951).  Visits are by a 40 minute guided tour of the villa where he lived during the period 1924-1951.  The majority of the rooms have been preserved in their original state.  Not knowing anything about Mannerheim I was unsure what to expect but surprisingly the tour conducted by a knowledgeable guide was very interesting as was the beautiful villa, so I am pleased we decided to add this to our itinerary.

National Museum of Finland

Standard admission €14. Getting there: Mannerheimintie 34 Helsinki, Kansallismuseo (Tram 4, 10)

National Museum of Finland, Helsinki
National Museum of Finland, Helsinki

We took a No.2 tram into the centre after visiting the Mannerheim Museum and then changed to a No.4 tram to take us to the National Museum.  This beautiful building designed in National Romantic style has an exquisite vaulted central hall with frescoes which leads through to the numerous galleries depicting Finland’s history from its earliest days to how we see it today.  In my opinion, a definite ‘must visit’ museum to include.

Villa Hakasalmi

Standard admission €12, Getting there: Mannerheimintie 13b, Helsinki, Kansallismuseo (Tram 4, 10)

Villa Hakasalmi, Helsinki
Villa Hakasalmi, Helsinki

Villa Hakasalmi is located opposite the National Museum so it’s convenient to pop across the road to visit.  It displays a series of temporary exhibitions, the one taking place at the time of our visit being ‘Encounters in 1960’s Helsinki’.  The Villa has an attractive cafe making it a good stopping off point for tea and cakes.

Sinebrychoff Art Museum

Standard admission: €16, Getting there: Bulevardi 40 Helsinki. Hietalahdentori (Tram 6)

Sinebrychoff Art Museum Helsinki
Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Helsinki

From Villa Hakasalmi we travelled by tram to the Sinebrychoff Art Museum, changing lines in the centre.  This art museum specialises in old European art and is part of the Finnish National Gallery.  To the rear are extensive grounds which are pleasant for a stroll.  This completed our tour of some of the city centre museums included in the Helsinki Card.  We managed to visit several as they they were not too far apart with the smaller ones needing less time to explore.

Day Two

Whilst utilising our card on the second day we selected fewer attractions slightly further away and combined these with coastal walks.

Helsinki Museum of Technology

Museum of Technology, Helsinki
Museum of Technology, Helsinki

Standard admission €10. Getting there: Viikintie 1, Helsinki.  Tram 6 and 8 + 1 km walking.

Old Town Rapids, Helsinki
Old Town Rapids, Helsinki

We took the tram to its terminus and followed the clearly marked path to the sea.  From there it’s a pleasant coastal walk along to the museum which is located by the Vantaa River rapids.  The buildings were constructed as the first water agency in Finland nearly 150 years ago.  This fascinating museum is located in several buildings documenting the story of technology and industry in Finland.  After returning to the city centre we caught a bus to Seurassari Island (journey time approximately 25 minutes).

Seurasaari Open-Air Museum

Seurasaari Open Air Museum, Helsinki
Seurasaari Open Air Museum

Standard admission €10 although access to the island and its walking trails are free.  Getting there: Closest Bus Stop Seurasaari (Bus 24 terminus) from Kamppi

Bridge across to Seurasaari Island, Helsinki
Bridge across to Seurasaari Island, Helsinki

This open-air museum is accessed via an ornate wooden bridge and is home to a collection of Finnish cottages, farmsteads and old manor houses spread around the island.  We enjoyed a lovely walk all the way around the island, taking in some idyllic views and spotting several red squirrels on our way.  There’s a cafe/ restaurant plus several kiosks where you can buy hot drinks and delicious cinnamon buns.

Whilst at Seurassari we took advantage of visiting Tamminiemi which is located near the wooden bridge to the island.

Tamminiemi Villa

Standard admission €10.  Getting there: Seurasaarentie 15 Helsinki. Closest Bus Stop Seurasaari (Bus 24) from Kamppi

Tamminiemi, Helsinki
Tamminiemi, Helsinki

Tamminiemi Villa is located in a beautiful park estate which used to be President Urho Kekkonen’s official residence during his period in office between 1956 and 1981.  This beautiful villa is furnished in the same way it was in the 1970’s.  We took a self-guided tour of the house and then explored its sauna suite in the grounds. There’s also a very attractive cafe with additional outdoor seating overlooking the sea.  Leaving Seurasaari we returned to Kamppi by bus.  Located close to Kamppi is the Amos Rex art museum so we headed there next, arriving an hour before it closed.

Amos Rex

Standard admission €20, Getting there: Mannerheimintie 22-24 Helsinki.  Kamppi Bus Station and Trams 4, 7A, 7B, 10

Amos Rex, Helsinki
Amos Rex, Helsinki

The Amos Rex Art Museum won the Leading European Cultural Destination of the Year award and in 2021 has been chosen as one of the International Architecture Awards winning projects.  Its subterranean galleries host temporary exhibitions with Inner Journeys by Bill Viola taking place at the time of our visit.


Day Three

Many museums and attractions are closed on Mondays so care needs to be taken when planning if like us, you are utilising a card over a weekend.  On our final day we took to the water starting with a scenic cruise.

Canal Cruise

Helsinki Sightseeing Canal Cruise Boat
Helsinki Sightseeing Canal Cruise Boat

Getting there: Departure: Market Square, Helsinki, Kauppatori (Tram 1, 1A, 2)

Degero Canal, Helsinki
Degero Canal, Helsinki

This cruise taking 80 minutes tours the beautiful shorelines of Helsinki passing the Suomenlinna Fortress, Helsinki Zoo on Korkeasaari Island and through the archipelago before entering the narrow Degerö canal.  In my opinion, a definite ‘must include’ with the card.

Suomenlinna Island

Getting there: Frequent ferry service from the Market Square opposite the Presidential Palace.  Ferry ticket: €8 for a one day ticket.

Suomenlinna Island, Helsinki
Suomenlinna Island, Helsinki

The Suomenlinna Sea Fortress is just a 12 minute ferry ride from the city centre.  The island was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites as a unique example of the military architecture of its era.  Suomenlinna is a bastion fortress with an irregular shape and a unique history in serving the defence of three realms, Sweden, Russia and Finland.

Entrance arch on Suomenlinna Island, Helsinki
Entrance arch on Suomenlinna Island, Helsinki

Pick up a map from the tourist office in the pale pink building by the quay and enjoy following one or more of the trails around the island, the key sights being along the 1.5 km blue route.  Included in the Helsinki Card is the ferry and admission to the following:

Military Museum

Standard admission €7.  This exhibition features intriguing stories about the wars of Finland and the Finnish Defence Forces.

Military Museum, Suomenlinna, Helsinki
Military Museum, Suomenlinna, Helsinki

Submarine Vesikko

Standard admission €7.  Visitors can climb on board a restored Finnish submarine that served in the Second World War, viewing the cramped working environment and the technology used at that time.

Submarine Vesikko, Helsinki
Submarine Vesikko, Helsinki

Suomenlinna Museum

Standard admission €8.  This is the main museum on the fortress documenting the story of Suomenlinna.  The island offers a variety of inviting cafes, restaurants and even its own brewery where you can enjoy a bite to eat and a drink before catching the ferry back to the market square.

Coastal trails on Suomenlinna Island, Helsinki
Stunning coastal trails on Suomenlinna Island, Helsinki

The Sports Museum of Finland

Sports Museum of Finland, Olympic Stadium, Helsinki
Sports Museum of Finland, Olympic Stadium, Helsinki

Standard admission €15. Getting there: Olympic stadium  Töölön Halli (Tram 1, 2, 4, 10).

Ice Hockey displays in the Sports Museum, Helsinki
Ice Hockey displays in the Sports Museum, Helsinki

The Sports Museum details the history of sport and physical culture in Finland.  The museum traces the history of sport in the country with a special section on the Olympic Games.  Visitors can learn about events and sporting heroes including ice hockey and ski champions, footballers such as Sami Hypiä and Formula 1 champions  Mika Häkkinen and Kimi Räikkönen.  There is also a special section devoted to the 1940 and 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games.

Helsinki Olympic Stadium
Helsinki Olympic Stadium

This proved to be an extremely interesting museum to round off our three days of utilising the Helsinki Card.  Although the card does not include a stadium tour it is possible to view the stadium from the cafe terrace.

On analysing the cost of admission to each of the attractions visited we noted the total cost per person would be a whopping €212 rising to €228 if you take into consideration that you would need to use public transport to get between venues.  As Helsinki Cards cost €74 this is a huge saving and I hope this post has helped to provide some indication of whether or not you might wish to purchase the card. For me, it was a clear winner as I was able to visit and learn so much for a third of the usual admission prices.

 

If you have enjoyed reading this post, you may also like:

Kamppi and Herttoniemi, Helsinki

 A walk to Tervesaari island, Helsinki

 

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Making the most of the Helsinki Card

 

77 thoughts on “Making the most of the Helsinki Card

  1. Pingback: Making the most of the Helsinki Card – SHOPPEX NIGERIA

  2. I’ve been told that Finland is expensive but investing in the H card would be an excellent investment. Thank you for outlining all the prices and savings and if I do make it to Helsinki, I will be using this post to help me navigate the city. I hope you have a great weekend, Marion.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks June, Finland is a little more expensive than the U.K. but nothing like Switzerland. All the lovely cafes offer refillable tea and coffee which is nice too. We’re back in Bmth for the weekend as one of our sons has decamped his home office there for a change of scene! M.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I like the idea of refillable tea and coffee. Hope you had an enjoyable weekend in B. My Westbourne friend has just flown off to spend some time in Portugal and the Azores. Selfishly, I hope he won’t be away too long so I can come and visit!

        Liked by 3 people

  3. MANY thanks great writing!!! I have visited many times for work and I lived in Kuopio for 3 months too. The Finns are lovely people and the country is truly beautiful too, even is slightly Russian. Thanks!!!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Simon, Thank you for taking an interest in this series if lists in Helsinki. It’s great to read that you are also a fan of Finland, I’ve visited the country numerous times for work too. I’ve not made it to Kuopio yet but would like to visit there sometime! Marion

      Liked by 1 person

    1. How great that you actually stayed inside the Olympic Stadium Andy. The stadium has just had a new roof fitted and other refinements plus the Spirts Museum is a great place to visit. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, it’s much appreciated. Marion

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You are absolutely right Marion, the Helsinki Cards are definitely the way to go when you want to visit all these beautiful places! So many museums – wow! I would love to visit the Sports Museum – I’m a big fan of Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen of Formula One 🏎🏎. Oh, and that scenic cruise on the Degero Canal would also be a favourite!
    Thank you for sharing this money saver 👍🏻.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The three days we spent utilising the card were indeed action packed but we never rushed around taking our time to view each museum / attraction in turn. Finland seems to have so many similarities to Ottawa with its coastal walks and boardwalk trails that I’m certain you would enjoy visiting sometime. Thanks so much for your ever welcome thoughts. Marion

      Liked by 3 people

  5. The Helsinki Card looks to be a worthwhile investment while visiting the city! Hefty as the 74 euros is, it nevertheless allows access to so many enriching places to learn more about Finnish history and culture. It reminds me of the America the Beautiful national pass, which costs $80USD, but allows entry to over a hundred national parks in the US within a one-year period: if you visit at least three national parks in that year, the pass essentially pays for itself!

    Liked by 5 people

  6. That is what I call making it pay Marion. I think that is always the toughest part for anyone visiting a city for the first time. So many varied attractions and transportation. I enjoyed seeing Jari Kurri’s hockey jersey in your Sports Museum photo. He was a local hockey hero here in my earlier life. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    Liked by 6 people

  7. It’s impressive how much you have visited in three days, I didn’t do half of it during my stay in Helsinki. In your case the card was really a good choice. Just dream that you get all the savings back in cash.

    Liked by 7 people

  8. Sounds like a no-brainer Marion. I have, over the years, got similar kinds of cards and passes, and they’ve always been great value. The New York Pass comes to mind back in 2007. So many wonderful sights in this piece, especially love the Old Rapids.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Lovely pictures, especially the autumn foliage in the background and the stadium. Very informative too.
      I have used the City Cards in most European cities and they are really worthwhile if used with careful planning. The Paris card was a very good discount card!

      Liked by 5 people

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