Basic Information about Helsinki

Helsinki is the capital of Finland. It is located in southern Finland on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. Helsinki is the administrative centre of the country: it is where the Parliament of Finland convenes and where the ministries are located. Helsinki is also an important hub of business and culture.

The population of Helsinki is approximately 600,000. 83 % of the residents speak Finnish as their native language, while 6 % speak Swedish. 11 % speak some other language.


The Metropolitan Area boasts good public transport connections. The transport network of Helsinki includes trains, buses, trams, metros and the Suomenlinna ferry.

Helsinki is part of Helsinki Region Transport, HRT (Helsingin seudun liikenne, HSL), a joint municipal authority that organises public transport in the Metropolitan Area.  You can use the Journey Planner (Reittiopas-palvelu) service to search for information on routes in the Metropolitan Area. The service provides suggestions on how to get from one place to another using public transport.

Travel card

It is cheaper to travel by Travel Card (matkakortti) than if you buy a single ticket with cash. Travel Card is accepted on the local service’s buses, commuter trains, the metro, trams and the Suomenlinna ferry.

There are two kinds of travel cards. A personal Travel Card (henkilökohtainen kortti) can only be used by the card’s owner. It is the cheapest way to travel. Multi-user Travel Cards (haltijakohtainen kortti) can be used by more than one person.

Before you buy a personal Travel Card, you must register as a permanent resident in one of the cities covered by the HSL regional tickets. These cities are Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen, Kirkkonummi, Kerava and Sipoo.

You can purchase a Travel Card at an HRT sales office (myyntipiste) or service point (palvelupiste). They are located in different parts of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. You can buy a personal Travel Card at a service point. If you want to buy a personal Travel Card, bring your identification. You can also buy a personal Travel Card from the HRT website if you have Finnish online banking credentials.

The Travel Card can be used after you have loaded either a season (kausi) or value (arvo) to it. A season refers to time: for example, one month. Value refers to money value. If you use public transport often, it is worth loading a season to your card.

You can load your Travel Card in any Travel Card loading point (matkakortin latauspiste). More information is available on the HRT website.

Motor and air traffic

Many metro and railway stations provide the opportunity to park your car free of charge and continue on public transport. Helsinki has good highway connections to all parts of Finland. The nearest airport is Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

For more detailed information, please visit the city of Helsinki website here.