How to do a Helsinki Layover

Home ยป Europe ยป Finland ยป How to do a Helsinki Layover

Helsinki Airport is the home destination for Finnair flights. Finnair flies from Asia, The Americas and beyond to Europe via Helsinki Airport. You may have a Helsinki airport layover that ranges from a few hours to half a day. A Helsinki layover means you can either spend your time in the airport or you can head from Helsinki Airport to the city centre. This option allows you to see some Helsinki attractions on your Finnair stopover

Use your Helsinki Stopover to explore the city

With a 9-hour stopover, we decided to head into the city for a Helsinki layover from the airport. A few hours spent in the city just to offset the time spent sitting at the airport. Having flown through the capital of Finland before I can also tell you it is expensive. Prices for food and drinks at the airport are high, money better spent seeing some of Helsinki’s attractions.

A direct train service opened between Helsinki airport to city central station in July 2015. This makes a Helsinki stopover so much easier for people to get into the city. You will arrive in the city at Helsinki Central Railway Station is otherwise known as  Helsingfors Central Station.

Travel time from Helsinki Airport Train Station to Helsinki Central Station is about 30 minutes. Single ticket fare from Helsinki Airport to city centre is € 4.10 (mobile), € 4.10 (HSL card), € 4.10 (ticket machine). Train tickets are sold at HSL ticket machines located on both train and bus stations. It is amazing what you can see in one day in Helsinki.

Trains are frequent on the line and trains run every 10 minutes in the daytime. All trains are modern and low-floor, providing easy access with luggage, prams or wheelchairs. This is a great feature of the trains as luggage can be a problem getting it on and off of trains.

One day in Helsinki

Shopping street in Helsinki

When you arrive on at Helsinki Central Station you are only a few hundred meters away from the Esplanade area of Town. Esplanade is a boulevard that runs from the city to the harbour area of Helsinki. Have you been to Paris?  Esplanade reminds me of  Boulevard de Rochechouart in Montmartre.

The middle of the Esplanade is a pedestrian zone. The zone has bars and ice cream stands, buskers and more taking in the streetscapes of Helsinki.  Beautiful tree’s, grass and chairs, a great place to relax on a warm Finnish summer day and for us was one of the best things to do in Helsinki.

Another of the best things to do in Helsinki is going for a walk down the sidewalk browsing the shops that line the street. One of the most famous is The Stockman department store. This store occupies a whole block in central Helsinki.  Stockman is an iconic department store in the northern Baltic/Scandinavian regions of Europe with outlets in Estonia, Latvia, and Russia. Shopping in Helsinki at stockman can be quite the exoerience.

At the bottom of the Esplanade is the Market Square and harbour area. Most days you will find a market operating selling local crafts and souvenirs, take away food, fruits, and vegetables. Kids will love the stuffed toys especially the husky dogs that were on sale and traditional wooden crafts. You will find some of the best food in Helsinki, reindeer and fish on lots of the menu’s on the market, The food is good priced meals and great quality food. I always say when near the sea eat the seafood. Market Square os easily one of the best things to do in Helsinki

If your going to eat food in Helsinki this is the place to have it. We can recommend a plate of Calamari and seasonal vegetables which were fantastic. If you have more time on your Helsinki layover you may want to go and seek out some of the finer foods Helsinki has to offer! A new addition to the harbour square landscape is the SkyWheel Helsinki. The Helsinki SkyWheel is 40-meter and provides a 360° view of  what to see in Helsinki city and the islands in Helsinki Harbour 

The seafood is a must try on a Helsinki layover

Amazing street food at the Helsinki Market. Whole potatoes with calamari rings and some small fish in the back ground. A great way to fill your tummy on your Helsinki stopover
Amazing fresh seafood at the market

Helsinki, like most other cities these days has its own giant Ferris wheel at the harbour. We did not go on it but it would provide excellent views of the harbour and islands that lie just kilometres off Helsinki including the UNESCO listed Suomenlinna which we visited in 2013.

Do I need travel insurance in Kazakhstan?
We always say if you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel. Get your travel insurance now to protect your epic holiday in Kazakhstan from any small hiccup.
For Australian travellers, we recommend Fast Cover Travel Insurance
For worldwide travellers, we recommend AXA Travel Insurance

If you like a beer the award-winning Bryggeri Brewery is located nearby. The brewery features a regular line of beers plus seasonal brews. The brewery has a beer garden with the fine-dining restaurant showcasing local Finnish produce and a bar that serves their beers and snack food. It would be a great way to spend some time on your Helskini layover.

Just up the street from Bryggeri Brewery you will find Helsinki Senate Square a huge building that dominates the area in its brilliant white colours. Senate Square and its surroundings are located in the oldest part of central Helsinki. The steps seem to be the place to be on a warm day with people sitting on them enjoying the sun. It looks like one of the most fun things to do in Helsinki.

Helsinki skyline featuring the habour and town hall

Popular landmarks and famous buildings of the Finnish capital all surround the square. These include Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace and the main building of the University of Helsinki. Senate Square usually has some exhibition or activity to see from art to sporting events to music.

Enjoy a Helsinki City Tour if you have the time

Alternatively like all major cities, there is the Helsinki hop on hop off bus.This type of tour is amazing for giving you an overview of the Helsinki city area. Helsinki hop on hop off bus tour easily whisks you around the sites in a few hours or longer if needed. It is a great way to see as much as you possibly can on your Helsinki stopover. If you have long enough you can get out see the sights you like then get back on the bus.

platform on the Helsinki metro

The Helsinki Airport Train will take you back to your plane

Head back to the Helsinki central station and the airport from here. The Helsinki train station will be about 200 meters away. This will have filled in at least 4 hours on this Helsinki layover. You could fill in a few hours more depending on the time you have between flights at Helsinki-Vantaa airport. Take some time to check out the front of Helsingfors Central Station Helsinki. The Helsinki Central Railway Station has two large sculptures out the front which makes this train station famous in its own right. Jump back on the Helsinki Airport Train and you day in helsini is done

Helsinki is the queen of the north, It is a progressive and liberal city to visit. with something to see for everyone. Grab a Helsinki Guide and see this city on a stopover or stay over.

Travel Tip: The Helsinki Airport Lockers are a great way to store your bags so you only have to take the essentials in to the city with you. We used the Helsinki Airport Lockers on our 9 hour Helsinki stopover and we highly recommend using them. There were all diferent size lockers, they were easy to find and they were a good price.

Things to do at Helsinki Airport

If you decide to stay at Helsinki Vaanta Airport you will find shops, food and beverage options.

If you arrive in Helsinki and you are just so tired there is the Glo Hotel in terminal 2 that hires rooms by the hours and days. You can unwind have a shower and a sleep and be ready for your onwards flightglo hotel Helsinki.

If you passing through Helsinki Airport with kids, there 2 play rooms for them to use. You can find kids play rooms at Helsinki Airport at gate 16 and gate 20. The play areas are open 24 hours a day for you Helsinki airport layover.

For aviation lovers Vaanta airport has a number of things to interest you. You can do a tour of the airport or the aviation museum. The Helsinki Airport aviation museumIt is a 20-25-minute walk from the terminal or catch a can for around 7 euros. You can find viewing decks for plane spotting and photography

Helsinki Airport terminal has a number of shops to keep you busy. You will find the usual electronics, luggage, food stores plus global brands such as Bvlgari, Burberry and Mont Blanc

If all else fails the Artic bar at Helsinki airport is great for a drink on your Finnair stopover in Helsinki. The bar has views out over the runway, comfortable couches with USB charging stations for all your electronic equipment. We have spent a little time there watching the world fly by while on our own Finnair stopover in Helsinki.

A panoric picture of the harbour area youwill see on your Helsinki stopover

How to get to Helsinki

  • Helsinki is the capital city of Finland. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport is 17 kilometres from Helsinki City Centre. 17.2 million people travelled through Helsinki airport in 2016.
  • The main carriers at Helsinki Airport are Finnair. Budget carrier Air Baltic flies to neighbouring coutries and beyondThe airport is a hub for CityJet (on behalf of SAS), Jet Time, TUIfly Nordic.
  • You can check the prices of international flights to Helsinki with cheapOair. Domestic flights can be booked through Expedia.
  • Helsinki airport to city centre train is available from terminal 1
  • You can book a Helsinki Airport to city transfer with Suntransfers who we have personally used on many occasions.
  • You can reserve a rental car and have it waiting for you at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport 

Getting around Helsinki

  • The same tickets can be used for travelling on buses, trams, the Metro, commuter trains and the ferry to Suomenlinna.
  • You can also transfer from one vehicle to another with the same ticket.
  • A day ticket is your key to getting around in the Helsinki metropolitan area.
  • Day tickets are available for unlimited use on public transportation for 1-7 days. They can be purchased from ticket machines, from the Tourist Information or from the Helsinki City Transport service point in the Helsinki Central Railway Station.
  • The Helsinki Card includes free public transport and many other discounts. Check for day ticket prices here

Where to stay in Helsinki

  • Reykjavik has accommodation options for every budget from Hostels, to apartments and hotels rooms.
  • Hostels in Helsinki can start from as little as 23 Euro a night for a shared dorm room.
  •  You can search Airbnb for there Iceland offerings. If you have never used Airbnb before get yourself $50 credit by signing and booking a stay right HERE
  • Hotels in Reykjavik generally start from around $147.00 a night for a double room 3 star and increase incrementally as the luxury rating rises towards the 5-star average price of $314.00.
  • You can compare and book your stay on Agoda, Hotels.comHotels Combined and Priceline

We hope this article from us here at Wyld Family Travel has you inspired to visit Helsinki on a layover. There are so many things to do in Helsinki that will have you entertained for you entertained on a stopover. For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in Finland click through to our Finland Destination Guide page for more brilliant inspiration.

How to do a Helsinki Layover
How to do a Helsinki Layover

18 thoughts on “How to do a Helsinki Layover”

  1. Hi, thanks for the post! About the new railwaystation at the Helsinki airport: The direct underground passageway to the terminal bulding is still under construction, it should be opened by the end of the year. Until that you need to take the free shuttle bus.

  2. This looks like a great place. I’d love to visit Scandinavia, especially Finland and the Sami parts, My sons name is Fin (Finley) so he thinks that Finland is his country! Thanks for the read.

  3. It’s such a good idea to break up your journey by seeing a bit of your stopover country. Mr Tin Box has been to Helsinki to visit a friend who was living there at the time. He also reported that it was a very expensive place. However, there’s a lot of culture and it looks like you made the most of your short time there

  4. Visiting the country your stopping in sounds like a fantastic plan. It would be very tiring for everyone to sit around an airport for 9 hours, I know I would get bored even if the kids were happy! I have heard that Helsinki is a lovely city to visit, I will have to head there sometime. Fantastic that your girls are thinking about the environment too.
    ๐Ÿ™‚ x

  5. What a great way to spend your time waiting for the flight. Helsinki sounds wonderful (although I was a bit ‘eeek not reindeers!’ too) It’s good that your kids are good in airports anyway. We’re going away soon with our toddler and i’m already a bit worried about it. Your posts always inspire me to go travelling more. We’re definitely going to check if you’ve been to where we’re going for our next holiday, so we can get some tips about what to see from your posts first.

  6. With all that there is to see and do in Helsinki are you tempted to go back for a third time?! It sounds like you made great use of your time there. I had never really thought about Helsinki but it looks like a lovely city to visit, great tips!

  7. You’ve managed to find some beauty there in Helsinki – I’m afraid its just one of those cities that didn’t set our world on fire – promised beer tram did not exist (I think that’s the only way I convinced hubby to go!) but the ferry across to Tallinn was fabulous and the highlight for us! Thanks for sharing

  8. I love that it’s now so easy to make the most of a stopover and see the city. My only visit to Finland was to Lapland and so I only saw the airport in passing and none of Helsinki itself.

  9. These are great tips! We are thinking of doing a long layover or weekend trip in Helsinki next year. I Pinned this post to refer to again later ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I’ve always wanted to visit Finland – and Helsinki looks like a great city break. One to add to the long list. The esplanade looks so pretty then food and beer, sounds like the winning combo.

  11. Thanks for this! I have been thinking about visiting the Northern Lights early next year, and travelling via Helsinki..will keep these things in mind..

  12. I’ve never been to Finland but would be great to go for a long weekend or even as a tie in with Tallin. Fab way to spend a few hours in transit! I’d have to stay away from the reindeer meat too!

  13. It sounds like a great city for walking, and the quick guide paired with the comments, it sounds like a day in Helsinki is enough. But now I want to visit Tallin…

  14. We visited Helsinki a while back and loved it! Pretty walkable. My favorite part was tasting some fresh salmon by the pier…

  15. I’ve never been to Helsinki but especially with the bright sky, it looks really lovely. You seem to have covered a lot of ground of a stopover: I would have probably lounged in the beer garden for most of it (children permitting…) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. I’ve never been to Helsinki but especially with the bright sky, it looks really lovely. You seem to have covered a lot of ground of a stopover: I would have probably lounged in the beer garden for most of it (children permitting…) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Finland is a place we dream of, the name conjures up images of reindeer and lots of snow.
    Nice informative article and some nice pictures.


Leave a comment