Layover In Helsinki: The Ultimate Guide 2024

Published by: BouncePosted Updated
Helsinki, Finland

Land at the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and you'll be closer to Vantaa than you are to the capital of Finland. This international airport is less than ten kilometers from Vantaa but twice as far from Helsinki. The distance is of little importance though even if you're on a short layover in Helsinki, as there are excellent public transport systems operating from the airport into both cities.

The train service from the airport into Helsinki departs every ten minutes from the station in Terminal 1 and takes on average thirty minutes to reach Helsinki Central Station. The bus, number 615, departs from the airport coach terminal every half an hour and takes approximately forty minutes to get to the main station. Purchase your ticket for the bus from the automatic dispenser in arrivals before boarding and it'll cost you less than if you pay the fare directly to the driver. You can make your trip easier by dropping off your bags at a Helsinki luggage storage before you begin exploring.

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6 hour layover in Helsinki

Being so close to Vantaa means that even on a short stopover here you'll be able to get out of the airport, but if your layover is during the frigid Finnish winter months, you might not feel very inclined to go out. If you decide to stay in the airport where it's an awful lot warmer, spend your layover free time doing a world food tour by going to several different eateries in the departure lounge area. You'll discover some amazing cuisines there from around the globe including Irish, Japanese, Italian, and Nordic.

  • Grab a taxi from outside of arrivals and go to the Finnish Aviation Museum. It's just a five-minute drive or if you want to stretch your legs, a twenty-minute walk. There you can browse the exhibits for an hour or even try your hand in a flight simulator.
  • If you want to have a go in the flight simulator at the museum, it's better to book it online in advance of arrival. 
Helsinki, Finland

8 hour layover in Helsinki

If you manage to negotiate immigration control and collect your bags quickly, you could find yourself with five of the hours out of your eight-hour connection in Helsinki spare. Drop your bags at a suitcase storage service and catch the train into Helsinki. You'll be right in the heart of the city so in the perfect spot to start exploring for a couple of hours, though you won't really have time to go into any of the museums.

  • Don't miss walking through Senate Square with its magnificent cathedral, monuments, and flocks of hungry pigeons.
  • Have a lunch of traditional Finnish food served buffet-style in a wooden boat at the Savotta's Restaurant. You can munch your way through twelve different local dishes followed by two desserts.
Helsinki, Finland

10 hour layover in Helsinki

One thing not to miss seeing during your ten-hour layover in Helsinki is the Sibelius Monument. The monument has been constructed from six hundred metal organ pipes that play a whistling tune when the wind blows through them. If it's not windy, it's still worth the trip as you'll get great views of the city as well as the Finnish coast from there. Finland isn't a country that's known for its warm climate so if you're feeling chilly on your layover, grab a bike and get warm by cycling around the city's cycling paths.

  • If you don't want to cycle around Helsinki alone there are several cycle tour companies who arrange a variety of themed cycle tours of the city you can sign up for.
  • Take a free two-hour walking tour of Helsinki. Join the guide in Senate Square– they'll be wearing a green cap– and follow them around the main sights while they inform you about the Finnish people and their unusual culture.

12 hour layover in Helsinki

When you have a twelve-hour Helsinki layover you'll have more than enough free time to head over to the UNESCO World Heritage Site on the outskirts of the city. Sveaborg is an ancient fortress that occupies eight islands off the coast of Helsinki and dates back to the 18th century. Catch the ferry from Market Square for the twenty minute sail over to the island. Follow the Blue Route, mapped out by blue markers, around the enormous installation and you won't miss any of the main sights.

  • The ferry to Sveaborg runs all year round including when the water is frozen over. There's also a water bus service departing from Esplanadi Park during the warmer months.
  • Admission to the Sveaborg is free. There is a small charge for the ferry or water bus service.
Helsinki, Finland

24 hour layover in Helsinki

Plan to have a very exciting adventure when you have a Helsinki overnight layover by cruising across the Gulf of Finland and visiting Tallinn in Estonia for the day. Tallinn is the capital of Estonia and a city that appears to have got stuck in medieval times with its spired towers, a maze of cobblestone streets and lots of architecture dating from the 13th century. It's a massive contrast to modern Helsinki. Climb up the tower of the Tallinn Town Hall to get sweeping views of the city, have coffee in one of the town square's cafeterias then head for the Patkuli Viewing Platform to get views of the Old Town.

  • The ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn runs on average ten times a day and takes approximately two hours
  • Carry your passport or some form of photo identification with you when making this trip. It's not usually required but better safe than sorry.

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