Is the Helsinki Card 2018 worth it? We review value and prices here

Finland's southern capital, the city of Helsinki is located on a beautiful peninsula in the Gulf of Finland. This European city is home to quite a large amount of museums, as well as other historic and cultural attractions. The Helsinki Card is a city pass that covers admission to over 20 attractions at a flat rate and offers a discounted entry rate for 22 others. You also have the option to purchase an extra region travel option with the card.

The most popular attraction in Helsinki is the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress Island. This UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to 1748 and offers visitors picturesque views, museums and more. It's also included on the card.

The second most popular attraction in Helsinki is the Panorama Sightseeing Bus Tour. On this audio-guided bus tour you'll see the historical centre, Rock Church, City Hall, the Parliament House and much, much more. The tour lasts about an hour and 45 minutes.

Prices of popular attractions covered by the Helsinki Card

  • Suomenlinna Sea Fortress Island: €37.00
  • Panorama Sightseeing Bus Tour: €32.00
  • Military Museum- Suomenlinna Sea Fortress Island: €7.00
  • Ateneum Art Museum: €15.00
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma: €14.00
  • City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour: €30.00
  • Beautiful Canal Route Cruise: €25.00
  • National Museum of Finland: €12.00
  • Finnish Nature Centre Haltia: €13.00
  • Theatre Museum: €10.00

As mentioned earlier, the two most popular attractions here are the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress Island and the Panorama Sightseeing Bus Tour. Without the card, they each are expensively priced as well, making them ideal attractions to visit under the card. In fact, a visit to these attractions alone will cover the price of a 3-day Adult card.

If you pair these two attractions with the City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour and the Beautiful Canal Route Cruise, then you'll save an impressive amount of money, along with having full unlimited access to the city's public transportation system.

2018 prices of the Helsinki Card

  • 1-day Adult Helsinki Card: €48.00
  • 1-day Adult Helsinki Card with region: €52.00
  • 1-day Child Helsinki Card: €24.00
  • 1-day Child Helsinki Card with region: €26.00
  • 2-day Adult Helsinki Card: €58.00
  • 2-day Adult Helsinki Card with region: €64.00
  • 2-day Child Helsinki Card: €29.00
  • 2-day Child Helsinki Card with region: €32.00
  • 3-day Adult Helsinki Card: €68.00
  • 3-day Adult Helsinki Card with region: €74.00
  • 3-day Child Helsinki Card: €34.00
  • 3-day Child Helsinki Card with region: €37.00

A Child Helsinki Card is for ages 7 to 16. Those under the age of 7 travel for free on the Helsinki public transport.

The Helsinki Card can be used up to 12 months from the date of purchase, so you can buy a card before prices go up and use it after.

Where to buy the Helsinki Card

The Helsinki Card is available online. Once purchased you can either pay to have it shipped to you, or you can print out the email confirmation voucher and present it at any of the redemption centres within the city. If you don't have a printer (or rather not print it out due to worry about losing it during travel) you can present the email via your smart phone to the representative at the redemption desk.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT for Price of Travel readers

If you decide to buy you can use promo code POT10 for a 8% discount on all Helsinki Cards using this link. Expires October 31, 2018.

Is the Helsinki Card a good deal? Let's run the numbers

Visiting the most popular attractions? It's a great deal

Not only should you visit what are considered the best attractions in the area due to their popularity, but also because of their gate prices. The most popular attraction, the Suomenlinna Fortress Island, has a gate price of €37.00 and the second most popular, the Panorama Sightseeing Bus Tour costs visitors a total of €32.00. Even if you just visit those two attractions and purchase the 1-day Adult Helsinki Card, you'll save a nice chunk of change.

The hop-on, hop-off bus is included in the purchase of your card

If you love a City Sightseeing Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour, you'll be delighted to learn that one is included in the purchase of your card. This means that you can venture around the city via this tour by getting off and on at any of the 18 stops included. Some of these stops are the Uspenski Cathedral, Rock Church, the Parliament House, the Opera House, City Hall, Finlandia Hall, and the Sibelius Monument. Even better? There is a guided commentary in 10 different languages.

With your Helsinki Card, you'll be able to hop on and off as many times as you want, as long as your card is valid. When planning your day however, you'll want to note that this tour is seasonal and runs from May to September.

Purchase a Helsinki Card with region for unlimited travel

When purchasing your card, you'll quickly note that there are not only 3 different card lengths (in days) to select from, but also an option to purchase a ‘region' add-on to each card, including those designed for children. The cards with the region add-on are indeed more expensive, but they do include more travel options. But what's the true difference between a regular card and region card?

The regular Helsinki Card grants you unlimited travel for 24, 48, or 72 hours after activation, depending on which card length you purchase. This card gives you access to all of the public transportation networks in Helsinki. These include trams, the metro, local trains, buses and the Suomenlinna Ferry.

When you purchase the Helsinki Card with region, you're essentially increasing your transportation options. On top of your unlimited public transportation options, you'll also have access to free travel to and from the Helsinki airport and unlimited travel in Espoo, Kauniainen, and Vantaa.

When deciding, try to stay away from attractions that have low gate prices

In order to get the most for your money, you'll want to try to stick to attractions that have higher gate prices. This way, at the end of the day, you'll end up saving more money when you compare the price of your card and the total gate price of the attractions you visited that day. Because some of the included attractions are so low in price, it makes more sense to visit them on your own if you are staying in the city longer than the length of your card.

Who the Helsinki Card is ideal for

  • First time Helsinki visitors who are interested in seeing the top attractions in one visit
  • Visitors who plan on spending two or more days in the city
  • Visitors who plan on visiting multiple attractions each day
  • Visitors who love to spend time at various museums during their travels

Who the Helsinki Card is NOT ideal for

  • Very low budget backpackers who seek to only visit the lower cost attractions
  • Visitors who are just passing through
  • Visitors who plan on visiting only one attraction per day
  • Visitors who do not wish to use the public transportation system

Important advice: Start early in the day and plan a bit ahead

When you plan your day, you'll want to strongly consider starting your day in the morning, right when attractions open. This is because, generally speaking, you'll find that attractions tend to be the least busy in the morning compared to the rest of the day. Not only will this help you beat the crowds at the beginning of the day, but it will also allow you more time throughout the rest of the day to visit more of your chosen attractions. The more attractions you visit each and every day of your card, the more money you'll save.

The Bottom Line

After looking through all of the included attractions and their entry fees, the Helsinki Card seems to be a very good deal for the money. This is true though, only if you avoid deciding to visit just the lowest priced attractions. As long as you focus your attention on the higher priced attractions and you plan a few each day, you'll find that the card will save you lots of money. In addition, you'll also delight in the unlimited public transportation that's included in each and every card purchase.

One thing you'll want to note when buying the card is that the attractions are mostly history and culture based, meaning that you'll won't find much to do if you're the adventurous hiking type. With that said, if you are traveling with children, not only is there a child card available, but there are a few kid approved activities included, but not all of them are free. Some in fact, are included in the discounted rate section of the card. Because of this, you'll want to make sure you have a good understanding of what is free when you purchase each card and what is discounted. That way you won't be surprised when you walk up to the attraction entry gate.

Where to buy the Helsinki Card

The Helsinki Card is available online. Once purchased you can either pay to have it shipped to you, or you can print out the email confirmation voucher and present it at any of the redemption centres within the city. If you don't have a printer (or rather not print it out due to worry about losing it during travel) you can present the email via your smart phone to the representative at the redemption desk.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT for Price of Travel readers

If you decide to buy you can use promo code POT10 for a 8% discount on all Helsinki Cards using this link. Expires October 31, 2018.

Photos by Flickr users Jonathan, Sami C, Wojtek Gurak, xiquinhosilva, and John Lloyd.




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