Helsinki Card

On a visit to Helsinki, Finland, in 2006, at noon on July 26 I bought a 24-hour Helsinki Card* for €29 (near $39). I flashed the card as I took a train to the ferry dock, where I boarded the boat for a quick sail to the Helsinki Zoo (€8, or $11). (All prices listed are what entry would have cost without the card.) The bear cubs were delightful and easily the highlight of my visit. I took a tram home (€2.20 per trip).

On the 27th, I again rode the tram to another dock (Helsinki has many) to board a ferry for Suomenlinna Fortress (€3.80 for a ferry/fort combo ticket). The sun was warm and the breezes cool as I hiked the ramparts of Sweden’s former fortification. I watched an excellent historic film, “Suomenlinna Experience” (in English) at the museum (€5). There was a guided walking tour available, too (€6.50).

Later in the day I toured the Artillery Museum (€4) and then crawled inside a submarine (€4). Now, I’m not a military buff, but with the card I could pop into a museum for a mere five minutes without feeling like I was wasting my travel money.

Once back in the city, I boarded Tram 3T, a city sightseeing tour (€2.20) that rolled past the Olympic Stadium, Sibelius Park and Helsinki’s gorgeous railway station.

Overall, I saved over €14 ($19). I could have saved even more if I had pushed my sightseeing pace, but even at a casual pace the Helsinki Card paid off. I recommend the Helsinki Card to all travelers in town for 24 hours.


Boulder, CO

*The Helsinki Card gives free entry to major sights, museums and public transport and discounts on many activities. In 2007, it is available at over 50 locations in Helsinki, including the airport, train statin, ferries and Stockmann Department Stores or by calling +338 (0) 9 2288 1703, faxing 2288 1299 or visiting Purchased on site, the 24-hour card costs €33 ($45) and online, €30 ($41). It’s also available in 48- and 72-hour versions.