Exploring Helsinki on a Budget


Guestpost by : Emma Harris

Helsinki has often been topped a number of lists of the most expensive places in the world and this puts a lot of potential visitors off. But what can you really expect from the capital of a place that has previously been voted “the best country in the world?”. There are plenty of sites that have general tips on saving money in expensive destinations and there are always plenty of deals to be found if you do your research beforehand. Here are a few extra tips for you to consider to help you stick to a tight budget during your next trip to the european city of Helsinki.

suomenlinna photos
Moonrise over Suomenlinna photo by Taivasalla

Accommodation in Helsinki

As with most European cities, a hostel is the most popular choice for visitors on a budget but do bear in mind that cheap here doesn’t mean the same as most other capital cities. Expect to pay around 25€ for a bed for the night. A great option for those looking to be somewhere central is the Stadion Hostel, located within the Olympic Stadium. Also try Eurohostel, which is central and a little more expensive but offers a free sauna for its visitors. If you want to stay out of the city, try Suomenlinna Hostel, located on the UNESCO World Heritage fortress island area of Suomenlinna. Only a 20-minute ferry ride from Helsinki harbour. If you’re visiting during the summer, you can also look into renting local university accommodation.

Eating out in Helsinki

One of the best ways to save money during your trip is to fill yourself up on the lunchtime buffets (aka lounas buffett) which can be found in most restaurants throughout the city. They tend to serve up the same meals as they do during the evening just for a lower price to get people through the door. One place that is great for this is a restaurant / bar called Belly located in the Design District. It’s bright blue walls, extravagant chandeliers and incredible paintings; this place attracts a mixed lunch time crown of students, 9-5ers and even some local workmen. For 8.50€, visitors can enjoy as much pasta, fish, meat, salad, and soup. Coffee and dessert is included in the price too.

Helsinki tram photos
Helsinki tram photo by Lhoon

If you’re just after a quick coffee, expect to pay on average of at least 3€ per cup. Luckily, Kaffecentralen, which is not too far from Belly, is a great place to find a good cup of reasonably priced coffee. You can also get a coffee on the go from local newsstands and an espresso will only cost you around a euro — less if you use your own cup.

Getting around Helsinki

If you don’t mind walking and exploring the sights, you’ll enjoy Helsinki as it’s easy to get around the city by foot. But when it comes to areas such as the Sibelius Monument, the local beaches, or attractions such as the Linnanmäki amusement park, public transport is necessary.

As with most European cities, there isn’t generally much need to rent a car during you time there. Visitors can get a one-day pass that will allow you to travel on buses, trams, the subway, and the ferry. This will only cost you around 6.80€ to begin with plus an additional 3.40€ for each extra day.

Two of the cheapest ways to travel the city are the trams 3B and 3T. These routes of these trams will take you past most of the city’s main sights and attractions and with your day ticket, you can get on and off when you like.

Look into the Helsinki Card during your stay. Depending on how much you’d like to see, you can get a 24hour pass for 34€ and a 48 hour pass for 45€. This will give you free entry to most of the museums, free public transportation, and free admission to some of the top attractions as well as discounts at restaurants, concerts, and on the ferry to Tallinn. If you’ve booked flights to Helsinki, you can also find great discounts on your transport to and from the airport to help you save on your trip.