In all my research online, I figured with opinions of others was worth something so I bought the 72 hour Helsinki Card … it was a stupid decision and fraught with utter worthlessness. See a picture of my card … the only use of the card was really for taking the picture of the card to prove how useless the card is.
I’m not saying that the card doesn’t have tons of uses … it actually could be quite useful, if you’re going to take the subway or metro – which you will never do, if you’re staying downtown Helsinki. Even if you visit a friend outside of town, you’ll need to visit a lot of friends outside of town to make this even remote useful.
If you’re planning a trip to the Finnish capital, chances are you’ll see the Helsinki Card advertised as a “must-have” for visitor discounts. But at a hefty €36 – €56 for 1 -3 days of visits, the tourist pass was a bit of an investment for cost-conscious Cheapos like me. Helsinki is an expensive city and you really will want any opportunities to cut cost – but getting the VisitHelsinki card is just not worth it, unless you’re going visit 10 museums in town over 48 hours, it’s completely worthless.
Here is a basic overview of what the card offers
- The Helsinki Card includes free admission to 40 museums (including the wonderful Ateneum and Kiasma art museums), as well as unlimited travel on Helsinki’s tram, bus, and ferry system. The card also offers a free city tour and discounts on day trips to nearby city of Tallinn, Estonia.
- For those planning on sampling some traditional Finnish culture, the card also offers discounts at a number of restaurants—and even the city’s famous swimming hall and sauna.
Here are the 2012 prices for the Helsinki Card:
- 24-hour Helsinki Card costs €36 (€13 for children under 16).
- 48-hour card costs €46 (€16).
- 72-hour card costs €56 (€19).
Should you buy it?
There are only two things to consider before deciding if the Helsinki Card is worth the euros and they both won’t make a difference.
- Firstly, do you plan on hitting up lots of museums during your stay? If not … then don’t waste your money.
- Even if museums are a top priority for you, note that many museums offer free admission of the first Wednesday of the month. Are you really that interested in Finnish culture, such that you can’t plan around one Wednesday? Even if you are a museum freak … the card still sucks and you suck for pretending that you will care that much.
Also worth considering is how often you’ll use transportation. Helsinki is a small city, and most sights are within walking distance of one another. That said, there are a few notable exceptions located outside the city center. To reach the famous Sibelius Monument or the seaside ice-swimming Rastila camp site, you’ll need to take the tram or metro. If you’re staying in the center of town, however, there’s no need to step aboard at €2.50 a pop; the city is best explored on foot.
The bottom line
- The card sucks and is a waste of money unless you plan to never go out during the 22 hour days for drinking
- The Helsinki Card is really only worth the euros if your trip is jam-packed with sightseeing and museum-visiting over 2 or 3 days.
- Save your money, spend a couple Euros for the island fortress of Suomenlinna ticket and take a first class Linda ferry to Tallinn.