Helsinki

By | 16th January 2018

Do you need a car in Helsinki?

Do you need a car in Helsinki > Should you rent a car in Helsinki Finland > Helsinki ( HEL )

Do you need a car in Helsinki? Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

James says - a few trip notes:


I visited Helsinki briefly in 2009 as I was spending a week travelling around various cities in Scandinavia. I would love to return and do it more justice, but there is still plenty that I would want to see outside the city without needing a car.


Why should you rent a car in Helsinki?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Helsinki?

Helsinki Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all cost and quality factors. [Full notes - drive rating]

80%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]

€170

 #200/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]

 €265

181/300

 

Free parking score

Total 151 - of which 49 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

32%

#194/300

 
  • Lakes and landscapes. As the main gateway to Finland, Helsinki affords plenty of opportunities to explore this beautiful country. The best way to access this landscape is by car.
  • Flexibility – as with anywhere, a car means flexibility to explore at your own pace. Although there are some good reasons below to get around without a hire car in Helsinki, these are all based on accepting the schedule of the transport provider you are going with.
  • Limited rail network. Outside the Helsinki urban area, public transport is limited to major roads and a small number of trunk railway services.
 

Why not? Visiting Helsinki without a car

 
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Helsinki public transport quick facts

Train score

 

80%

Water travel score

90%

Overall public transport score

80%

 

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Helsinki. 

100%

Around Helsinki without a car

  • City of architecture and design — never underestimate what Helsinki has to offer in its own right! The centre in particular has many fine examples of great architecture from the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Central Station — the Central Station in Helsinki, designed by Eliel Saarinen, is one of the major architectural landmarks of the city. You might as well start your Architour here and continue onwards on foot or by using public transport.
  • Walk and bike — Helsinki is an excellent city to travel around on foot or by bike, and it is well worth getting out beyond the centre to enjoy some of the lovely coastal areas which are so easily accessible either by hiring a bike in the city centre and riding there, or by taking one of the suburban trains out of the city centre.
  • Helsinki pass — as with other Scandinavian cities, you can buy a Helsinki travel pass which will give you discounted access to main museums as well as free unlimited travel by bus, underground and tram.
  • Boat trips — there are numerous options for taking boat trips around Helsinki, including taking a boat in one direction and then returning to the city by bus or train.
  • Tapiola— many architects have rated the Helsinki district of Tapiola as having the highest standard of human settlement anywhere in the world. If you have any interest at all in urban design or simply in looking at better ways of living, then taking a trip out to Tapiola is an absolute must. Here you will see a seamless blend of human habitation within a stunning natural environment of pine forests, criss-crossed with trails and exposed stone.To get there from Helsinki city centre, allow around half an hour by bus, although the Metro should be coming out to Tapiola by 2013.

Beyond Helsinki

  • Train excursions — trains in Finland are more than and efficient, giving plenty of options for heading out in various directions from Helsinki. Any of the train lines to and beyond Joensuu are rated as particularly scenic, as is the route to Oulu if you take the central option via Pieksamaki.
  • Cost — unsurprisingly, hiring a car in Helsinki doesn’t come particularly cheap, even if car hire rates here are generally a little lower than they are in Norway or Sweden. That doesn’t mean to say that the longer distance trains are particularly cheap either, but for one or two people they can often work out better value.

International

  • Stockholm and Tallinn— Helsinki might look quite isolated up in the north-eastern corner of the European Union, but you can easily combine a visit to Finland with Sweden, by taking the overnight ferry between Stockholm and Helsinki. In a hire car, doing this kind of journey would be impractical as you would have to travel in a loop and return at least to the country where you picked the car up, whereas travelling on ferries is a foot passenger gives you the flexibility to travel in just one direction and then fly back from a different city. A much closer option is the Estonian capital Tallinn, which is just two hours away from Helsinki by ferry.

Ratings

Car rental in - Helsinki Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Helsinki?

  • Based on comparison with transit and walking/cycling?
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Helsinki?

  • Based on value for money?
 

Should you rent a car in Helsinki?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Helsinki if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

What about for families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Helsinki if we are staying in the city centre / main resort area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the urban area?

What if we are staying in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Helsinki if I prefer not to drive?

What if we are easy either way?

What if I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

What is our final score for Helsinki on the Carornocar scale?

2

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Conclusion — if your main priority is to drive around the Finnish landscapes, then picking up a hire car at Helsinki airport is probably the best option, although we firmly believe that Helsinki is massively underrated as a city in its own right. Once you start allowing time to enjoy Helsinki and its surrounding area, then the car becomes a lot less useful, especially as the standard of scenic railways in Finland is very high.

Do you need a car in Helsinki? No! For all the reasons above, we advise at least looking at other options before automatically getting a hire car.

Would you hire a car in Helsinki?

Have you driven in Helsinki? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Helsinki?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
 

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