Local transportation and the Travel Card
The public transport is well organised in Finland. The Helsinki region has buses, trams, local trains, a metro and even ferries organised by Helsinki Region Transport (HSL). When planning your journey, HSL journey planner helps you to find correct routes and best connections.
Please note that you must have a valid ticket. There are ticket controls every now and then and travelling without a valid ticket or with a wrong kind of a ticket can cost you a penalty fare of €80.
As a student (unless you are a doctoral level student) you are entitled to student discount when using the travel card. Please see the terms of the discount at HSL’s website. In order to purchase a personal travel card you need to have a Travel card application filled by your school. You can get this document from the Learning Services of your Aalto school. Students of international joint Master's programmes use the same Travel Card application as exchange students.
The personal travel card can be bought from HSL’s service points.You can use the travel card on the public transportation in the whole metropolitan area. It is the cheapest way to travel and fastest way to pay your journey. You can load either season (time period) or value on your card. However, student discount is only available on season tickets.
Please note that if you are a degree student, you need to have been assigned a municipality of residence by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (former Maistraatti) in order to be able to get the student discount. Exchange or free mover guest students or students of international joint Master's programmes are not required to register their residence for travel card purposes.
Degree students who have a Finnish ID number, a permanent address in the HSL area and online banking credentials for strong authentication can also get the student discount on season tickets bought using the HSL app.
More information on tickets is avalable on HSL website.
Facilities for cycling are very good in the Helsinki metropolitan area. During the summer season, there is a comprehensive system of city bikes (shared-use bicycles that can be borrowed for a fee by anyone) available in Helsinki and Espoo. If you want to buy an own bike, check the bike shops for cheap second hand bikes. When cycling, remember to wear a helmet and have a light when it’s dark!
Long distance travelling
In Finland timetables are reliable, and trains and buses do leave on time. Timetables vary slightly on public holidays, weekends and during the summer. There is a nationwide network of train and bus services. The trains and buses are clean and modern. Most of the services providers offer student discounts up to 50 %, but there are also special offers for early bookers which can be even cheaper than the student prize.
The long distance bus network in Finland is one of the densest in Europe and the buses are modern and comfortable. With a valid student card you can get a student discount for bus tickets. When purchasing and using student tickets, you must be prepared to show your valid student card (the receipt of the paid student union fee is not accepted). Unfortunately, doctoral students are not entitled to the discount.
Finnish State Railways (VR) grants student discounts on train tickets for students with an official student card. When purchasing and using the ticket, you must always be prepared to show your official student card (the receipt of the paid student union fee is not accepted). Unfortunately, doctoral students are not entitled for the discount.
For timetables, route information and bookings, see VR’s website.
Finland’s northern location next to Sweden, Norway, Russia and Estonia offers excellent and exciting travel opportunities. There are good air connections to all the neighbouring countries, daily ferry connection to Sweden and Estonia as well as to Russia in summertime. Russia can also be reached by bus, by boat and by train. Remember to check the visa and other possible permit requirements before travelling.
For information on the validity of foreign driving licences in Finland, please see Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom’s website Ajokortti-info.fi.
In Finland, you drive on the right and overtake on the left. Main roads are in good condition throughout the year and they are free of charge (no tolls). Headlights are used even during the day. Wearing seatbelts is compulsory, both front and back.
Drinking and driving: Note that driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly forbidden. The maximum permitted blood alcohol level is 0.05%. Breaking this law nearly always results in a penalty in the form of a fine or imprisonment.
Mobile phones and driving: If a mobile phone is used when driving, the use of a hands-free device is obligatory.