Helsinki City Transport operates public buses, trams and metro trains. It also runs a ferry to Suomenlinna, the fortress island just off the coast.
Within Helsinki, tickets cost the same whether it's a bus, tram, train or boat. The fare does not depend on the distance traveled, either.
For day-trippers who want to get around by themselves, a one-day ticket is ideal. It costs 7.00 euros (3.50 for kids), lasts for 24 hours and can be used on all city buses, trams or trains, and the Suomenlinna ferry.
A one-day ticket can be purchased from bus (but not tram) drivers, street ticket machines and many kiosks. There are also tickets for 2-7 days, but you can't buy them from a bus driver.
If you need only one or two rides, a single ticket is cheaper. It lasts for an hour, meaning that if you use another bus, train or tram within the hour, you just show the driver the stub of the old ticket.
The cost of a single ticket is 2.50 euros, if you buy it from the driver. If you get it in advance from a ticket machine, it costs 2.00.
There is a special cut-price ticket that can be used on the trams only and expires at the end of your ride, not after an hour. It costs just 1.80 euros but you have to buy it in advance from a ticket machine, not the driver, so if you board a tram with no ticket, the cheapest ticket you can buy is a single, at 2.50.
The fine for travelers caught without a ticket is 80 euros. Tariffs and warnings are posted in English as well as Finnish and Swedish so the obvious excuse doesn't work.
There are many taxi stands around the centre of town but taxis rarely wait there and it's even harder to flag down a ride in the street. If you have access to a phone it makes sense to call the taxi booking centre and order one to come to you.
To summon a taxi in Helsinki, call 0100 0700. If you are using a GSM telephone registered abroad, add the prefix for Finland i.e. +358 100 0700. You will be connected to a booking centre that will radio your request to the nearest available taxi.
Naturally there are fewer invalid taxis available so, to avoid waiting, it makes sense to call a couple of hours before you want to be picked up.
If you are arriving in the West Harbour, you can book a taxi in advance to take you into town. Call +358 100 0600. (If your berth is in the South Harbour or Katajanokka, it is hardly worthwhile, unless walking is out of the question.) You can order a cab up to 2 weeks in advance.
For the West Harbour, you will need to say the pick-up point. Make sure where you will be berthing from the Port of Helsinki's web page. LHB is Hernesaari Quay B, LHC is Hernesaari Quay C and LMA is Melkki Quay.
You will also have to state what time you will disembark and where you will want to go. Normally the taxi meter starts at 5.30 euros. When the booking has been made in advance, it starts from a slightly higher charge of 6.40 euros, but there are no other extra costs.
With more passengers on board it costs a bit more but even in a space wagon carrying more than eight people, the price is less than two euros per kilometre. There are no charges for normal amounts of hand luggage.
Taxis are not cheap but taxi driving is an honourable profession in Finland and passengers are safe from harm or fraud. You are expected to pay what the meter shows but not to tip. Payment will rarely be accepted in any currency except the euro, but payment by credit card is usually possible.
This is a problem for the tourist who doesn't have a GSM phone. In an emergency, any passer-by will gladly phone the required service for you, but will be less helpful if you just want to call a taxi.
For travelers with small laptops or WiFi-enabled phones, Internet access is better. Many shops and other businesses in the central area offer hot spots for public use.