The City of Helsinki will be providing all attending members of the Helsinki Worldcon in 2017 with free public transport during the convention.
Travel to and from the centre of the city is very simple by local train, as the Pasila station is immediately adjacent to the convention site and one stop (5 min) from the central train station. There are between 10 and 35 trains each hour in both directions, depending on the time of day or night. Three tram lines also have a stop right in front of the site, and it’s well served by other bus and tram connections.
All buses and metros, as well as most trams and trains, are low-floor and wheelchair-accessible. Mobility scooters are allowed on low-floor trains, and wheelchairs are usable everywhere.
The airport is 10 miles north of the convention site by car, and by 2015 will be served by a direct train connection that should get you to either Pasila or the centre of Helsinki in 15-20 minutes. Taxi from the airport is likely to cost about $40 USD (at current prices).
The port of Helsinki—with regular passenger connections to Sweden, Estonia, Russia and Germany—is also well served by public transport, with all quays 10-15 minutes’ travel from the central train station. Taxi from the port to the convention site would probably cost about $20 USD.
Direct flights from North America to the Helsinki International Airport (Helsinki-Vantaa) are currently available from New York and Toronto via Finnair. In the recent past direct connections to at least Boston, Chicago and Orlando have also been available seasonally, primarily via American Airlines. Excluding charter flights, 51 airlines operate from the airport.
Helsinki is the main Northern European hub for traffic between Europe and Asia. Within Europe, there are multiple daily direct connections to pretty much all the hubs (London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, etc.) at which a plane from the US or elsewhere in the world might be landing. In 2012, on average 40,000 passengers per day were served by the airport, the vast majority of which were international passengers.
For a sample of flights available (as of November 2014):
Chicago $1100 London $170
Los Angeles $1050
New York City $950
Please note that fares to Helsinki have decreased significantly for several locations in the past year, as airlines such as Finnair, Norwegian Air, Icelandic Air, and WOW air have recently opened new direct routes into Helsinki. We are also talking with several airlines about making group discounts available to our convention members, should we win.
You can reach Helsinki by train from St. Petersburg and from Moscow. There are no railways connecting Sweden or Norway with Finland due to the fact that Finland has a different rail gauge. There is a super fast Allegro train on the Helsinki - St. Petersburg route, taking only 3.5 hours.
As Finland is surrounded by the Baltic sea from the south and west, ferries are your best choice to cross it. The ferries range from very basic freight car ferries to huge floating palaces. The Stockholm - Helsinki (or Turku) ferries are some of the largest and most luxurious passenger ferries in the world, with as many as 14 floors and a whole slew of restaurants, bars, discos, pool and spa facilities, etc. Not to mention the beautiful scenery of the sea and the archipelago. The cheaper cabin classes below the car decks are rather spartan, but the higher sea view cabins can be very nice indeed. The prices are very affordable!
You can take your car, bike, or just yourself on the ferry. Many ferries also offer deck places if you don’t want a cabin (please note a return trip cruise might be cheaper than a one way ticket). Some ferry lines might have age limits. The ferry prices differ a lot depending on where you are traveling from, the cheapest being the ones from Sweden and Estonia.
A ferry to elsewhere in Finland:
You can drive from anywhere in Europe either through Sweden or along the Via Baltica, and take the abovementioned ferries to cross the Baltic sea. For a completely land-based route you can either come by St. Petersburg, Russia, or cross the northern border from Sweden or Norway, but please bear in mind you have about 750km to go south to Helsinki from up there. Though visiting Lapland might be worth the trip!
You can bike from anywhere in Europe, and take the abovementioned ferries to cross the Baltic sea. Helsinki is one of the best cities in the world for biking, with bicycle lanes and routes in the city.
You can take the bus from St. Petersburg, Russia. It will take you 8-9 hours. There are buses also at the very north border from Sweden or Norway, but please bear in mind you have about 750km to go south to Helsinki from the northern border. Though (again) visiting Lapland might be worth the trip!
Helsinki and Tallinn are only 80km apart, so if you feel up to it, you can take a refreshing swim! Seriously, we don’t recommend this, but if you consider it, please make sure you have a care crew with a boat tailing you all the way (and let us know, so that we can have press relations prepared for your arrival). Sailing the route should be very fine indeed.