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Getting to and around in Scandinavian capitals

July 9, 2009

Scandinavia is a historical and geographical region in northern Europe that includes, and is named after, the Scandinavian Peninsula. It consists of the kingdoms of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark; some authorities argue for the inclusion of Finland and Iceland, in Scandinavia the term is, however, used unambiguously for Denmark, Norway and Sweden, which share a mutually intelligible language (a dialect continuum), ethnic composition and have close cultural and historic bonds, to a degree that Scandinavians may be considered one people.

Regardless of how the term Scandinavia is used outside the region, the terms Nordic countries and Nordic region are used officially and unambiguously to identify the nations of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland as well as the Danish territory of the Faroe Islands and the Finnish territory of Åland as politically and culturally similar entities.

Here’s a complete guide to getting to and around the Scandinavian capital cities of Copenhagen (Denmark), Stockholm (Sweden), Oslo (Norway), Helsinki (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia).

NOTE: This post was published in 2009 and currencies have changed in Estonia from Krooni to Euro. Also, prices may have changed so please make sure to check the latest rates from respective websites.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen

Copenhagen


Getting there
Air
Copenhagen’s wonderful airport is Scandinavia’s busiest hub, with flights from over 100 cities across the world. There are direct flights to Copenhagen from Europe, Asia and North America, as well as a handful of Danish cities. The modern international airport is in Kastrup (IATA Code: CPH), 9km southeast of Copenhagen city centre, and sees about 1.7 million passengers each year. It has good eating, retail and information facilities. If you’re waiting for a flight, note that this is a ‘silent’ airport and there are no boarding calls, although there are numerous monitor screens throughout the terminal.

Boat
There is a daily sailing from Oslo to Copenhagen with DFDS Seaways (www.dfdsseaways.com). Polferries (www.polferries.se) operates boats to Swinoujscie in Poland, leaving from Nordhavn (the northern harbour) five times a week and taking about 10 hours. From Germany, it is just five hours by train from Hamburg to Copenhagen Central Station via the DSB (+45 3 7013 1415; www.dsb.dk) boat-train from Puttgarden to Rødby.

Bus
International buses to several European cities are operated by Eurolines (www.eurolines.dk), which has a ticket office behind Central Station. Long-distance buses leave from Central Station, though some buses, including those to Oslo, also stop at Copenhagen airport.

Car & Motorcycle
The main highways into Copenhagen are the E20 from Jutland and Funen (and continuing towards Malmö in Sweden) and the E47 from Helsingør and Sweden. If you’re coming from the north on the E47, exit onto Lyngbyvej (Rte 19) and continue south to reach the heart of the city.

Train
All long-distance trains arrive at and depart from Central Station, an elegant, 19th-century wooden-beamed hall with numerous services, including currency exchange, a post office and a supermarket. There are showers at the underground toilets opposite the police office.

Getting Around
To/From the Airport
If you judge a city by how easy it is to get to/from the airport, Copenhagen takes top marks. The rail system speedily (and cheaply) links the airport arrival terminal directly with Copenhagen’s Central Station. The trains run every 20 minutes until midnight from 4.55am on weekdays, 5.35am on Saturday and 6.35am on Sunday. The trip takes just 12 minutes and costs 28.50kr.

By taxi, it’s about 15 minutes between the airport and the city centre, as long as traffic isn’t too heavy. The cost is about 220kr.

Bicycle
Copenhagen is a great city for getting around by bicycle. Most streets have cycle lanes and, more importantly, motorists tend to respect them. Except during weekday rush hours, it’s possible to carry bikes on S-trains (10kr per ticket). You can load your bicycle into any carriage that has a cycle symbol and you must stay with the bike at all times. Virtually all of Copenhagen can be toured by bicycle, except for pedestrian-only streets such as Strøget. Bicycles are allowed to cross Strøget at Gammel Torv and Kongens Nytorv.
When touring the city, cyclists should give way to bus passengers who must traverse cycle lanes to reach the pavement and have right of way, and to pedestrians (particularly tourists) who sometimes absent-mindedly step off the kerb and into the path of oncoming cyclists. Cycling maps, called Københavns Amt, are produced by the Danish cycling federation, Dansk Cyklist Forbund (www.dcf.dk), and can be purchased at bookshops.

Car & Motorcycle
Except for the weekday-morning rush hour, when traffic can bottleneck coming into the city (and vice versa around 5pm), traffic in Copenhagen is generally manageable. Getting around by car is not problematic, except for the usual challenge of finding an empty parking space in the most popular places. To explore sights in the centre of the city, you’re best off on foot or using public transport, but a car is convenient for getting to the suburban sights.

Rental
The following car hire companies have booths at the airport in the international terminal. Each also has an office in central Copenhagen.
Avis Tel: www.avis.dk
Budget Tel: www.budget.dk
Europcar Tel: www.europcar.dk
Hertz Tel: www.hertzdk.dk

Parking
For street parking, you buy a ticket from a kerbside billetautomat (automated ticket machine) and place it inside the windscreen. Copenhagen parking is zoned so that the spaces most in demand are the most costly. Your best bet is to search out a blue zone, where parking costs just 10kr per hour. If you can’t find an empty blue space then opt for a green zone, where the fee is 15kr per hour. Avoid red zones, where the parking fee is 25kr per hour. Parking fees must be paid on weekdays from 8am to 6pm (to 8pm in red zones) and also on Saturday to 2pm in green zones and 8pm in red zones.

If you can’t find street parking, there are car parks at the main department stores, at the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel and on Jerbanegade, east of Axeltorv. Parkering forbudt means ‘no parking’ and is generally accompanied by a round sign with a red diagonal slash. You can stop for up to three minutes to unload bags and passengers. A round sign with a red ‘X’, or a sign saying Stopforbud, means that no stopping at all is allowed. Parking ticket fines will set you back 510kr.

On Foot
By far the best way to see Copenhagen is on foot. This has to be the most eminently walkable capital in Europe, with much of the city centre pedestrianised and few main sights or shopping quarters more than a 20-minute walk from the city centre.

Public Transport
Copenhagen has an extensive public transit system consisting of a metro, rail and bus network. The metro system – which is driverless – runs through the eastern side of the city centre connecting Nørreport with
Kongens Nytorv and Christianshavns Torv. The system now runs to the airport. The S-train network has 11 lines passing through Central Station (København H), and a vast bus system called HUR (Hovedstadsens Ud-
viklingsråd; bus terminus), the main terminus of which is at Rådhuspladsen, a couple of blocks to the northeast of the Central Station.

The bus and train network has an integrated ticket system based on seven geographical zones. Most of your travel will probably be within two zones. Single tickets are valid for one hour’s travel (one to two zones adult/child aged 12 to 15 19/9.50kr; three zones 28.50/19kr; children under 12 travel free if accompanied by an adult). Also available are discount 10-ticket cards (one to two zones adult/child 120/66kr; three zones 160/80kr), which you must stamp in the yellow machines when boarding buses or on the train/metro platforms. Tickets are valid for travel on the metro, buses and S-tog (S-train or local train) even though they look slightly different, depending on where you buy them. One ticket allows you to travel for one hour on all three types of transport.

Trains and buses generally run from about 5am (6am on Sunday) to around 12.30am, though buses continue to run through the night (charging double the usual fare) on a few main routes.

The free Copenhagen city maps that are distributed by the tourist office show bus routes (with numbers) and are very useful for finding your way around the city. For schedules or more details try HUR (www.hur.dk; 7am- 9.30pm), DSB (www.dsb.dk; 7am-10pm), for trains and S-tog local trains, or Metro (www.m.dk; 9am-4pm Mon-Fri).

Taxis
Taxis can be called-out on the street and there are ranks at various points around the city centre. If the yellow taxa (taxi) sign is lit, the taxi is available for hire. The fare will start at 19kr and costs 10.20kr per kilometre from 7am to 4pm, and 11.20kr from 4pm to 7am, Monday to Friday. On Friday and Saturday, it’s 13kr from 11pm to 7am, and on Sunday and holidays the cost is 11kr. The cost is 10.20kr on Saturday from 7am to 11pm. Most taxis accept major credit cards.

Copenhagen Walking Tour Overlooking the Øresund strait with Sweden just minutes away, take a walk through the cultural and geographic link between mainland Europe and Scandinavia – Copenhagen.

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Points of interest:
Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Rådhuspladsen, Copenhagen City Hall, Dansk Design Center, Tivoli Gardens, Davids Samling, Kunstindustrimuseet

Kopenhagen Städtetour Mit Blick auf den Øresund mit Schweden nur wenige Minuten entfernt, machen Sie einen Spaziergang durch die kulturelle und geographische Verbindung zwischen dem europäischen Festland und Skandinavien – Kopenhagen.

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Sehenswürdigkeiten:
Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Rådhuspladsen, Rathaus, Dansk Design Center, Tivoli Gardens, Davids Samling, Kunstindustrimusee

Copenhague recorrido a pie Con vistas al estrecho de Øresund con Suecia, a pocos minutos, dar un paseo por el vínculo cultural y geográfica entre Europa continental y Escandinavia – Copenhague.

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Sitios de Interés:
Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Rådhuspladsen, Ayuntamiento de Copenhague, Dansk Design Center, Tivoli Gardens, Davids Samling, Kunstindustrimuseet

 

Actual prices on the respective websites or stores may be different from that mentioned here; please check the prices on the respective websites or stores before purchasing. All prices mentioned on this website are in USD, unless otherwise mentioned. Price for regions around the world may show in their local currency and may be different. We apologize for errors and would love to hear from you.

 

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm

Stockholm

Getting there
Air
The main airport in Stockholm, Stockholm Arlanda (IATA Code: ARN; Tel: +46 8 797 6000; www.lfv.se), is 45km north of the city centre and can be reached from central Stockholm by both bus and express train. Bromma airport (IATA Code: BMA; Tel: +46 8 797 6874) is 8km west of Stockholm and is used for some domestic flights. Skavsta airport (IATA Code: NYO), 100km south of Stockholm, near Nyköping, is also used for domestic flights and some low-cost carriers.

The SAS network serves 27 Swedish destinations from Arlanda, and has international services to Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki and a host of other European cities including Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, London, Madrid, Manchester, Milan,
Moscow, Munich, Paris, Reykjavík, Riga, St Petersburg and Tallinn. The airline also flies directly to Chicago, New York and Bangkok. Finnair flies from Stockholm to Turku, Vaasa and Tampere, and several times daily to Helsinki.

Boat
Silja Line (www.silja.com) runs ferries to Helsinki and Turku. Viking Line (www.vikingline.fi) ferries run to Turku and Helsinki. Tallink (www.tallink.ee) ferries go to Tallinn (Estonia).

Bus
Most long-distance buses arrive and depart from Cityterminalen, which is connected to Centralstationen. Here you’ll find the Busstop ticket office (Cityterminalen; 9am-5.30pm Mon-Fri), which represents the big concerns such as Eurolines and Y-Bussen, along with many of the direct buses to the north.
Swebus Express (www.swebusexpress.se) runs daily to Malmö (9¼ hours), Göteborg (seven hours), Norrköping (two hours), Kalmar (six hours), Mora (4¼ hours), Örebro (three hours) and Oslo (eight hours). There are also direct runs to Gävle (2½ hours), Uppsala (one hour) and Västerås (1¾ hours).
Ybuss (www.ybuss.se in Swedish; located at Cityterminalen) runs services to Sundsvall, Östersund and Umeå. You’ll also find a number of companies running buses from many provincial towns directly to Stockholm.

Car & Motorcycle
The E4 motorway passes through the city, just west of the centre, on its way from Helsingborg to Haparanda. The E20 motorway from Stockholm to Göteborg via Örebro, follows the E4 as far as Södertälje. The E18 from Kapellskär to Oslo runs from east to west and passes just north of the city centre. For car hire close to Centralstationen, contact Statoil, or Avis.

Train
Stockholm is the hub for national train services run by Sveriges Järnväg (SJ; www.sj.se). and Tågkompaniet (www.tagkompaniet.se). Centralstationen (Stockholm C; 5am-midnight) is the central train station. At the domestic ticket office (7.30am-8pm Mon-Fri, 8.30am-6pm Sat, 9.30am-7pm Sun) there are special ticket windows, where you can purchase international train tickets between 10am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. If your train departs outside these times, you can buy a ticket from the ticket collector on the train. Direct SJ trains to/from Copenhagen, Oslo and Storlien (for Trondheim) arrive and depart from Centralstationen, as do the overnight Tågkompaniet trains from Göteborg (via Stockholm and Boden) to Kiruna and Narvik; the Arlanda Express; and the SL pendeltåg commuter services that run to/from Nynäshamn, Södertälje and Märsta. Other SL local rail lines (Roslagsbanan and Saltsjöbanan) run from Stockholm Östrastationen (T-Tekniska Högskolan) and Slussen, respectively.
In the basement at Centralstationen, you’ll find lockers costing Skr35 to Skr75 (depending on size) for 24 hours, toilets for Skr5, and showers (next to the toilets) for Skr25. These facilities are open 5am to midnight daily. There’s also a left-luggage office, open daily, and a lost property office. Follow the signs to find your way to the local metro (T-bana) network; the underground station here is called T-Centralen.

Getting Around
To/From the Airports
The Arlanda Express (Tel: +46 8 5888 9000; tickets from Skr200) train from Centralstationen takes only 20 minutes to reach Arlanda; trains run every 15 minutes from about 5am to midnight. The same trip in a taxi costs around Skr350, but agree on the fare first and don’t use any taxi without a contact telephone number displayed. Taxi Stockholm (+46 8 15 0000) is one reputable operator. The cheaper option is the Flygbuss service between Arlanda airport and Cityterminalen. Buses leave every 10 or 15 minutes (Skr89, 40 minutes). It’s also possible to arrange a connecting Flygtaxi (Skr115) to meet you at your Flygbuss stop and take you directly to your door. Tickets for both can be purchased on arrival at the Flygbuss counter at Arlanda airport’s main terminal.

Bicycle
Stockholm has a wide network of bicycle paths and in summer you won’t regret bringing a bicycle with you or hiring one to get around. The tourist offices have maps for sale, but they’re not usually necessary if you have a basic city map already. Top day trips include Djurgården; Drottningholm (return by steamer); Haga Park or the adjoing Ulriksdal Park or a loop from Gamla Stan to Södermalm, Långholmen and Kungsholmen (on lakeside paths).
Trails and bike lanes are clearly marked with traffic signs. Some long-distance routes are marked all the way from central Stockholm. Bicycles can be carried free on SL local trains, except during peak hour (6am to 9am and 3pm to 6pm weekdays). They are not allowed in Centralstationen or on the metro, although you’ll see some daring souls from time to time.

Sjöcafé (Tel: +46 8 660 5757; 9am-9pm), by the bridge across to Djurgården, rents out bikes for Skr65/250 per hour/day (with options for longer rentals). For about the same price they also rent in-line skates, another good way to get around.

Boat
Djurgårdsfärjan city ferry services connect Gröna Lund Tivoli on Djurgården with Nybroplan and Slussen as frequently as every 10 minutes in summer (considerably less frequently in the low season); a single trip costs Skr20 (free with the SL Tourist Card or a monthly SL card).

Car & Motorcycle
Driving in central Stockholm is not recommended. Small one-way streets, congested bridges and limited parking all present problems. Don’t attempt to drive through the narrow streets of Gamla Stan. Parking is a major problem, but there are P-hus (parking stations) throughout the city; they charge up to Skr50 per hour, though the fixed evening rate is usually more reasonable. If you do have a car, one of the best options is to stay on the outskirts of town and catch public transport into the centre.

Public Transport
Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL; www.sl.se) runs all tunnelbana (T or T-bana) metro trains, local trains and buses within the entire Stockholm county. There is an SL information office in the basement of Centralstationen near the Sergels Torg entrance, which issues timetables and sells the SL Tourist Card and Stockholm Card. You can also call 600 10 00 for schedule and travel information from 7am to 9pm weekdays, and 8am to 9pm on weekends.

The Stockholm Card covers travel on all SL trains and buses in greater Stockholm. The 24-hour (Skr80) and 72-hour (Skr150) SL Tourist Cards are primarily for transport and only give free entry to a few attractions. The 72-hour SL Tourist Card is good value, especially if you use the third afternoon for transport to either end of the county – you can reach the ferry terminals in Grisslehamn, Kapellskär or Nynäshamn, as well as all of the archipelago harbours. If you want to explore the county in more detail, bring a passport photo and get yourself a 30-day SL pass (Skr600, or Skr360 for children age seven to 18 and seniors).

On Stockholm’s public transport system the minimum fare costs two coupons, and each additional zone costs another coupon (up to five coupons for four or five zones). Coupons cost Skr10 each, but it’s much better to buy strips of tickets for Skr110. Coupons are stamped at the start of a journey. Travelling without a valid ticket can lead to a fine of Skr600 or more. Coupons, tickets and passes can be bought at metro stations, Pressbyrån kiosks, SL railway stations, SL information offices, and from bus drivers. International rail passes (eg Scanrail, Interrail) aren’t valid on SL trains.

Bus
While the bus timetables and route maps are complicated, they’re worth studying as there are some useful connections to suburban attractions. Ask SL or any tourist office for the handy inner-city route map Innerstadsbussar. Inner-city buses start from Sergels Torg, Odenplan, Fridhemsplan (on Kungsholmen) and Slussen. Bus 47 runs from Sergels Torg to Djurgården, and bus 69 runs from Centralstationen and Sergels Torg to the Ladugårdsgärdet museums and Kaknästornet. Useful buses for hostellers include bus 65, which goes from Centralstationen to Skeppsholmen, and bus 43, which runs from Regeringsgatan to Södermalm.

Inner-city night buses run from 1am to 5pm on a few routes. Most leave from Centralstationen, Sergels Torg, Slussen, Odenplan and Fridhemsplan to the suburbs. Check where the regional bus hub is for each outlying area. Islands of the Ekerö municipality (including Drottningholm palace) are served by buses with numbers 301 to 323 from T-Brommaplan. Buses to Vaxholm (the 670) and the Åland ferries (the 637 to Grisslehamn and 640 or 631 to Kapellskär) depart from T-Tekniska Högskolan. Odenplan is the hub for buses to the northern suburbs, including Hagaparken.

Train
Local pendeltåg trains are useful for connections to Nynäshamn (for ferries to Gotland), to Märsta (for buses to Sigtuna and the short hop to Arlanda Airport) and Södertälje. There are also services to Nockeby from T-Alvik. SL coupons can be used on these trains, or you can pay on board.

Tram
The historic No 7 tram runs between Norrmalmstorg and Skansen, passing most attractions on Djurgården. Separate fees apply for those with a Stockholm Card (adult/child Skr20/10), but the SL Tourist Card is valid.

Metro
The most useful mode of transport in Stockholm is the tunnelbana, run by SL. Its lines converge on T-Centralen, connected by an underground walkway to Centralstationen. There are three main lines with branches. The blue line has a comprehensive collection of modern art decorating the underground stations, and several stations along other lines are decorated as well, often by famous artists.
Click here for Stockholm Metro Map

Taxi
There’s usually no problem finding a taxi, but they’re expensive, so check for a meter or arrange the fare first. The flag fall is Skr35, then about Skr7 per kilometre. At night, women should ask about tjejtaxa, a discount rate offered by some operators.

Stockholm Walking Tour Take a walk through the Swedish capital city that is made up of 14 islands connected by some 50 bridges on Lake Mälaren that flows into the Baltic Sea and passes an archipelago with some 24,000 islands and islets.

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Points of interest:
Centralstationen, Klara kyrka, Sergels Torg, Kulturhuset, Kungsträdgården, Sankt Jakobs kyrka, Karl XII:s Torg, Operan, Gustav Adolfs Torg, Sophia Albertina Palace, Helgeandsholmen, Storkyrkan, Kungliga Slottet, Stortorget , Köpmantorget, Järntorget, Mårten Trotzigs Gränd, Tyska kyrkan, Riddarholmskyrkan, Stadshuset

 

Actual prices on the respective websites or stores may be different from that mentioned here; please check the prices on the respective websites or stores before purchasing. All prices mentioned on this website are in USD, unless otherwise mentioned. Price for regions around the world may show in their local currency and may be different. We apologize for errors and would love to hear from you.

 

Oslo, Norway

Vigeland Park, Oslo

Vigeland Park, Oslo


Getting there
Air
Oslo’s Gardermoen International Airport (IATACode: OSL; www.osl.no) has a motorway and high-speed rail link to the city centre. Domestic flights also depart from here and include services (with sample one-way fares) to Ålesund (Nkr459), Bergen (Nkr374), Røros (from Nkr498, daily except Saturday), Stavanger (Nkr374), Tromsø (Nkr708) and Trondheim (Nkr374). KLM, Widerøe, SAS Braathens and Ryanair also operate ‘Oslo’ services to/from Torp Airport (IATA Code: TRF, some 123km southwest of Oslo.

Boat
Ferries operated by DFDS Seaways (Tel: 2162 1000; Located at Vippetangen 2) connect Oslo with Denmark from the Vippetangen Quay off Skippergata. Bus 60 stops within a couple of minutes walk of the terminal. Color Line Ferries (www.colorline.no; Located at Color Line Terminalen, Hjortnes) runs to/from Hirtshals (Denmark) and Kiel (Germany); boats dock at Hjortneskaia, west of the central harbour. Take tram 10 or 13 from Oslo S, or the Color Line bus, which leaves Oslo S one hour before boat departures.

Bus
Long-distance buses arrive and depart from the Galleri Oslo Bus Terminal (located at Schweigaards gate 8, Galleri Oslo); the train and bus stations are linked via a convenient overhead walkway for easy connections. Nor-Way Bussekspress (Tel: 8202 1300, 8154 4444; www.nor-way.no) has the biggest range of services. International services also depart from the bus terminal.

Car & Motorcycle
The main highways into the city are the E6 from the north and south, and the E18 from the southeast and west. Each time you enter Oslo, you must pass through (at least) one of 19 toll stations and pay Nkr15 to Nkr25.

Hitching
When leaving Oslo it’s generally best to take a bus or train to the outskirts of the city and start hitching from there. To hitch to Bergen, take bus 161 to its final stop and wait beside the E16 towards Hønefoss. For Trondheim, take T-Bane line 5 (direction: Vestli) to Grorud and wait beside Rv4, which connects to the E6. For the south coast and Stavanger, take bus 31 or 32 to the Maritim petrol station.

Train
All trains arrive and depart from Oslo S in the city centre. It has reservation desks and an information desk, which provides details on routes and timetables throughout the country. There are frequent train services around Oslofjord. Other major destinations include Stavanger via Kristiansand, Bergen via Voss, Røros via Hamar, and Tronheim via Hamar and Lillehammer.

Getting around
Oslo has an efficient public transport system with an extensive network of buses, trams, underground trains (T-bane) and ferries. In addition to single-trip tickets, day and transferable eight-trip tickets are also available. Children aged four to 16 and seniors over 67 years of age pay half price on all fares. The Oslo Pass includes access to all public transport options within the city, with the exception of late-night buses and trams. Bicycles can be carried on trams and trains for an additional Nkr11. The automatic fine for travelling without a ticket is a rather punitive Nkr 750. Trafikanten (www.trafikanten.no; 7am-8pm Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm Sat & Sun) is located below Oslo S tower and provides free schedules and a public transport map, Sporveiskart Oslo.

To/From the Airport
Flybussen (Tel: 177; www.flybussen.com) is the airport shuttle to Gardermoen International Airport, 50km north of Oslo. It departs from the bus terminal at Galleri Oslo three or four times hourly from 4.05am to 9.50pm. The trip costs Nkr120/220 one-way/return (valid one month) and takes 40 minutes. Flybussekspressen (Tel: 177) connects Gardermoen with Majorstua T-bane station (Nkr160), Bekkestua (Nkr180), Ski Skole (Nkr185) and other places, one to four times hourly. FlyToget (www.flytoget.no) rail services leave Asker station in the far southwest of the city for Gardermoen (Nkr190, 49 minutes) every 20 minutes between 4.18am and midnight, with departures also from the National Theatre and Oslo S. In addition, most north-bound NSB intercity and local trains stop at Gardermoen (Nkr75, from 26 minutes, hourly but fewer on Saturday).
To get to/from Torp Airport in Sandefjord, 123km southwest of Oslo and serviced by Ryanair among others, take the Torp-Expressen (www.torpekspressen.no; adult/child Nkr150/80) bus between Galleri Oslo bus terminal and the airport (1½ hours). Departures from Oslo leave three hours before scheduled Ryanair departures, and leave from Torp after Ryanair flights arrive. Although the service operates primarily for Ryanair passengers (the bus will wait if the flight is delayed), passengers on other airlines may also use it. At other times, you’ll need to take the hourly Telemarksekspressen bus (or a taxi; from Nkr150, 10 minutes) between the airport and Sandefjord train station from where there are connections to Oslo.

Bicycle
The best place to rent bicycles is the Skiservice Sykkelutleie (www.skiservice.no; per day around Nkr295) in the Nordmarka. To get there by public transport take T-bane 1 towards Frognerseteren and get off the Voksenkollen station (the 2nd-last stop). One alternative if you don’t plan on going too far is Oslo Citybike, a network of bikes that cyclists can borrow for up to three hours at a time from bicycle stands around the city. Access cards (Nkr70) can be purchased from the tourist office and last for 24 hours, but bikes must be exchanged or returned to a rack within three hours or you will loose your deposit (Nkr500). They’re convenient and well maintained; just don’t forget to get a map of the bike stand locations around the city, as the rack you were planning to use may be full.

Ferries to the Oslofjord islands sail from Vippetangen Quay. The express boat Princessin (www.nbds.no) connects Oslo with Drøbak (Nkr72, 1½ hours, three weekly) and other Oslofjord stops en route. It departs from Aker Brygge pier.

Bus & Tram
Bus and tram lines lace the city and extend into the suburbs. There’s no central local bus station, but most converge at Jernbanetorget in front of Oslo S. Most westbound buses, including those to Bygdøy and Vigeland Park, also stop immediately south of the National Theatre. The frequency of service drops dramatically at night, but on weekends, night buses N12, N14 and N18 follow the tram routes until 4am or later; there are also weekend night buses (201 to 218). These services are called Nattlinjer and cost Nkr45 per ride (no passes are valid).
Tickets for most trips cost Nkr20 if you buy them in advance (at 7-Eleven, Narvesen, Trafikanten) or Nkr30 if you buy them from the driver. A day pass costs Nkr60.

Car & Motorcycle
Oslo has its share of one-way streets, which can complicate city driving a bit, but the streets are rarely as congested as in most European cities. Metered street parking, identified by a solid blue sign with a white ‘P’, can be found throughout the city. Payment (up to Nkr44 per hour) is usually required from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and until 3pm Saturday. At other times, parking is free unless otherwise posted. The city centre also has 16 multistorey car parks, including those at Oslo City and Aker Brygge shopping centres; fees range from Nkr70 to Nkr200 per 24-hour period. Note that the Oslo Pass includes parking at all municipal car parks; instructions for display come with the pass.

Taxi
Flagfall starts from Nkr39 plus Nkr12 to Nkr18 per kilometre. There are taxi stands at Oslo S, shopping centres and city squares, but any taxi with a lit sign is available for hire. Otherwise, phone Norgestaxi or Oslo Taxi, but note that the meter starts running at the point of dispatch! Oslo taxis accept major credit cards.

T-Bane
The five-line Tunnelbanen underground system, better known as the T-bane, is faster and extends further from the city centre than most city bus lines. All lines pass through the Nationaltheatret, Stortinget and Jernbanetorget (for Oslo S) stations.
Click here to see Oslo Metro map

Oslo Walking Tour A one-hour walking tour around the main square of Scandinavian country Norway’s capital city Oslo.

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Points of interest:
Train Station, Karl Johans Gate, Oslo Cathedral (Domkirke), Stortorvet, The Crest of Karl Johans Gate, Grand Café, Parliament Building (Stortinget), Statue of Wergeland, City Hall (Rådhuset), Oslo Harbor, Harbor-front Spin-tour

 

Actual prices on the respective websites or stores may be different from that mentioned here; please check the prices on the respective websites or stores before purchasing. All prices mentioned on this website are in USD, unless otherwise mentioned. Price for regions around the world may show in their local currency and may be different. We apologize for errors and would love to hear from you.

 

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki

Helsinki


Getting there
Air
There are flights to Helsinki from the USA, Europe and Asia on many airlines. Finnair and its subsidiaries offer international as well as domestic services, with flights to 20 Finnish cities – generally at least once a day. Blue1 (www.blue1.com) has budget flights to some Finnish destinations. The Finnair office (www.finnair.fi) is in the train station complex. The Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport (IATA Code: HEL) is in Vantaa, 19km north of Helsinki. The quickest way to Tallinn is by helicopter. Copterline (www.copterline.com; 7am-10pm) flies hourly from Helsinki to Tallinn and back. The trip takes 20 minutes one way and costs from €118 for a limited ticket (book at least two days in advance) to €228 for a guaranteed seat.

Boat
International ferries travel to Stockholm and Tallinn. There is also a regular catamaran and hydrofoil service to Tallinn. Four of the five ferry terminals are just off the central kauppatori: Kanava and Katajanokka terminals are served by bus 13 and trams 2, 2V and 4, and Olympia and Makasiini terminals by trams 3B and 3T. The last terminal, Länsiterminaali, is served by bus 15. Ferry tickets may be purchased at the terminal, from a ferry company’s office in the centre or (in some cases) from the city tourist office. Book in advance during the high season (late June to mid-August). In summer there are daily ferries between Helsinki and Porvoo, through the southeast archipelago.

Bus
Purchase long-distance and express bus tickets at the new underground Kamppi Bus Station (7am-7pm Mon-Fri, 7am-5pm Sat, 9am-6pm Sun) or on the bus itself. There’s a terminal for local buses to Espoo in one wing, while longer-distance buses also depart from here to all of Finland. Destinations with several daily departures including Jyväskylä (€36.90, four to six hours), Kuopio (€49, five to seven hours), Lappeenranta (€32.30, four hours), Oulu (€77.40, 11½hrs), Savonlinna (€46.70, five to six hours), Tampere (€28.10, 2½ hours) and Turku (€28.10, 2½ hours).

Train
The rautatieasema train station is in the city centre and is linked by pedestrian tunnel with the Helsinki metro system. Helsinki is the terminus for three main railway lines, with regular trains from Turku in the west, Tampere in the north and Lahti in the northeast. There is a separate ticket counter for international trains, including the ones that go to St Petersburg and Moscow.

Getting around
To/From the Airport
Bus 615 (€3.40, 30 to 50 minutes, Helsinki Card not valid) shuttles between Vantaa airport (all international and domestic flights) and platform 10 at Rautatientori (Railway Square) next to the main train station. Finnair buses depart from the Finnair office at Asemaaukio (€5.20, 30 minutes, every 20 minutes, 5am to mid-night). It also stops at several request stops including the opera house. There are also door-to-door airport taxis (www.airporttaxi.fi) costing from €20 for 1 or 2 persons. If leaving Helsinki, these should be booked the previous day before 6pm.

Bicycle
Helsinki is ideal for cycling: the inner city is flat and there are well-marked and high-quality bike paths. Get hold of a copy of the Helsinki cycling map at the tourist office. The city of Helsinki provides 300 distinctive green ‘City Bikes’ at stands within a radius of 2km from the kauppatori – although in summer you’ll be lucky to get one. The bikes are free: you deposit a €2 coin into the stand that locks them, then reclaim it when you return it to any stand. For more sophisticated, Greenbike (www.greenbike.fi) rents out quality bikes for €10 per day, €15 for 24 hours, or €50 per week (hybrid bikes €10/20/70).

Car & Motorcycle
Cars can be rented at the airport or in the city centre. The big companies include Avis (www.avis.fi); and Hertz (www.hertz.fi) a few blocks north of the centre. Some of the more economical rental companies include Lacara north of the centre, and Budget near the Radisson SAS Royal hotel. Motorcycle rental is not common in Helsinki. Parking in Helsinki is strictly regulated and can be a big headache. Metered areas cost €0.50 to €1 per hour. There are a few free, long- or short-term parking areas around the city; for locations consult the Parking Guide for the Inner City of Helsinki, a free map available at the city tourist office.

Public Transport
Central Helsinki is easy to get around on foot or by bicycle and. there’s also a metro line and reasonably comprehensive transport network. The city’s public transport system, Helsingin Kaupungin Liikennelaitos (HKL; www.hkl.fi) operates buses, metro and local trains, trams and a ferry to Suomenlinna. A one-hour flat-fare ticket for any HKL transport costs €2 when purchased on board, €1.40 when purchased in advance. The ticket allows unlimited transfers but must be validated in the stamping machine on board when you first use it. A single tram ticket (no transfers) is €1.80 full fare and €1.50 concession. Tourist tickets can be purchased at €5.40/10.80/16.20 for one/three/five days; a 24-hour group ticket (two adults and up to four children) costs €8, making it better value even for a couple. Alternatively, the Helsinki Card gives you free travel anywhere within Helsinki. There are also regional tickets for travel by bus or train to neighbouring cities such as Vantaa and Espoo which cost €3.40 for a single ticket, €8.50/17/25.50 for one/three/five days, and €12 for a 24-hour group ticket. Children’s tickets are usually half price. HKL offices at the Kamppi bus station and the Rautatientori and Hakaniemi metro stations sell tickets and passes, as do many of the city’s R-kiosks. Metro services run daily from about 6am to 11.30pm. The Helsinki Route Map, available at HKL offices and the city tourist office, is an easily understood map of the bus, metro and tram routes.
Boat services leave from the kauppatori to Suomenlinna and to the zoo.

Taxi
Vacant taxis are hard to come by during morning and evening rush hours. If you need one, hail one off the street or join a queue at one of the taxi stands located at the train station, bus station or Senaatintori. A trip across town from the kauppatori to somewhere like the Olympic Stadium costs about €10 to €15.

Helsinki Walking Tour Walk through the center of the “Daughter of the Baltic” and the capital city of Finland rebuilt by the tsars of Russia along the lines of a miniature St. Petersburg.

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Points of interest:
Kauppatori, Tsarina’s Stone, Havis Amanda, Finlandia Talo, Vanha Kirkko, Esplanad Park, Senaatintori, Temppeliaukio Church, Opera House, Presidential Palace, Uspenski Cathedral, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Ateneum, Parliament House, Olympic Stadium, Sibelius monument, Hietaranta Beach, Hietaniemi Cemetery, Hietalahti square.

 

Actual prices on the respective websites or stores may be different from that mentioned here; please check the prices on the respective websites or stores before purchasing. All prices mentioned on this website are in USD, unless otherwise mentioned. Price for regions around the world may show in their local currency and may be different. We apologize for errors and would love to hear from you.

 

Tallinn, Estonia

NOTE: This post was published in 2009 and currencies have changed in Estonia from Krooni to Euro. Also, prices may have changed so please make sure to check the latest rates from respective websites.

Tallinn

Tallinn


Getting there
Air
Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport or Ülemiste Airport (IATA Code: TLL; www.tallinn-airport.ee) is 3km southeast of Old Town on Tartu maantee. Estonia has limited domestic routes. Avies Air (www.avies.ee) flies from Tallinn to Kuressaare on Saaremaa (45 minutes) once or twice daily from Sunday to Friday. It also flies once or twice daily to Kärdla on Hiiumaa (30 minutes).

Boat
Tallinn’s sea-passenger terminal is at the end of Sadama, about 1km northeast of Old Town. Trams 1 and 2 and buses 3, 4 and 8 go to the Linnahall stop, by the Statoil Petrol Station, five minutes’ walk from terminals A, B and C. Terminal D is at the end of Lootsi tänav, although there is better access from Ahtri tänav. A taxi between the centre and any of the terminals will cost about 45Kr. For yachting information, yacht hire and activities contact the Tallinn Olympic Yachting Centre.

From/to Finland
A fleet of ferries now carries well over two million people each year across the 80km Gulf of Finland separating Helsinki and Tallinn. There are dozens of crossings made each way every day (ships 3½ hours year-round; hydrofoils 1½ hours May to October only). Note that in high winds or bad weather, the faster boats are often cancelled. Fares vary widely, depending on season, day and time of travel, and other factors – like whether there’s a crisis in the world oil market. Fares are generally higher on Friday evening and Saturday.

On most ferry lines, students and seniors can get a 10% discount, children between ages six and 12 pay about half price and those under six ride for free.

Silja Line
Silja Line’s SuperSeaCatFour travels five to seven times daily between Tallinn’s Terminal D and Helsinki’s Olympia Terminal (from €26 to €70, 1¾ hours). Purchase tickets at the Silja Line (www.siljaline.se) window at the Makasiini terminal. In Tallinn, the Silja Line office (www.silja.ee) is on the 5th floor of the Stockmann Kaubamaja (department store) in Tallinn.

Nordic Jet Line
Nordic Jet runs two sleek, 450-seat jet catamarans, Nordic Jet and Baltic Jet, between Tallinn and Helsinki. They sail early May to December (depending on the weather); and there are seven crossings a day (adult/car
from €24/€28, 1¾ hours), docking at Terminal C in Tallinn. In Helsinki, Nordic Jet (www.njl.info) uses the catamaran harbour at Kanava Terminal (Kanavaterminaali). The Nordic Jet (www.njl.info) office in Tallinn is in Terminal C.

Viking Line
Viking Line operates the giant car ferry Rosella, which has two departures daily from each port (adult/car from €15/€22, three hours). The Rosella uses Tallinn Terminal A and Helsinki’s Katajanokka terminal. In the Finnish capital, contact the Viking Line office (www.vikingline.ee; located at Mannerheimintie 14). In Tallinn, purchase tickets from the Viking Line (www.vikingline.ee) office in Terminal A.

From/to Stockholm
There are direct sailings daily from Stockholm and Västervik to Tallinn, and a cargo ship that accepts passengers between Paldiski and Kapellskär, northeast of Stockholm and linked to the Swedish capital by bus.

Bus
Buses to places within 40km or so of Tallinn depart from the platform next to the Central Train Station. You can get information and timetables from Harjumaa Liinid. For detailed bus information and advance tickets for all other destinations, go to the Central Bus Station (known as Autobussijaam; www.bussireisid.ee; located at Lastekodu tänav 46), about 2km southeast of Old Town. Tram 2 or 4 will take you there.

Here’s the low-down on daily services from Tallinn to other Estonian cities.
Haapsalu 65Kr to 80Kr, 1½ hours, more than 20 buses.
Kärdla 140Kr to 160Kr, 4½ hours, three to five buses.
Kuressaare 170Kr to 195Kr, 4½ hours, eight to 10 buses.
Narva 85Kr to 110Kr, four hours, 15 buses.
Pärnu 80Kr to 115Kr, two hours, more than 20 buses.
Tar tu 80Kr to 110Kr, 2½ to 3½ hours, about 30 buses.
Võru 85Kr to 110Kr, 3½ to 4½ hours, eight to 10 buses.

Car & Motorcycle
There are 24-hour fuel stations in the city and on major roads leading to and from Tallinn. The Pärnu maantee Neste (petrol station) has a car-repair service. Car hire in Tallinn is pricey, around 1000Kr a day. You can hire cars in Tartu or Pärnu instead and save a bundle. The tourist offices in both of those cities have extensive lists of rental agencies. If you prefer to rent in Tallinn, try one of the following:
Avis (www.avis.ee)
Budget Tallinn Airport (www.budget.ee; Tallinn Airport)
Hertz Tallinn Airport (www.hertz.ee; Tallinn Airport)
R-Rent Tihase (www.rrent.ee; Tihase 34) From 500Kr daily.
Sixt Tallinn Airport (www.sixt.ee; Tallinn Airport)

Train
The Central Train Station (www.edel.ee; located at Toompuiestee 35) is on the northwestern edge of Old Town, a short
walk from Raekoja plats, or three stops on tram 1 or 2, north from the tram stop at the southern end of Mere puiestee. The Central Train Station has three ticket areas: the main hall, for travel around Estonia; upstairs, for international tickets; and the separate elektriraudtee ticket office, next to the train platforms (and just to the right of the R-kiosk) for elektrirong (electric trains) within the Tallinn area.

Most Estonians think train travel is antiquated and old-fashioned, hence domestic routes are pretty limited. Here are some places you can still reach by train:
Narva 75Kr, 3½ hours, one daily.
Paldiski 16Kr, 1¼ hours, 10 daily.
Pärnu 50Kr, three hours, two daily.
Tartu 80Kr, 2½ hours, four daily.
Valga 115Kr, 5½ hours, one daily.
Viljandi 65Kr, three hours, two daily.

Getting Around
To/From the Airport
Bus 2 runs every 20 to 30 minutes from terminals A and D at the Airport-bus Station via Gonsiori tänav in the
centre. From the airport it’s just five bus stops to the centre. A taxi to or from the airport should cost about 60Kr.

Public Transport
Tallinn has an excellent network of buses, trams and trolleybuses that usually run from 6am to midnight. Buy piletid (tickets) from street kiosks (adult/concession 10/7Kr) or from the driver (15Kr). Validate your ticket using the hole puncher inside the vehicle (or face a 600Kr fine). All public transport timetables are posted on www.tallinn.ee.

Taxi
Taxis are plentiful in Tallinn. Rides are metered and should cost from 5.50Kr to 7Kr per kilometre. However, if you merely hail one on the street, there’s a fair chance you’ll be overcharged. To save yourself the trouble, order a taxi by phone. Operators speak English; they’ll tell you the car number (license plate) and estimated arrival time (usually five to 10 minutes).

Pedi-Cab
Throughout central Tallinn, the ecologically sound Velotakso offers rides in egg-shaped vehicles run by pedal power and enthusiasm. Rates are 35Kr for anywhere within Old Town.

Train
Few of the suburban rail services from the central station in Tallinn go to places of much interest in the city. The one line that may be useful heads south to Nõmme, Päskula and Laagri. There are approximately 40 trains along this line from about 5.30am to midnight. Most continue beyond the city bounds to Keila, Paldiski or Kloogaranna, but some only go as far as Päskula.



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