Discoveries along the track
The Ring Rail line speeds passengers in half an hour from the airport to the centre of Helsinki, from where they can continue with convenient rail connections to Espoo, as well as all the way to northern Finland.
The line is in the shape of a heart, so it's hardly coincidental that it's operated on the nimbly interactive FLIRT trains. But what interesting things are really there to be found along the way? We travelled to the airport and back, counterclockwise along the Ring Rail Line and found out.
Helsinki – Pasila – Käpylä – Tikkurila – Airport
When the capital with its attractions falls behind, next up is Pasila, where everything is a bit bigger. There, you can find the Messukeskus Expo and Convention Centre, for large-audience events and conferences, as well as the Hartwall Arena for sports events and big concerts, both amongst the largest in Finland in their field. In the next few years, Pasilan Tripla, a hyper-modern development for residential and commercial properties, will also rise up in the area, where, in the area of three blocks, there will be 3,400 cycling parking spaces and around 340 electric car charging stations, amongst other things.
The garden area of the city, Käpylä, is particularly favoured by artists and the cultural community. Actors from Ansa Ikonen to Heikki Kinnunen have been regular faces in the area, which offers an urban-style village life, alongside internationally-renowned designers from Kaj Franck to Tapio Wirkkala.
The train whizzes past Oulunkylä to Pukinmäki. The peaceful look of the area may deceive if the literature is to be believed, because that's where the detective novel by Matti Yrjänä Joensuu, 'Harjunpää ja heimolaiset' ('Harjunpää and the Tribespeople'), is set. Matti Yrjänä Joensuu, who worked as a crime investigator for the Helsinki Police Department, was one of Finland's most distinguished crime novelists and his works have been translated into around 20 languages.
After Malmi, Tapanila and Puistola we get to Tikkurila. On the side of the track, there is the Heureka science centre, where you can find out about science and technology by doing and trying things yourself. The Galilei Park next to the centre, which is open in the summer, is a scientific playground based on the phenomena of mathematics, physics and music. Heureka also has one of Europe's most modern planetariums, which is worth a visit too.
A short bus ride away from Tikkurila station, there is the oldest building in the capital city area, the medieval Church of St. Lawrence. The grey stone church, built in the mid-15th century, was destroyed except for its stone parts at the end of the 19th century, after which the church was renovated in Neo-Gothic style.
After Hiekkaharju and Leinelä, we're already at the airport. Helsinki-Vantaa is a busy hub for the traffic between Europe and Asia, through which more than 18 million passengers pass every year. The services of the airport are diverse – you can find even a hairdresser's, pharmacy and sauna there. The airport has been voted many times one of the best airports in the world to stay overnight at. In Terminal 2, there is also the GLO Hotel Airport, where you can not only stay overnight, but during the day for 4–8 hours too.
Airport – Vantaankoski – Martinlaakso – Myyrmäki – Huopalahti – Helsinki
We start going back along the western side of Vantaa and Helsinki. Right after the airport, Aviapolis comes up, an airport town buzzing with life and the most rapidly growing concentration of jobs in the capital city area.
After Kivistö and Vehkala, we get to Vantaankoski, which bears the name of the rapids that dominate the area and are significant for culturally historical reasons. The Vantaanjoki river, along which the rapids are, is more than a hundred kilometres long and it can be enjoyed in a diverse number of ways, from fishing and trekking to canoeing, for example.
Next we get to the tiny but characterful Martinlaakso. Two famous Formula 1 drivers have lived in the area, Mika Häkkinen and Mika Salo, with Häkkinen even having a square named after him. The metal band Amorphis, which is influenced by Finnish mythology, is also from Martinlaakso.
Myyrmäki, which comes up after Louhela, is known for its street art, amongst other things. The earliest graffiti was painted in the subway tunnels of the area at the end of the 1980s. Nowadays, there are 14 tunnels painted by the students from the educational establishments of the area, in addition to which the outside and inside walls of Myyrmäki station are covered by huge murals. There are also two free graffiti walls in Myyrmäki.
Malminkartano, Kannelmäki and Pohjois-Haaga flash past. However, there isn't time now to hang around, because now we're already in a hurry to get to Huopalahti and the stunning Alppiruusupuisto rhododendron park next to the station. During the flowering time of the rhododendrons and azaleas, the park attracts thousands of visitors. Atmospheric wooden walkways pass through the area and the flowering can also be admired from a special flower observation platform. Huopalahti is also a convenient place to change from the airport train to lines that go towards Espoo.
The train veers into Ilmala, the centre of Finland's TV and radio operations, after which we get to Pasila and Helsinki again. Thank you for travelling and mind the closing doors!
All GLO Hotels are located conveniently along the line: GLO Hotel Airport serves travellers going through the airport. The Helsinki city-centre GLO Hotel Kluuvi and GLO Hotel Art invite you to the throb of the capital and GLO Hotel Sello is in Leppävaara in Espoo, next to Finland's second-largest shopping centre.