The most picturesque of the three Baltic states, Estonia is famous for its vast forests, mesmerizing wetlands and secluded islands and has a reputation for being one of Europe’s friendliest and most forward-thinking nations. The magnificent medieval capital of Tallinn attracts city travelers for its grand architecture and lively nightlife, while the ancient forests and lake districts with more than 1,000 lakes delight nature lovers. The history of Estonia is almost entirely about its quest to assert its independence from its mostly much more powerful neighbors, most notably Russia. Stalin annexed Estonia in 1941, but it was never fully integrated into the then Soviet Union and managed to retain its language and culture better than other Soviet states. Since gaining independence in 1991, Estonia has developed rapidly and is now one of the trendiest travel destinations in all of Eastern Europe. Estonia is a member of European Union defined by constructmaterials.
Arriving by plane
Tallinn is served from Germany, Austria and Switzerland by the following airlines, among others: – Lufthansa (LH) flies daily direct from Frankfurt/M. and Munich; – Finnair (AY) from Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt/M., Munich, Stuttgart, Vienna and Zurich via Helsinki; – Air Baltic (BT) from Berlin, Hamburg and Zurich as well as from Vienna directly; – Scandinavian Airlines SAS (SK) from various German, Austrian and Swiss cities. Air Baltic (BT) also connects Zurich directly with Vilnius.
Frankfurt/M. – Tallinn: 2 hours 20 minutes (non-stop); Vienna – Tallinn: 2 hours 5 minutes (non-stop); Zurich – Tallinn: 3 hrs 50 mins (with stopover).
Arrival by car
The Via Baltica represents a land connection between Germany and Finland and leads over 1,500 km through Poland and the Baltic States, through lakes and forest areas, along the Amber Coast to Tallinn. Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn are connected to each other via the largely well-developed Via Baltica (E67). Several roads lead along the Baltic Sea coast via Lithuania and Latvia to Estonia; there are also good road connections to Saint Petersburg (Russian Federation). Arrival by car via Poland and Belarus or Poland and Lithuania. Border crossings: Terespol (Poland) – Brest (Belarus) and Ogrodniki (Poland) – Lazdijai (Lithuania). Long-distance bus: There are direct bus connections with Ecolines from Germany, Austria and Switzerland to Tallinn. Toll: There are no toll roads in Estonia. Documents: The national driving license is valid in Estonia. However, holders of older driving licenses are advised to carry their international driving license with them.
Arrival by train
There are train connections from Tallinn to Riga (Latvia), with travelers having to change at the border in Valga. There is a daily night train to Moscow from Tallinn via Saint Petersburg.
Arrival by ship
Various ferries connect Tallinn with Helsinki, Aland and Stockholm. The port of Tallinn is also used by numerous cruise ships.
Shipping companies such as Cunard, Hapag Lloyd Cruises, Phoenix, TUI Cruises, Plantours and MSC call at Tallinn on their cruises departing from Germany.
Tallink Silja Line and Viking Line offer regular ferry services on the Tallinn-Aland-Stockholm and Tallinn-Helsinki routes. Linda Line Express also connects Tallinn with Helsinki. You can travel to Helsinki by Finnlines ferries from Travemünde (journey time: 29 hours).
Traveling by plane
The Lithuanian airline Transaviabaltica daily connects Tallinn with Kärdla on the island of Hiiumaa and with Kuressaare on the island of Saaremaa.
Traveling by car/bus
The road network is well developed, but contains only a few motorways. The three main routes are Via Baltica, the shortest link between northern and central Europe, running from Tallinn south-west through Pärnu to Riga; the Via Estonia, from Tallinn in a southeasterly direction through the cities of Poltsamaa, Tartu, Otepää to Valga on the border with Latvia and the Via Hansa, which runs almost parallel to the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland to Narva on the border with Russia. Toll: There are no toll roads in Estonia. Petrol stations are mostly open around the clock. Payment is usually possible with credit cards. Unleaded petrol is usually marked with an “E”,
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
In general, the roads are in a satisfactory condition. However, the signage is often inadequate and hardly recognizable in the dark. Ground markings are rather rare. Cross-district connecting roads are usually paved; Dead-end roads to smaller towns often only in one direction. The other roads are not paved. Maps showing paved roads are available locally.
The road network in Estonia includes partly motorway-like expressways from Tallinn to Pärnu, Tartu and Narva, national roads and a large number of small, unpaved roads in rural areas.
Rental cars are available in Tallinn, among others, at the airport and in the city, as well as in Kuressaare and Tartu. Drivers must be at least 21 years old (may vary by vehicle category) and have held their driving license for at least one year; An additional young driver fee may be charged under the age of 25.
Taxis can be found in front of larger hotels and at taxi ranks in the city, but can also be ordered by phone and via apps. The prices vary greatly as they are set individually by the companies. A yellow sticker on the right rear window indicates the charges. It is advisable to clarify the amount of the fare when you start your journey and to ask whether the price is per person or for the entire journey.
There are numerous bike and scooter rental companies in the cities of Estonia and on the islands of Hiiumaa and Saaremaa. Bikes are often rented out by hotels.
Estonia has a very well developed bus network. Connections between the larger cities are offered several times a day, and further buses run from the city bus stations to smaller towns in the respective region. The bus company LUX Express serves various Estonian cities from Tallinn. A large number of smaller private companies offer regional bus services. Tickets can be booked online at Tpilet.
Traffic regulations: – There is an absolute ban on alcohol; – seatbelt obligation; – Light is mandatory all day; – Children under the age of 12 must be transported in an appropriate child seat; – The traffic light circuit differs from that in Germany, Austria and Switzerland: Green – flashing green – yellow – red, whereby the flashing green corresponds to the yellow in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and driving is no longer allowed when the light is yellow. Speed limits: – in built-up areas: 50 km/h; – extra-urban: 90 km/h; – Motorway: 100-110 km/h (observe the signs). – Drivers who have held a driver’s license for less than 2 years are generally only allowed to drive at a maximum of 90 km/h.
The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; in case of vehicle damage: tel. +49 (89) 22 22 22, in case of illness: +49 (89) 76 76 76. In the event of breakdowns, Falck Autoabi OÜ in Tallinn can help, tel. +372 (69) 791 88.
The national driving license is valid in Estonia. However, holders of older driving licenses are advised to carry their international driving license with them. For citizens of EU and EFTA countries, the license plate number is valid as proof of insurance. Nevertheless, EU and EFTA citizens are recommended to take their international motor insurance card with them in order to be able to enjoy full insurance cover in the event of damage. Otherwise, the statutory minimum liability insurance coverage applies. In addition, the international motor insurance card can make it easier to record accidents.
Traveling in the city
Tallinn has a well developed bus network as well as trolleybuses and trams. We recommend the Tallinn Card, which includes use of all public transport, including the airport bus and city tours with hop-on, hop-off buses. Taxi rides are cheap in Tallinn. In the other cities there are buses and taxis. Tickets are available at special ticket sales stands, at newspaper kiosks or directly from the driver.
Locally on the way by train
Traveling by train in Estonia is very cheap and the train is very reliable. However, the rail network does not cover the entire country. The main routes are Tallinn-Tartu, Tallinn-Viljandi/Pärnu and Tallinn-Narva, which are served daily in the morning and in the evening.
Traveling by ship
TS Laevad ferries connect the mainland with the two islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. The routes Kuivastu-Virtsu (Saaremaa) (journey time: 30 minutes) and Rohuküla-Hetermaa (Hiiumaa) (journey time: 1.5 hours) are served several times a day. There is boat traffic on Lake Peipus and the Emajõgi River.