Even in extreme winter conditions, the roads are cleared of snow, the traffic is predictable and public transport reliable. There is frequent road work going on during warmer summer months – the road surfaces damaged by winter have to get repaired before the next one arrives. Don’t worry, these works are usually well signposted and easy to navigate!
Estonian rural road network is being constantly upgraded. However, you may still discover that journeys outside major towns take longer than you expected.
Estonia doesn’t have many dual carriageway motorways, except for two stretches near Tallinn and a short stretch on the way to Tartu.
Parking in towns and cities is regulated. You can choose between municipal car parks and those run by private firms.
In most towns, on-street parking is arranged by districts, with the most central areas costing more. Look out for the signs or use a phone app to see which area you’re currently in.
You can pay for the parking with cash or with mobile parking if you have a local mobile phone. With a local phone you can pay using either a smartphone app or a text message to the parking company.
In Tallinn, using mobile phone is the most common way to pay for parking – you just download the app onto your phone, register your vehicle and enjoy the easy navigation of the system.
Never forget to pay for the parking – the parking operator work swiftly and without mercy.
There is no standard or regulated meter rate in Estonia. You need to order a taxi or choose one from a rank, rather than hail it from the street. You can choose any available taxi from the rank, and don’t have to pick the first one from the line.
You can also use an app like Taxify to find taxis in the vicinity.
All taxis must display their charges for passengers to see, provide a receipt if requested, and use a meter.
Bus, streetcar and trolleybus
The bus, trolleybus and streetcar network is wide, punctual and reliable in Tallinn. Public transport operates from 5 am to midnight and tickets can be bought on the vehicle (single fare only).
However, you can travel more economically when buying a prepaid travel card from an R-kiosk (found in most shopping centres and urban areas). You can top it up with cash, use it for tickets and unlimited passes, and just have to swipe it when entering your chosen form of transport.
Tallinn residents are entitled to free public transport, provided they meet certain conditions and are properly registered. (Check Tallinn city website for full details on prepaid travel cards and free transport.)
Tallinn bus station is 10 minutes away from the city centre and it’s the main inter-city bus station for Estonia. Between cities, buses are most widely used form of public transport. All the main lines come with free wireless Internet.
In Estonia, each municipal area has their own bus service. You can find information about the services in tourist information centres, and on town and local council websites. The stops with timetables are clearly marked.
Trains in Estonia are run by Elron (domestic services) and Go Rail (services to destinations in Russia). You can buy tickets online, at relevant train stations or through an agent. Tickets can also often be bought on the train (sometimes only with bank cards). Train within Tallinn is free to Tallinn residents.
Like all travel in Estonia, travelling by train is affordable, simple and quick. An express train from Tallinn to Tartu takes just over two hours and costs around 10 euros. Brand new Swiss-built trains with free Wi-Fi make your travel a pleasant one.
For timetables and tickets, visit the website of the Baltic Station.
The Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport, recently voted among the best in Europe, is the main airport in Estonia. It is only four kilometres from the city centre, so you’ll always get to town in less than 30 minutes.
There are also other airports located in Tartu, Pärnu, Kuressaare and Kärdla.
For information about international and domestic flights, please check the website of Tallinn Airport.
The port of Tallinn is one of the biggest and busiest passenger ports in the region. More than eight million passengers travel through its terminals each year.
Tallink, Eckerö Line and Viking Line ferries can take you to Stockholm, Helsinki and St. Petersburg.
For more information on routes and timetables, check the website of Port of Tallinn.
Estonia’s biggest islands, the picturesque Saaremaa, Hiiumaa and Muhu, have regular ferry connections with the mainland.