Fast Facts about Estonia
European Union membership: since 2004
Official language: Estonian, with English widely spoken
Currency: Euro € (check conversion rates)
Time zone: GMT +2 in winter and GMT +3 in summer
Country dialling code: 00372 or +372
Emergency number: 112
Plug socket: type F, with voltage of 230V and frequency of 50Hz
Getting to Estonia
Travelling to Estonia is quick and convenient thanks to frequent connections with Scandinavia, Russia, Eastern and Central Europe. You can fly to Tallinn with a number of direct routes from Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Paris, Vienna and many more cities. Ferry routes connect Tallinn with Helsinki, Stockholm and Saint Petersburg. Travel by international coach from virtually any country in Europe Ecolines with Lux Express. Arrive by train with Go Rail from China, Mongolia, Central Asia, Ukraine, Moldova and more.
Estonia is a member of the Schengen area, meaning that travellers coming from other Schengen countries do not need an additional visa to enter Estonia. Nationals of the EU, EEA, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to further countries, do not need a visa to visit Estonia. Please consult the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for a full list and details. If you do require a Schengen area visa, you can submit an application at an Estonian representation abroad. If there is not an Estonian embassy or consulate in your country, you can apply at the office of a Member State representing Estonia in issuing visas.
There is a wide variety of local transport options available in Estonia. For cross country coach routes, schedules and tickets visit T-Pilet.ee. For train routes and tickets, please visit Elron.ee. For information about domestic ferries to nearby islands, see Veeteed.com and Tuulelaevad.ee. There are also domestic flights from Tallinn to the island towns of Kuressaare and Kärlda.
For routes and schedules of Tallinn public transport visit transport.tallinn.ee. Tickets can be purchased in cash from the drivers or a prepaid Smartcard (Ühiskaart) can be bought and reloaded online or at number of supermarkets, kiosks and post offices (locations here). Taxi rates vary by company, but are posted on a yellow sticker in the right rear window of each vehicle. You can easily order taxis and verified private drivers via the Taxify mobile app.
Many of Tallinn public transport’s trams, trolleys and buses are wheelchair accessible, indicated by symbols on each departure on their website. Service institutions are required by Estonian law to be accessible, and those not able to meet this requirement due to historical architecture (for example in Tallinn’s UNESCO protected Old Town) are usually staffed with helpful people who can accommodate special needs.
Traffic and driving
Estonia has right-hand traffic and an extensive road system, the quality of which varies. The speed limit in the countryside is 90 km/h and 50 km/h in urban areas unless specified otherwise. While driving in Estonia, passengers are expected to wear seat belts and lights must be switched on at all time. Estonian laws against driving under the influence of alcohol are strict and follow a zero tolerance policy. When parking, you can use the Barking mobile app to find spots and conveniently pay.
Estonian public holidays
Most shops, banks and restaurants are open on public holidays –25th of December and 1st of January are the only days when most businesses are closed.
- 1st of January: New Years day. Usually a very quiet day after celebrations.
- 24th of February: Independence day. Celebrated with the military parade in the morning and festive family dinners in the evening.
- Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Commonly known as lihavõtted or munadepühad in Estonian. Celebrated by spring time (dairy based) treats, eggs and folk festivities.
- 1st of May: May Day. The night before (Walpburg night) is celebrated with parties and witchcraft.
- 23rd of June: Victory Day. Celebrating decisive battle (1919) during the War of Independence
- 24th of June: Midsummer Day. Commonly known as Jaanipäev. Celebrated with bonfires, different events and festivities taking place all around Estonia. One of the most important dates in a year for Estonians.
- 20th of August: Day of Restoration of Independence. Celebrated with national festivities, events and family gatherings.
- 24th of December – 26th of December: Christmas.
Weather and climate
Weather in Estonia is very seasonal. The average summer temperature is fairly mild, varying between 16 and 20 degrees Celcius, but can reach up to 30 degrees Celcius. Summer in Estonia tends to be very light, with 19 hours of daylight known locally as the “white nights”. Spring and autumn see frequent light rain so bring an umbrella and a waterproof jacket. In winter, the rain turns to snow and the temperature drops below zero, so wrap up warm. Weather forecast in Estonia is available at weather.ee.
Estonia is a safe country with low crime rates. In busy urban areas, as in any country, you should look after your belongings and be aware of pick-pocket thieves. Reflectors are required by law to be worn to make pedestrians visible in low-light conditions, so be sure to attach one to your clothes, purse, rucksack and bicycle pedals. They come in lots of attractive designs and can be purchased for a few euros in supermarkets and souvenir shops.
It is advisable to purchase travel insurance before a trip. Residents of Europe should check if their health care provider has a contract with the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. If so, you should also obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving. The EHIC isn’t a substitute for medical and travel insurance, but it entitles you to state provided medical treatment on the same terms as Estonian nationals.