The larger shops in Estonia and almost all grocery stores are open 7 days a week. Opening hours are usually from 10:00 – 19:00, shorter on weekends. Many food stores, though, are open from 9am to 9pm.
Some smaller ones may be closed or close earlier on Sundays, but unlike in Scandinavia, there are still plenty of them available and open.
If there are special products you cannot live without or suffer from food allergies, be sure to stock up the essentials before travelling to the smaller islands or to the countryside. Opening hours of small village shops may vary greatly and the shops may not be open throughout the year.
Most shops treat national holidays in the same way they would treat Sundays – except for Christmas, New Years eve and 1st January, when many of them close early or are closed altogether.
Alcohol can be sold from 10am to 10pm in most regions, including the shops in petrol stations. On special occasions, i.e. 30th April – the night of the Walpurgis night celebrations – alcohol sales in shops may close by 3pm. Bars and pubs, however, operate their own opening hours.
Most shopping centres have free parking, wireless internet access, ATMs, a currency exchange or bank and places to eat and drink. Some of the shopping centres offer good value supervised playrooms for children, so parents can shop in peace.
Estoniahas a very strong market and fair culture: all cities and even smaller towns have their own marketplace where visitors can buy fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy products, handicraft and household necessities.
Most markets are open from 8am to 2pm during on weekdays and until 5pm at the weekend. Fairs and festival markets may last well into the night. The best time to sample Estonian market culture is either during the summer or in December, when the Christmas markets open.
Payments: cash and credit cards
It is safe to pay with credit and debit cards inEstonia and most of the well known cards are accepted. The American Express card can be used in banks and larger supermarkets, but not in smaller stores.
There is quite an extensive network of ATM’s available in Estonian cities and towns. However, if you are travelling to the countryside or to smaller Estonian islands, be sure to take some cash with you.
Village shops, B&Bs, tourism farms, smaller bus stations and even some local petrol stations may not offer card payments. The same applies when buying a ticket for public transport: you cannot pay with credit cards in buses and the majority of taxis, so buy the tickets in advance or stock up with cash.