Estonia is tiny, which is great for travellers and locals alike, and there’s a well-developed infrastructure available, so you can travel via car, bus, bike, train or plane, or even walk.
Distances between any major towns in Estonia don’t usually exceed 3 hours of driving.
Estonia has right-hand traffic and an extensive road system. The speed limit in the countryside is 90 km/h and 50 km/h in urban areas unless specified otherwise. In the summer season, some highways allow for a maximum of 110 km/h speed. Passengers are required to wear seat belts and lights must be switched on at all times. Estonia has zero-tolerance for driving under the influence.
Estonia recognises driving licenses from countries around the world.
Foreign vehicles must have third party liability insurance in Estonia. Vehicles registered in an EEA country can only be insured in that specific country of registration. Vehicles registered in the following countries must be covered by a Green Card as a proof of insurance: Albania, Andorra, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel, Iran, Macedonia, Morocco, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.
As an alternative to the Green Card, you can purchase cross-border insurance. Those vehicles not registered in EEA or in the countries listed above, must all be covered with valid cross-border insurance upon the arrival to Estonia.
You can take a tram from Tallinn airport to Balti Jaam train station. From here you can take a train to larger towns such as Tartu, Narva, and Rakvere. A ticket can be bought from the station building, also from the train in cash.
There are wifi and charge points available in most trains, and while some trains offer the option of debit/credit card payment, it is wise to carry at least €20 cast just in case. In the middle of each train, there is a section called C-part, from where you can easily enter the coach with wheelchair, bicycle or a baby stroller.
Train stop in Nõmme
Photo: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau
For those travelling by car, taking a ferry is the most convenient way to tour the local islands. There are regular ferries operating to most larger islands, including Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Vormsi, Kihnu, Ruhnu and Aegna. Passenger ferries operate between Tallinn and the smaller Prangli and Naissaare islands.
There are a number of tour operators offering custom trips to smaller islands. Purchasing an e-ticket ahead of time allows you to change the travel time. All the information about ferry schedules is available via veeteed.com, tuuleliinid.ee and praamid.ee.
You can also do island hopping while visiting Tallinn (more information about ferry traffic in Tallinn).
During the summer season, Estonia tends to be a popular cross country cycling destination. The Eurovelo route that passes through Estonia starts from the Latvian border, runs along the coast and the islands pass Tallinn and heads to the Russian border via the northern coast (Saint Petersburg is only 140 km away from the border). Additionally, there are signs for a selection of local and regional bike routes. You get a whole new experience when travelling through Estonia on a bike (as opposed to car drives), meadows and forests alternate with villages and it is perfectly common to stop at the nearest farm to ask for a glass of cold water. There are a number of tourism enterprises located all across Estonia offering bicycle tours and rentals.
When taking your bike to a train, from April to October (incl) you will have to buy a bicycle ticket from Elron webpage. Also, in general, long haul buses are required by law to take up to two bicycles, if they have space in their luggage compartment. However Lux Express offers a free bicycle ticket - up to 5 bicycles can be booked for each trip.
If you’ve decided to get closer to nature, a caravan van is a great option. The best time for a caravan trip to Estonia is of course in the summer, when most of the camping sites are open.
Camping sites are especially common in Western and Northern Estonia and on the country’s biggest island, Saaremaa. Remember that your car headlights need to be kept on all day at all times. When towing your caravan, you will need to keep its backlights on.
Travelling by caravan van
Photo: Merelaiu, Visit Estonia
Travelcards are inter-usable in Estonia and in intercity lines regardless of the place of purchase (except for Tartu layout cards, which are not usable in Kohtla-Järve).
Starting 19 July 2021, a pilot project for demand-based transport services began in Estonia for the first time. The project aims to understand people's actual transport needs and to eventually combine conventional transport with demand-driven public transport, which would ultimately give people a more convenient and efficient service.
Today, almost all rural public transport is based on regular routes with fixed routes and timetables. Of course, in sparsely populated areas, these fixed routes don't reach all residents and they may not always meet people's actual needs. This is why demand-based transport is being brought to Saaremaa. This will then be further developed based on the feedback from local residents and the service provider. The goal is to test out the implementation of demand-driven public transport to gain insight on how and to which target group would benefit the most from this kind of service.
There are several shared driving services in Estonia. Bolt is currently the most popular taxi app, while Uber tends to be equally popular. You have the legal right to ask for a receipt when using taxi services at all times. Taxi rates vary by company. Yellow sticker in the right rear window of each vehicle will give you an overview of prices included price per kilometre. You can easily order taxis and verified private drivers via Bolt and Uber mobile apps.