Travel options in Estonia for people with disabilities

Source: Sven Zacek, Visit Estonia

Travel options in Estonia for people with disabilities

Estonia offers many recreation and leisure options for people with disabilities. Planning ahead guarantees a great travel experience. Research the offers and opportunities at the destinations on your itinerary and let them know of your needs and wishes in advance whenever possible!

Is travel to Estonia accessible to people with disabilities?

Air travel and airports

To ensure everything goes smoothly as you arrive in Tallinn, notify the airline of your needs, whether you need help with luggage, assistance boarding the plane, help with getting to the terminal, or are travelling with a guide dog, etc. After arriving at Tallinn Airport, contact the airline check-in desk and ensure the company has registered all your wishes. When arriving at the airport, you can notify them of your arrival over the phone and, if necessary, ask for help from airport personnel.

Before your travels, it would be beneficial to review the information concerning travellers with disabilities, accessible on the Tallinn Airport website and includes all necessary information and contacts for planning a flight. Professional help is also ensured for special needs in other larger airports in Estonia: Tartu, Pärnu, Kuressaare, and Kärdla.

Tallinn Airport is Estonia's biggest airport. It is located near the city center and has great public transport connections. Taxis can easily pick up passengers, and there are plenty of accessible parking spots.

Passenger decks in larger ferries are equipped with elevators.

Photo by: George Svidlov

Boat travel and port information

When booking a trip, inform the shipping company, travel agency, or tour operator of your accessibility needs to guarantee a great trip. 

The passenger decks of larger ferries operating in Estonian waters are equipped with elevators. Most ships also have platform lifts for wheelchair users. Every ship has a wheelchair on the passenger deck, and the crew will help you.

The personnel of larger ports, e.g. the Port of Tallinn, is trained to provide service and assistance to people with mobility disabilities and other functional needs. Information displays at the port provide instructions on boarding ships. The ports of larger domestic ferry lines (Saaremaa and Hiiumaa lines) also have information displays concerning ferries. Smaller ports do not have such notification and assistance.

Trains and train stations

The waiting platforms of passenger trains and modern Elron trains are suitable for people with special mobility, vision, and auditory needs.

Trains have priority seating (marked with the international handicapped symbol) for people with limited mobility, and there is a wheelchair spot in the C wagon equipped with a safety belt and an SOS button. Passengers in wheelchairs can board the train using the "C" doors (marked with a big C). These doors have a fully automated adjustable step and a button to open the door designed for use by a passenger in a wheelchair. A wheelchair-accessible restroom is nearby as well. It may happen that the train does not stop at the designated C-area. In that case, you should book the wheelchair spot by notifying the train company of your travels in advance (at least 48 hours).

To inform visually impaired passengers, Elron trains have voice notifications of the train's route, the next stop and the one after that, and for special situations. A warning signal sounds when train doors open or close. Any guide dogs accompanying passengers on their travels are not required to wear a muzzle.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing can keep track of travel information with the help of screens displaying information about the train's route, the next stop and the one after that, and about special situations.

Larger bus stations with long-distance buses are accessible for all.

Photo by: Renee Altrov

Long-distance buses and bus stations

People with special mobility needs have the right to specific aid on buses and at bus stations free of charge. If necessary, free transport can be provided for the person accompanying the disabled person.

Passengers with disabilities and reduced mobility should notify relevant personnel of their accessibility needs at least 36 hours before travel and come to the bus station at the agreed-upon time (no earlier than 60 minutes) before the bus departs.

Larger bus stations with long-distance buses (e.g. the Tallinn Bus Station and bus stations of larger towns) have ensured that disabled people and people with reduced mobility can access all bus station services, including the departure and arrival platforms. Information about the bus departures is displayed on screens at the stops and waiting areas of the bus station. Smaller bus stations and stops do not have the option of assistance; there might not be any bus traffic notification displays, either. Regional buses do not have wheelchair access.

Buses display the routes on the front and back ends.

Photo by: Renee Altrov

City buses

The numbers of city buses are visible at the front and back end of buses; the number displays are electronic and have bright-colored numbers on a dark background. Most buses are equipped with information screens that display the route and next stop of the bus. Guide dogs can enter public transport without a muzzle and ride in the passenger area.

Not all city buses can be accessed with wheelchairs. However, all buses in Tartu are low-floor vehicles.

Low-floor buses are underlined in the bus schedules. However, you might need help boarding the bus as the bus might not stop exactly at the edge of the pavement. If necessary, you can ask for assistance from the bus driver. Buses have designated spots for people in wheelchairs and designated seats for disabled people.

One of Tallinn's accessible trams, with the number 4 visible at the front

Photo by: Kajar Kattai

Trams and trolleybuses in Tallinn

Tallinn has several low-floor trams (e.g., tram no. 4) and trolleybuses. Low-floor vehicles are underlined in bus schedules. However, you might need help boarding the vehicles as they might not stop exactly at the edge of the pavement. If necessary, the driver of the vehicle shall assist.

Tram numbers are visible on the front end of the trams; the number displays are electronic and have bright-coloured numbers on a dark background.

The stops are announced through a loudspeaker system on the trams in Tallinn (and other public transport vehicles across Estonia). Newer trams also have voice notifications about the next stop or the direction of the tram, and passenger areas are equipped with information screens with the names of stops.


When ordering a taxi, ask if the company offers accessible cars for disabled people; very few companies offer this service. Special cabs for wheelchair users should be ordered at least 12 hours before the journey. In Tallinn, two companies providing cars for wheelchair users are Tulika Takso AS and Forus Takso.

Renting a car with hand controls can help you explore off the beaten track.

Photo by: Hans Markus Antson

Car rental

Some car rental companies (e.g. Sixt car rental) have cars equipped with hand controls. This enables drivers who cannot drive using their feet to drive the car by using their hands for gas and brake controls. If you wish to rent a car with hand controls, let the rental company know in advance.


The hotels and newer accommodation establishments in larger towns have a high service level and are generally equipped with services and suitable rooms for people with mobility disabilities. However, very few places have special options for people who are deaf or hard of hearing (for wake-up calls or emergencies). One such place is the Hilton Hotel in Tallinn.

When booking accommodation, make sure you let the personnel know of your requests so they can make necessary preparations. It is wise to book a wheelchair-accessible room well before your trip. Most hotels only have one or two such rooms, and smaller accommodation establishments rarely have special rooms for disabled people.

Wheelchair users should call ahead to reserve a table whenever possible.

Photo by: Rivo Veber

Restaurants and stores

Larger shopping centers and supermarkets have features necessary for wheelchair users, including restrooms for disabled people. Smaller stores and cafes may lack wheelchair access and special restrooms. Therefore, it is recommended that you call them in advance and ask about access options. Eating establishments, stores, and other public institutions are required to allow people to enter with their guide dogs.

When visiting a restaurant or cafe, notify the personnel of any special dietary needs, including allergies or other food-related issues.

Entertainment establishments (museums, cinemas, theatres, etc.)

The most popular museums in Estonia are wheelchair accessible; these include KUMU, the Seaplane Harbour Museum in Tallinn, and the Estonian National Museum in Tartu. Smaller museums, including historic buildings, do not always ensure wheelchair access; they might also not have special adaptations for people with special hearing or visual needs in the exhibits.

Access to cinemas for disabled people varies. Some cinemas have removed middle seats in the first row, creating space for wheelchairs so that you can sit next to your companion. In most cases, guide dogs are also allowed in cinemas. More detailed information should be enquired from specific cinemas.

Several theaters in Estonia have an audio induction loop system.

Photo by: Rasmus Kooskora, Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre

Theater-goers with functional needs should contact the main administrator or a service manager during the business day prior to the performance, so they can prepare the necessary conditions for a pleasant theater experience.

Some theaters are equipped with an audio induction loop system, which is meant to help people with partial hearing loss; these theaters include Vanemuine, the Hell Theatre of the Tallinn City Theatre, the big and small hall of the Estonian Drama Theatre, and Ugala. The Estonian Drama Theatre has individual induction loops. In order to use them, ask the theater personnel. The Estonian National Opera has a screen above the stage from which one can read the Estonian translation of a performance in another language.

The Estonian Chamber of Disabled People website provides a comprehensive overview of discounts and access options at cultural institutions.

Hiking trails with wooden boardwalks are accessible to wheelchair users.

Photo by: Ken Mürk

Exploring the outdoors

Several exciting hiking trails in Estonia can be explored by people who use wheelchairs. The RMK (the State Forest Management Centre) website provides an overview of hiking trails and accessible campsites for people with disabilities.

Need help planning your trip to Estonia?

Estonia is small, but accessibility can vary by region. When planning your trip, we recommend contacting the regional tourism information centers, where you will find information on accessible tourist attractions, accommodation facilities, public restrooms, transportation, contacts, and more.

Last updated : 18.03.2024