Tallinn's historic old town.

The old city walls, Tallinn...

UK to Estonia without flying...

There's no need to fly to reach Estonia.  You can travel to Estonia by train+ferry via Copenhagen & Stockholm, or by Eurostar and connecting trains to Rostock in Germany then cruise ferry to Helsinki and on to Tallinn, or overland all the way by train+bus via Brussels, Berlin, Warsaw, Vilnius & Riga.  The journey from London to Tallinn takes 3 nights, and is a great adventure with lots to see on the way.

Train times, fares, tickets & information...

  London to Tallinn - a summary of the options

  London to Tallinn via Cologne, Copenhagen & Stockholm

  London to Tallinn via Berlin, Rostock, Helsinki

  London to Tallinn overland by train & bus via Warsaw

  Train service within Estonia

  Tallinn to Riga by train or bus

  Tallinn to Moscow by train

  Tallinn to St Petersburg by train

  Tallinn to Helsinki by ferry

  Useful country information

Sponsored links...


Route map:  London to Scandinavia, Estonia & Latvia by train & ferry...

Route map:  London to Stockholm & Gothenburg by train & ferry

Useful country information

Train operators in Estonia:

Internal trains run by Elron:  www.elron.ee.

Sleeper train Tallinn to Moscow: www.gorail.ee



Ferry operators to Estonia:

www.Tallink.ee (Stockholm-Tallinn, Helsinki-Tallinn) 

www.tallinksilja.com/en/ (Rostock-Helsinki-Tallinn)

Time zone & dialling code:  

GMT+2 (GMT+3 from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).  Dial code +372

Estonia implemented summer time in 2002


£1 = approx €1.25, previously = 18.9 Kroons.  Estonia adopted the euro on 1 January 2011.  Currency converter

Tourist information:

www.inyourpocket.com/estonia  & http://tourism.tallinn.ee.  

Recommended guidebooks.   Map of Tallinn

Hotels in Tallinn:

Find a hotel in Tallinn.    Hotel reviews:  www.tripadvisor.com    Backpacker hostels:  www.hostelbookers.com


UK citizens do not need a visa for Estonia for stays of up to 6 months.

Page last updated:

26 February 2015

London to Tallinn

There are several options for travel between the UK and Estonia:

Option 1:  London to Tallinn by Eurostar & onward trains via Copenhagen & Stockholm

The journey takes 3 nights, with a night and day to explore in Stockholm.  Departures are daily.  On the route map above it's the red line from London to Stockholm, then the pale blue dotted line to Tallinn.

London ► Tallinn

Tallinn ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

What's the journey like?

...London to Cologne by Eurostar & ICE:  Watch the video guide.

...Cologne to Hamburg by InterCity train.

German InterCity train   InterCity 2nd class   InterCity 1st class (6-seat compartment type)

Most Cologne-Hamburg trains are InterCity trains, a few are high-speed ICEs.  Virtual tour of InterCity train...


InterCity 2nd class.  You'll also find a few compartment coaches on InterCity trains, and a bistro or restaurant car...


InterCity 1st class, often available in both open-plan saloons like this and in compartments.

...Hamburg to Copenhagen by ICE.

ICE3 second class ICE3 first class High-speed ICE3 train from Brussels to Frankfurt

ICE 2nd class.  All seats in both classes have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...

ICE 1st class, with real leather seats.  Staff provide at-seat service of drinks & food.

The Hamburg-Copenhagen ICE on board the Puttgarden-Rødby ferry.  More info on ICE.

...Copenhagen to Stockholm by SJ2000.

125 mph tilting 'X2000' from Copenhagen to Stockholm, at Copenhagen station 2nd class seats on the X2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm The self-service buffet on the X2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm...

An SJ2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm, at Copenhagen station....


2nd class seating on the SJ2000.  All seats have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...


Self-service buffet car on the SJ2000.  More information about SJ2000 trains

...Then cruise overnight from Stockholm to Tallinn aboard the Tallink ferry.

The Tallink ferry from Stockholm to Tallinn   A cabin on the Tallink ferry from Stockholm to Tallinn

The ferry Baltic Queen sails from Stockholm to Tallinn.  Photo courtesy of Tallink.


A cabin on the Baltic Queen.  Photo courtesy of Tallink.

Option 2:  London to Tallinn by sleeper to Germany and ferry to Helsinki...

Option 3:  London to Tallinn overland via Brussels - Berlin - Warsaw - Vilnius - Riga:

The overland option from London to Tallinn via Brussels, Berlin, Warsaw, Vilnius and Riga takes about 4½ days.  It can only be booked from the UK as far as Warsaw, where you will need to buy a ticket for Vilnius, then you will need to re-book again in Vilnius for the bus or train to Riga and in Riga for the bus to Tallinn.  See the London to Latvia page for information on the journey from London as far as Riga.  Riga and Tallinn are linked by regular buses, taking 4½ hours and costing between €16 & €27, see www.luxexpress.eu for times & fares.  You can also use local trains between Riga & Tallinn, with one change at the border, see details here.

Train travel within Estonia

Local trains link Tallinn with many Estonian towns, including Pärnu, Viljandi, Valga, Tapa & Tartu.  For times & fares, see www.elron.ee - Click 'EN' top right for English.

Tallinn to Riga by train or bus

Tallinn to Riga by train...

At last some good news from the Baltic States!  Estonian and Latvian railways finally co-ordinated their timetables again in 2011 and it once more became possible to travel between Tallinn and Riga on a reasonably comfortable and cheap daily train service, with one simple cross-platform change of train on the border at Valga.  It must be stressed that both the Estonian and Latvian trains are local trains and it takes a few hours longer and is less frequent than the bus (the train service runs only once a day), but it's cheap, easy to use, no prior reservation is necessary and you may find it an interesting and more enjoyable alternative to a bus ride.  And as from 2014, the Estonian train between Valga & Tallinn is now a smart modern air-conditioned train with power sockets and free WiFi.

IMPORTANT UPDATE FEBRUARY 2015:  It seems the good news is over.  Major cuts in Latvia in February 2015 mean the train to and from Riga no longer extends across the border to/from Valga, passengers must transfer to a bus between Bale & Valga.  In the Tallinn to Riga direction the train from Tallinn misses the bus by minutes, so the journey no longer works at all.  The one hope for sanity is the Rail Baltica project which will in a few years time link Warsaw, Riga & Tallinn with a modern 200km/h railway.

 Riga Tallinn


 Tallinn ► Riga

 Local train service


 Local train service


 Riga station



 Tallinn station



 Valga (on Latvian train)






 Valga (on Estonian train)



 Valga arrive (on Estonian train)






 Valga depart (on Latvian train)



 Tallinn station



 Riga station



* As you can see, as of February 2015 the train now misses the bus by minutes!  The whole journey no longer possible.

Fares:  Tallinn to Valga costs €13.90.  Valga to Riga costs €5.60 for the 168 km.

How to buy tickets: There's no need to reserve, indeed you can't.  Just turn up at Tallinn station, buy a ticket to Tartu and get on the train.  You simply buy the onward Tartu-Valga ticket on board the next train, then buy the Valga-Riga ticket when you get to Valga, if necessary on board the Latvian train.

How to check these times and fares:  You can check the Estonian train times and fares at www.elron.ee.  At time of writing it's only in Estonian, but click sõiduplaan (= timetable) at the top then look at the Tartu-Valga timetable.  It looks like two trains, Valga-Tartu & Tartu-Tallinn, one report says it's just one train which runs Valga-Tartu-Tallinn with a 19-minute wait at Tartu, another correspondent had to switch trains at Tartu, a simple cross-platform change.  In Estonian, Riia = Riga.  You can check times for the Latvian train times and fares at www.pv.lv, click 'en' top right for English.

On board the Estonian train between Tallinn and Valga, en route to Riga.   Estonian train from Tallinn to Valga, seen at Valga

1) Tallinn to Tartu & on to Valga by Estonian train...  These smart new air-conditioned local trains have on-board information screens, free Wifi & power sockets for laptops & mobiles.  Above left, first class seats are also available.  At Valga, it's a simple cross-platform interchange, in the exterior photo that's the front of the Latvian train on the right.  Photos courtesy of Daniel King.

Tallinn to Riga by train:  Seating on the Valga-Riga train   Tallinn to Riga by train:  This is the Valga-Riga Latvian train

2) Valga to Riga by Latvian train...  This is a classic Soviet-era local train, 2nd class only, with a modernised interior (above left).  There's no catering on either train, so bring your own beer and picnic!  Photos courtesy of Jan Špaček

Tallinn to Riga by bus...

Tallinn is linked to Riga by regular buses with a range of departures daily.  Journey time about 4½ hours, fare between €16 & €27 one-way.  See www.luxexpress.eu.

Tallinn to Moscow by train

There is a safe and comfortable overnight train between Tallinn & Moscow run by GoRail (www.gorail.ee, formerly EVR Ekspress).  The Tallinna Ekspress (pictured below right) runs daily, with 1st class Spalny Wagon 2-berth compartments, 2nd class kupé 4-berth compartments, ordinary seats and a restaurant car.

 Tallinn Moscow


 Moscow ► Tallinn

 Tallinna Ekspress


 Tallinna Ekspress





 Moscow (Leningradski)



 Moscow (Leningradski)






On board accommodation:  Spalny vagon 2-berth sleepers, kupé 4-berth sleepers, reclining seats, restaurant car.

  The 'Tallinna Express' overnight train between Tallinn & Moscow

Tallinna Express:  The Tallinn-Moscow sleeper train...

Fare:  Tallinn-Moscow costs around €59 in a reclining seat (not recommended), €130 one-way travelling in a 2nd class 4-berth sleeper (recommended for most travellers), or €233 in a 1st class 2-berth sleeper.

How to buy tickets from Moscow to Tallinn:  You can buy tickets at the station in Moscow or you can easily book online using the Real Russia online booking form here.  You pay online and collect tickets at the station in Moscow using the e-ticket option, or collect them at Real Russia's offices in Moscow.

How to buy tickets from Tallinn to Moscow:  You can buy tickets at the station in Tallinn or you can easily book tickets online using the Real Russia online booking form here (a 15-23% mark-up is included in the fares shown, and tickets will have to be sent to you for an extra courier charge as they cannot be collected in Tallinn and the e-ticket option does not work there).  However, the cheapest way to buy tickets is to email GoRail's associated travel agency, www.gotravel.ee (click 'transportation' at top right, then click 'train'). 

Traveller Tomas Ersson booked by email through the GoRail website:  "I just made an inquiry via their website and received a quote and a from to fill out as an attachment.  The fare was relatively cheap, about 60 euros per person in a 4-berth sleeper.  I filled in the form with names, passport & visa card number, signed it, scanned it and emailed it back. One or two days later I received an email attachment which I printed & used as our ticket.  At the station in Tallinn, I just showed them the print out and got on to the train!  We were already on the passenger list and the train departed as planned, hassle-free for us."

How to use the GoRail website:  You can check times and fares at www.gorail.ee, though there's no online booking.  The English version isn't very useful, so leave it in Estonian.  'Sõiduplaanid' means timetable, 'Piletihinnad' means prices.  On the prices page, 'Istevagun' means seat, 'kupee' means 4-berth sleeper, 'SV' means 2-berth sleeper.

Tallinn to St Petersburg by train

The comfortable train beats the bus...

GoRail restarted a daily Tallinn-St Petersburg train in May 2012.  It's cheap by western standards, and much more comfortable than  a long distance bus.  Times and fares are shown below.  This train route has had its ups and downs.  The original overnight train was withdrawn in 2004, a victim of bus competition, but a new daytime train was introduced in March 2007 run by GoRail (www.gorail.ee, formerly EVR Ekspress) which was then replaced by an overnight train again in October 2007.  This was itself withdrawn in August 2008, due to higher track-usage fees and fuel costs.  There were no trains at all between Tallinn and St Petersburg until May 2012, and you had to endure a 7 hour bus journey.  At least the communists knew how to run a proper train service!  Finally things seemed to have been sorted out, with a daily daytime train running, but  with the situation in Russia, the daily train is again cut back to twice a week as from February 2015.  You can check the times & prices shown below at www.gorail.ee:

 Tallinn St Petersburg


 St Petersburg ► Tallinn

 Until 14 Feb 2015


 Until 14 Feb 2015


every day





 St Petersburg (Vitebski)



 St Petersburg (Vitebski)






 Tallinn St Petersburg


 St Petersburg ► Tallinn

 From 15 Feb 2015


 From 15 Feb 2015


Fri, Sun only

Sat, Mon only




 St Petersburg Vitebski



 St Petersburg Vitebski






Fares:  Tallinn to St Petersburg on this new train costs around €31 in a 2nd class seat, €37 in a 1st (business) class seat.

The Russian border point on this train is Ivangorod.

For direct trains between London and Moscow or St Petersburg, see the London to Russia page.

What's the new Tallinn-St Petersburg train like? 

It's a classic Soviet-era diesel train, but fully-refurbished with 1st & 2nd class seats and a bar car serving drinks and snacks and (according to their website) renting out 'the latest multimedia devices'.  There's also on-board WiFi promised!  The photo below left shows 2nd class seats, which are fine.  Photos courtesy of Wellington Mariusso.

2nd class seats on the Tallinn to St Petersburg train   The train from Tallinn to St Petersburg

Tallinn to Helsinki

Tallinn ▶ Helsinki by ferry...

Tallinn is linked to Helsinki by a variety of shipping lines, operating both conventional ships (2½ hours) and fast ferry (1½ hours).  Services run  daily.  Operators include Tallink, Silja Line, Nordic Jet Line, Eckero Line, Linda Line.

The European Rail Timetable & maps

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team have set up a private venture and published the first edition of a reborn European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at either www.stanfords.co.uk or www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

A Traveller's Railway Map of Europe covers the whole of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  On the back are detailed maps of Switzerland, Benelux & Germany, plus city plans showing stations in major cities.  Scenic & high-speed routes highlighted.  Buy it online for £14.50 + postage worldwide (UK addresses £2.80) at www.stanfords.co.uk/Continents/Europe/Maps--Atlases/Europe-A-Travellers-Railway-Map_9789077899090.htm or (in the Netherlands) for €13 + €5.50 postage from www.treinreiswinkel.nl.


make sure you invest in a good guidebook.  For the serious independent traveller this means either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide.  Both books provide a similarly excellent level of practical detail and cultural and historical background.  You won't regret buying one..! 

Click the images to buy online at Amazon.co.uk...

My own book, an essential handbook for train travel to Europe based on this website called "The Man in Seat 61", was published in June 2008, and is available from Amazon with shipping worldwide.

Find hotels in Tallinn & the Baltics...


◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Backpacker hostels...

Travel insurance & health card...



Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without proper travel insurance from a reliable insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash & belongings (up to a limit), and trip cancellation.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year - I have an annual policy myself.  However, don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from www.ehic.org.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low/no ATM fees

Taking out an extra credit card costs nothing, but if you keep it in a different part of your luggage you won't be left stranded if your wallet gets stolen.  In addition, some credit cards are better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card to save on mobile data and phone calls...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, and if you're not careful you can return home to find a huge bill.  Consider buying a global pre-paid SIM card for your mobile phone from www.Go-Sim.com, which can slash costs by up to 85%.  Go-Sim cuts call costs in 175 countries worldwide, and you can receive incoming calls and texts for free in 75 countries.  It's pay-as-you-go, so no nasty bills when you get home.  It also allows cheap data access for laptops & PDAs.  A Go-Sim account and any credit on it doesn't expire if it's not used between trips, unlike some others, so a Go-Sim phone number becomes your 'global phone number' for life.


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