Transport in Estonia

Updated 2017-11-27 10:33

Estonia is a small, compact country, which makes travelling and transportation very easy. It may not have many big, dual carriageway motorways for instance, but its roads are always safe and cleared from the snow in winter time when the weather conditions can be extreme. The public transport is reliable and the traffic, thanks to clever apps and tools for finding and paying for parking space and avoiding queues at border checkpoints, never gets out of hand.

Public transportation in Estonia

There are many different local transport options available throughout the country, although Tallinn arguably offers the most of them. Tallinn offers a network of buses, trolley buses and streetcars, which operates from 5 am to midnight, and is, in many cases, free for registered Tallinn residents. You can buy single fare tickets on the vehicle directly from the drivers (in cash), but if you intend to do more travelling, you'd be better off with buying a prepaid Smartcard (Ãhiskaart) from an R-Kiosk. You can top up the Smartcard online or at numerous supermarkets, kiosks, and post offices, and just swipe it when you're on the bus or trolley.

From the Tallinn bus station (10 minutes from the city centre), you can travel to most places in the country. Of course, this is Estonia, so there's free wi-fi on all the main lines. Each municipal area has its own bus service, and you can find information about them by visiting a tourist information centre, or the town's website. There are clearly marked timetables in each stop, so it will be easy for you to navigate.

You can also travel by train, which is an affordable and quick option. An express train from Tallinn to Tartu, for instance, doesn't cost more than ten euros and will have you there in two hours. You can buy your tickets online, or at train stations, through an agent, or even on the train. The company which handles domestic services is called Elron, and GoRail handles destinations in Russia.

Should you take a taxi?

Taxis in Estonia can be quite unpredictable. There is no standard or regulated meter rate, so the rates can vary drastically depending on the taxi company. The good news is that all vehicles are obligated by law to have their rates on a yellow sticker in the right rear window, so you'll know what you're getting into. To feel safer, you can use the local's favourite Taxify mobile app, which will set you up with a verified taxi driver from the vicinity.

Driving in Estonia

Although small, Estonia has an extensive road system (despite not having many big, dual carriageways). The country has right-hand traffic and the speed limit is 50 km/h in the cities and 90 km/h in the countryside. Estonians take safety seriously and there's a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to driving under the influence.

Good to know:
From March 2017, self-driven vehicles are being tested on nationals and local roads. The goal is to transition to fully autonomous vehicles.

Useful links
Tallinn public transport
Go Rail
Elron Railways
Tallinn busses
Parkimine mobile parking
Barking mobile parking

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