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.

small bullet point  London to Tallinn - what are the options?

small bullet point  London to Tallinn via Copenhagen & Stockholm

small bullet point  London to Tallinn via Rostock & Helsinki

small bullet point  London to Tallinn via Berlin, Warsaw, Vilnius

small bullet point  Useful country information

On other pages

small bullet point  Train service within Estonia

small bullet point  Tallinn to Riga by train or bus

small bullet point  Tallinn to St Petersburg & Moscow by train

small bullet point  Tallinn to Helsinki by ferry

Route map:  UK to Scandinavia & Baltics 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.

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

Currency:

£1 = approx €1.15.  Estonia adopted the euro in 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.hostelworld.com

Visas

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

Page last updated:

14 January 2024


London to Tallinn

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

Option 1:  London to Tallinn 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?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne by ICE3

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  50 minutes after leaving Brussels the ICE calls at Liège, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.  As you approach Cologne Hbf you'll see the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral on the right, next to the station.  More about ICE3 trains Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M to Cologne at Brussels Midi.  More about ICE trains Advice on changing trains in Brussels.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Proper china & metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier! See  current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

3. Cologne to Hamburg by ICE4

ICE4s have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi, and are capable of 265 km/h (165 mph).  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, Cologne-Hamburg trains cross the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine, then pass through the industrial Ruhr.  More about ICE trainsHamburg Hbf station guide.

ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf

An ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf.  Click on the images below for larger photos.

1st class on an ICE4 train   Restaurant car on an ICE4 train

1st class on an ICE4.

 

Restaurant car on an ICE4.  Sample menu.

Bar counter car on an ICE4 train   2nd class on an ICE4 train

Bar counter at the other end of the kitchen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE4.

4. Hamburg to Copenhagen by Intercity train

As from June 2023, Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are operated by former German Railways intercity cars like this, shown in the timetable as IC for Intercity.  This is only temporary, as brand-new trains being built for DSB will be delivered in 2024.  These ex-DB intercity cars have power sockets at all seats (although no WiFi).  There's no catering car, so bring your own food & drink.  See more photos, tips & information about the Hamburg to Copenhagen journey.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Copenhagen

On 17 June 2023, the first Copenhagen to Hamburg train to use the 'new' German intercity cars is boarding at Copenhagen.  Photo courtesy of Peter Kincey.

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seats in are almost all open-plan like this.  There are a handful of 6-seat 2nd class compartments in one of the coaches.

1st class comparment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train   1st class 6-seat compartment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train

The 1st class car has 6-seater compartments like this. Larger photo Larger photo.

Hamburg to Copenhagen train approaches the Great Belt fixed link

Crossing the Little Belt (Lillebælt in Danish) from Jutland (mainland Denmark) to Funen, the island on which Odense is located.

5. Copenhagen to Stockholm by X2000

These Swedish 200km/h (125mph) tilting trains link Copenhagen & Stockholm in just a few hours, centre to centre.  They cross from Denmark to Sweden over the Oresund Link, a combined tunnel and bridge.  On the bridge section you seem to be flying just feet above the water. More information about X2000.

An X2000 train at Stockholm Central

Copenhagen to Stockholm by tilting 200km/h X2000, seen at Stockholm CentralMore about X2000 trains.

1st class seats on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train 2nd class seats on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train

1st class on an X2000.  Larger photo.

 

2nd class on an X2000.  Larger photo.

Bistro seating area on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train   Bistro seating area on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train

Bistro seating on an X2000 train. Larger photo.

 

Bistro on an X2000 train. Larger photo.

On the Oresund link!

Crossing the impressive Öresund bridge from Denmark to Sweden.

6. Then cruise overnight from Stockholm to Tallinn by 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.

Back to top


Option 2:  London to Tallinn via Rostock-Helsinki ferry

  • See the Finland page for details of journeys from London to Helsinki via the Finnlines ferry from Rostock to Helsinki.

  • Then take any of the regular ferries from Helsinki to Tallinn.  Operators include www.tallinksilja.com and www.vikingline.fi, Helsinki to Tallinn is a 2 hour crossing and costs around €29.

Back to top


Option 3:  London to Tallinn via Berlin, Warsaw, Vilnius, Riga

Back to top


Train travel within Estonia

Back to top


Moving on from Estonia

Back to top


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 set up a private venture and resumed publication of the famous European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses) or www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (shipping worldwide).  More information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

Rail Map Europe is the map I recommend, covering all of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  Scenic routes & high-speed lines are highlighted.  See an extract from the map.  Buy online at www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (shipping worldwide) or at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses).


Guidebooks

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

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search: www.booking.com

Booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally use it to book all my hotels in one place.  I've come to trust booking.com's review scores, you won't be disappointed with any hotel that scores 8.0 or more.  Crucially, booking.com usually lets you book with free cancellation, which means you can confirm accommodation risk-free before train booking opens and/or you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when planning a trip.  I never book hotels non-refundably!

Backpacker hostels

www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in Paris and most other European cities at rock-bottom prices.

Back to top


Travel insurance & other tips

 

Staysure travel insurance

 

Columbus Direct logo

Always take out travel insurance

You should take out travel insurance with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  These days, check you're covered for covid-19-related issues, and use an insurer whose cover isn't invalidated by well-meant but excessive Foreign Office travel advice against non-essential travel. An annual policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy with Staysure.co.uk myself.  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, I get a little commission if you buy through these links, feedback always welcome.

UK flag  www.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection and gets 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

UK flag  www.columbusdirect.com is also a well-know brand.

US flag  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

 

Maya.net logo

Get an eSIM with mobile data package

Don't rely on WiFi, download an eSIM with a European mobile data package and stay connected.  Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM including iPhone 11 & later, see device compatibility list.  There's no need to buy a physical SIM card!  Maya.net is a reliable eSIM data retailer with a 4.5 out of 5 Trustpilot rating and a range of packages including unlimited data.

 

Curve card

Curve card

Get a Curve card for foreign travel

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate then add a foreign transaction fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month as I write this.  The money you spend on your Curve card goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the Curve app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to the UK and most European addresses.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app, you can link up to two cards with the free version of Curve, I link my normal debit card and my normal credit card.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, exactly like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance in your own currency onto whichever debit or credit card is currently selected in the Curve app.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself, it means I can buy a coffee on a foreign station on a card without being stung by fees and lousy exchange rates, just by tapping the Curve card on their card reader.  The money goes through Curve to my normal debit card and is taken directly from my account (in fact I have the Curve card set up as payment card on Apple Pay on my iPhone, so can double-click my phone, let it do Face ID then tap the reader with the phone - even easier than getting a card out).  I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I recommend it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card, they'll give you £5 cashback through that link.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  Why you need a VPN

When travelling you may use free public WiFi which is often insecure.  A VPN encrypts your connection so it's always secure, even on unsecured WiFi.  It also means you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geoblocking which a surprising number of websites apply.  See VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy with a 4.7 out of 5 Trustpilot ranking which I use myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using this link you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription.  I also get some commission to help support this site.

 

Anker Powerrbank

Carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, hotel bookings and Interrail or Eurail passes are often now held on your mobile phone.  You daren't let it run out of power, and you can't always rely on the phone's internal battery or on being near a power outlet.  I always carry an Anker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over.  Buy from Amazon.co.uk or Buy from Amazon.com.

Touring cities?  Use hill walking shoes!

One of the best things I've done is swap my normal shoes for hill-walking shoes, in my case from Scarpa.  They're intended for hiking across the Pennines not wandering around Florence, but the support and cushioning for hiking works equally well when you're on your feet all day exploring foreign cities.  My feet used to give out first and limit my day, now the rest of me gives up before they do!

 


Back to top

Back to home page