How to get to Tallinn from Moscow and St. Petersburg – by plane, train, bus, car and hitchhiking
Aeroflot direct flights from Moscow to Tallinn take off twice daily from Sheremetyevo airport, the journey time is about 1h 40 min, and lately modern Sukhoi Superjet 100 have started to operate. The planes land at the Tallinn Lennart Meri International Airport, from which it takes 15 minutes to get to the center of the city by shuttle-bus no. 2, the stop of which is in front of the main entrance of the airport building. Next to the bus stop there is also a cab stand. Do not forget that when landing the cab driver must turn on the meter, and after the end of the trip give the passenger a receipt printed on a portable printer.
In addition to direct flights Aeroflot, from Moscow to Tallinn you can fly with the Latvian low-cost airline AirBaltic with a change in Riga – this option will take you a few hours longer, but will be about a third cheaper than a direct flight. You can check prices and book flights to Tallinn with the search form below:
How to get to Tallinn by plane from Saint-Petersburg
There are currently no direct flights from St. Petersburg to Tallinn, getting to the capital of Estonia by air is possible only with one or two transfers. The best option in terms of time and price is a flight by the Latvian AirBaltic with one connection in Riga airport. The average price for such a one way ticket, bought two months before departure, is 5,500 rubles.
How to get to Tallinn by plane from Minsk
As in the case of the flight to Tallinn from St. Petersburg , direct flights between the capitals of Estonia and Belarus is currently not available, the best option – the same AirBaltic with a connection in Riga. The average price for a one-way ticket from Minsk to Tallinn when you buy two months before departure is about 8000 rubles.
How to get to Tallinn by train from Moscow
Since 10 July 2015 the good old “34th express train” Moscow – Tallinn (aka “Baltic Express”) goes to Tallinn via St. Petersburg and is called “Train 034A”. Due to this optimization of the route total trip time was increased to 14 hours 22 minutes. The train Moscow – Tallinn leaves Moscow from Leningradskii station and arrives at the Tallinn Baltic Station. On the way to Tallinn train stops in Tver, Bologom, St. Petersburg, Kingisepp and Narva. The longest – an hour and a half – the train stops in St. Petersburg and Ivangorod / Narva, where all passengers pass through passport and customs control.
When going to Tallinn, the train arrives at the border around 10 am, and in St. Petersburg and Moscow – at 6 pm, in Tallinn the train arrives in the middle of the day. During the border crossing passengers are not allowed to leave the carriages and use the toilet; to pass the control it is usually enough to show a valid passport with a visa and to answer the question about the purpose of the visit, in rare cases customs officers may ask to show luggage. If necessary, a customs declaration may be filled out during customs control.
The train Moscow – Tallinn consists of four types of vans: deluxe, coupe, parlor and seated. Approximate prices: Deluxe – 11000 rubles, coupe – 6500 rubles, parlor – 4700 rubles, sitting – 3600 rubles. To buy tickets for the train Moscow – Tallinn is most convenient to do online, which saves a lot of time and some money. You can buy tickets online either directly on Russian Railways site www.rzd.ru or via online ticket reservation system tutu.ru: Moscow – Tallinn train tickets.
How to get to Tallinn by train from St. Petersburg
From the northern capital of Russia to Tallinn you can get on the same train 034A that goes from Moscow to Tallinn via St. Petersburg. In the city on Neva the train has an hour and a half. The important point: depending on the direction to St. Petersburg the train can arrive at different stations. On the way from Moscow to Tallinn, the train stops at Moskovskii vokzal, and from Tallinn to Moscow – at Moskovskii or Ladozhskii vokzal.
How to get to Tallinn from Moscow by bus
This direction is served by two bus companies: Ecolines and Lux Express. Comfortable buses of Ecolines company make flights from Moscow to Tallinn with change in Riga. The trip takes 20 hours and 30 minutes. From Moscow depart daily at 20:00 from Moscow bus station VDNKh. Next day Ecolines arrives in Tallinn at 16:30 at the bus station. The cost of one way trip for one adult is 3630 rubles. On the route Moscow – Riga there are two half-hour stops on the border in villages Burachki (RU) and Terehova (LV) for passport and customs control, and two ordinary stops for 2-5 minutes. On the section Riga-Tallinn there are five short two-minute stops in different cities, the biggest of which is Pärnu.
Check the availability of tickets and prices on the route Moscow – Tallinn on the website of the bus company Ecolines .
Also there is a possibility to get from Moscow to Tallinn by bus company Lux Express . Their buses leave Moscow twice a day (13:00 and 21:00) from subway station “Tushinskaya”, border crossing point “Luhamaa” in Tallinn, arrive at the city bus station. The bus goes directly from Moscow to Tallinn, so Lux Express has a considerably shorter travel time than Ecolines – 16 hours 30 minutes – with a comparable ticket price: 3,575 rubles (55 euros). You can buy Lux Express Moscow – Tallinn bus ticket on Lux Express website.
How to get to Tallinn from Saint-Petersburg by bus
This destination is also served by the bus company Lux Express; besides there is a possibility to get from Saint-Petersburg to Narva by Ecolines bus, and from Narva to Tallinn – by one of plenty of local Estonian buses, going to the capital of Estonia from Narva bus station. You can buy tickets for the bus St. Petersburg – Narva here.
Lux Express: direct buses depart from St.Petersburg to Tallinn 7-8 times a day, travel time about 7 hours, cross Estonian-Russian border at “Ivangorod/Narva”, prices range from 690 rubles for a normal seat to 3575 rubles for a comfortable Lux Express Lounge.
All buses are equipped with air conditioning, a permanently functioning toilet, personal seat belts, a “personal multimedia device” (a screen with a remote control, like in long-haul airplanes), wireless Internet, 220-volt electrical outlets at each pair of seats. Tickets can be purchased directly on the bus – but, unfortunately, except for the Russian Federation – in Russia you can buy tickets only on the website of the bus company: Tickets for Saint-Petersburg – Tallinn.
How to get to Tallinn from Kaliningrad by bus
In the direction of Kaliningrad – Tallinn bus company Ecolines. Departure once a day at 21:30, arrival at 12:15 the next day, travel time – 13 hours and 45 minutes. The cost of one way ticket for one adult passenger is 2480 rubles, route: Kaliningrad (bus station) – Gvardeisk – Sovetsk (Russian border) – Panemune (Lithuanian border) – Šauliai – Riga (stay for 2 hours in Riga) – Salasgriva – Parnu – Tallinn. You can book and pay for bus tickets Kaliningrad – Tallinn on Ecolines company site : Tickets for bus Kaliningrad – Tallinn
How to get to Tallinn from Moscow by car
What road to take? First of all the road depends on where you are going to cross the Russian-Estonian border. At the moment there are three open border crossing points for travel by private car: “Ivangorod – Narva”, “Kunichina Gora – Koidula”, and “Shumilkino – Luhamaa”. If you want to get from Moscow to Tallinn by the shortest possible route it makes sense to go by Leningradka (M10) through Veliky Novgorod and further to the border crossing “Ivangorod – Narva”.
If you want to save yourself and your family from exhausting waiting in a queue at the border (and in the summer in “Ivangorod – Narva” it is possible to loose seven or eight hours in a queue), it is better to choose “Kunichina gora – Koidula” or “Shumilkino – Luhamaa” checkpoints, although the way to them causes a detour of extra 100-150 km compared to “Ivangorod – Narva”. These two checkpoints are quite close to each other in south-eastern Estonia and the road to them from Moscow is through Pskov – so in this case it is reasonable to go directly on the highway (M9) to Velikie Luki, and then to Pskov. In addition, due to its geographical location, it is convenient to go from St. Petersburg to Riga and generally to the southern Baltics through the point “Shumilkino – Luhamaa”.
For congestion of the border: based on personal experience, information from the Internet and reviews of experienced travelers, “Ivangorod – Narva” is the busiest point on Russian-Estonian border – most residents of St. Petersburg and its surroundings go through it to the Baltics; second and third places with a large gap share points “Koidula” and “Luhamaa” (situation at these points is changeable, so it is difficult to say which of these two points is busier). Read more about the author’s trip from Moscow to Tallinn through “Shumilkino – Luhamaa” checkpoint here: To Estonia by car from Moscow .
In addition, I highly recommend everyone planning a trip from Russia to Estonia to read my article on passing the Russian-Estonian border by car (necessary documents, requirements for the car, order of border crossing and much more): Russian-Estonian border: Ivangorod – Narva, Shumilkino – Luhamaa, Kunichina Gora – Koidula.
How to get to Tallinn from St. Petersburg by car
Here, in principle, there are few options – the optimal route is through Kingisepp and IACP “Ivangorod-Narva”. If you want to cross the border at “Kunichina Gora – Koidula” or “Shumilkino – Luhamaa”, the route to Tallinn should be lengthened by about one and a half times.
How to get to Tallinn from Moscow by car
In our age of total domination of information technology is not necessary anymore in the old way – you just have to register on the web-site blablacar.ru, set the point of departure, destination, and the desired date of travel – and then choose from the list of options that best suit you. The process of booking a seat in a hitchhiker consists of studying the reviews about the driver left on the site by his previous passengers, finding out from the driver using the built-in messenger about the nuances of the trip and actually reserving a seat in the car. For example, on 27 August 2016, a certain Yuri was planning to drive from Moscow to Tallinn in an Audi A6, and he was willing to drive to Tallinn for 1,750 rubles/place.
How to get to Tallinn
“Is it far to Tallinn?”, the well-known joke asks. The answer, as an experienced traveler: “No, not far at all.
The distance between Moscow and Tallinn is 869 kilometers in a straight line, and from St. Petersburg to Tallinn is even less – 362 km.
Tallinn can be reached by any mode of transport:
- by train;
- by bus;
- fly by plane;
- get to Tallinn by car.
It’s up to you to choose what’s most convenient. I most often go either by train (it’s cheaper) or by plane to save time.
With the right transportation you won’t feel the journey at all and in no time you’ll find yourself in the silence of the narrow streets, able to admire the medieval towers of the Old Town, breathe in the sea air, and, of course, buy handmade souvenirs.
How to reach Tallinn from Moscow
So, how to get to Tallinn? I think I’ve tried all sorts of options. I will tell you about each in order.
By train .
This is the easiest and most convenient way. Trains run daily from the Leningrad station at 23-10. You can buy a ticket on the Russian Railways website online, and print it just before the trip in the machine at the Leningrad Station: you dial a reservation number – and, voila, no need to molly and buy it in person. Tickets cost on average:
- coupe – 6,000 rubles;
- parlor – 4 000 rubles;
- A sitting carriage – 3 000 rubles.
The trip takes fourteen and a half hours.
How to get to Leningradsky vokzal
You can get to the station by metro – Komsomolskaya station (circular), exit to Leningradsky vokzal (look at the signs). One trip by subway costs 50 rubles.
Or take a cab if you have a lot of things. The cost of a cab ride starts at 500 rubles. I always use either Gett or Yandex.Taxi services. I always use either Gett or Yandex Taxi. At the moment they are the most convenient for me.
In my opinion, there is no significant difference between the coach and the compartment. The conductors are friendly, you can buy tea, coffee, cookies, chocolate. If suddenly you bought a ticket, which does not include the cost of linen, you can pay extra at them. The cars are air conditioned, there’s free wi-fi, two toilet booths, which are constantly cleaned. Everything looks very decent. The only thing that confused me: in the compartment is stuffy and the dust there is more, however, as in any enclosed space. So, allergic people, take some drops with you or, like me, prefer the compartment car – where the dust is less perceptible.Separately, I want to say about the seating carriages. Tickets in the seated one have a very attractive price, but I have often been asked with sacred horror: “How do you ride, that’s sitting all night and not getting any sleep!” Well, the devil is not as frightening as it is made out to be. In fact, if a full coach left Moscow, there’s an 80% chance that some seats will be free after Tver: many passengers go to Moscow on business and return by the Tallinn train. So by the time you want to sleep there will be an empty seat next to you and two seats are good enough for lying down.
If you’re traveling in the spring and fall, then stock up on a light blanket or something to cover yourself, otherwise you risk in the morning baring your teeth to communicate with border guards. Again, an inflatable pillow under your head is our all and for the especially sensitive a sleeping mask. With this uncomplicated set the probability to spend the night in relative comfort and sleep increased at times, and the money saved can be spent on a pleasant entertainment.
It is forbidden to smoke on trains. The ashtrays that earlier were in vestibules are removed. So stock up on nicotine gum. The train stands in St. Petersburg for quite a long time – there you can go out on the platform and smoke. Or during two-minute stands at other stations try to agree with conductors and have a smoke from the open door – I had a couple of times. If you absolutely can’t stand it there is a well ventilated place between the carriages: you may smoke there with connivance of those conductors.
Passing the border
The border and customs control are passed at 9-30 in the morning. The conductors wake everybody up and warn them in advance. The train stays for an hour at the Russian border and an hour at the Estonian border. In the compartment and floating carriages things are almost not inspected: a doggy will run by, find nothing, and that’s all. In the sedentary carriages they more often ask to open and show the suitcase. Strictly relate to tobacco – allowed to carry no more than two packs. You can put one open one in a jacket pocket or unpack a few to non-smoking friends. But with such cases is better not to risk and carefully read the rules of importation of tobacco and alcohol on the website of the Embassy of Estonia. If the offender is caught, they will drop him off and write a fine – it’s a loss of time, money, not a good visa history and generally unpleasant. At the passport control may ask the purpose of travel, return ticket and insurance.
Important: Make sure that you have insurance and take it with you, even if you are traveling for two days. Without insurance you may be refused entry into the country, even if you have a visa.
This is another comfortable way to travel between Moscow and Tallinn. When I plan a trip in advance, months in advance, for example, I start looking at interesting offers from airlines. Sometimes I can buy a plane ticket for the price of the compartment train, that is, for 5,000 rubles one way. On average the flight costs from 10 000 rubles. The flight time is 1 hour and 40 minutes.
There are two airlines on the Moscow-Tallinn route: AirBaltic and Aeroflot.
Aeroflot has two direct flights – morning and evening, AirBaltic has a connecting flight in Riga. As a rule direct Aeroflot flight is a bit more expensive, but it is safer and more comfortable to fly with it because connection time in Riga can be only an hour and a half and if your flight is delayed, it is not a pleasant way to start your trip in a rush through unknown airport even if it is not big. That’s why, other things being equal, I always choose an Aeroflot flight. All the more so because there are both food and luggage requirements – 20 kg for free. At AirBaltic only hand luggage is free of charge. So it’s worth flying if you don’t have many things with you or if you don’t mind the short connection.
Upon arrival in Tallinn, you’ll find yourself in a small, cozy airport. It’s very cheerful, bright, with colorful chairs in the flight waiting area, which you’ll see on your way to passport control. The latter goes very quickly: usually by the time you chat and get your arrival stamp, things will already be waiting for you on the belt. Customs at the very exit. Customs officers inspect those arriving selectively, so it can take as little as 15-20 minutes from the time you get off the plane to the time you get into town.
How to get from Tallinn Airport to the city center
The airport itself is located within the city limits. You can reach the center:
- by bus;
- by cab.
To find the bus stop , you need to get out of the ground floor of the airport and take a little left. Literally 10 meters. Carefully watch that the bus goes exactly to the center, not out of the center. You need to take a route number 2 (from the center) or number 65 from the sleeping areas. If you do not understand, ask the driver. It’s better to clarify than go off into uncharted waters. Again, in Russian you will most likely be understood. Such a trip will cost 1.6 euros.
Buses run on a schedule, it can be found near the stops. Do not be surprised when the transport arrives right on schedule, yes, it’s possible. The same route and schedule can be seen here . On the site you can choose Russian and understand everything.
You can take a cab to the hotel, which are at the exit of the upper floor. You should go to the first car in the queue, or the cab driver will come to you if you indicate your interest. It is obligatory to buckle up both on the front and back seats. The cab driver is 90% likely to understand you in Russian. Generally speaking, it is better to speak Russian rather than English in the city. If they don’t understand you, they will talk to you in another language. In other cases – do not strain your linguistic skills. Landing fee is 3.9 euros, and then the trip will cost depending on the kilometer (about 80 cents per kilometer).
Important! As well as everywhere else, cab drivers are not fools to earn money. Seeing that people are not local, they start taking tourists in circles to increase the mileage on the meter. How do you fight it? Choose firms that try to keep an eye on it. Such as:
- Tallink Takso;
In addition, you can pay with a bank card in cabs of these companies.
This way you can also get to Tallinn from Moscow. LUX Express and Ecolines buses depart daily on the Moscow-Tallinn route. The vehicles themselves are very comfortable – air conditioning, free tea and coffee, toilets, several stops along the way where you can get off and stretch your legs. There is WiFi and small tablets in the headrests of the front seats. On the tablets you can find movies, but in English. Journey time is 16 hours, the cost is about 3 500 rubles per one way.
Note that the route goes through Riga. This means that you get off the bus in Riga, move from platform to platform, and get on another one. Nothing complicated for those who are relaxed about traveling long distances. There are quite a few LUX Express and Ecolines buses from Riga to Tallinn, so it’s quite possible to initially choose the Moscow-Riga route and spend a few hours walking around Riga’s Old Town to compare it to Tallinn’s Old Town. And when you have walked around, you can take a ticket and move on to Tallinn. And, of course, if you don’t have a lot of stuff, you’ll have to carry it with you or put it in the luggage room. The cost depends on the weight of your luggage and how long you leave it there. You can view rates for this service here.
I will tell you about the peculiarities of crossing the border when you travel by bus.
Train + Bus
The route I used when I wanted to save money as much as possible. Buying an economy ticket to St. Petersburg. The price starts at 1,000 rubles. The train arrives at the Moscow station. Getting off the train, the subway to the place of departure of the bus St. Petersburg – Tallinn. Bus is comfortable, same LUX Express (departs from Baltic station) or Ecolines (departs from Vitebsky). Tickets cost from 500 rubles. Travel time is about 8 hours. Buses make 7-8 departures per day. Depending on what time your train comes from Moscow, you can choose the most convenient time for departure – so you have enough time for transfer and not to wait too long.
How to get to Tallinn from St. Petersburg
If you live in St. Petersburg, you can also get to Tallinn in several ways.
Bus is the best option. Flights are made by the same companies LUX Express and Ecolines. LUX Express buses depart from Baltic station, and Ecolines – from Vitebsky. Tickets cost from 500 rubles per one direction. Companies do 7-8 departures per day. Travel time is about 8 hours.
Buses are air conditioned, it’s possible to drink tea or coffee, they are standing next to the boiler with hot water, there is a clean toilet, it’s possible to join Wi-Fi. All this is free.
How to save on tickets
Very often companies hold actions and make discounts on tickets, so it’s better to monitor the emergence of bargain offers on the site constantly.
Important! LUX Express company participates in the loyalty program PINS. If you travel often you get a discount from 15% to 40%. But new participants of the program can get 15% discount at once. You have to register on the PINS website, get their card and then join the program on the LUX Express website.
Passing the border
The border will be two and a half hours after departure. On the Russian side, everyone gets off the bus and goes through passport control. You can be asked to take your things with you, or you can leave them on the bus, where the dog will sniff them, and if everything is okay, after passing the control you will get back on the bus and go on. Sometimes dogs will find medications in their bags that they mistake for drugs. It’s no big deal – you’ll just be asked to open the bag, and the officers will make sure it’s medicine. At the Estonian border, they don’t usually ask you to get off the bus; they just collect your passports, take them to their place, and then hand them out.
By train .
One more way to get from St. Petersburg to Tallinn. This is the “Baltic Express”, which leaves Moscow daily. The time of boarding in St. Petersburg is 6-30 am at Moskovskiy railway station. The trip takes 7 hours and the tickets cost from 1 600 rubles for a sitting car and 1 800 rubles for a parlor car.
It’s better to buy tickets beforehand, because inexpensive seats sell out quickly, especially in the summer season.
How to get from Riga to Tallinn
To get from Riga to Tallinn is very easy. On this route there are quite a lot of buses LUX Express and Ecolines. You can buy tickets on the website of LUX Express and Ecolines or come directly to the bus station, which is located in Riga, Pragas Street, 1.
Check the schedule of buses on the website, where there is a Russian language, so you can easily understand.
Tickets cost from 1 300 rubles, but there are often actions and discounts, and at an early booking you can buy such a ticket for 500 rubles. Travel time is about 5 hours.
How to get from Vilnius to Tallinn
From Vilnius you can get comfortable buses LUX Express and Ecolines. Tickets and schedules can be found on the websites of bus companies, which I mentioned above. Tickets cost from 2,000 rubles, but there are often promotions and discounts. Travel time is about 9 hours.
The bus station in Vilnius is located at 22 Sodu str.
Detailed information you can get on the website of the bus station.
How to get there from Helsinki
From Helsinki there are ferry Tallink and Viking Line daily. In the spring and summer season, every day on the Helsinki- Tallinn route there are 10 departures, with a frequency of almost once an hour.
How to get to the port of Helsinki
If you are traveling from Helsinki to Tallinn, you should keep in mind that Tallink ferries depart from the West Terminal.
It is located at Tyynenmerenkatu, 8. Get to it by streetcar number 9, which goes through Kamppi by Tyynenmerenkatu.
Viking Line ferries, on the other hand, depart from the Southern Terminal. It is located at Katajanokanlaituri, 8.
You can get there by streetcar number 4: Katajanokka – city center – Munkkiniemi. You need to stop Vyökatu, which is located 150 meters from the terminal.
Depending on the travel time, the cost of tickets varies. So the trip on the ferry, which goes 3.5 hours, costs about 15-20 euros, and the ferry, which performs the same route in 2 hours – from 30 euros. Tickets can be purchased directly on the websites of companies or in the port.
Return ferries from Tallinn depart from Terminal D. Cash desks in the port are open daily from 6-00 to 21-00.
The port of Tallinn is located near the city center, at Lootsi str. 13. You can see the schedule of ferries directly on the port site. Next to the ferry flight you can see which company operates it – Tallink and Viking Line – so you can find out from whom you can buy a ticket for the desired flight.
Where to next
Tallinn can serve as a starting point for your travels throughout the Baltics. From Tallinn it is easy to get to Helsinki, Vilnius, Stockholm. I will write more about Baltic Sea cruises in the next post.