Are you thinking whether or not you should take the Helsinki Tallinn ferry and visit Tallinn while in Helsinki?
I totally recommend making the Tallinn day trip if you:
- Have more than few days to spend in Helsinki.
- Wish to see two capitals within one holiday. Helsinki and Tallinn have a different vibe, and the old town of Tallinn is beautiful.
- Are interested in the Finnish archipelago and The Baltic Sea.
- Are fascinated by Finnish and Estonian culture.
- Are curious about seeing a lot of Finns enjoying their leisure day.
Spending a day in Tallinn is also a very Finnish thing to do. It is almost like going to a sauna.
In fact, I don’t know any Finn who hasn’t visited Tallinn by ferry. Young teenage couples, girl packs, old folk, business people and families with children – we are all on board!
To give you an idea of the magnitude, Helsinki harbor is the world’s busiest sea passenger port with 12,3 million travelers in 2017.
Helsinki-Tallinn-Helsinki route draws the majority of people, over 9 million passengers annually! (I’m waiting for the numbers of 2018 but expecting something similar or an increase.)
Table of Contents
- 1 The Local’s Essential Guide to the Helsinki Tallinn Ferry
- 2 What is a Helsinki Tallinn Ferry?
- 3 How to Get Started with Booking a Helsinki Tallinn Ferry Trip
- 4 The Helsinki Tallinn Ferry Terminal
- 5 Tips for Traveling on the Helsinki Tallinn Ferry
- 6 Common Questions about the Helsinki Tallinn Ferry
- 7 The Last Thing You Need to Know about the Helsinki Tallinn Ferry
The Local’s Essential Guide to the Helsinki Tallinn Ferry
So, the Helsinki Tallinn ferry is a mass sport. The facilities on board are practical, safe, and nice but not glamorous. Also, you may find some things a bit confusing, especially:
- Which ferry should you take?
- How to actually buy the tickets?
- Where is the terminal?
As I regularly travel on the Helsinki Tallinn ferry due to my work, I thought I’d make a comprehensive guide about this merry ferry business in Helsinki!
I’ll try to answer all those possible pain points and make you ready for your cruise!
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What is a Helsinki Tallinn Ferry?
The Helsinki Tallinn ferry is a route connection between the two capitals. A common misconception is that all Tallinn ships take you to Tallinn. This is not true!
There are two types of Tallinn ships.
One category of Tallinn ships are cruises which just circle a certain period on the Baltic Sea. These cruises have many names (like Tallinn cruise, which sucks, I know!) and nicknames (party cruise or booze cruise).
Book a ticket and see how rough it can get when Finns are *all-in* – however, you will not get to see Tallinn.
The second category is those Tallinn ships which are route connection ferries. They shuttle back and forth the two cities from early morning until midnight, on average.
Some Tallinn cruises are designed so that you get to visit Tallinn.
Yup. The ferry companies use their company language, so one company can have a Tallinn cruise which is just a party cruise and another company can have a Tallinn day cruise which is specially designed for those travelers who want to do a day trip to Tallinn. Yeah, confusing.
When you are booking, all companies state quite clearly if the cruise has some time in Tallinn or not, but you need to be careful so you don’t book a wrong cruise.
Another misconception is that all Helsinki Tallinn ferries use the same terminals.
They don’t. The terminal depends on the ferry company you are using. This is true in both cities. That’s why it’s super important that you know the terminal details.
What is nice in both cities, at least based on my experiences, is that taxi drivers always ask for the details to be sure they are not driving to the wrong terminal.
There are other ships, too.
Cruises are big business in Finland. Besides Tallinn, a very popular cruise is a two-day long “spend one day in Stockholm”-cruise. That offers a bit of that Love Boat feeling.
You can also travel to St. Petersburg and Mariehamn in Åland by ship from Helsinki.
How to Get Started with Booking a Helsinki Tallinn Ferry Trip
There are three companies which offer a regular Helsinki Tallinn ferry connection: Tallink Silja, Eckerö Line and Viking Line.
In a nutshell, Tallink Silja has the newest and most beautiful ferry, called Megastar. Hence, Tallink Silja is on average more pricey than Eckerö Line or Viking Line.
The biggest thing affecting the prices is the season. In the winter time, you can get a return ticket from Eckerö Line with 10 euros!
But, when it’s the weekend and we approach warmer months, all prices go up.
I recommend buying straight from the ferry companies and cut the middle man. You can print your tickets at home or save the ticket code on mobile.
At the terminal, you create your own ticket on an easy-to-use vending machine.
The Helsinki Tallinn Ferry Terminal
Here are the terminal details for all three ferry companies.
Tallink Silja in Helsinki: West Terminal 2 (Länsisatama 2 in Finnish). Address: Tyynenmerenkatu 14
Tallink Silja in Tallinn: D-Terminal. Address: Lootsi 13
In Helsinki, West Harbor is basically within walking distance from the center, but I recommend that you take the tram 7 or 6T. The final stop is the harbor.
Note that West harbor has a cool modern grey building and a red brick terminal. Tallink Silja uses the modern grey building for Megastar and Star ships. Only Tallink Silja Europa ship uses the red brick terminal.
Terminal D (Tallink Silja) is super conveniently close to the modern city center of Tallinn and the Old Town.
Eckerö Line Helsinki and Tallinn Terminals
Eckerö Line in Helsinki: West Terminal 2 (Länsisatama 2 in Finnish). Address: Tyynenmerenkatu 14
Eckerö Line in Tallinn: A-Terminal. Address: Sadama 25/2
West Harbor is basically within walking distance from the center, but I recommend that you take the tram 7 or 6T. The final stop is the harbor.
Note that West harbor has a cool modern grey building and a red brick terminal. Eckerö Line uses the modern grey building.
In Tallinn, Terminal A (Eckerö Line & Viking Line) is closer to the Old Town.
Viking Line Helsinki and Tallinn Terminals
Viking Line in Helsinki: Viking Line Terminal. Address: Katajanokanlaituri 8
Viking Line in Tallinn: A-Terminal. Address: Sadama 25/2
In Helsinki, Viking Line Terminal is very close to Helsinki Market square, right in the city center. In Tallinn, Terminal A (Eckerö Line & Viking Line) is closer to the Old Town.
Tips for Traveling on the Helsinki Tallinn Ferry
- Remember to take your ticket code or print your ticket.
- Remember to take your passport.
- Euros are used in both countries. Credit card works everywhere in both cities and on the ferry!
- There are restaurants on board. You can also bring your own snacks.
- Especially when leaving from Helsinki or when returning, go outside or take a window seat and admire the Finnish archipelago views.
Common Questions about the Helsinki Tallinn Ferry
Here are the most common questions that people have about Helsinki Tallinn ferry trips. I’d love to know if you have a question about this topic, just write it on the comments!
How long is the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn?
On average, it takes around 2 hours from Helsinki to Tallinn.
What the price for the Helsinki Tallinn ferry?
Depending on the season, the price for a return ticket (Helsinki – Tallinn – Helsinki) starts from 10 euros. During summer, it can be around 60-80 euros. Book early, if you’re traveling in the summer!
Where can I find the Helsinki Tallinn ferry timetable?
What should I know as a business passenger on a Helsinki Tallinn ferry?
For a business trip, I warmly recommend the business lounge of Megastar. It is stylish, the buffet is good and the business class internet works reasonably well.
What’s the Helsinki Tallinn ferry like with a car?
- Super easy: just drive in and out yourself.
- Arrive 1,5 hours before departure
- Remember your printed ticket and passport!
The Last Thing You Need to Know about the Helsinki Tallinn Ferry
Finns love a Tallinn ferry because it is an easy and cheap way to travel to Estonia.
You might notice that there are many who stack up on alcohol because it is less expensive in Estonia. Actually, as Estonia increased their alcohol prices, some drive to Latvia to make their purchases.
On the ship, you can do some of these Finnish things: Drink. Play bingo. Dance old hits. Get a bit bored. Eat. People-watch. Sing karaoke. Play slot machines. Dive into a ball pool (unfortunately many of us enthusiasts are over-aged).
What else you would like to know about the Helsinki Tallinn ferry? Are you going to visit Tallinn when in Helsinki? Let me know in the comments!
Looking for more information about cool day trip destinations from Helsinki and things to do in Helsinki? Check these other posts: