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How To Make Helsinki Tallinn Ferry Trip: Practical Guide

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 busiest sea passenger port in Europe with 12,1 million travelers in 2018. 

Helsinki-Tallinn-Helsinki route draws the majority of people, around 9 million passengers annually! 

The Local’s 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 (a party cruise or booze cruise).

Book a ticket and see how Finns party when they 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.

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The Two Mistakes to Avoid when Booking a Tallinn Ferry

Some Tallinn cruises are designed so that you get to visit Tallinn, others aren’t. 

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.

Helsinki to Tallinn by ferry

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 that 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 for 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 cutting 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 and Tallinn Ferry Terminals

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 9. 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.

Visit Tallinn Old town from Helsinki by Ferry

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 9. 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.

Grab the free kit

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!

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!

Helsinki Tallinn ferry: Helsinki islands by Her Finland blog

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.

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: 

About Varpu
I’m the founder of Her Finland. I love cultural tidbits, aha moments, Finnish folklore, and cinnamon buns. My newest interest is learning bird songs. Read more about me..

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Bharat & Supriya

Friday 6th of January 2023

Glad to have found your blog Varpu and this is helpful about ferries. We just moved to Frankfurt from Boston and thinking to visit Tallin during Easter break. Although we are used to US east coast winters ;) , how would you describe weather around early April in Helsinki and Tallin? I assume not much of a weather difference between both cities....?

Varpu

Monday 16th of January 2023

Hi Bharat & Supriya! So happy to meet you here! I would describe the weather as FREEZING! Layer up with merino and arrive with winter coats (insulated) + beanies, gloves, scarves, and proper boots. No difference between the cities. You will have an awesome trip I'm sure. Both cities are wonderful!

David

Monday 2nd of January 2023

Fantastic information, thank you

How far in advance can tickets be booked?

Thinking about December 23...already booked hotel and flights to Helsinki

It would be great to add tallinn to the trip

Thanks in advance

Varpu

Monday 16th of January 2023

I think you should be able to book already December 2023! Have the best time in Finland!

Katy

Sunday 6th of November 2022

Hello! I'll be visiting Helsinki and Tallinn in early April 2023. Is it OK to just purchase our tickets at a terminal...or should we purchase in advance? If we book and miss our ferry (due to travel complications), can we get on the next one without having to pay more? If we don't have a car, how early should we arrive at a terminal to board the ship? Thanks!

Varpu

Friday 18th of November 2022

Hei Katy, that's so exciting! As this information can change over time, it's good to double-check directly from the ferry companies. I'll be happy to point you to the right direction. You can find information regarding your questions from the ferry company site, for example, for Tallink Silja: https://en.tallink.com/good-to-know Have the best trip!

Emily

Thursday 6th of October 2022

This is such an awesome resource, thank you so much for sharing! I’m looking at booking a ferry for the end of November and see an option on many ferry lines to purchase a “deck seat” as the cheapest option. I’ve been trying to see if that means the seats are outside on the deck or if there are inside seats available. I know it will be very cold at that time of year, and would prefer not to freeze the entire two hour ride :) If you know or could point me in the direction of finding out, that would be incredible. Thank you!

Varpu

Friday 14th of October 2022

That is a great question. The seats are indoors! Usually, there's no specific seat that is booked but your deck seat ticket allows you to sit in any of the seat in the specific room that's filled with seats.

Vishal Thakur

Thursday 1st of September 2022

Hi Varpul! Thanks a lot for all the information you have shared. Just this guide, and no one has to validate or review any other site to get any further information! Excellent effort! You have saved my research time, and I am sure my trip to and from Helsinki will be a breeze! :-)

Varpu

Friday 2nd of September 2022

Hei Vishal, Thank you so much. That means so much to me! Enjoy your trip!

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