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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.

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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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!

Andrew

Thursday 1st of September 2022

Hi. We will be in Helsinki for a week in December and thought we would break it up a bit with a couple of nights in Tallinn. We will have a rental car so are planning on taking it with us on the ferry. However, when I try to book the ferry, it asks for the car's number plate, which I don't know yet. Do you have any advice on this. Thank you, Andrew

Varpu

Friday 2nd of September 2022

Hei Andrew, this is a great question! First, I recommend double-checking from the car rental that you can take the car with you to Estonia. It might be so that you cannot. If you can do it, then the only thing is to be in touch with the ferry company to ask for instructions for the number plate. Hope this helps! It's a wonderful idea to visit both cities in December!

Dan

Monday 15th of August 2022

Thank you for all the info. We will be traveling from Tallin to Helsinki on December 26, 2022. Are all three ferry lines as dependable in the winter time? Or is one a better choice? Thanks, Dan

Varpu

Tuesday 23rd of August 2022

Hei Dan! All should be in operation. When I was traveling almost weekly to Tallinn, I used Tallink extensively and all was always working perfectly. That's the company I have the most personal experience. Hope this helped a bit!

Patty

Thursday 14th of July 2022

Hei Varpu! Thank you so much for this wonderful information. It was just what I was trying to research and you have it laid out so well in you blog, hence, saving me a great deal of time! I do have one question. Do you think a day would be enough time for my husband and I to experience Tallinn? or would you recommend 1 night? I originally planned for 2 nights but the logistics of flying to our next destination is better from Helsinki. We are travelling for 30 days around the Scandinavian countries and I find I could use more days! Patty

Varpu

Tuesday 2nd of August 2022

Hei Patty! Thank you so much for your comment. Your trip sounds AMAZING! Tallinn is a great city to visit and it's very walkable. I think you can explore it well within one day, especially if you focus on the Old Town and the areas quite close by it. Hope this helps!

Bruce Wesley Davis

Thursday 16th of June 2022

Do you recommend getting a cabin for the trip. Is there an area with open seating?

Varpu

Monday 20th of June 2022

If you are only crossing the Baltic Sea during the day, I would just hang out in a restaurant or grab a seat in the "free seat" section! Hope this helps!

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