Helsinki is so close to Tallinn that it would be a shame not to visit! Whether you take a day trip from Tallinn to Helsinki or spend a few days in Finland, you won’t regret making the trip from Tallinn to Helsinki.
The best part is that it is super easy to travel to Helsinki from Tallinn.
There are two ways you can travel from Tallinn to Helsinki, but one is by far superior. I always recommend you take the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki rather than flying.
It is the more cost effective way to travel between the two cities.
Not to mention it is better for the environment and will actually save you time when you factor in getting to and from the airport and how early you have to arrive at the airport.
Plus you get to take a ferry between two countries! You don’t get the chance to do that very often, and it is super fun!
Today, I’m going to share all the information you need to know to seamlessly travel from Tallinn to Helsinki.
I’ve made the trip before, and I’m going to share all the mistakes I made along the way, so you can avoid them!
Spoiler: my mistake involved sitting on a freezing cold boat floor for the entire journey. It was not fun.
Before We Get Started
Figuring out how to travel between cities is one of my least favourite parts of travel. That’s why I write these guides for you!
I hope my transportation guides help you effortlessly plan your journey from one city to another, and you find all the information you need in one place.
I’ve created a few other Estonia transportation guides.
Here they are in case you’re planning a more thorough trip through Estonia rather than just visiting Tallinn:
Estonia is a highly underrated European country. It is full of beauty and nature, and I highly recommend you get outside of Tallinn and see what else Estonia has to offer!
Option One: Taking the Ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki
Without a doubt taking the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki is the best way to travel between the two cities.
It is fast, inexpensive, and there are multiple departures every day.
Not to mention the departure and arrival locations are super convenient!
How Long Does the Ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki Take?
Travel time can vary a little bit, but it will take you between 2 and 2.5 hours to travel to Helsinki from Tallinn on the ferry.
This doesn’t include getting to the ferry at least ten minutes before departure, but your trip will definitely take you less than three hours from hotel door to hotel door!
How Much Does a Ferry Ticket Cost?
The price of your ticket depends on a few things. It depends on what ferry company you travel with, what time of day you travel, the day of the week, and whether or not you purchase a general ticker or reserve a cabin.
A general ticket will run you between €20 and €30. Reserving a cabin will cost you between €90 and €100.
You do not need to have a cabin because it is such a short trip from Tallinn to Helsinki.
I highly recommend getting a general ticket and sitting in the bar/restaurant or somewhere like that.
Where to Purchase Your Ferry Ticket
There are a few different ways you can purchase your ferry ticket, but I think the best option is buying it online in advance.
I like to go to Direct Ferries to get a sense of the prices and departure times and the head over to the website of the company I chose and book my ticket directly with them.
I normally book my tickets with Tallink. It has the most departures per day and is very affordable.
There isn’t much difference between the ferry companies though so choose whatever one works best for you.
If the ferry isn’t full, you can show up at the terminal on the day you depart and see if you can get a last minute ticket.
This often works on weekdays and during off-peak season, but it is still better to purchase your ticket online in advance.
You don’t want to have to wait around all day trying to get on a ferry when you can pre-buy your ticket and know for sure you have a spot!
Where Does the Ferry Depart From?
This is where it gets a little bit tricky.
Each ferry company has their own terminal where they depart, so you need to read your ticket and follow the signs at the harbour.
It shouldn’t be much of any issue (if any) because normally there is only one ferry departing at a time.
If you run into any issues or are unsure of where to go, just ask someone at the harbour, and they’ll be happy to help.
The terminal for all the ferries departing from Tallinn are located just outside the old town. In fact, you can see the old town from the ferry!
The easiest way to find the ferry terminals is to stick it into Google maps or follow the signs in the old town.
Basically, walk towards the water, and you’ll find them!
Where Does the Ferry Arrive at in Helsinki?
There are two ferry terminals in Helsinki. Two of the companies dock at the West Terminal and one docks at the A Terminal.
A Terminal is closer to the heart of Helsinki, but West Terminal is within walking distance of the city centre as well.
If you arrive at West Terminal and don’t want to walk, you can either take tram 7 or 6T to get to the city centre.
You most likely will be arriving at West Terminal so be sure you have a plan on how you’re going to get to your accommodation before you arrive!
Pros of Taking the Ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki
- Convenient arrival and departure locations
Cons of Taking the Ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki
- The ferry can be a bit chilly during the winter months
- You have to pay to store your luggage
- Luggage storage lockers don’t come in super large sizes
Tips for Taking the Ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki
There are a few things you need to know about taking the ferry to Helsinki from Tallinn.
I made some major mistakes the first time I took the ferry between the two cities, and I want to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes!
You May Not be Able to Store Large Luggage
This was my biggest mistake the first time I took the ferry between Tallinn and Helsinki.
I was backpacking through Europe and had a 55L backpack!
By the time I finally found the luggage storage area, the few large lockers were already taken, and I had to keep my luggage on my the whole trip.
This meant I wasn’t able to sit in the restaurant/bar and had to sit on the cold floor.
If you have large luggage, try to be one of the first people on the boat to ensure you snag a locker big enough to fit your bags.
Bring Your Passport- Even if You’re Only Taking a Day Trip
Finland and Estonia are both part of the EU, and you typically don’t have to show your passport when travelling between the two cities.
You may be tempted to leave your passport behind in Tallinn- especially if you’re only taking a day trip to Helsinki- but that is a mistake.
Both Estonia and Finland have the right to ask to see your passport when you arrive in their country.
If you don’t have your passport on you, you won’t be able to get off the ferry.
It isn’t common for either country to check passports, but you never know. You don’t want to take the risk and then be on one of the few boats that have passport control!
You Can Purchase Food and Drinks on the Boat
There are restaurants and bars on the ferry, but there is also a small liquor store onboard.
If you’re travelling from Tallinn to Helsinki and know you want to have some drinks in your room in Helsinki, you should consider purchasing your alcohol onboard the ferry.
It is often less expensive and has fewer taxes than the alcohol in Helsinki.
The restaurant food and drinks are expensive, so you may want to only purchase something small to be able to sit in them and wait until you arrive to find something more affordable.
Although, the food in Helsinki is very expensive, so you may just want to purchase lunch on the boat rather than in Helsinki.
Arrive at the Terminal Early
Even though you pre-purchased your ticket, there is limited seating on the ferry.
You don’t want to be the last one on the boat otherwise you’ll be like me and have to sit on the floor.
I suggest arriving at the terminal at least 20 minutes early, so you can be one of the first people on the ferry.
There is Wifi on the Ferries
The majority of the ferries travelling from Tallinn to Helsinki offer guests complimentary wifi!
It is easy to connect to, and the signal is pretty decent considering you’re on the boat in the middle of the water.
Just be sure you’re being internet safe!
The wifi network isn’t secure, and you’re putting yourself at risk of having your online information and data stolen.
The best (and only) way to protect yourself when using a public wifi network is by installing a VPN on your devices.
It costs less than the price of a latte per month, and you can protect up to six devices with a single subscription!
I always say that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect yourself with a VPN.
Option Two: Flying from Tallinn to Helsinki
Both Tallinn and Helsinki have airports, so you could fly between the two cities. I don’t recommend it though.
It is way more expensive than taking the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki and actually takes longer.
By the time you factor in how long it takes to get to the airport, checking into your flight, waiting for your flight, boarding your flight, flying, deplaning, waiting for your luggage, and getting from the airport to your accommodation, it takes significantly longer than the ferry.
So, unless you’re already at the Tallinn airport, you shouldn’t even consider flying from Tallinn to Helsinki.
The ferry is without a doubt the superior option!
Taking the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki is quite fun. Especially if you’re travelling during the warm months and can sit on the deck when you’re leaving Tallinn and arriving in Helsinki.
You can get some amazing photographs!
The ferry is the most affordable way to travel between the two cities, and it is so quick that you could easily visit Helsinki as a day trip as part of your trip to Tallinn.
I highly recommend you make the journey between the two cities.
They are quite different and each has their own unique style and vibe.
With it being so easy to travel between the two cities, there is no excuse not to explore both!