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Taking the Tallinn to Helsinki Ferry is Easy!

Whether you’re crossing as part of a larger travel itinerary or just making a classic Tallinn to Helsinki day trip, the ferry crossing can be a little difficult to figure out! Eric actually did the crossing as a day trip from Tallinn to Helsinki back in 2017 (on his birthday) with a few friends.

This day trip from Tallinn was part of a larger Baltic travel itinerary he was doing. They had a great day trip and now we’re sharing with you the details of the journey!

Now, you might be looking for the best ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn and back. That would greatly depend on your budget, the time you have to make the crossing, and how far in advance you are booking! Not to mention if you are a ferry foot passenger or if you are taking a car with you.

We cover the location of the Tallinn and Helsinki ferry terminal, the companies (like Viking Line) that run the route, the Helsinki to Tallinn ferry timetables, and which one is the fast ferry between Helsinki and Tallinn!

Exploring more of the Baltics? Here’s a super detailed post to help you get around:

How to Take the Ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki

In theory, the ferry crossing from Tallinn to Helsinki through the Baltic Sea should be simple. You show up, get on a boat, it sails, you get off. In practice, the information on this crossing can feel a little scattered. Different websites have different prices, different schedules, and no real clear instructions. We had to arrive early and basically guess which Terminal was the right one in Helsinki. Not even kidding. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with the all the details. Now, the journey would be easy!

Ferry Companies

red and white viking line ferry on blue water sailing away tallinn to helsinki ferry
A Viking Line ferry, for visual reference. Ours was about that size, too.

There are three ferry companies that run ferries on the Tallinn to Helsinki ferry route. They are Eckerö Line – a Finnish-based company, Viking Line – another Finnish-based company, and Tallink – Silja Line – an Estonian-based company.

In general, the companies are pretty similar. The ferries each have restaurants and duty-free shops, as well as business lounges (for a higher ticket fare). The common areas are nice with lots of seating all over the place. Sit at the front, watch the land sail away from the back – you can pretty much choose where you want to sit.

Slight differences between the companies are that Viking Line has an app and new food services, while the others feature upgrades and cheaper rates on land attractions if you book a ticket. If you just need a seat to get from Tallinn to Helsinki (or back) then you can’t really go wrong with any of them.

Bookings Platforms

You can book directly with those companies –  Eckerö LineViking Line, and Tallink – Silja Line – on their websites. The sites are easy to use and come in English if you need to switch languages.

You can also use a website like Direct Ferries to compare all the different companies as it provides you with all the data in one place. However, these comparison sites can inflate the prices since they take a cut of the sales so be sure to check with the real ferry companies prices if you want to make sure you get the best deal.

Eric’s Estonian friend used her Estonian knowledge and used laevapiletid.ee which seems to be a local comparison booker designed for just servicing the ports at Tallinn, Helsinki, and Stockholm. The website is simple to use, comes in English, and has a nice calendar with the times laid out for easy understanding of the route times.

Whichever you choose, be sure to read the instructions for how you will need to present your reservation code or ticket. Some require a paper version while others give you a mobile barcode to scan AT the terminal to get your boarding ticket ahead of time.

Tallinn to Helsinki Ferry Timetables

There are a few different ways you can find the timetables for the ferries that make the Tallinn – Helsinki crossings. We’ve tried to find all the relevant ones for you to cross-reference the dates, times, and ferry lines. This way you can book the one that works best for you.

You can find the complete Tallinn to Helsinki Ferry Timetable on the Port of Tallinn’s Official Website. You can find the complete Helsinki to Tallinn Ferry Timetable also on the Port of Tallinn’s Website.

Another handy tool to check the ferry times is laevapiletid.ee. Once you enter the day you want to travel, the tool shows you all the times that day, the ferry line running the route, name of the ferry, and the price – all ready to book.

Tallinn-Helsinki Ferry Ticket Costs

The cost of the ferry journey will depend on a few factors. The good news is that if you are on a budget, making the journey can be budget-friendly. If you want luxury and to get there fast, then you can pay for that, too! The price depends on the following things, among others:

  • The day of the week you are travelling and the time of day you plan on travelling time
  • How far in advance you are reserving the ferry tickets.
  • Travelling with or without a car – car is more expensive than just being a “foot passenger”.
  •  Your “class” choice. A standard “deck seat” is cheaper and if you add a buffet meal to your fare or want a private room or even sleeper cabin (time of ferry-dependent), these get more expensive.

For us, we bought online about a week in advance through laevapiletid.ee and the cost was 32 euro per person for the whole journey. This cost is pretty low. Other fares, as we mentioned, can be much more expensive.

Other Ferry Travel Considerations

Before you prepare for the ferry journey, there are a few other details that you should consider.

  • Visas: Estonia and Finland are both in the Schengen Area. This means that you can travel between them freely without crossing a formal border. That said, if you are in one of those countries already, it is likely because your passport doesn’t need a visa to enter, or you did get a Schengen Visa for your trip.
  • Currency: Both Finland and Estonia are in the EU and they both use the Euro. You don’t have to worry about switching currencies.
  • Charged Electronics: One of the things we would suggest is to make sure your phones and electronics are fully charged. We found that – on our ferry – the number of plugs was limited. Those in good spots were taken by someone sitting up against the wall charging.
  • Pets: Some of the ferry lines want to know if you are coming on with a pet, and if so, how it will be travelling. A pet on deck with you is different than a pet in a private cabin when it comes to price.

Our Experience on the Ferry

  • Ferry Company: Eckerö Line
  • Journey Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cost: 32 Euro (22 euro heading to Helsinki, 10 euro heading back to Tallinn)
  • Tickets Bought: Online, days in advance, through laevapiletid.ee

Overall, we had a great experience with Eckerö Line. As mentioned, Eric’s Estonian friend actually bought the tickets online through the site above and it seemed to be cheaper than at Direct Ferries (which throws a bunch of prices at you without much context). Below are the actual mobile screenshots from Eric’s ferry ticket reservation:

Leaving Tallinn

exterior top deck of ferry with blue carpet and railing tallinn to helsinki ferry
We sat inside due to weather but the top deck is open for enjoying!

We arrived at the Terminal A by taxi but you can get there by public transport easily enough or you can walk from the Old Town. The address of the Ferry Terminal in Tallinn: Tallinn A-Terminal 25/2 15051, Sadama 25/2, 10111 Tallinn, Estonia. You can find the official website for the Port of Tallinn Fery Terminal here.

The terminal is very simple with a few shops and kiosks. As you can see on the mobile reservations above, we had to go to the terminal in advance (about an hour before departure) and scan those barcodes to get the boarding cards. The process was easy enough. You’ll see once you get inside and head to Departures.

Keep in mind that other passengers could get on with the version of the tickets they already had – be sure to read your ticket version’s instructions!

salmon and hard boiled eggs in plastic container on tallinn to helsinki ferry crossing
We bought lunch at a cafeteria at the back – pretty good!

Once on board, we headed to the back where there was a cafeteria/shop. We should have brought snacks onboard instead of buying food there but the price wasn’t the worst. The ferry itself was full of different rooms, shops, performance areas for other cruises, you name it. We wandered around for a bit and settled in for the few hours ride. If it was nice out we would have gone to the top deck but it was winter. So, a little cold!

Getting to Helsinki

green boat tied up on pier in helsinki tallinn to helsinki ferry
This is on the walk when you make it to Helsinki!

Once we got closer to Helsinki, we could begin to see land. They made an announcement that we would be getting off soon and everyone gathered their things and headed towards the gates. Once the doors opened, we went down the ramps, through the Terminal, and out onto the pier with public transport (tram stop) right in front of us.

We decided to walk into the city and it took about 30 minutes since we had to walk down the harbour and around to the other side, essentially. We wanted to walk because we had been sitting for almost 3 hours by then!

Discover Helsinki on a Day Trip – The Perfect One Day Helsinki Itinerary By a Local

Boarding Helsinki Back to Tallinn

small boat tied to pier with port and cranes in background in helsinki tallinn to helsinki ferry
The West Terminal is behind and to the left of the cranes.

After a great day/evening in Helsinki, it was time to head back to the ferry. Since we had a late night one, we walked the whole way back to the Terminal building the way we had come earlier that day. The address to the Helsinki Terminal is: Helsinki West Terminal, Tyynenmerenkatu 14, 00220 Helsinki. You can find more information about the Helsinki West Terminal 1 and 2 on the Port of Helsinki website.

West Terminal is divided into T1 and T2. They are technically in the same building BUT the ferry line you travel with might make the distinction as to which one you leave from. Notice on the mobile reservation above it says “West Terminal” and then we had to see where Eckerö Line left from on our own.

We followed the signs for Departures once we got into West Terminal 2 (for Eckerö Line). We went up a level for where Eckerö Line leaves from. Once there, we went to the kiosks to punch in the code on the mobile ticket. That machine gave us an official boarding card. We used that to scan through the gates to walk to the ferry. There was a nice woman at the gates who helped people figure out which version they needed.

Again, quite a bit of confusion is due to the fact that some people could use the version on their phones to get through the main boarding gates. This is likely because they booked their tickets through the companies directly or through another system that gave them their boarding pass directly. As mentioned before, just be sure to read the ticket version you have for the way that you booked or reserved your tickets.

Once onboard, we went to find a few seats that were comfortable enough for the ride back and settled in! Our ferry didn’t have the greatest wifi so keep that in mind if you want to get work done or use your phones heavily. It might differ by boat, company, or even the room we were in. However, Eric walked around a bunch and the wifi didn’t get any better anywhere on the ferry.

Arriving in Back to Tallinn

colourful sunset with tallinn buildings lit up and harbour waves tallinn to helsinki ferry
Downtown Tallinn and the colourful sky greeting us home!

Once we were approaching Tallinn, the announcements began that we would be disembarking soon. Everyone started to get their belongings together, zipped up their coats, and headed for the exit levels. Just follow the crowds, it’s pretty easy.

Once we got off, the crowd moved really well down the tunnel, through the terminal, and out the main doors. Outside, there was families reuniting, people waiting in their cars to pick people up, and taxis waiting as well. Since we were so close to the Old Town, and even though it was late, we decided to just walk back to the hostel. It took about 15 minutes total!

And there you have it – our experience taking the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki. Looking back, it was a great little day trip that was easy to do and not too costly overall. That said, Lisa hasn’t been to either Helsinki or Tallinn so we will have to return t wander these places together. Have you taken the ferry? What was your experience like? Get in touch and let us know!

As always, Happy Ferry Waddlin’,
– L&E>

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Everything you need to know about the Tallinn-Helsinki Ferry

Author

Eric is a Canadian & Hungarian content writer with over 45 countries under his belt. From volunteering in Australia to studying his Master's degree abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland, his travel experiences have taken him across the globe. Next to writing on Penguin and Pia, he has also contributed to companies in the travel space such as Matador, GoOverseas, and Spot.

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