Safety and security
Be aware of the risk of pick pocketing and mugging, especially in bars, pubs, nightclubs and hotels in Tallinn’s Old Town. There have been some reports of drink tampering to assist robberies. Be vigilant in bars, take sensible precautions and avoid unlit side streets and parks at night. If possible, leave your valuables in a hotel safe.
You should report any theft in person to Tallinn Central Police Station, Kolde pst 65, 10321 Tallinn, telephone: +372 612 5400. You will need to obtain a police report if you have lost your passport.
A plastic smartcard and e-ticket system is in use in Tallinn for buses, trolls, trams and inner-city trains. Information on buying and using smartcards can be found on the Tallinn Tourism website).
Taxis are widely available and reasonably priced. Transport apps like Taxify, Taxigo and Uber are also widely used. Make sure there’s a price list on the back window of the taxi, the taxi driver has a licence in a visible place, that there’s a visible meter and that it’s being used. Don’t use taxis that are unmarked; they’re illegal, unsafe and usually cost a lot more than registered taxis. Take extra care to avoid fake taxis in Tallinn Passenger Port.
Roads and pavements may become very slippery during spring. In accordance with the Estonian Traffic Act, all pedestrians walking on the road at night time or in inadequate visibility are obliged to wear a safety reflector, otherwise fines may apply. Reflectors are essential during winter months from October to March. The reflectors can be pinned to the right side of your coat or handbag and can be bought locally.
You can drive on a UK driving licence. However, your UK licence isn’t valid in Estonia if it was issued on or after 1 May 2015 and, according to the road administration, if you were living in Estonia when the licence was issued.
By law, headlights of vehicles must be on at all times, including during daylight hours. Winter tyres must be fitted from 1 December to 1 March every year, but if there are severe weather conditions outside these dates (likely in most years) the dates will change accordingly. Check local conditions if you are driving in Estonia between October and April.
Do not drink and drive. The legal limit is zero. Those found over the limit face a fine and possible imprisonment.
In 2016 there were 71 road deaths in Estonia (source: Department for Transport); equating to 5.4 road deaths per 100,000 of population. This compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2016.
Be prepared for extremely cold and possibly hazardous weather in the winter (October to March). There is likely to be snow on the ground and temperatures may drop to -25 degrees Celsius or below.