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Covered in the Article
- Tallinn - a Trendy Cruise Destination
- Helsinki-Tallinn Ferry Companies
- Ferry Services
- Comparison of Ferry Companies
- Are Helsinki-Tallinn Ferries safe?
- Ferry Ports in Helsinki
- Ferry Ports in Tallinn
- Future of Ferry Connections
- Where to Book a Ticket?
- Bottom Line
Tallinn - a Trendy Cruise Destination
Tallinn is less than a 2-hour ferry sail away from Helsinki. This Baltic city is well-known for its Old Town area, a compact maze of cobblestones streets, historic buildings, breathtaking vistas and UNESCO status. Tallinn is the capital and largest city in Estonia. Being the capital city, Tallinn serves as the major political, cultural and educational centre of Estonia. Nowadays, the capital city is also a major fishing port, and the commercial and industrial centre of Estonia although Estonia's main strengths are in IT, tourism and logistics.
Tallinn is one of the favourite getaway destinations among Finnish residents and also increasingly becoming popular for international tourists visiting Europe via Finland. In addition to the scheduled ferries, many international cruise ships dock at the Port of Tallinn.
Only 2 Hours by Ferry from Helsinki
Tallinn is located on the northern coast of Estonia, on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. The distance from Helsinki to Tallinn is only 80 kilometres which explain the easy accessibility from the Finnish capital by ferry. Travelling from Helsinki to Tallinn or from Tallinn to Helsinki by modern ferries is extremely popular and practical. Flying between the capitals is also possible but taking a ferry is a much more comfortable and cheaper way of travelling between the cities.
Helsinki-Tallinn Ferry Companies
Ferry routes between Helsinki and Tallinn connect Finland and Estonia and they are currently operated by three active ferry companies. Tallink Silja operates cruisings about 7 times per day, Viking Line 2-3 times per day and Eckerö Line's service is available about 5 times per day.
Tallink Silja is an Estonian ferry company. Among the above-mentioned three ferry companies, Tallink Silja has the best and the most modern ships operating between Helsinki and Tallinn. Their ships are also fast and a sail takes only 2 hours. However, one of their ships, called M/S Silja Europa, makes an exception because it travels 3 and half hours from Helsinki to Tallinn. M/S Silja Europa used to be the biggest ship traversing the Baltic Sea and it is mainly meant for cruise passengers who are spending their night on the ship. With its recent renovation, this cruise ship feels modern. Sometimes, Tallink operates also a cargo ship from Helsinki to Tallinn but only passengers travelling by their car can board this ferry.
The quality comes with the price and Tallink Silja is not the cheapest option. One-way ticket costs usually about 30 euros when the cheapest Helsinki to Tallinn ferry price is less than 20 euros. The cheapest ticket is usually for the slowest ship. Consequently, the better and faster ship you book, the more you need to pay. A return ticket may be cheap if you go and come back on the same day. Otherwise, a return ticket may cost up to 60 euros.
Tallink Silja makes also overnight cruises from Helsinki to Tallinn where a cabin is included. You can sleep on the ship and then visit Tallinn for a few hours before the ship leaves back to Helsinki. Surprisingly, overnight cruises are often very cheap because the company assumes that you spend on the ship. The actual price depends on the cabin class.
Be aware that by the many ferry companies' rules, it is prohibited to consume your drinks and food on the ferry. Of course, they are not inspecting your belongings but we still recommended you avail of the ferries' restaurants' services. Cheap tickets wouldn't be possible without passengers using ferries´ services.
Tallink Silja has multiple passenger ferry departures, every two hours during the day so they provide a more flexible option for passengers. If you are not calculating every single cent, we recommend trying Tallink Silja and especially their newest ship called M/S Megastar. It was the most modern ship cruising between Helsinki and Tallinn until 2021 before Viking Line's M/S Viking Glory came into place in 2022 .
M/S Megastar operates with natural gas so it is also a more environmentally friendly ferry compared to the other options.
Viking Line is a Finnish cruise company that operates normally only one ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn. The travel time is 2 and half hours so the connection is a little slower compared to Tallink Silja. The ferry of Viking Line, Viking XPRS have departures of 6 times per day from Helsinki to Tallinn. Viking XPRS ferry is not as new as the newest ships of Tallink Silja but it is still really modern and in good condition. In the summertime, Viking Line operates sometimes also another and slower ship on the route Tallinn-Helsinki-Stockholm.
The price level of Viking Line may be slightly cheaper than Tallink Silja's prices. One way ticket costs about 15 euros. A return ticket costs about the same if you come back on the same day, otherwise, it will cost more than 30 euros. As with all companies, weekends and the summer season are more expensive times to travel than weekdays and the winter season. For overnight connections, a cabin can be booked.
Eckerö Line is also a Finnish company from the Åland islands. It operates only one ferry between Helsinki and Tallinn. The ship travels from Helsinki to Tallinn two to three times a day and the travel time is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Eckerö Line concentrates more on the relaxing cruising atmosphere and it is popular, especially among Finns who just want to relax by having a nice day cruise to Tallinn and back. Eckerö Line operates also a cargo ship from Helsinki to Tallinn. This ferry ship is meant only for cargo and for passengers travelling in their cars.
The cruise ship of Eckerö Line called M/S Finlandia is not the most modern but well-renovated. It is almost of the same size as the previous ferries and is also able to operate even in extreme weather conditions. Generally, it is comfortable to travel with Eckerö Line too.
One-way ticket to Eckerö Line starts from 10 euros and a trip back is included if you travel during the same day. Otherwise, a return ticket booked on a different day costs more. We recommend Eckerö Line for passengers wanting affordable tickets but still good enough quality.
A journey between Helsinki and Tallinn is fast. The ride is so short that you won't have enough time to get bored on these big ferries. We have a few ideas about how to spend your time on a ferry in a comfortable way.
Nordic All-Inclusive Buffet
All the ferry operators have restaurants onboard. We recommend trying an all-inclusive buffet that costs about 30 euros/person. The price may sound expensive but it includes starters, salads, warm meals, desserts and drinks. Usually, also wine and beer are included. The food is Nordic style including many seafood and meat products.
There are not many differences between the buffets on different ferries. It is wise to pre-book a buffet before the journey. That way, the price is lower, you'll have a table reservation and you can pass a queue onboard.
All the ferries have tax-free shops. They sell candies, branded clothes, wines and spirits, cigarettes and souvenirs for affordable prices. The price level is lower compared to products being sold on the mainland of Finland.
Karaoke and Troubadours
Even though the cruise time is short, there is some entertainment onboard. For example, you can sing karaoke or listen to local artists. While relaxing, having a drink in a bar is possible.
Passengers who are looking for a peaceful atmosphere may pay themselves into lounge premises. The lounges are separated peaceful areas with comfortable seats and power sockets. In addition, they include catering services.
On M/S Viking XPRS, seat Lounge includes a guaranteed seat. The access price is about 6 euros/person.
On Eckerö Line's M/S Finlandia, the Lounge includes free drinks including beer and wine and snacks. The access price is about 24-29 euros/person.
On Tallink's ferries, the Comfort Lounge includes non-alcoholic drinks and snacks for people travelling in the Comfort Class. Business Lounge includes also alcoholic drinks and a buffet and so it costs more.
Remember to book lounge access together with the ferry ticket. Paying the entrance on the spot may cost more.
Comparison of Ferry Companies
|Company||Fastest Journey Duration|
|Tallink Silja||2 hours
|Viking Line||2h 30mins|
|Eckerö Line||2h 15 mins|
|Tallink Silja||The most modern ferries|
|Viking Line||One modern ferry|
|Eckerö Line||Older but well-renovated ferries|
|Company||Price level / Notes|
|Tallink Silja||Slightly more expensive than the competitors|
Are Helsinki-Tallinn Ferries safe?
The Gulf of Finland is crowded with cargo and passenger boats. It is rational to wonder if the ferries are safe to travel by.
During the long history of Helsinki-Tallinn ferries, there have not been any serious incidents. Cruise companies operate professionally and the traffic on the Gulf of Finland is coordinated. The ships are equipped with modern technology and they can operate almost in any kind of weather.
We are not worried about their safety ourselves. Like with flying, incidents may still happen and it is good to prepare in advance. On the boat, get familiar with the safety instructions and know where to evacuate if the worst happens.
Ferry Ports in Helsinki
Helsinki has multiple passenger harbours.
The South Harbour of Helsinki is located just next to the main market square and close to the well-known white cathedral. Helsinki South Harbour's ferry terminals can be accessed with trams.
Tallink Silja's Stockholm ferries (but not Tallinn ferries!) and Viking Line's Tallinn ferries depart from South Harbour. Tallink's Stockholm ferries leave from the Olympia terminal and Viking Line ferries from the Katajanokka terminal. These terminals are opposite to each other and must be reached by different trams. Make sure you are heading to the correct terminal.
Google Maps works well in Helsinki, which is a valuable aid for travellers.
Tallink Silja's Tallinn ferries and Eckerö Line's ferry are using the West Harbour. The West harbour is moderately close to the centre but not as well located as South Terminal. Helsinki West Harbour to the city centre can be ridden with a tram too.
Tallink and Eckerö Line operate cargo ships also from Vuosaari Harbour. The harbour is located in East Helsinki about 10 kilometres from the city centre. Reaching the harbour takes 30 minutes by car or 1 hour by public transport.
Eckerö Line operates M/S Finbo from Vuosaari Harbour to Tallinn Muuga Harbour. Tallink operates M/S Sea Wind from Vuosaari to Muuga. It is not possible to board these ships without a vehicle.
If you plan to take your car with, using Vuosaari-Muuga connection is the best option. This way, you can skip driving in the city centres and the ferries are also inexpensive. Also, the price level of services on the ferries is lower. However, these ferries are not as new and comfortable as the ferries travelling between the city centres.
Travellers without a car can't board Tallinn ferries leaving from Vuosaari Harbour.
Ferry Ports in Tallinn
In Tallinn, the situation is simpler. All companies's passenger ferries arrive to the same Passenger Harbour that is about 2 kilometres from the Old Town. There are 4 terminals in the harbour separated by the letters A, B, C and D. Even though the terminals are close to each other, make sure you are heading directly to the right terminal. The sea between the terminals may slow down your walking.
We recommend walking from Tallinn Harbour to the centre. In the case you need a taxi, be careful with their pricing. The most expensive taxis tend to come to pick up tourists. Negotiate the price with the driver before boarding or use Uber, Bolt or similar apps.
Muuga Cargo Terminal
The cargo ferries of Eckerö Line (M/S Finbo) and Tallink (M/S Sea Wind) arrive at the Muuga Terminal a few kilometres from the Tallinn centre. All other ferries arrive at the Tallinn Passenger Harbour which has a perfect location.
Future of Ferry Connections
The governments of Finland and Estonia have made initial plans for a railroad tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn. The project has progressed slowly but there is also a separate private project going on. If everything goes well, you can travel between Tallinn to Helsinki by train after 2025. The ticket price will be about 60 euros and the travel time only 20 minutes. But to be realistic, we are doubtful that the tunnel will be finished this soon. If the tunnel becomes the reality, there will be fewer ferries between Helsinki and Tallinn later.
Where to Book a Ticket?
Ferry tickets are inexpensive. The cheapest way to travel is to book a day cruise. That means a return trip between Helsinki and Tallinn on the same day. Alternatively, you can buy a one-way trip or a return cruise on separate dates. These options are a little more expensive but still moderately priced. There is constant competition between the operators, which keeps the prices low.
If you value your time, the fastest way to compare ferry prices and place a booking is to visit [[affiliateLink?& partner=directFerries &label=1 &anchor=Direct Ferries &rurl=helsinki_ferry.htm]. By doing just a single search query, you get the prices of all available ferry companies on the route. If you are ready to spend more time, visit all companies' websites and look for good deals. This way you may be able to save a few euros but according to our comparison, the difference is small.[[$ferry-en? &linkId=1 &rurl=helsinki_ferry.htm]] [[faq? &questionData=` Is there a ferry connection from Helsinki to Tallinn?; Yes, many of them. Three companies operate ferries between Helsinki and Tallinn every day.: What is the best ferry between Helsinki and Tallinn?; We would say that M/S Megastar by Tallink is the best but it depends on customers' preferences.: How long does a ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn take?; A trip takes usually 2 hours and 30 minutes. A few big ferries are slower taking 3h 30mins.: How much is a ferry ticket from Helsinki to Tallinn?; The price varies but a one-way ticket costs usually between 10 to 35 euros. Day cruises may be much cheaper.: Where to book ferry tickets from Helsinki to Tallinn?; They can be booked on ferry companies' websites but we prefer using [[affiliateLink:escapeColon?& partner=directFerries &label=1 &anchor=Direct Ferries &rurl=helsinki_ferry.htm]] to find all ticket prices at once. You can book a ticket right away after finding a good option.: Where do ferries departure in Helsinki?; Tallink and Eckerö Line depart from West Harbour and Viking Line from Katajanokka Terminal in South Harbour. Cargo ferries depart from Vuosaari Harbour.: Are Helsinki-Tallinn ferries safe?; The ferries are operated professionally and they have an excellent safety record. `]] [[$ArticleImage?ImageFileName=Baltic_Sea_dusk.jpg &ImageAltText=The Gulf of Finland after sunset &ImageCaption=In summers, enjoying a beautiful sunset on an outer deck is recommended.]]
Tallinn and Helsinki are so close to each other that one day is enough to make a rewarding trip by the Baltic Sea by booking a ferry ticket. There are multiple ferry companies to choose from. Budget travellers may take the affordable connection while the other travellers on the best ferry enjoy its luxury ferries. In any case, the prices are fair.[[$ArticleImage?ImageFileName=Tallinn_Oldtown_Estonia.jpg &ImageAltText=Tallinn Old Town summer scenery &ImageCaption=Every traveller should climb up to Toompea Hill near Tallinn Old Town where one can see the captivating view of Tallinn.]]
Have you travelled on a ferry between Helsinki and Tallinn. What were your experiences like, comment below?