Helsinki to Tallinn Ferry Booking Guide
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Covered in the Article
- Tallinn - a Trendy Baltic City
- Helsinki-Tallinn Ferry Companies
- Services on Onboard
- Comparison of Ferry Companies
- Are Helsinki-Tallinn Ferries safe?
- Ports in Helsinki
- Ferry Ports in Tallinn
- Future of Ferry Connections
- Where to Book a Ticket?
- Bottom Line
Tallinn - a Trendy Baltic City
Tallinn is less than 2-hour ferry sail away from Helsinki. This Baltic city is known for its Old Town with 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 becoming increasingly popular for international tourists visiting Europe via Finland. In addition to the scheduled ferries between Helsinki and Tallinn, many international cruise ships dock at the Port of Tallinn, especially in the summertime.
Only 2 Hours from Helsinki by Ferry
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 explains the easy accessibility from the Finnish capital by ferry. Travelling from Helsinki to Tallinn or from Tallinn to Helsinki by modern ferries is not only extremely popular but also practical. Flying between the capitals is possible too 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. They are currently operated by three active ferry companies. Tallink Silja sails between the cities 8 times a day, Viking Line 2-3 times a day and Eckerö Line's connection is available about 5 times. Some of the connections have the option to stay overnight on the ferry.
Tallink Silja is an Estonian ferry company. Among the above-mentioned three ferry companies, Tallink Silja has the best and the most modern ferries operating between Helsinki and Tallinn. The ferries are also fast and a sail takes only 2 hours. However, one of the ferries, M/S Silja Europa, makes an exception because it travels 3 and half hours from Helsinki to Tallinn.
M/S Silja Europa is one of the biggest ferries traversing the Baltic Sea. It differs from other ferries by making overnight cruises. On the cruise, you can sleep on the ferry and then visit Tallinn for a few hours before the ferry leaves back to Helsinki. Surprisingly, overnight cruises are often very cheap because cruise ship companies assume that passengers spend on shopping and services on the ferry. The price depends on the cabin class. M/S Silja Europa is not the newest ferry anymore but it has been renovated giving it a modern look.
M/S Silja Europa is temporarily out of service since the ferry has been leased elsewhere.
The other ferries of Tallink are much faster. M/S Star is the oldest one but M/S Megastar and MyStar are modern ferries. M/S MyStar started operating in 2023 so the ferry is still brand new.
Tallink Silja has departures every two hours during the day so they provide flexible options for passengers. If you are not calculating every single cent, we recommend trying Tallink Silja and especially their newest ferry M/S Mystar. It is the most modern ferry cruising between Helsinki and Tallinn.
M/S Star and M/S Megastar operate with natural gas so they are more environmental-friendly ferries compared to the other ferry options.
Tallink Silja has the more modern ferries which also equate to more expensive tickets. One-way ticket costs usually about 35 euros while the cheapest Helsinki to Tallinn ticket price is about 20 euros. The most affordable tickets are usually sold for the slowest ferry. Consequently, the better and faster ferry you book, the more you need to pay. A return ticket becomes cheaper if you go and come back on the same day.
Be aware that by the many ferry companies' rules, it is prohibited to consume your drinks and food on the ferry. We recommended always availing of the ferries' services. Cheap ferry tickets wouldn't be possible without passengers spending onboard.
Viking Line is a Finnish ferry company which operates normally only one ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn. The travel time is 2 and a half hours so the connection is a little slower compared to Tallink Silja. The ferry of Viking Line, Viking XPRS, has connections two times per day from Helsinki to Tallinn. Viking XPRS ferry is not as new as the newest ferries of Tallink Silja but it is still modern and in good condition. In the summertime, Viking Line sometimes operates also another and slower ferry 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 20 euros. A return ticket costs about the same if you come back on the same day. Otherwise, it will cost more than 40 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 two ferries between Helsinki and Tallinn. A ferry travels from Helsinki centre 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 which makes it popular, especially among Finns who just want to relax by having a nice day cruise to Tallinn and back.
The best ferry of Eckerö Line called M/S Finlandia is not the most modern but well-renovated. It is almost the same size as the competitors' ferries and is also able to operate even in extreme weather conditions. Generally, it is comfortable to travel with Eckerö Line too.
Another ferry of Eckerö Line travels from Vuosaari to Tallinn twice a day. This cargo ship is meant mainly for cargo and passengers travelling in their cars.
One-way ticket to Eckerö Line starts from 15 euros and a trip back is included if you travel during the same day. Otherwise, a return ticket booked for a different day costs more. We recommend Eckerö Line for passengers wanting affordable tickets but still good enough quality.
Services on Onboard
A journey between Helsinki and Tallinn is fast. The sail is so short that you won't have enough time to get bored. However, we still have a few ideas about how to spend your time on a ferry even in a more 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 per person. The price may sound expensive but it includes starters, salads, warm meals, desserts and drinks. Usually, also wine and beer are included. The buffet features Nordic cuisine which includes abundant seafood and meat options.
Buffets are quite similar on every ferry except on the cargo ships leaving from Vuosaari. It is wise to pre-book a buffet before the journey. The price will be lower, you'll have a table reservation and you can pass a queue onboard.
All the ferries have tax-free shops. The shops sell candies, branded clothes, wines and spirits, cigarettes and souvenirs for affordable prices. The price level is lower compared to products being sold in 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. If you prefer entertainment, we recommend taking an overnight cruise so you can spend more time onboard.
Passengers who are looking for a more peaceful atmosphere may pay themselves into the lounge premises of the ferries. The lounges are separated 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, Lounge includes free drinks including beer and wine and snacks. The access price is about 25-35 euros/person.
On Tallink's ferries, Comfort Lounge includes non-alcoholic drinks and snacks for people travelling in Comfort Class. The better Business Lounge includes also alcoholic drinks and a food buffet. Only M/S MyStar has Platinum Lounge which offers luxury services including champagne but the entrance fee is high.
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|
How to Book a Ferry Ticket?
For easier booking, follow our simple checklist:
- Compare prices on Direct Ferries.
- Choose the most suitable connection.
- Include extras, like a buffet. Paying services separately on the ferry costs usually more.
- Decide if you need a cancellation cover.
- Double check all the details CAREFULLY before the payment.
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. Ferry companies operate professionally and the traffic on the Gulf of Finland is coordinated. The ferries 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.
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 by tram.
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 modern West Harbour. The West harbour is moderately close to the city centre but is not well-located as the South Harbour. Both the West Harbour and South Harbour can be reached by tram from the city centre.
Eckerö Line operate cargo ship 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. It is not possible to board this ferry without a vehicle.
If you plan to take your car while cruising to Tallinn, using Vuosaari-Muuga connection is the best option. This way, you can skip driving in the city centre and a ticket for Eckerö Line's M/S Finbo is inexpensive. The price level of services on this ferry is also lower. However, the M/S Finbo ferry is not as new and comfortable as the other ferries departing from the West and South Harbours.
Travellers without a car can't board the Tallinn ferry leaving from Vuosaari Harbour.
Ferry Ports in Tallinn
In Tallinn, the situation is simpler. All companies' passenger ferries arrive at the same Passenger Harbour that is about 2 kilometres from the Old Town. There are four 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.
We recommend walking from Tallinn Harbour to the centre. In 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 taxi apps on which taxi rates are transparent.
Muuga Cargo Terminal
The cargo ferries of Eckerö Line (M/S Finbo) 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 be 20 minutes. But to be realistic, we are doubtful that the tunnel got built according to the project's timeline. If the tunnel would be existing, 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 these three ferry companies which keeps the prices low.
If you value your time, the fastest way to compare ferry prices and place a booking is to visit Direct Ferries. 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.
- 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 MyStar 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 or less. 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 15 to 40 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 Direct Ferries to find all ticket prices at once. You can book a ticket right away after finding a good option.
- Where do ferries depart 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.
Tallinn and Helsinki are so close to each other that one day is enough to make a rewarding trip on the Baltic Sea by booking a ferry ticket. There are multiple ferry companies to choose from. Budget travellers may take an affordable connection while other travellers sail on the best ferries which have luxurious quality. In any case, the prices are fair.
Have you travelled on a ferry between Helsinki and Tallinn? What were your experiences like, comment below.