Surprise – I’m in Tallinn, Estonia!
Actually, if you are better at geography than me, then you might have made a logical guess that Estonia was where I was going to head next. I’m really embarrassed to say that even though I’ve lived in neighboring Sweden and have been to all of the Baltics, I never realized that its capital Tallinn is only two hours away from Helsinki by ferry. Only TWO HOURS. I’ve sat in LA traffic jams longer than that so of course when I learned this information my mind was already made up that I should sail over at the end of my Blonde Gypsy Finland trip. YOLO.
While there are a couple of different ferry companies that operate between Helsinki and Tallinn, I am teaming up with Tallink Silja for a few different reasons. First of all, I much preferred them to Viking Line when I traveled with both during the same week a few years ago to Helsinki and to Riga.
For the route between Helsinki and Tallinn, Tallink also has the advantage of more connections. They have seven departures per day from each port, almost all year round. This is great news for indecisive, last-minute travelers such as myself or for those who just straight up like having options. Their ships are the best for cruising in any kind of weather (talking about highest icebreaking class and good stabilizers) which helps make this possible and not to mention, gives a little more peace of mind.
Though it only takes two hours to cross, they offer a lot of stuff to do on board giving it more of cruise vibe than a boring passenger ferry one which I really appreciate. There are quite a few different dining options from food court to fancy restaurant, a duty free shop, an arcade, a pub, and even cabins if you want to get some shut-eye or what have you..
I had the opportunity to try out their new Star Comfort Class (launched May 1st) which for 20 euros more, you get to sit in a pretty stylish private lounge where they have free non-alcoholic beverages and snacks available for you the entire journey and with a great view. Perfect environment for any digital gypsy or nomad in need of some quiet time and an abundance of coffee and power outlets. The ship also had free wifi which was nice even if a bit slow.
The other cool thing about Tallink is that they their services don’t stop once you arrive to port. I was surprised to learn they are also one of the largest hotel chains in Tallinn with accommodation ranging from budget to spa. I’m staying in their very cool Spa & Conference Hotel that actually feels more like a cruise ship/space ship/fun nightclub on the inside than anything else. See for yourself, the rooms are outrageously sexy and hallways pretty funky.
Included in the price of the room is access to their spa facilities (2 pools, 3 jacuzzis and 5 saunas) and they offer deals that include the ferry and accommodation for those looking for all-inclusive city break packages. This hotel and their budget Express hotel are right next to each other and only about a 10 minute walk from where the ferry drops you off, and a 5 minute walk from one end of the Old Town.
I’m really excited to be here again and though this is my third visit to Tallinn, it is actually the first time that the sun is shining and spring is *kind of* in the air. Crazy how much more vibrant and beautiful the city is looking as a result. I didn’t think that was possible.
There are a few things around town I still haven’t seen and I’ve been graciously gifted a Tallinn Card by Visit Tallinn so I know I’ll be pretty busy between utilizing that and hitting up the spa over the next 24 hours (acquired a slight sauna addiction whilst in Finland). Who knows what other shenanigans I might get up to as I am here for a few days, but for now going to get out and soak up the sun/amazing architecture, perhaps hang with Vana Tallinn again…. terviseks!
Important things to know about traveling between Helsinki and Tallinn by ferry
- Ships leave from the West Harbor (Länsisatama) in Helsinki – Tram 9 drops you off right in front
- Tallin only has once ferry port and it is just a 10 minute walk from the Old Town
- You should be to the ferry terminal at least 45 minutes before your scheduled departure. They close check-in 30 minutes beforehand and I totally get why as it is quite a walk from the terminal onto the ship
- Prices for a one-way standard ticket range anywhere from 19 – 50 euros depending on the season and how far in advance you book
As was mentioned before, I was indeed Tallink Silja’s guest aboard the m/s Star and at the Tallink Spa & Conference Hotel, however all opinions stated here are my own.
TurnerMay 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm
this boat looks a lot nicer than the shit box I took. But then again, mine had the charm of herds of drunks Fins.
LarissaMay 8, 2013 at 8:05 am
I missed them :( Think I went too early in the day though it’s never too early in the day for one to get their ferry boat party on.
KarenMay 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm
Ah, I also got stuck with the drunks on my trip from Tallinn to Helsinki. Perhaps because it was at the end of the weekend and the opposite direction (cheaper booze in Estonia). Your journey looked far more pleasant than mine but I did enjoy it regardless.
I absolutely adore both cities and am so pleased to vicariously relive them through your blog.
LarissaMay 29, 2013 at 8:57 am
Yes, timing is everything :) It’s so close, I heard some people don’t even get off the ship. Just go for a cruise, some drinking, and even some dancing (!). It’s great that the ships are so big though so you can usually find a nice, quiet place if you aren’t interested in getting involved in the festivities. Helsinki and Tallinn are just amazing, really great to know that they can easily be done together. Thanks for stopping by and sorry it took me so long to respond!