Embassies & Consulates
For up-to-date contact details of Estonian diplomatic organisations as well as foreign embassies and consulates in Estonia, check the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (www.vm.ee).
Australian Consulate Honorary consulate; embassy in Stockholm.
Canadian Embassy Office An office of Canada's Baltic embassy, which is in Rīga.
Emergency & Important Numbers
Entry & Exit Formalities
If arriving from outside the EU, there are the usual restrictions on what can be brought into the country; see www.emta.ee for full details, including alcohol and tobacco limits.
Not required for citizens of the EU, USA, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
Hand-in-hand with its relaxed attitude to religion, today’s Estonia is a fairly tolerant and safe home to its gay and lesbian citizens – certainly much more so than its neighbours. Unfortunately, that ambivalence hasn’t translated into a wildly exciting scene (only Tallinn has gay venues).
Homosexuality was decriminalised in 1992 and since 2001 there has been an equal age of consent for everyone. In 2014 Estonia became the first former Soviet republic to pass a law recognising same-sex registered partnerships, coming into effect in 2016.
Wireless internet access (wi-fi) is ubiquitous in ‘E-stonia’ (you may find yourself wondering why your own country lags so far behind this tech-savvy place). You’ll find literally hundreds of hotspots throughout the country. We’re talking on city streets, in hotels, hostels, restaurants, cafes, pubs, shopping centres, ports, petrol stations, even on long-distance buses and in the middle of national parks! Keep your eyes peeled for orange-and-black stickers indicating availability. In most places connection is free.
If you’re not packing a laptop or smartphone, options for getting online are not as numerous as they once were. Some accommodation providers offer a computer for guest use and there are a few internet cafes with speedy connections. Plus public libraries have web-connected computers that can usually be accessed free of charge (you may need photo ID). Most small communities will have a well-signed public internet point, often connected to the general store.
If you’re just going to major cities and national parks, you’ll find the maps freely available in tourist offices and park centres more than adequate. If, however, you’re planning on driving around and exploring more out-of-the-way places, a good road atlas is worthwhile and easy to find. Regio (www.regio.ee) produces a good, easy-to-use road atlas, with enlargements for all major towns and cities. EO Map (www.eomap.ee) has fold-out sheet maps for every Estonian county and city, as well as a road atlas.
On 1 January 2011 Estonia joined the eurozone, bidding a very fond farewell to its short-lived kroon. ATMs are plentiful and credit cards are widely accepted. Travellers cheques have gone the way of the dinosaurs; most banks will still exchange them but commissions can be high. Tipping in restaurants has become the norm; round the bill up to something approaching 10% (or less).
For current exchange rates see www.xe.com.
New Year’s Day (Uusaasta) 1 January
Independence Day (Iseseisvuspäev) Anniversary of 1918 declaration on 24 February
Good Friday (Suur reede) March/April
Easter Sunday (Lihavõtted) March/April
Spring Day (Kevadpüha) 1 May
Pentecost (Nelipühade) Seventh Sunday after Easter (May/June)
Victory Day (Võidupüha) Commemorating the anniversary of the Battle of Võnnu (1919) on 23 June.
St John’s Day (Jaanipäev, Midsummer’s Day). Taken together, Victory Day and St John’s Day on 24 June are the excuse for a week-long midsummer break for many people.
Day of Restoration of Independence (Taasiseseisvumispäev) On 20 August, marking the country’s return to Independence in 1991.
Christmas Eve (Jõululaupäev) 24 December
Christmas Day (Jõulupüha) 25 December
Boxing Day (Teine jõulupüha) 26 December
There are no area codes in Estonia; if you’re calling anywhere within the country, just dial the number as it’s listed. All landline phone numbers have seven digits; mobile (cell) numbers have seven or eight digits and begin with 5. Estonia’s country code is 372. To make a collect call dial 16116, followed by the desired number. To make an international call, dial 00 before the country code.
Almost all of Estonia is covered with digital mobile-phone networks, and every man and his dog has a mobile. To avoid the high roaming charges, you can get a starter kit (around €5), which will give you an Estonian number, a SIM card and around €5 of talk time (incoming calls are free with most providers). You can buy scratch-off cards for more minutes as you need them. SIM cards and starter kits are available from post offices, supermarkets and kiosks.
Public telephones accept chip cards, available at post offices, hotels and most kiosks. For placing calls outside Estonia, an international telephone card with a pin, available at many kiosks and supermarkets, is better value. Note that these cards can only be used from landlines, not mobile phones.
In addition to the info-laden, multilingual website of the Estonian Tourist Board (www.visitestonia.com), there are tourist offices in most cities and many towns and national parks throughout the country. At nearly every one you’ll find English-speaking staff and lots of free material.
If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, an economical and enlightening way of travelling around Estonia involves doing some voluntary work as a member of Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (www.wwoof.ee) – also known as ‘Willing Workers on Organic Farms’. Membership of this popular, well-established international organisation (which has representatives around the globe) provides you with access to the WWOOF Estonia website, which at the time of research listed 50 organic farms and other environmentally sound cottage industries throughout the country. In exchange for daily work, the owner will provide food, accommodation and some hands-on experience in organic farming. Check the website for more information.