Travelling from Tallinn to St Petersburg
What is the best way to travel between St Petersburg and Tallinn?
- Plane: There are no direct flights, and travellers must connect via Riga or Helsinki. This will be a long and convoluted journey, and tickets are not overly cheap
- Train: The Baltiskii Express travels between Moscow and Tallinn via St Petersburg in under 8 hours. Comfortable cabins of varying classes, reasonably priced tickets
- Bus: The best way to travel. Coaches are well equipped with all amenities, tourist-friendly, and very cheap. Dozens of daily departures, and the journey takes between 7 - 9 hours
- Ferry: Direct route only available from St Petersburg to Tallinn, taking 14 hours overnight. Luxurious cabins available, plenty of on-board entertainment. Fairly expensive, but worth considering for a special occasion
St Petersburg’s location on the Finnish Gulf, with the Baltics and Scandinavia in close proximity, is ideal for those who want to visit multiple cities during their trip. One popular nearby destination is Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia. Within a few hours, travellers can swap the palatial grandeur of Russia’s northern capital for the medieval cobbled streets and towering spires of Tallinn. There are a number of ways to travel between the two capitals, whatever your preference - relaxing on a comfortable sleeper train, a well-equipped coach journey through the Russian and Estonian countryside, or a peaceful sail across the Finnish Gulf. Read on for our guide to your travel options.
Photo by airBaltic
It is possible to fly between Tallinn and St Petersburg, but this is by no means the most convenient or economical method of transport.
Despite the proximity of the two cities, there are no direct flights. Travellers must take a connecting flight via either Helsinki or Riga, with a total journey time of at least 3 hours and 30 minutes. Once you factor in travel time to the airport at both ends and the obligatory waiting time at the airport itself, your journey will be close to 7 hours long - and certainly not stress free!
If you do wish to fly, the cheapest one-way flight in springtime will cost $67, with summertime flights around $100. Flights with Air Baltic (via Riga) or Finnair (via Helsinki) offer the shortest transfer times.
Photo by RZD
The Baltiskii Express from Moscow to Tallinn is a new and modern rail service, running since 2015. It calls at St Petersburg en route to its destination, with a journey time of between 7 and 8 hours from St Petersburg to Tallinn. Border control is carried out during the journey, so passengers are not required to leave the train.
The Baltiskii Express runs once per day between St Petersburg Moskovsky Station and Tallinn Baltic Station, both in central locations, which makes for a hassle-free departure. The service leaves Tallinn in the late afternoon and arrives in St Petersburg just before midnight, and the return journey departs from St Petersburg in the early morning and arrives in Tallinn just after lunch - convenient times for making the most of your day.
On board the Baltiskii Express there are different classes and compartments to suit all preferences. Passengers can take their pick of seat-only carriages, third class (couchettes in an open carriage), second class (couchettes in a four-person cabin), or first class (couchettes in a two-person cabin).
For the most comfortable journey we would recommend choosing a second or first class cabin. Each compartment offers ample storage space, a lockable door, and comfortable couchettes for you to sit back and enjoy the journey. Fresh linen is provided for each class. There are also gender-specific compartments in second class, ideal for solo female travellers.
Seat-only tickets start from $37, third class from $60, second class from $72, and first class from $141. Tickets, prices and schedules can be found on the Russian Rail website.
Please be aware that those travelling on a newly introduced e-visa may NOT travel from Tallinn to St Petersburg via train.
Photo by LuxExpress
The most convenient and flexible way of travelling between Tallinn and St Petersburg is by bus. The journey time ranges from 7 - 9 hours, including the border crossing, and over 2 dozen departures per day ensure that the journey will fit around any itinerary. Buses travel between St Petersburg Bus Station and Tallinn Bus Station, both close to the city centre.
The Tallinn - St Petersburg route is served only by coaches, not minibuses, so passengers will experience a comfortable journey with plenty of amenities. The most tourist-friendly companies for non-Russian speakers are Lux Express and Ecolines. On board Lux Express and Ecolines buses, passengers will find WiFi, toilets, power sockets and refreshments, and there are even different seat classes which can be booked.
Tickets are very cheap, ranging from $10-25, and flexible refund policies accommodate any last-minute plan changes.
For a complete daily schedule, tickets, and information about amenities and service provider, visit Busrader.
Photo by MOBY SPL
If you’re travelling on a special occasion or during the White Nights, a journey by ferry will be an unforgettable experience. The St Peter Line ferry sails from St Petersburg to Tallinn, departing in the early evening: direct journeys take 14 hours, and indirect journeys via Helsinki take 18 hours. There are a number of departures each month from late spring until the end of summer.
Unfortunately, there is not a direct service in the opposite direction. Those wishing to take a ferry from Tallinn to St Petersburg should be aware that they will only arrive after a 2 or 3 day cruise via Stockholm and Helsinki, finally terminating at St Petersburg.
The overnight service from St Petersburg to Tallinn allows passengers to slow down and have a relaxing evening before waking up to explore the new city. Whilst on board, you can enjoy a large range of entertainment options including restaurants and bars, a casino, cinema, spa, and aquazone with swimming pools.
Basic cabin prices for two passengers from St Petersburg to Tallinn start from $90 in spring and early summer, rising to over $200 during peak tourist season. Multiple-day cruise tickets from Tallinn to St Petersburg will cost from $170.
For the schedule of services, prices and bookings, visit this website. General information about the trip can be found on St Peter Line’s website.
Travellers visiting St Petersburg via ferry can stay for up to 72hrs visa free, provided their accommodation has been arranged by the ferry company and they visit the city as part of organised excursion groups.
Once you have your tickets, look forward to a wonderful, smooth
and enjoyable journey through the Russian countryside.
Buy your ticket safely and securely and then sit back
and enjoy the ride!
A portion of your order goes to helping underprivileged Russian children.