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Estonia Country Information
Estonia, the northern Baltic land of primeval forests, rivers, bogs, lakes and sea islands, has one of the smallest populations of any country in the world, and most of the people have opted for city life, leaving the countryside rather wild and filled with rare birds, plants and roaming deer, elk, wild boar, bears and wolves. The low, largely flat landscape is also dotted with relics of Estonia's medieval glory, when the Teutonic knights reigned supreme and built castles which are now left as decaying hulks, testifying to the wealth of the traders who made use of the country's ports. The main port, Tallinn, today still the capital city, was part of the mighty Hanseatic League in the 13th century. Its medieval prosperity has given the romantic city a wealth of attractions for modern-day tourists to explore.

Basic Information
Time: Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

Electricity: The electricity supply in Estonia is 220 volts, 50 Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are in use.

Language: Locals speak Estonian, which is part of the Finno-Ugric family of languages. English is widely used and understood among the younger generation and those involved in the tourist industry.

Travel Health: No vaccinations are required for entry to Estonia. Lyme disease is often reported from April through October and travellers should wear protective clothing if embarking on a nature trip and check themselves for ticks. Estonia's medical professionals are highly trained. Good health facilities can be found in Mustama and East Tallinn Central Hospital. Immediate cash payment is expected from visitors requiring care. There is a reciprocal health agreement with the UK and most EU countries, whose citizens are entitled to free medical and dental treatment on presentation of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Medical insurance is advised for all nationalities.

Tipping: Tipping is not a common practice, but there is a growing trend to leave tips in restaurants; generally 5-10% of the bill according to level of service; some places do however include a service charge on the bill. Taxi drivers appreciate the spare change.

Safety Information: Visits to Estonia are usually trouble free, but with an increase in tourism there has also been an increase in tourist-related crime. There is a risk of pick-pocketing and mugging around Tallinn's Old Town, at ferry ports and major hotels. Be vigilant and take precautions like avoiding unlit side streets and parks after dark.

Local Customs: Estonians are at first glance generally quiet and reserved, and do not like to draw attention to themselves. A handshake is the practised form of greeting.

Business: Business is conducted formally in Estonia. A formal dress code is expected. Shaking hands is the common form of greeting for men and women. The person should be referred to as 'Harra' (Mr.), 'Prova' (Mrs.) or 'Preili' (Miss) followed by the surname. Relationships based on trust need to be developed and several meetings may need to take place. Business cards are often exchanged and it is polite to have the alternate side translated. Decisions are not necessarily made during the meetings. Business hours are generally 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken over lunch.

Communications: The international dialling code for Estonia is +372 and the outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). The country has area codes, except for the capital, Tallinn. Pay phones using cards are widely available. Cards can be purchased from hotel reception desks, tourist information offices, post offices, newsstands and some shops. There is a GSM mobile network available. There are several Internet cafes in Tallinn.

Duty Free: Travellers over 18 years arriving from non-EU countries do not have to pay duty on goods to the value of €175. The following items are duty-free: 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco; 1 litre spirits higher than 22% alcohol volume or 2 litres spirits or aperitifs with alcohol content lower than 22% (includes sparkling wines, liqueur wines, still wine), and beer to the value of €175. Goods for personal consumption include 50g perfume, 250ml eau de toilette and medical products for personal use. Travellers arriving with goods purchased in EU countries have more leeway.

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Weather and Climate in Estonia
Like the rest of coastal Estonia, Tallinn has a temperate climate, with warm summers and severe winters. Temperatures range from a summer average of 21°C (70°F) to an average in winter of -8°C (18°F). Being on the Baltic Sea the city is subjected to sea breezes and humidity, and its northern latitude means long summer daylight hours (the longest summer day stretches to 19 hours) and dark winters when daylight lasts sometimes only six hours. The cold winter does not necessarily mean constant snow; in fact snowfalls are few and far between. When it falls it stays, however, and there tends to be a layer of snow on the ground constantly between December and March. Summertime brings unexpected rain showers, so an umbrella and light raincoat are recommended.

Estonia Visa and Entry Information

  • Visa Agencies: Avoid the stress and queues, get a visa agency to arrange your visa.
    Travel Visa Pro, San Francisco, USA. 1-888-470-8472 or www.TravelVisaPro.com
    Global Visas, Estonia: B2B visa assistance from Global Visas
  • Entry requirements for Americans: US citizens must have a valid passport. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days in a six-month period.
  • Entry requirements for UK nationals: UK citizens must have a valid passport. If holding a passport endorsed British Citizen a visa is not required. British National (Overseas), British Overseas Territories Citizen or British Subject with the right of abode in the UK do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days in a six-month period. In all other cases, a visa is required.
  • Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians must have a valid passport. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days in a six-month period.
  • Entry requirements for Australians: Australians must have a valid passport. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days in a six-month period.
  • Entry requirements for South Africans: South Africans must have a valid passport for intended stay and a visa.
  • Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand nationals must have a valid passport. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days in a six-month period.
  • Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish citizens must have a valid passport. A visa is not required.

Passport/Visa Note: All visitors are requested to have proof of health insurance. Visitors who require a visa should have a passport that is valid for three months after the period of intended stay, while passports of those not requiring a visa need only be valid for the period of intended stay, other than EEA members. The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option that allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all.

Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.

Attractions in Estonia

  • The Old Town - The winding, cobbled streets of Tallinn's historic centre are the focus for most visitors to the city and the hub of the major tourist attractions, which can all be enjoyed on a walking tour. The walled old town is divided into two parts: Toompea Hill was the residential area of the aristocracy and gentry in days of yore, while the Lower Town operated independently.
  • Tallinn Zoo - The Estonian capital's most popular family attraction is the zoo, crammed with close on 6,000 animals from Polar bears to Siberian Tigers, as well as species from warmer climates, like crocodiles and chimpanzees frolicking in the Tropical House. There is also a delightful petting zoo.
  • Botanical Garden - Tallinn's magnificent Botanical Garden covers 110 hectares and contains more than 8,000 plant species. The flora comes from all around the world, displayed in arboretums, glasshouses, open fields and thematic gardens.
  • Estonian Open Air Museum - On a picturesque expanse of forest parkland on Kopli Bay is preserved a collection of historic Estonian buildings, transplanted from around the country to represent rural life through the centuries.

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Special Events in Estonia
Jazzkaar - The annual festival celebrates jazz music from both local and international entries throughout the bars and clubs in Tallinn.

Airports in Estonia

Tallinn Lennujaam International Airport, (TLL)

  • Location: The airport is two miles (4km) south east of Tallinn city centre.
  • Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.
  • Contacts: Tel: +372 605 8888.
  • Getting to the city: Bus 2 connects the airport to the city centre. The bus stop is in front of the departure hall at the airport. Taxis are available at a rank outside the arrivals hall and take about 10 minutes to the city centre.
  • Car rental: Car rental agencies operating at the airport include Avis, Budget, Hertz, National and Europcar.
  • Facilities: The airport is small, but ultra-modern. Three banks operate at the airport providing ATMs, exchange services and cashing of travellers cheques. There is a post office in the departure hall, a large duty free shop, a bar and snack bar, left luggage, travel agencies, a beauty salon and two comfortable, well-equipped business lounges.
  • Parking: Short and long-term parking is available.
  • Departure Tax: None.

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Driving Information

Drinking and driving:
Strictly forbidden. Nil percentage of alcohol allowed in driver’s blood. Fine and/or imprisonment for non-compliance.

Driving licence:
Minimum age at which a UK licence holder may drive a temporarily imported car and/or motorcycle 18.

The police can impose fines on the spot. The police control speeds closely and will give fines for even the smallest speeding offences. Illegally parked cars will be clamped.

Unleaded petrol (95 and 98 octane), diesel and LPG available. No leaded petrol. Petrol in a can permitted, subject to payment of excise duty at the frontier. Credit cards accepted at most filling stations; check with your card issuer for use in Estonia before travel.

Driving Distances:
Parnu to Talinn - 130 kms (2 hours)
Please click here http://www.viamichelin.com/ for more driving distances

Use of dipped headlights during the day compulsory.

Use of dipped headlights during the day compulsory. Wearing of crash helmets is compulsory for both driver and passenger.

Motor Insurance:
Third-party compulsory. Green Card recognised.

Passengers / Children in cars:
Children too small to wear seat belts must travel in a child seat adapted to their size.

Seat belts:
Compulsory for front / rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Speed limits:
Standard legal limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers: In built-up areas 31 mph (50 km/h), outside built-up areas 55 mph (90 km/h) but up to 68 mph (110 km/h) on some roads during the summer months. Motorists who have held a driving licence for less than two years must not exceed 55 mph (90 km/h) outside built-up areas.

Compulsory equipment:

  • First-aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Two wheel chocks
  • Warning triangle (excludes motorcycles)
  • Winter tyres - (with a minimum tread depth of 3mm) between the 1 st December and the 1st March, however these dates may vary from October to April according to the weather conditions.

Other rules / requirements:

It is recommended that visitors carry an assortment of spares for their vehicle, such as a fan belt, replacement bulbs and spark plugs.

In addition to the original vehicle registration document it is recommended that an International Certificate for Motor Vehicles (ICMV) is also carried if visiting any Russian speaking areas outside Estonia.

The border police may ask visitors for proof of sufficient personal insurance cover on entry.

It is prohibited to overtake a tram which has stopped to let passengers on or off.

Motorists must pay a toll to enter the city of Tallin.

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