The Old City is best navigated on foot, not that you have many choices. A network of buses, trams, and trolleybuses covers the rest of the city. There is an abundance of relatively cheap taxis. Before you jump in a random taxi car make sure you check the price on the window of the car. In Tallinn there are more than 20 different taxi companies and some can be a rip-off.
By public transport
lt operates frequent buses, trolleys, and trams between 6 AM and 12 AM. Baby prams can be carried in most of the buses, trolleys, and trams except for a few which have steps. For getting out of Tallinn, Peatus is the public transport route planner for all of Estonia, searchable by points on the map or names of places.
All modes of public transport operate with the same tickets. Single tickets can be bought from R-Kiosks or by mobile phone, or from the drivers. Discounts are given to students and Tallinn residents. The Tallinn Card includes unlimited use of public transportation.
The bus network covers the whole city.
Tourist bus tours (look for the red-colored buses) are also available at designated stops in the Old Town.
The tram network covers the city center. There are 4 routes and they all meet at Viru Center, at stop Hobujaama. About 15 carriages have a lowered middle-section, which makes trams wheelchair-accessible. Departure times of those carriages are marked with a yellow background in the schedules. Usually, these vehicles serve routes 1 and 4.
All trolley lines have a direction to south or west. They operate on electric lines. There are seven lines, 1 and 3-7 and 9. The fleet is relatively new, though there are some old Škoda-s.
By Hop-Off-On Sight Seeing Bus
For first time visitors or day visitor, another option is to take the Sight Seeing Buses. It provides good commentary on the history of the city and its various attractions. The tickets are available inside the terminal just near the exit gate or at the bus stop itself. Please note there are around 2-3 operators - City Tour, City SightSeeing Tour and they have similar buses and prices but the tickets are not interchangeable. Buying for ALL lines is preferable as RED line route is very small and can be covered by walking by young people. Also, check the timings of these buses at various stops. These buses operate mostly from 10 am to 4-4:30 pm, so plan your stops accordingly.
Tallinn has many different taxi companies and independent taxis. There is no standardized base price or price per km. Some tourist scam taxis have absurdly high prices, and as long as those prices are displayed on the sticker in the window and on the dashboard, they are completely legal. Needless to say, the locals never take those taxis, their sole modus operandi is to prey on ignorant tourists. Do as the locals do and order a taxi by phone.
Do not accept offers from taxi drivers waiting at the harbor or train station. Same goes for any taxi that looks shabby or does not carry the logo of one of the reputable companies. Also, be wary of taxis that look overly luxurious: large Mercedes, TV-screens inside, usually only a very small and vague logo on the door. Taxis hanging out in front of nightclubs often have the highest prices.
Reputable taxi companies are:
- Tallink, yellow Mercedes B-class, Audi A6, Skoda Superb or Hyundai I30 Wagon (not to confuse with Tallinn Taxi, who also have their cars painted yellow). Tallink is also one of the more expensive taxi companies.
- Sõbra, "economy" taxis with a mixed car fleet, somewhat cheaper than the competition. Unlike many other economy taxis, the cars are clean and the drivers competent.
- Marabu, mid-price company
- Luxlimu, Sclass Mercedes and Stretch Limousine Transfers
- Taxify. Leading taxi ordering application with 50,000 users and growing rapidly. Covers 800+ taxis in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu and Haapsalu. Works on Android and iOS devices. Choose your taxi by location/distance, price list, car model, card payment and user reviews. If you have problems after the ride, report Taxify and they will deal with the driver.
Like other large cities, Tallinn has its fair share of traffic jams and therefore is not for the faint-hearted. The road rules and driving style can be confusing to tourists. The one and two-way roads change frequently and some signposts are not descriptive. That being said, traffic jams in Tallinn clear very quickly and if you are from a large city, they will seem like speed-humps rather than traffic jams.
The speed limit in Tallinn is 50 km/h, except some major streets such as Laagna tee, Pärnu mnt., Paldiski mnt., Peterburi tee, etc., which have a speed limit of 70 km/h.
There is an abundance of parking, but you have to pay for it. The locations of ticket machines, and other methods for paying for parking, aren't always obvious. The ticket machines are not posted clearly.
Car rental agencies
There is more than 180 km of bicycle roads in Tallinn. The Eurovelo international route goes from West to East, giving you good change to ride comfortably through the city. Many bicycle roads are located in green parts of the city and are meant more for recreation, although suitable for commuting. If you do decide to use a bike to get around, you can drive on every road, even the side-walk driving is allowed, pay attention to pedestrians.
- City Bike, +372 5111 819 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Over 150 bicycles and a lot of extra gear. Real cyclist center with experienced staff, opened from 2003. The Original Welcome to Tallinn bike tour, daily 11 AM, Soviet bike tour in Tallinn, summer 5 PM, Lahemaa National Park bicycle and nature tours for the whole day, good recommendations for day-routes in Tallinn and self-guided tours in all over Estonia. Tours start from our Old Town office, Uus 33 (500 meters from Viru Street, McDonald's corner).
- Tallinn Traveller Tours, +372 5837 4800 (email@example.com). 3. Alternative bike tours run by local youth. Tours start from the Tallinn Traveller Info tent (corner of Harju and Niguliste Street) or from the Tallinn Traveller Info office at Vana-Posti 2 (off-season). Funky Bike Tour to Kopli and Kalamaja, Beautiful Bike Tour to Kadriorg, Green Bike Tour to the Open Air Museum, Island Bike Tour to Aegna Island.
The Old Town of Tallinn is very comfortably covered on foot.
If you have a mobile phone, mobile tours in English are available for download on the internet.
Audio guides in several languages are available for a small charge at the tourist centers.
Tips for First Time Visitors
If you are on a day trip to Tallinn for few hours only, then you can walk down to Viru street (10-15 min walk from Ferry Terminal) or take a taxi to get there and then roam the old city on foot. There are some great "lookout" points, where you can take in spectacular views of the rest of Old Town.