Estonia Basics

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The Basics

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 230 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are in use.

Money: The Estonian currency is the Euro, as the Kroon (EEK) was discontinued in 2011. Foreign currency can be easily exchanged at hotels, banks and exchange bureaux in the larger towns, at the airport and main railway station. Major credit cards are generally accepted in the larger hotels, main restaurants and shops, but it is wise to check first. Banking hours are generally weekdays 9am to 4pm. Exchange bureaux are open till 6pm on weekdays and from 9am to 3pm on Saturdays. Some open on Sundays. ATMs are available in most towns.

Currency Exchange Rates

EUR1.00 = USD 1.11GBP 0.86CAD 1.45AUD 1.62ZAR 16.16EUR 1.00NZD 1.75
Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

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.

Entry requirements for Americans: US citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Estonia. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: British passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar, only need to be valid for period of intended stay in Estonia. All other endorsements require at least three months validity beyond the period of intended stay in Estonia. A visa is not required for passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days in a 180 day period for holders of passports with any other endorsement. Holders of identity cards issued by Gibraltar authorities, and endorsed 'Validated for EU travel purposes under the authority of the United Kingdom', do not require a visa to visit Estonia.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Estonia. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Estonia. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Estonia. A Schengen visa is required.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Estonia. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid upon arrival in Estonia. No visa is required.

Passport/Visa Note: 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, Liechtenstein, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. All of these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option, and which allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all the aforementioned countries. Additionally, most foreign passengers entering Estonia must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in the country. Passports that have been issued more than ten years prior to the time of travel are unlikely to be accepted. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

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 10 percent 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. Tourists should 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, meaning a formal dress code is expected and shaking hands is the common form of greeting for men and women. People should be referred to as 'Harra' (Mr), 'Proua' (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 for 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. There is a GSM mobile network available.

Duty Free: Travellers over 18 years arriving from non-EU countries do not have to pay duty on goods to the value of €430 if arriving by air or sea. The following items are duty-free: 200 cigarettes (if travelled by air, otherwise 40 cigarettes) or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco (if travelled by air, otherwise 50g); 1 litre spirits higher than 22 percent alcohol volume or 2 litres spirits or aperitifs with alcohol content lower than 22 percent (includes sparkling wines, liqueur wines,) 4 litres wine or 16 litres beer. 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.