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Estonia

If you’re travelling to Estonia, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), available by contacting the Health Service Executive, and that you also obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Security status

We advise you to take normal precautions.

Emergency Assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

You can contact the emergency services in Estonia by dialling 112.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Get a European Health Insurance Card
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

 

 

Safety and security

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in Estonia is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in Estonia but you should take sensible precautions:

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Pickpocketing and mugging can be a problem in the Tallinn Old Town, ferry ports and major hotels - particularly during the summer months so be careful - take sensible precautions and avoid unlit side-streets and parks at night.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Estonia, report it to the local police immediately. To call the police, dial 112. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Tallinn if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Estonia, you should take extra care, particularly when driving after dark and on major highways as road traffic accidents are common. If you want to drive:

  • Bring your international driving license and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law (the legal alcohol limit is zero) and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught.
  • Dimmed headlights and seatbelts are mandatory at all times.
  • Your vehicle must have winter tyres from 1 December to 1 March every year. These dates may change if there are severe weather conditions so check local conditions if you’re driving between October and April.
  • If you intend to travel by car or motorbike to Estonia, you must bring your original Vehicle Registration Certificate, as your vehicle will be refused entry into Estonia if you can’t produce it. You’re also obliged to carry a copy of your insurance certificate within the vehicle.

Pedestrians and cyclists

Reflectors are mandatory for pedestrians and cyclists at all times.

Vehicle hire

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

Health

Mosquitoes and horseflies

Mosquitoes and horseflies are common in Estonia during the summer months, as are ticks and mites which can spread infection. Insect repellent is a sensible precaution if you plan on visiting during the summer, particularly if you intend going to Estonia’s many forests and bogs.

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

Emergency expenses

Your policy should cover:

  • All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
  • Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.   
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
  • Lost and stolen possessions.
  • Cancellation and curtailment.
  • Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).

Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.

European Health Insurance Card

As an Irish resident you are entitled to get healthcare through the public system in countries of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay there. Ensure that you get or renew your EHIC (the new name for the E111) before you go, and remember, you need one for every person travelling in your group.

You can apply for your EHIC and find out more information here.

The EHIC is not a substitute for proper travel insurance provided by a reputable insurer. It doesn’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature. Also, some private hospitals may not accept the EHIC, so you should check with the hospital administrator beforehand.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Irish citizens don’t need a visa to enter Estonia.

Currency

The currency of Estonia is the Euro.

Climate

Estonia is very cold in winter and generally under snow until March. If you’re planning to visit, you should bring warm winter clothing as well as appropriate footwear.

In the winter months, footpaths in cities and towns, including the Old Town in Tallinn, are extremely dangerous because of impacted ice.