Tallinn Old Town


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INFORMATION FOR TRAVELLERS

ESTONIA IN FACTS   CLIMATE   COMMUNICATIONS    CRIME   CUSTOMS   ELECTRICITY   FIRST AID    MONEY   NATIONAL HOLIDAYS   PUBLIC TOILETS   TAX FREE SHOPPING    TAXIS IN TALLIINN   TIPPING   VISA


Estonia lies along the Baltic Sea, it is the smallest country in Northern Europe. You can feel the spirit of history and try the boons of civilization in Estonia. Here you will find a diverse, beautiful and clean nature, old windy mills and castles, smart restaurants and hotels, stylish night clubs.

If the decision about visiting Estonia is has been already taken, I hope this part of the site guides you in local culture and customs. Welcome to Estonia!



ESTONIA IN FACTS

Population: 1 351 069 (01.01.2004). Population number on 01.01.05 - 1 347 000 (preliminary estimation).
Ethnic Composition: Estonians (67,9%), Russians (25,6%), Other (6,5%)
The proportion of urban population is 67%. The proportion of rural population is 33%.
(Source: Statistical Office of Estonia)
Main Cities and population: Tallinn (Capital City) - 410 050 (01.06.2010), Tartu - 101 240, Narva - 68 538, Kohtla-Jarve - 47 484, Parnu - 44 978
Official Language: Estonian. English and Russian are also understood and widely spoken.
Religion: Lutheran (30%), Orthodox (28%), Catholic (3%)
Area: 45 227 sk (square kilometers)
Coastline: 3 794 km
Borders: 633 km total, 339 km with Latvia and 294 km with the Russian Federation
Distance from Tallinn to Helsinki: 85 km; to Riga: 307 km; to St.Petersburg: 395 km; to Stockholm: 405 km
Islands: 1 521 total. The three largest are Saaremaa (2 922 km2), Hiiumaa (1 023 km2) and Muhu (206 km2).
Rivers: Estonian's longest rivers are the Parnu (144 km), Kasaki (112 km) and Emajogi (101 km).
Lakes: Lake Peipus, on the Russian border, cover an area of 3 555 km2, of which 1 529 km2 is in Estonia. The second largest lake Vortsjarv, covers 266 km2.
Elevation: The highest point in Estonia and the Baltic is Suur Munamagi (318 m) in Voru County.
Local Time: Estonia is in the Eastern European Time Zone: GMT +2 hours, Summer time: GMT +3 hours


CLIMATE

The climate in Estonia is temperate, characterised by warm summers and fairly severe winters. The weather is often breezy and humid due to the proximity of the Baltic Sea. Average temperatures range from 20.9° C in summer (usually July is the hottest month) to - 8°C in winter. Although occasionally the temperature may rise to 30°C and above in summer or sink below - 23°C in winter, it is very usual at our latitude. Bring your umbrella and a light raincoat in case of occasional showers.


COMMUNICATIONS

Post Offices and Postal Charges
Post offices are generally open during normal shopping hours: from 09.00 to 18.00 hours on weekdays, and 09.30 - 15.00 on Saturdays. The Central Post Office in Tallinn is at Narva mnt. 1, phone 661 6616. Opening hours for the Central Post Office: Mon- Fri 07.30 to 20.00 hours and from 08.00 to 18.00 on Saturday.

Telephone Services
Calls to Estonia: the country code for Estonia is +372. Dial +372, then the area code and the subscriber's number.

Calls from Estonia: Calls from Estonia: Dial 00 + the country code + area code + the subscriber's number.

Local calls: Pay phones accept phone cards. If you wish to make a call within Estonia, first dial the area code and the number. Phone cards may be purchased from hotel reception desks, tourist information offices, post offices, newsstands and some shops.


CRIME

Tallinn is not any more dangerous than the average European capital, but occasionally tourists do get robbed. As always, common sense is in order: be careful who you drink with and how much, and do not wander into unfamiliar areas alone, especially after dark. The most common problems to hit foreigners are pickpocketing (Viru tanav is especially notorious) and car break-ins. If you want to report a crime, contact the central police station, Parnu mnt. 11, tel. 612 4200. For emergencies: tel. 110.


CUSTOMS

EU residents really made out with the bloc’s May 1 expansion to include Estonia. Now each individual aged 18 and over may carry in (or out) duty-free from another EU country 90 litres of wine and 110 litres of beer and 10 litres of hard alcohol (over 21%alc/vol), 800 cigarettes, 400 cigarillos, 200 cigars and 1kg of pure tobacco. (Beware of stricter tobacco restrictions if you’re headed to Finland.) Relatively unlucky travellers from non-EU countries can carry in a measly 2 litres of wine (not exceeding 175 EUR in combined value), 2 litres of beverages up to 21%alc/vol and 1 litre of hard alcohol; 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g pure tobacco. When entering or leaving Estonia you must declare currency exceeding 15000 EUR. For more information, contact the Customs Department, Narva mnt 9j, phone +372 683 5700 emta@emta.ee, www.emta.ee. Collectors beware! Items made before 1700 may not be taken out of Estonia. A special permit is required to export items (including books) made outside of Estonia before 1850 or in Estonia before 1945. Ask the dealer for details.


ELECTRICITY

The electricity supply in Estonia is 220 volts AC, 50 Hz. European-style 2-pin plugs are in use. European plugs work in most sockets, but a few Soviet-era buildings still require the thinner-pinned Russian version. There aren’t many outages in Estonia, but voltage levels can be a bit erratic in old neighbourhoods and in the countryside.


FIRST AID

Emergency Telephone - Number 112
Emergency numbers are the same from all phones, including mobiles, anywhere in Estonia.

For police, dial 110
For the Fire Department, dial 112
For ambulance services, dial 112


MONEY

Estonia is joining the euro area January 1, 2011 (The Universal Currency Convertor). Foreign currencies can be easily exchanged in banks and exchange offices. You should have no problems filling your wallet - cash machines (ATMs) are never hard to find in Tallinn. Currency exchanges, however, are more elusive, especially after business hours. Tavid at Aia 5 runs an all-night exchange window that will do in a pinch. Their night rates are not as good as what they are during the daytime, but this is still better than the only other after-hours option, which is changing money in a major hotel.

Credit cards
Credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard/Eurocard, Diner's Club, American Express etc. are accepted in most of the major hotels, restaurants and shops, but ask first. Most banks will give cash advances on credit cards supported by a valid passport. Check with the credit card company for further details before travelling.

Banking Hours The main banks in Estonia, which serve tourists, are: Swedbank, SEB Eesti Uhispank, Sampo Pank

Banks are open from Monday to Friday between 9.00 and 16.00. Most banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Currency exchange offices are open from Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 18.00 hours; on Saturdays from 09.00 to 15.00 hours. Some are also open on Sundays.


NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Banks, offices and shops are closed on the following public holidays:

1 January - New Year's Day
24 February - Independence Day
March/April - Good Friday
1 May - Spring Day
May/June - Whitsunday
23 June - Victory Day
24 June - Midsummer's Day
20 August - Re-Independence Day
25 December - Christmas Day
26 December - The Second Christmas Holiday


PUBLIC TOILETS

Study your geometry to avoid an embarrassing situation: A triangle pointing down signifies the men’s room (M or Meeste), while the triangle pointing up is the women’s room (N or Naiste). The Old Town’s most central public toilet, and the only one with facilities for the disabled, is right on the square, Town Hall Square 15, housed in the foyer of the Troika restaurant. Other public toilets can be found near the Viru Gate on Valli and in the underground crossing on Vabaduse valjak. The high-tech, Swedish-built automatic WC on Toompea hill. Find it next to the Alexander Nevski Cathedral.


TAX FREE SHOPPING

Travellers residing outside the European Union are entitled to claim back the VAT/GST on purchases, if exported from the European Union within three months plus months of purchase. Total sales price of the goods purchased must be at least 38,36 EUR (incl. VAT) in a store per day. Stores offering Tax Free Shopping service are displaying well-known Tax Free logo. A store will provide special Refund Cheque, which must be presented together with a passport and purchased goods to customs official for export verification when leaving the European Union. Purhcased goods must be exported in an unused condition. Check refund options from globalrefund.com.


TAXIS IN TALLINN

Before getting in
Be sure you understand the approximate cost of the trip.
Prices are not uniform; taxi operators can set their own rates.

Take a close look at the yellow price list, which is posted on the right side rear door. Here you will find rates for:

  • the base fare (usually 2 EUR-5 EUR);
  • the waiting charge, used only when the taxi is actually standing (usually 6,40-19,20 EUR/hr);
  • the pre-kilometre charges: a daytime charge used from 6 am to 11 pm, and nighttime charge used from 11 pm to 6 am (both usually 0,50 EUR-1 EUR/km).

  • Anything much more than these is considered high. Make sure that taxi driver holds an operator's card - a white plastic card with the driver's photo and name, attached to the middle of the dashboard.

    Starting out
    Make sure the taxi's meter is turned on. It is illegal for driver to smoke or to allow others to smoke in the taxi.

    At the end of ride
    The driver is not allowed to ask for more than what is on the meter. The driver must be paid in Estonian kroons.
    Ask the taxi driver for the receipt from the meter's printer. If the meter or printer is out of order, the driver should not be in service and you have the right to refuse to pay the fare.
    To lodge complaints or make suggestion, contact the Tallinn Transport Department's Taxi Commission, tta@tallinnlv.ee, +372 6833613 or phone the 24-hour City Advice hotline, 1345


    TIPPING

    Until recently, Estonia was a non-tipping culture. Now, however, with more Estonians travelling the world and more foreign visitors influencing the local habits, there is a growing tendency to leave tips in restaurants. There is still no rule, but the general practice is to leave roughly 10% in any restaurant where you ate a full meal and where your bill was brought to your table (i.e., you did not order and pay at the bar).


    VISA

    As of 21 December 2007, Estonia is a part of the Schengen visa area. Nationals of EU and EEA member states are free to enter Estonia. The required travel document for entry is a national ID card or passport.

    Who does not need a visa to visit Estonia?

    Find out more information from Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website:click here
    Estonia's Representations around the world:click here







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