Estonia Photo

Estonia Driving Guide

Estonia is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-07-28 · 9 mins

Estonia is one of the countries in Europe that are less populated. With 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to its name and proven to be one of the top five cleanest countries in the world due to its large area covered with forests, Estonia is a place that will give you scenic views and a relaxing atmosphere. Aside from that, the City of Tallinn, which is the capital city of Estonia, will surely blow you away, and that reason alone should be enough for you to take a trip to Estonia.


The best way to go around places in Estonia is by driving through Estonia in a car. It does not just give you a comfortable journey, but it will let you drive easily to places that are not accessible by public transportation. But first, you need an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) for you to be driving in Estonia. You can read a guide for traveling and driving into Estonia below.

How Can This Guide Help You?

It will be hard for tourists and travelers to drive around the different places in Estonia if they are not familiar enough. This guide will provide necessary and important details about what anyone traveling to Estonia must know.

General Information

Estonia is a European country known for its vast area of forests and untouched natural beauty. Being conquered by Russians, Swedes, and Germans, this country is filled with historical sights that are visible in every place you go. Plus, they also serve delicious food that you can enjoy while driving in Estonia.

Geographic Location

Estonia is a sovereign country situated in the northeastern part of Europe. It is bordered by the Gulf of Riga in the West, Russia to the East, the Gulf of Finland in the North, and Latvia to the south. It is also one of the countries that belonged to Baltic states along with Latvia and Lithuania. Estonia’s capital city is Tallinn, which is also known as one of the most well-preserved medieval cities in the world.

Estonia is a flat country with the highest point of 1,043 feet above sea level. It also homes to almost 2,500 islands, being most of them are very tiny in size. Several islands in Estonia are tourist attractions, such as the Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, which offer beautiful coastlines.

Languages Spoken

The official language of Estonia is Estonian, which is a language related to Finnish. About two-thirds of Estonia’s population speak Estonian as their first language. Russian is also widely spoken in Estonia. Other languages that are spoken in Estonia include English, Finnish, German, and Swedish.

Students can learn and study the English, German, French, or Finnish language as their first choice of a foreign language. Most students in Estonia are into learning the English language as their primary foreign language.

Land Area

Estonia ranked as the 129th largest country in the world based on its land area. With a land area of 45,227 square kilometers, it is less than half the size of the country of Wales and is one of the smallest countries in Europe. A little over 50% of Estonia’s land area, or approximately 2 million hectares, is covered by forests that dominated the landscape of the country. Almost 30% of the forests are under protection.

Estonia can experience a very severe winter season due to it being in a northern location but can also experience a very humid atmosphere during hot summers due to it bordering the Baltic Sea.

History

Ancient Estonians settled along the Baltic shores in 9000 B.C. In the 11th to the 12th century, the Danes and Swedes attempted to Christianize Estonians but failed. Russians attempted to conquer Estonia in the year between 1030 and 1192 but also failed. The Germans were able to conquer Estonia in the 13th century. After their failed attempt to convert Estonians to Christianity, they then used force to convert the pagans of Estonia.

By 1227, the whole of Estonia was conquered by the Latvians and the Danes. Both the Swedes and the Russians had an interest in conquering Estonia, and come 1582, the Swedes finally defeated the Russians in a long war and drove the Russians away. In modern times, Estonia was forced to be a part of the Soviet Union in 1940. When the Soviet Union collapsed in December of the year 1991, Estonia finally obtained its freedom and independence. Then in 2004, Estonia became a part of the European Union (EU).

Government

Estonia practices a Parliamentary Republic type of government and is divided into three parts; the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. A President is elected by a special electoral body for a five-year term. He/She has no executive powers, but a lot of roles and duties, and one of those is to appoint a Prime Minister that will be the head of government. He/She can also serve several terms, but a maximum of two consecutive terms is only allowed.

The chief justice is nominated by the president and is appointed by Riigikogu, which is the legislative arm of Estonia. The parliament consists of 101 members who are elected through proportional representation and are to serve for four years.

Tourism

Tourism in Estonia is an important factor that contributes to the country’s competitiveness and economic growth. Famous tourist spots in the country are mostly historic architectural structures with different architectural designs.

The country’s tourism is estimated to contribute 7.8% of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 2019, Estonia tallied a record of around 3.8 million tourists who visited the country. This shows a slight increase from 2018’s tally of 3.59 million. With tourists and travelers slowly discovering the beauty of Estonia, the number of tourists that visit Estonia is projected to continue growing.

International Driver’s Permit FAQs

An International Driver’s Permit (IDP) or is commonly known as International Driver’s License, is a document needed when driving through Estonia. It is a translation document of your local driver’s license that Estonian road authorities require. To avoid trouble when driving in Estonia, it is highly advised to secure an IDP. You can read more about an IDP below

Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Estonia?

When driving into Estonia, your local driver’s license will not be enough to drive legally. One of the requirements when driving in Estonia is an International Driver’s Permit in Estonia. It is a translation of your local driver’s license to 12-UN recognized languages. Though Estonian road authorities do not require citizens from the European Union (EU) to secure an IDP, it is still highly advisable to obtain one as it is needed for you to rent a car in Estonia. A list of the European Union countries is found below.

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • Spain
  • Switzerland

Does an IDP Replace a Local Driver’s License?

An IDP does not replace your local driver’s license. It is a support document for your local driver’s license when driving on Estonian roads. It will also be your key when driving in Estonia, as most road authorities in the country will look for it during checkpoints. Aside from that, car rental companies will mostly require you to present an IDP to them before you can rent a car from them.

Who Can Apply for An IDP?

If you already have a local driver’s license and are 18 years and older, you are already eligible to apply for an IDP. You can secure an IDP from the International Driver’s Association (IDA). Through our website, you can apply for an IDP online and in a hassle-free way. Do not forget to prepare your local driver’s license and a passport-sized picture of yourself before you apply for an IDP.

You can apply for an IDP anytime you want. After you have submitted your application for an IDP, it will be processed and reviewed by the IDA team for about two hours. Be extra careful with the details that you have entered in your application, especially your country’s zip code, to avoid the delay of you driving in Estonia for the reason of your IDP being delayed.

Do I Need an IDP to When Driving in Estonia?

An International Driver’s Permit is required when driving to Estonia if you are a citizen from a non-EU country. You might get in trouble when driving on Estonian roads without an IDP. During road checkpoints, your IDP, your passport, your local driver’s license, and other car-related documents will be inspected by road authorities. Another possible situation when your IDP will become useful is when you rent a car. Most car rental companies will look for it along with your local driver’s license.

Aside from that, almost all car rental companies do require an IDP if you are to rent a car from them. You must always bring your IDP along with your local driver’s license when driving in Estonia to avoid trouble with the Estonian road authorities. So basically, your IDP will become useful during road checkpoints and when you rent a car

Can I Use My Digital Copy if I lost the Physical Copy of My IDP?

Estonian road authorities do not acknowledge a digital copy of an IDP, and for that reason, you can not use your digital copy. That is why, when you lose the physical copy of your IDP, you have to immediately apply for a replacement. We at IDA offer free replacement to IDPs issued by us, but you will pay the shipping cost of the physical copy to your address.

A request for a replacement of an IDP in IDA is processed within 24 hours, and the physical copy will be shipped in no time. Be sure to check your latest address’s zip code so that your driving in Estonia would not be delayed. Also, note that our IDP is valid for over 150 countries and you can still use it in other countries after Estonia provided it has not expired yet.

Renting a Car in Estonia

The best way to explore the beauty of Estonia is by driving a car. When driving to Estonia by car, you can control your transportation from a place to another that will give you more comfort and convenience. If you do not have a car, you do not have to worry as you can rent one. A lot of car rental companies with different car rental offers are available for you to check out.

Car Rental Companies

If you want to be fully prepared when you land in Estonia, you can rent a car online to use when driving in Estonia. There are a lot of car rental companies that you can find on the internet. The advantage of renting a car online is that you can choose from a wide variety of car rental rates that the different car rental companies offer. A list of car rental companies found online is listed below.

  • Europcar
  • Hertz
  • Sixt
  • Auto Europe
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • National

You can also rent a car at airports after you have landed in Estonia. Car rental companies have booths found at or near airports. But please take note that car rental offers at car rental booths are more expensive compared to offers found online. That is why it is highly advisable to rent a car online. The good news is that you can rent a car online whether you are already in Estonia or not.

Documents Required

Your local driver’s license and an International Driver’s Permit in Estonia are required when you rent a car. Also, prepare your passport and a credit card that is issued to your name as car rental companies might also ask for it. In some cases, car rental companies may look for another ID of you for further verification, so also prepare it.

Vehicle Types

There is a wide variety of vehicle types that you can rent to use on your trip to Estonia. Different car rental companies offer different types of vehicles at different rates. From manual to an automatic transmission and small to compact cars, there is a lot that you can choose from. Sports Utility Vehicle is highly suggested to use when driving in Estonia as those kinds of vehicles are versatile and compact.

But you have to base your choice of vehicle on your defined budget for the trip. Also, you must choose the car that suits your comfort when driving in Estonia.

Car Rental Cost

Generally, an average rental car costs $59/day in Estonia. But the basis of a car rental fee varies from one car rental company to another. Most car rental companies base their car rental fee on the type of car you are about to rent, the season of the year, and whether a car is picked up and dropped off at the same location. Additional charges may include add-ons like Wi-fi access, navigational system, car seats, and additional drivers.

You also have to note that when driving in Estonia during winter, you need to equip your car with car winter tyres. You can ask for winter tires from the car rental company that you rented your car from. Car winter tires are there to ensure your safety when driving in Estonia during the winter season.

Age Requirements

Generally, the age requirement for you to be able to rent a car in Estonia is 21 years and older, and you should have held a local driver’s license for a minimum of one year. But it can change depending on the legal requirement age of the car rental company where you are about to rent a car. Aside from that, age category requirements may vary depending on the type of car. Ages under 25 years old may be required to pay a young driver fee.

Car Insurance Cost

Unfortunate events such as road accidents can happen anytime whenever you are driving in Estonia. With that, you should make sure that your car or the car you are about to rent has insurance. The car rental fee you are about to pay for renting a car in Estonia includes car insurance. There are several car insurances that you can avail. Your car’s insurance cost will depend on the insurances you availed

Car Insurance Policy

Motor Third Party Liability Insurance is a kind of vehicle insurance that is required for every vehicle in Estonia. This kind of insurance covers the damages caused by your car to another person or vehicle. Additional car insurance can also be added. The likes of Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), Theft Protection Insurance, can be included in your package. You can also opt to avail of road assistance that will become handy in case your car breaks down.

Other Tips

Aside from the pieces of information that are mentioned above about renting a car in Estonia, there are also other tips that might be beneficial to you. Tips in getting a budget-friendly rental car deal will be advantageous on your part especially if you are on a tight budget.

How Can You Get a Budget-Friendly Rental Car Deal?

Driving in Estonia can be a budget-friendly one when you know how to choose a car rental fee that suits your budget. The best way to find a suitable car rental deal is to compare different prices from the different car rental companies. This is where renting online is advantageous because you can browse for plenty of car rental offers online.

You have to choose the car that you are comfortable with. By comparing different car rental fees of different types of car, you can avail of the offer that is suitable to your budget plus it will also bring the comfort that your chosen car will bring you.

Estonia Road Photo by Uno Raamat

Road Rules in Estonia

It is a must to know and follow the road rules and regulations in a country that you planned to drive on. The driving rules in Estonia are pretty much the same as the road rules and regulations of the other foreign countries. It is not enough that you know the driving rules in Estonia, but the important thing is to understand and follow them. Driving road rules and regulations are there to maintain order on Estonian roads.

Important Regulations

Exploring Estonia byways of driving in your own car can give you the comfort that you want for your trip. It can take you to places that are not accessible by public transportation. With that, you have to completely know and understand Estonia’s road rules and regulations to avoid troubles during your trip. As Estonian road authorities are very strict when it comes to road rules, it is important to know and follow them.

Drunk-driving

Driving after drinking alcohol is never okay anywhere in the world. It can lead to severe accidents happening on roads. The maximum Blood Alcohol Limit (BAC) allowed in Estonia is very low, with 0.02% or 20mg alcohol per 100ml blood. If you are tested and caught violating the imposed blood alcohol content limit, you have to pay €400 (roughly $480), and your driving licence will be suspended for three to nine months.

Parking

There are pay-parking lots located in central parts of the cities in Estonia. Special machines are found in the majority of the parking spaces in the country where the payments are made. There are also parking lots that can only be used if the vehicle is equipped with parking clocks. You have to park your vehicle in designated parking spaces only as wrong parking will be fined €70 (about $85).

Many parking spaces are offered for free on Sundays. Generally, parking services cost from €1 - €2 ($1 - $2). On weekdays, parking services are open from 7 AM to 7 PM. And on Saturdays, they are available from 8 AM to 3 PM. Make sure that the engine is turned off and that you already secured your personal belongings before leaving your car unattended. Do not forget to lock and close the door of your car.

Ensure you and your vehicle are in good condition before driving.

You have to be mentally and physically able to drive. Aside from assuring your condition, you also have to make sure that the car you are using is fully functional. That is by checking if the car’s steering wheel, engine, mirrors, breaks, and signal lights are working properly. Do not forget to bring extra tires in case your car breaks down. Lastly, buckle your seat belt, close, and lock your car’s door.

Always focus your attention on the road ahead of you. Put away things that can attract your attention away from the road. Be cautious of the road signs and the traffic lights. Follow the road rules. Use your signal lights whenever you are about to change lanes

Seatbelt Laws

It is one of the driving requirements in Estonia for both the back and front passengers to wear a seatbelt all the time. Seatbelts are very important, especially if you, unfortunately, get involved in a car accident, as they can lessen the impact of your body on the car. You are subject to an on-the-spot fine when caught driving without wearing a seatbelt.

Children under the age of 12 must use a car seat. You can rent car seats from the car rental company that you rented your car from. But to ensure the quality of the car seat, you are advised to bring your own. Failure to comply with Estonia’s seatbelt law is subject to a €200 (roughly $240) fine.

General Standards

Driving in Estonia with a map can be more convenient and enjoyable when you experience no trouble. That is why it is important to know the basics before driving. Aside from that, knowing and understanding the general standards of driving in Estonia would be an advantage to your side.

Speed Limits

Every road has its own designated speed limit, not just in Estonia but also in other countries. You are required to follow the speed limit on the roads that you are driving in Estonia. The speed limits are there to guide you on your trip. So make sure to follow them. Listed below are the speed limits in Estonia.

  • On Motorways - 110 km/h
  • On Rural/Main roads - 90 km/h
  • On town roads - 50 km/h

Road speed limits are imposed to maintain order and avoid vehicle collisions on roads. Whether you are driving in Estonia or not, you are required to follow the mandated speed limit of the road you are driving in. If you are caught overspeeding in Estonia, you could be fined starting from €200 (roughly $240).

Driving Directions

The main roads in Estonia are somewhat well-maintained. You can find many roundabouts in the country so it's better if you are familiar enough with what to do when approaching roundabouts. Drivers in Estonia have great respect for pedestrians. That is why when you are driving in Estonia, you have to slow down if you are approaching a pedestrian lane. Overtaking is only allowed if you are to overtake on the left side of the road

Traffic Road Signs

Traffic road signs are put on roads to guide drivers when driving in Estonia. If you are used to driving for some time now, you won’t have a problem as road signs in Estonia are similar to road signs in other countries. A list of some road signs that you might see in Estonia is listed below.

Prohibitory signs - are signs that indicate that specific actions can not be done on roads.

  • no entry
  • no right turn
  • no left turn
  • no overtaking
  • no stopping
  • no U-turn
  • Toll-zone
  • no horns

Warning signs - are signs that show awareness to drivers about potential hazards or safety risks in an area.



  • traffic lights
  • curve to the left
  • curve to the right
  • double curve
  • slippery road, rough road
  • road works, road narrows
  • two-way road.

informational signs - are signs that give available information to drivers

  • A gas station, church
  • Hospital
  • end of two-way traffic
  • cyclist crossing

Priority signs - are signs that indicate who should have priority on roads.

  • give way
  • Stop
  • priority road
  • end of priority road.

Right of Way

The ongoing traffic on a roundabout has the right of way. You can only enter a roundabout after you make sure that there is no traffic on your left. Otherwise, you have to yield. At intersections, the first vehicle that arrives has the right of way. If two vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle on the left has the right of way.

A pedestrian (a person traveling on foot, whether walking or running) has the right of way against drivers if he/she crosses the road using a pedestrian lane. If not, then the driver has the right of way

You have to be at least 18 years old and have a local driver’s license or a driving license in Estonia for you to drive in the country legally. Even if you already have a local driver’s license at the age of 17 in your home country, when you visit Estonia, you are still not allowed to drive. You have to wait until you turn 18 years old for you to legally be driving in Estonia.

If you are under the legal driving age requirement, you should not let yourself be tempted to drive. Driving in Estonia under the age of 18 might get you in trouble with the Estonian road authorities. You might get fined on the spot for violating the country’s driving age requirement.

Law About Overtaking

You should always overtake on the left side of the road. It is prohibited to overtake on the right in Estonia. As locals are used to overtaking on the left, they will assume that all the drivers along with them will overtake on the left, which means when you overtake on the right, it might lead to a car collision. You might be fined or even get your driving license suspended when caught violating the rule in Estonia

Driving Side

Just like the driving ways of the other 162 countries in the world, you are required to drive on the right side of the road in Estonia and overtake on the left. Do not be confused as there are countries that drive on the left and overtake on the right. That is why you have to make sure to know the basic driving rules and regulations before driving in Estonia or other foreign countries.

Driving Etiquette in Estonia

Car problems can not be predicted. It can happen while you are on the road driving in Estonia. May it be a minor or a major car problem, you cannot foretell when it is going to happen. That is why it is best to be prepared to know what to do if ever you experience one. Read through the guide below on how to handle your car breaking down.

Car Breakdown

While driving in Estonia, there is always this possibility of your car breaking down may it be in motorways or the middle of nowhere. Emotions can get to you, and you might panic, but you should not. A guide is provided below if ever your car breaks down.

Car Breaking Down on a Motorway

  1. Immediately turn your hazard lights as soon as you notice that your car broke down on a motorway.
  2. If it is possible, move your car to the side of the road away from traffic.
  3. Wear a reflective jacket before going out of the car using the car’s door on the passenger’s side.
  4. Set up a warning triangle at least 6 six steps away from the back of your car.
  5. Call for emergency assistance. You can call Estonia’s emergency number 112 for assistance.

Car Breaking Down in the Middle of Nowhere

  1. Turn on the hazard lights of the car as soon as possible. This is to signal other cars that your car broke down.
  2. Immediately pull your car to the side of the road.
  3. Wear a reflective jacket before exiting the car.
  4. Put a warning triangle at least six steps from the back of your car.
  5. Call 112 for emergency rescue

Police Stops

As long as you are driving in Estonia, there is a possibility that you might get pulled off the road by police officers. When you notice that the police car is behind you, lower your speed and slowly pull to the side of the road. A guide is provided for you for further details about dealing with getting pulled off from the road.

  • As you pull to the side of the road, do not open the car’s window yet. Wait for the police officer to knock before you open it.
  • Talk to the officer politely. How you interact with the police officer will influence how he/she will treat you.
  • Always place your hands where it is visible by the police officer. (preferably on the steering wheel)
  • Do not think twice about showing the car-related documents that the officer will ask for.
  • If ever you are asked to come with them, politely ask for an explanation first. If you realized that it made sense, then you can go with them.
  • When the police officer is done on his/her inspection, give thanks and continue driving in Estonia with your map

Asking Directions

When you have trouble in what direction to turn when driving in Estonia, you should not worry as the locals in Estonia are very friendly and very accommodating when it comes to tourists. There may be locals that are less pleasant to interact with, but most Estonians are welcoming to tourists. Just treat them kindly and with respect so that you should be treated well too.

As English is widely spoken in the country, it is still highly advised to learn their language, Estonian. A list of common phrases with the English translation is listed below to further help you.

  • Tere or Tervist - Hello
  • Tere hommikust - Good morning
  • Tere päevast - Good afternoon
  • Tere õhtust - Good evening
  • Head ööd - Good night
  • Head aega - Goodbye
  • Jah - Yes
  • Ei - No
  • Ma ei tea - I don’t know
  • Mis teie nimi on? - What is your name?
  • Mina olen - My name is
  • Tulen - I’m from
  • Meeldiv tutvuda - Pleased to meet you
  • Ma ei räägi eesti keelt - I don’t speak Estonian.
  • Kas te räägite inglise keelt? - Do you speak English?

Checkpoints

When you encounter checkpoints on Estonian roads, do not panic and keep calm. Road checkpoints or inspections can happen anytime you are driving on Estonian roads. It is important to deal with checkpoints in the right way to avoid trouble with the road authorities conducting the checkpoint.

When approaching a checkpoint, lower your car’s speed. As an officer approaches you, you will most likely be needed to present your local driver’s license or a driving license in Estonia, an IDP, your passport, and other car-related documents. After presenting the documents and when the inspection is done, say thanks to the road authority and continue your trip to Estonia.

Other Tips

It is also important for you to know other tips while driving in Estonia aside from the ones mentioned above. As there is a small possibility of you getting involved in an accident in Estonia, it is still beneficial for you to know the basic things to do. Aside from that, there are also other tips listed below that can benefit your driving in Estonia.

What if I Get Involved in an Accident?

If ever you are involved or may have witnessed an accident on the road, do not leave the site. It will make you look like escaping from responsibilities, and that is not okay with the road authorities. It is also an important bit of knowledge for every driver that is even taught in driving schools in Estonia. The best way that you can do this is to call the emergency number of Estonia, 112, to report the accident. Wait for the rescue to arrive before leaving the accident scene.

Are You Allowed to Use Your Phone While Driving in Estonia?

You are not permitted to use your mobile phone while you are currently driving in Estonia. Using your mobile phone can get your attention away from the road ahead of you. This scenario can lead to accidents on the road. If you need to use your phone, the best way to do it is to first pull to the side of the road, away from traffic.

Driving Conditions in Estonia

Most of the local Estonian drivers are well-disciplined when it comes to driving. As most of them attend driving school in Estonia and are taught basic driving lessons in Estonia before applying for a driving license, they are well aware of the road rules and regulations. That is why you should also do your part and follow Estonia’s road rules.

Accident Statistics

Based on the latest statistics, Estonia has experienced a drop in the country’s fatalities in road accidents in 2019, with 53 people dying compared to the 2018s tally of 67. Though they tallied a drop in road fatalities, they also recorded an increase in road crashes. In 2019 they recorded 1701 road crashes while 1474 in 2018. The main causes of road accidents happening in Estonia is the violation of road rules and regulations and weather and road conditions.

Common Vehicles

In 2019, Estonia has an estimated 1,045,587 registered vehicles. Residents of Estonia use Medium-sized SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicle). SUVs provide wide visibility of the road ahead of you as they have a higher driving position compared to other vehicles. Smaller medium cars are widely used in rural areas in Estonia. If you intend to drive within the rural areas of Estonia, a smaller rented vehicle would be the perfect fit.

Toll Roads

Toll roads are only found in Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia. Roads in Estonia are only tolled if the heavy goods vehicle weighs over 3.5 tonnes and is used in a public road network. The toll should be paid by the owner of the vehicle. The toll rate that the owner will pay depends on the maximum authorized weight of the heavy goods vehicle and its trailer, the number of axles, and the emission class of the heavy goods vehicle.

Road Situations

Generally, streets in Estonia are not that busy. Most of the time, the streets in the city center are busy. They can get congested whenever it is rush hour. To avoid getting into traffic congestions, you can always check the traffic status of the street you are about to drive on google maps.

Driving in Estonia is not that hard. There are road signs on every road in Estonia, but it might be hard to read during nighttime. There may be roads in the rural areas that are unpaved, but generally, the country’s road condition is good. Always be cautious whenever you are driving in Estonia. In that way, you are confident that your trip will be safe and sound.

Driving Culture

Some Estonian drivers are well-disciplined when it comes to driving. They tend to respect and obey their road rules and regulations. But there are also local drivers that are aggressive in driving. They sometimes violate speed limits and other road rules.

Other Tips

It is also important to know and learn additional tips before driving in Estonia. The tips mentioned below will help and guide you whenever you are driving through the different cities and districts in Estonia.

Is it Safe to Drive in Estonia at Night?

It is safe to drive in Estonia at night. Just avoid roads that are not well-lit. By knowing that it is safe to drive at night in Estonia, do not be complacent. Always drive with caution as road accidents can’t be predicted. Be vigilant when driving on inter-city highways at night as there is a possibility that moose can appear on roads.

Are They Using Kph or Mph?

Estonia is part of the 179 countries in the world that use kilometers per hour (km/h) as their unit of measuring a car’s speed. Another unit of measuring the speed of a car in miles per hour (m/h). This unit is used in countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, Samoa, Palau, and Belize.

Things to Do in Estonia

You can do a lot of things in Estonia. Along with the country’s astonishing and untouched natural beauty, a lot of fairytale-like architectures can also be found in the country. Aside from that, Estonia is a digitally advanced country. You can access the internet everywhere as a lot of free wi-fi hotspots are found in the country.

If you are fond of outdoor adventures, Estonia also has it for you. In the summertime, kayaking and canoeing are very popular. You can also hike, bike, and horse ride in the country.

Drive as a Tourist

Yes, you can drive in Estonia as a tourist. Just make sure that you have already secured an International Driver’s Permit in Estonia along with your local driver’s license, passport, and other car-related documents whenever you are driving in Estonia. When you are caught without the mentioned documents, you are likely to be fined on the spot by Estonian road authorities.

A UK driving license is valid in Estonia. That means you can be legally driving in Estonia with a UK license. Aside from that, local driving licenses from other countries are also valid to use when driving in Estonia. For non-EU driving licenses, you have to support your local driver’s license with an International driver’s Permit in Estonia

Work as a Driver

Yes, you can apply for a driving job in Estonia. But the possibility of you being hired will depend on the company that you are applying for whether they accept foreigners as their workers. Most of the driving jobs available in Estonia are truck driving. That is why you should consider attending truck driving schools in Estonia before applying for one.

A driving wage in Estonia ranges from €410 (about $496) to €1,180 (about $1429) per month. Before applying for a driving job, you need to make sure that your local driver’s license or your driving license in Estonia and your IDP in Estonia are still valid. Car agencies might look for it as one of the requirements when applying for a job from them.

Work as a Travel Guide

Aside from working as a driver in Estonia, you can also work as a travel guide for tourists visiting the country. A travel guide’s wage depends on the travel agency. Generally, a travel guide will earn from $50 up to $150 a day (exclusive of tips). As many tourists are interested in exploring Estonia, it is also a suggested job to work as a travel guide.

Apply For Residency

Dual citizenship for naturalized foreigners is not allowed or recognized in Estonia. If you want to become an Estonian resident, you need to give up your previous nationality. You can apply for permanent residence in Estonia if you have lived for 5 successive years in the country. For European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) residents, you need the listed documents below to apply for a permanent residence permit in Estonia.

  • An application form;
  • A 40 x 50 mm picture of yourself;
  • A document certifying your payment of the state fee

For non-EU/EEA residents, you can apply for a long-term residence permit if you have lived in Estonia for 5 years with a temporary residence permit. To apply for a long-term residence permit in Estonia, you must also:

  • have a valid temporary residence permanent;
  • have your residence registered in the population register of Estonia;
  • have a permanent income;
  • have Estonian health insurance;
  • comply or pass the integration requirement.

Other Things to Do

Aside from working in Estonia, there are also other things that you can do if you decide to stay in the country longer. Staying longer than expected in Estonia will let you not just explore the country deeply, but will also let you have the opportunity to adapt to the country’s culture.

Can I Buy a Car in Estonia?

When exploring Estonia and you spotted a car that you liked, you can buy it. Make sure to bring your local driver’s license, your IDP, and your passport, as car agencies selling cars will likely look for those documents. Take note that aside from the price of the car, there are also other fees that you have to pay.

One of the fees that you will pay is the mandatory car insurance and transportation tax for the transportation of the car to your home country. Considering that, it will be costly to buy a car in Estonia. But if you don’t mind the expenses, you can go ahead and buy a car in Estonia.

Can I Obtain a Driving License in Estonia?

The answer is yes. You can exchange your local driver’s license for a driving licence in Estonia. There is a possibility of you taking a driving test in Estonia when exchanging your local driver’s license for an Estonian driving licence. That is why it is better to attend driving lessons in Estonia first.

Can I Stay and Drive in Estonia for More Than 6 Months?

You can drive with your local driver’s license and your IDP in Estonia for a maximum of 6 months after you arrive in the country. If you decide to stay longer in Estonia, before you reach the six months allotted period, you have to exchange your local driver’s license for a driving licence in Estonia. Take note that you might take a driving test in Estonia before you can secure an Estonian driving licence.

Are There Any Driving Schools in Estonia?

You can find driving schools in Kuressaare, a small town in Estonia. Not just that, there are also driving schools across different places in Estonia. So you don’t have to worry if you feel like you need to take driving lessons in Estonia as driving schools are very accessible in the country, especially in Kuressaare, Estonia.

You can be legally driving in Estonia with a US license if you support it with an International Driver’s Permit in Estonia. Also, make sure that your US license is not yet expired as an expired one can not be used in Estonia.

The Top Destinations in Estonia

Estonia is a country for nature and architectural structure lovers. This country is full of untouched and scenic natural beauty. Aside from that, architectural structures from medieval times are also evident in the country. If you get hungry along your trip, don’t worry as they also serve delicious food.

Being a country that was conquered by the Swedes, Russians, and even the Germans, Estonia is very rich in terms of history and culture. Museums and castle-like structures are found in the country. With two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you don’t want to tour Europe without visiting Estonia

Tallinn Estonia Photo by Gleb Makarov

Tallinn

It is best to start your trip to the capital of Estonia, Tallinn. Tallinn’s Old Town has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. The Old Town found in Tallinn features Gothic architectural structures and well-preserved medieval architecture in Europe. You can visit the heart of the city, which is Toompea that offers a scenic view of the old city.

Driving Directions:

From Tallinn Airport or Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport, head west on Lennujaama tee.

  1. Turn right onto Tallinn–Tartu–Võru–Luhamaa/Route 2.
  2. Continue onto Rävala puiestee.
  3. Slight right toward A. Laikmaa.
  4. Turn left onto Estonia puiestee.
  5. Turn right onto G. Otsa.
  6. Continue onto Suur-Karja.
  7. Suur-Karja turns left and becomes Müürivahe Tänav.
  8. Continue onto Rüütli.
  9. Turn right onto Niguliste.

Things to Do

Tallinn is blessed with structures that are built with different historic architectural designs. You can go and roam around the town and feed your eyes with the amazing view of those architectural structures. Below are some of the places you can visit and enjoy every activity available in the vicinity.

  1. Explore Tallinn’s Old Town
    As a Unesco World Heritage Site, Tallinn’s Old Town should be visited whenever you are in Estonia. The major town features the Town Hall Square, where you can find precious artwork from the Gothic era. Aside from that, you can also visit Raeapteek, one of Europe’s oldest pharmacies. Another tourist attraction in Tallinn’s old town is the Viru Gate. It is a 14-century structure that was once part of Estonia’s defense system.
  2. Understand Estonia’s Maritime History at Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour
    The Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour is a maritime museum that exhibits Estonia’s well-built maritime culture. Tourists are allowed to step inside a 1930s vessel named Submarine EML Lembit that is one of the few remaining vessels of its time. Aside from that, you can also see replicas of life-sized boats and sea-planes. You can also get a closer look at a replica of the Short Type 184 seaplane, which is the only full-scale replica of the seaplane in the world.
  3. Experience Being at the top of the Tallinn TV Tower
    The Tallinn TV Tower is a popular tourist destination in Estonia. Soaring 314 meters from the ground, you can view the Gulf of Finland when you reach the 21st floor of the tower. The tower’s elevator is also technological advances as it can reach the observation deck of the tower, which is on the 21st floor in just 49 seconds. You have to try the walk on the edge experience in the tower. You will be harnessed and allowed to walk along the edge of the tower’s terrace.
  4. Witness the Aleksander Nevski Katedraali’s Architectural Design
    The Aleksander Nevski Katedraali is a cathedral in Estonia that has been standing since its completion in 1900. It symbolizes the former reign of Tsarist rulers in the country. It is built in a Russian orthodox style that has five onion-like domes. The interior design of the cathedral is decorated with mosaics.
  5. Relax at Kadriorg Park
    Along with the Aleksander Nevski Katedraali, the Kadriorg Park is another evidence of Russian influence in Estonia. The Kadriorg Park was built by Czar Peter the Great to honor his wife in 1987. It is a 70-hectare paradise that is perfect for nature therapy. You can also witness the Kadriorg Palace, which was built as a royal summer palace back in the 18th century.
Kuressaare Photo by Anastasiia Ruan

Kuressaare

Kuressaare is a town that is full of historic architectural structures. It sits on a Saaremaa island in Estonia. It is a scenic town with leafy streets and stunning castles. This town has been known as a health center since the early 19th century.

Driving Directions:

From Kuressaare Airport (URE), Head northwest toward Kuressaare/Route 76.

  1. Turn right onto Kuressaare/Route 76.
  2. Turn left onto Kaevu.
  3. Turn right onto Talve.
  4. Turn left into Kuressaare-Püha-Masa/Route 133.

Things to Do

Tourists can relax and enjoy the local culture, appreciate art in different galleries, roam around in the historical episcopal castle, or even go to the health park. There are also cycle and pedestrian tracks. Furthermore, you can go climb and go bird-watching at a tower.

  1. Explore the Majestic Kuressaare Castle
    The Kuressaare Castle is the best-preserved castle of the Baltic era. Aside from that, it is also the town’s only medieval stone castle that is still intact up to this day. There are many rooms and artifacts to see inside the castle. Concerts are done on the castle’s grounds during summer, and you can also try your luck at archery.
  2. Understand Saaremaa’s History at Saaremaa Museum
    The Saaremaa Museum exhibits the island's rich history and culture. There is some interesting coverage of daily life under the USSR, including the interior of a typical apartment. On the top floor, the museum has a cafe that lets you experience a fine view over the bay and surrounding countryside.
  3. Visit the Island’s Oldest Orthodox Church
    St. Nicholas’ Orthodox Church was built in the year 1790 by Catherine the Great. The church has a wrought-iron gate and is under protection as it is now considered as an architectural memory in Kuressaare. A faint image of St. Nicholas can be seen at the church’s exterior wall that is facing the street.
  4. Go Bird-watching at Roomassaare Birdwatching Tower
    The bird-watching tower was constructed in 2009. As Saaremaa is a place where migrant birds stop by from their journey, you can witness different kinds of birds by going to the bird-watching tower. Aside from that, the tower also offers a scenic view of Kuressaare Bay.
  5. Relax at Kuressaare Beach
    After roaming around the different tourist attractions in the town, you can go relax at Kuressaare Beach. This sandy beach is located behind the Kuressaare Castle. Sunbathers and paddlers usually fill the beach during summer.
Lahemaa National Park Photo by Maksim Shutov

Lahemaa National Park

The Lahemaa National Park is a park that sits 70 kilometers east of Tallinn. It covers an area of 747 square kilometers. It is known for its diversity. Beautiful manors, fishing villages, and some pristine landscapes are found in the park.

Driving Directions:

From Tallinn Airport or Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport, Head north toward Tartu maantee.

  1. Exit the roundabout.
  2. Turn right onto Tallinn–Tartu–Võru–Luhamaa/Route 2.
  3. Use the right lane to merge onto Peterburi tee/Tallinn - Narva/E20 via the ramp to Lasnamäe.
  4. Continue straight onto Tallinn - Narva/E20.
  5. Merge into Lagedi tee/Tallinna Ringtee/E265.
  6. Continue onto Tallinn - Narva/E20.
  7. Continue straight to stay on Tallinn - Narva/E20.
  8. Take the Kiiu/Route 106 exit toward Route 270/Leesi/Kuusalu/Keskus.
  9. Turn left onto Kuusalu/Route 106.
  10. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on Kuusalu/Route 106.
  11. Turn right onto Jõelähtme-Kemba/Route 260.
  12. Turn left onto Kuusalu-Leesi/Route 270.

Things to Do

Aside from just enjoying the refreshing atmosphere of Lahemaa National Park, there are also other activities that you can do in the park. Listed below are the possible activities you can explore for yourself.

  1. Visit Viinistu Art Museum

The Viinistu Art Museum exhibits works of Estonian artists from different eras; starting from the Baltic era up to this day. You can find sculptures, paintings, etchings, drawings, and some old canvases of Estonian artists. There is also a live music performance during summer.

2. Eat at Viinistu Restaurant

After exploring the art museum, you can eat at a restaurant that is also part of the complex containing the art museum. The restaurant bar serves dishes that have fishes caught from local waters. There is also an attractive deck that has a stunning view of the sea.

3. Witness one of Estonia’s Grandest Baroque Mansions

The Palmse Manor is a historic structure in Lahemaa National Park is now an open-air museum that showcases period clothing, hand-carved furniture, and decor. There is also a room where you can take a sip of some local wines. Aside from that, a romantic café and an inn serving national dishes are also found in the museum.

4. Experience the Atmosphere of Time Past at Kolga Manor

The Kolga Manor is a neoclassical structure that dates from 1642 but was rebuilt in the late 17th century. It once served as a German military hospital during WWII. There is also a museum located in the manor that shows the history and rich cultural heritage of Kuusalu Parish.

5. Wander at a Fishing Village

Altja is a fishing village in the territory of Lahemaa National Park. There is a tavern located in the village where you can try local dishes. Aside from that, you can also go follow the 3-kilometer Altja Nature and Culture Trail that has fishing net sheds, cottages, and an open-air museum of stones along its course.

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