Why Estonia? Part 2: Life in Tallinn

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Ready to pack your bags and head to Tallinn? Read on for some practical information to help your relocation go smoothly, courtesy of Magic Mondayz 🙂 

Getting and staying here

The Tallinn airport is small and the city centre is easily accessible by the number 4 tram. However, if you have a lot of suitcases, are exhausted, or just don’t want to deal with public transportation straight away you can jump in a taxi waiting outside. Depending on where you’re going, it should only cost between 8 to 12 euros and with Uber or Taxify you ride even cheaper.

If you are a citizen of the EU, the EEA, or Switzerland, you can enter Estonia without a visa. There is no special “work visa,” but your employment must be registered, and you must register as an Estonian resident in the Population Register of Estonia if you plan on working here for more than three months.

If you are a citizen of a non-EU country and would like to work in Estonia for up to 6 months in a year, you should apply for a D-visa. Before applying for a D-visa, your employer should register your short-term employment with the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board. If you are a citizen of a non-EU country and want to work in Estonia for longer than 6 months, you need to apply for a residence permit. At first, you have to apply for a temporary residence permit (for work up to 2 years with your first permit).

You can find more information at https://www.workinestonia.com/working-in-estonia/work-permits/.

After you have registered your place of residence, you must apply for an Estonian ID card within one month of being here. Information on how to do that is found here: https://www.workinestonia.com/coming-to-estonia/id-card/.

Accommodation   

You might want to stay in an Airbnb or hotel for a few weeks while you are looking for an apartment. You also have the option of searching for an apartment before you get here and digitally signing a contract.  Check out some helpful links below.

Flats & rooms website: https://city24.postimees.ee/

Tallinn Accommodation Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/309361605906104/

Expats in Tallinn Facebook group (apartments are often posted there): https://www.facebook.com/groups/166477880066544/

Avoiding Rental Scams: https://www.thespruce.com/apartment-rental-scam-recognize-and-avoid-155640

The weather

There is a joke among Estonians that talking about the weather in other countries is considered small talk, while in Estonia it can often be the topic of an entire conversation. The first thing you should know if you are considering moving to Tallinn is that it is cold and it does snow—a lot. Because it is so close to the Arctic Circle, the shortest day of the year (around Christmas) has only about six hours of daylight. But the longest day—during midsummer, or Jaanipäev as it is known in Estonia, which is celebrated from June 23-June 24—has an amazing eighteen hours of daylight, with the sun never really setting fully.

If you don’t have warm enough clothes when you get here, you might want to visit one of the malls for a proper winter coat, hats, gloves, scarfs, and boots. Luckilly, Tallinn has a lot of shopping options, which you can check out at https://www.visittallinn.ee/eng/visitor/see-do/shopping.

Things to do

The dark days and white nights of Estonia make it a great destination for adventurous souls who prefer a cooler climate. It also has ferry access to Stockholm and Helsinki, making day or weekend trips for sightseeing and winter sports easy. Trains, ferries, and buses connect Estonia with beautiful St. Petersburg and the rest of Russia. Estonia also has over 2,000 islands that are available to visit!

Beyond its winter wonderland-like weather and easy access to other cool destinations, Tallinn is a UNESCO world heritage site, and the Old Town is home to cobblestone streets, old medieval walls and fortresses, and an ancient market square. Just a short walk away you will find the up-and-coming Telleskivi Creative City and Kalamaja areas with trendy shops, bars, and restaurants if you are looking for some modern marvels. Tallinn even has access to the beach in the Pirita area, with stunning views of the Baltic Sea. Although Tallinn is small, it truly has everything you need, exuding the charm of a village while offering the comforts of a city.

Ferries to Helsinki/Stockholm: https://www.directferries.co.uk/.

Trains to Russia: https://www.russianrailways.com/routes/tallinn-st_petersburg

Buses to Russia and other parts of Europe: https://luxexpress.eu/en

Things to do in Tallinn: https://passportandplates.com/destination-guides/things-to-do-in-tallinn-estonia/

Bars and restaurants in Telleskivi: http://telliskivi.eu/en/cafes-bars-and-restaurants/

Bars and restaurants in Old Town (non-touristy): https://www.traveller.ee/blog/tallinn/top-7-most-hipster-and-alternative-bars-in-the-old-town/

Getting around

Once you have registered your residence and obtained an ID card, you are eligible for free transportation on Tallinn’s trams, buses, and trolleys! Tallinn’s public transportation system is fast and convenient. You can buy a “green card” for transportation at any supermarket or post office, and then go to www.pilet.ee to link your ID and green cards and access free transportation.

Opening a bank account

The biggest banks in Estonia are SEB, Swedbank, Nordea, and Danske. I recommend either SEB or Swedbank, because they seem to have the most ATMs. Bring your Estonian ID, employment contract, proof of residency, and passport to the bank of your choice and fill out an application. Remember to double check the bank’s website to see if there is anything else you should do. The bank should guide you through the rest.

Cost of living & Safety

The cost of living will vary depending on your lifestyle and what part of the city you live in. However, it is still quite low when compared to other European cities. Flats typically cost between 400 and 800 euros a month, and you can expect to spend between 700 and 1000 euros a month on food, necessities, entertainment, etc.

Tallinn is generally very safe though of course you should always be aware of your surroundings. Crime rates are quite low (https://www.numbeo.com/crime/in/Tallinn).

Language

Estonian is a notoriously difficult language to learn. Luckily, nearly everyone speaks English and it is no problem living here only speaking English. Russian is also widely spoken in Tallinn.

Tere tulemast Eestisse! (Welcome to Estonia!) 🙂

Jenny

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