My Baltic overland journey continued north of Riga, as I headed to Estonia for the first time. I decided to get a direct bus from Riga all the way to Tallinn and base myself in Tallinn for a few days before exploring other parts of Estonia and heading to Finland. I stayed in the Hotel Mantess in Riga on my second visit to the city.
Buying Your Bus Ticket in Riga, Latvia
Head to the main bus station in Riga, which is across the bridge from the Central Market and just on the edge of the Old Town.
Go inside and look at the different bus options between Riga and Tallinn in Estonia. I was there just before 12.30 pm and there were two companies who had buses heading to Tallinn – Ecolines and Lux Express. To make things easier, both ticket offices are beside each other.
I simply went into Lux and asked the times and prices of buses. The next one at 12.30 pm was FULL and would have cost 15 Euros. They had seats for the 14.45 pm one – the next bus and they were priced at 15 Euros. I went next door and Ecolines had seats for their next bus – the 14.15pm one.
Their price was 16.5 Euros. So it was the time v. money element again, though I had heard the WiFi on the Ecolines buses actually worked so I opted to take the early one and pay the extra. I paid for my ticket in cash. It was 16.5 Euros and would leave at 14.15 from Riga in Latvia, arriving in Tallinn, Estonia around 6.40 pm. They check your passport here though you don’t need it at the border later, they probably check to make sure you are allowed to visit Estonia, as some nationals may well have a visa for Latvia only. EU passport holders need not to worry.
Leaving Riga, Latvia
I headed for a coffee and to take a few last photos of Riga and came back to the bus station just before 2pm and boarded the bus. Your ticket is checked. After my nightmare first time in Latvia in 2007, it was good to be leaving the country with a better impression this time round. I lost some passion, belief and money on that trip but one thing I know for sure is that having travel insurance is essential in such instances – cancelled flights, hotels and having to pay for medical treatment abroad is not good on the wallet. So you might ask when should one buy travel insurance? Well take my advice and get it well in advance of your trip and make sure you have everything ready in case of emergencies. So after my second visit to Latvia, it was on with the show. All bags safe and ready for the onward encounter. Goodbye Riga, again.
I had a spare seat beside me and I was in seat 5. My bus left at 2.15 pm sharp. Just before it got dark we made one stop for a quick drink and snack, somewhere near the border to Estonia.
Arrival in Tallinn, Estonia On route to Tallinn, you do actually pass where the manned border is. You drive straight through it though without stopping and I was now in Estonia, my 97th different country to visit. It was still light as I crossed the border. A big bonus with travelling on Eco Lines is they have free WiFi on board and mine worked so I got lots of work done on the drive up.
There was no stop at the border, no passport checks and no passport stamps. Smooth and simple.
It was dark of course by the time we arrived in Tallinn, which was around 6.40pm. I got off my bus, picked up my bag and got on the number 17 local bus to Freedom Square, right by my hostel, Euphoria Hostel.
This is a relatively easy border crossing to do. Here are some of my videos from the crossing: