We plan on taking the ferry to Tallinn from Helsinki (will be there in Sept), leaving early in the am and returning as late in the day as possible. I understand it's about a 2.5 hrs trip? Are there places to sit on the ship or do you have to get a cabin to be comfortable? Is there a deck you can sit on outside if the weather permits? I saw a review on TA that indicated there was no place to sit and I am hoping that's incorrect?
Been to Helsinki twice but haven't made it to Tallin. We had planned to visit Tallin during our first trip via the hydrofoil, but the hydrofoil's weren't running because of ice hazards. Linda Line hydrofoils do the crossing in about 1.5 hours:
Linda Line operates on two high speed crafts "Karolin and Merilin":
"Karolin" Length: 45,4 metres, Breadth: 12 metres, Draught: 2,02
metres, Engine capacity: 7840 kW, Max speed: 37 knots. Bar both on the
lower and upper deck, separate bar in Linda class Open area on the
upper deck VIP lounge on the upper deck Passenger seats: 219 Tourist
class , 129 Linda class, 6 VIP class
Merilin Length: 52,6 metres, Breadth: 13 metres, Draught: 1,5 metres,
Engine capacity: 9280 kW, Max speed: 37 knots The Merlin offers a
choice of 2 bars whist the Karolin also boasts it's own bar facility.
No restrictions between Finland and Estonia means you can purchase as
much as you like onboard to get the maximum benefit from the great
prices available onboard. Passenger seats: 245 Tourist class, 130
Linda class, 8 VIP class
Note that with the fast passage of 1.5 hours minimizes the time to benefit from duty free alcohol.
During our trip to Helsinki this past February, travel companions did the one day trip to/from Tallin by the slow boat. Report was that the food was good.
Delicious beverages are served in all our restaurants and in the bars
you can order a refreshing drink, a classic cocktail or try something
new and exotic.
Go back for seconds and even thirds in our acclaimed Viking Buffet
restaurant, or treat yourself to three course dinner in the Food
Garden restaurant with vintage wines. Go on a culinary adventure
around the world, or savor a meal prepared with local ingredients
Oh wow, that's a great option we didn't think of, thank you! Will definitely check it out.
I took the Viking ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn last summer, and the Silja for the return. Both took about 2-2.5 hours. You don't need a cabin, but seats near the windows are taken quickly. I was on my own for the Viking trip and put my bag in the luggage hold and mainly walked around.
I remember thinking the Silja was a bit "spiffier" and had better food options (nothing lavish, sandwiches, smoothies, etc.) but for so short a trip it didn't matter much. My choice was dictated by what part of Helsinki I was staying in.
A friend did the Linda Line crossing to Tallinn the same week. She was generally positive about it, as it's about an hour faster, BUT they're often canceled at last-minute notice because of rough weather. Also, because it's basically a hydrofoil, you feel the water and if you're inclined to motion sickness....
I hope this helps. Enjoy Tallinn!
Thanks, Caroline. I was just hoping we wouldn't have to stand the whole 2 hrs! We have plenty of time to research which option is best. And which ferry if we choose that option. We are taking the Silja line from Stockholm to Helsinki based on reviews, not even thinking about the location of the terminals. So many details to consider! Oh well. And from what I can tell, Tallinn will be amazing and well worth it.
...not even thinking about the location of the terminals....
All three, Viking, Silja and Linda operate out of the South Harbor, the harbor that heads at Market Square (and the ferry to Suomenlinna Island) and is close to central Helsinki. The Linda terminal is closer to Market Square than the Silja. Silja and Linda are on the west side of the harbor, Viking on the east side. All are pretty walkable to Central Helsinki.
We are staying at the Haven Hotel, Edgar. Hoping that's a good location! It got good reviews at least :)
All the ferry options to Tallinn have plenty of seating and café options. The high-speed ferries do cancel or run slow if the weather is bad. On my trip, the return to Helsinki took 2 1/2 hours due to rough weather. And they all leave from the same harbor as noted above.
I love this forum. Thanks to everyone for the helpful suggestions. If any of you has any suggestions for things to do/places to eat in Helsinki or Tallinn I'd love to hear them. We did get a RS book but it's always nice to have the opinions of other travelers. We will have about a day and half to spend in Helsinki. We we opted for our one other day to be spent in Tallinn.
I loved Tallinn and wish I'd had more time there. The lower town is fantastic, if touristy. Be sure to walk to the upper town, the Toompea, as well. It's architecturally very different and the views are breathtaking.
I'd skip the KGB museum. I'm an historian with a high tolerance and admiration for underfunded museums, but I felt it was a waste of time and money. They also pack too many people into each tour and the rooms are small and stuffy.
I was in both cities in Sept of 2013, stayed a full week in Tallinn with a day trip to Helsinki by the Silja ferry. I bought my ticket in advance online before leaving the US. As others have said, there's ample seating and plenty of food options, 2.5 hour trip with nothing to look at once you get far enough away from the ports.
Weather in mid-Sept can be changeable, quite chilly in the morning and sometimes cold and rainy but also I had several days in the mid-70s. It's a 10 minute taxi ride from the ferry terminal to Old Town in Tallinn, lots to see there--it was my first medieval walled city and the twisty little cobblestone streets are very inviting for wandering, with a main square in the lower part and the Nevsky church and viewing areas in the upper. There are a few museums nearby, or you can take a walking tour--I recommend EstAdventures for that, I enjoyed 2 full-day trips with them. Kadriorg Park can be reached by tram and has a couple of museums as well, one in a palace, and I particularly enjoyed the KUMU contemporary (as in 20th-21st century) art museum.
I'll throw this out there since I am a knitter and love all hand-crafts--there's plenty of wonderful shops in the St Catherine's passage in the lower area of Tallinn--leatherwork, pottery, textiles, jewelry. You may be tempted by the colorful displays of knitted goods on the streets, against the walls, but those items are machine-knitted. Smaller shops and co-ops will have actual hand-knits and I bought several pairs of gorgeously intricate mittens that I treasure.
In Helsinki I took a bus to Kauppatori esplanade to see the market and catch a boat out to Suomenlinna sea fortress, spent a few hours there, then back to Helsinki to explore their modern downtown--reminded me a lot of San Francisco. Both countries are very pleasant to visit, kind people who are as helpful as you need them to be, decent amount of English spoken though in Tallinn there are many Russians who do not speak English. I had a heck of a time finding the bus out to the open air living history museum and zoo in Tallinn, ended up in a taxi with a Russian who kept saying in a reassuring tone every few minutes, "Rocca al mare" (where it was located).
Thank you Caroline and Christa for your thoughts/suggestions. I do wish we had more time to spend in Tallinn but at least going for the day is better than not going at all.
You can see a lot in a day. If you like Russian history at all, do make the trek out to Catherine's Palace and Peter the Great's cabin. They are much smaller than anything you'd see in St. Petersburg, but still very cool.
If you want to see a funky, hip neighborhood, the old warehouse district is quite cool. It's just outside the walls near the harbor. Some of the architecture is really funky.
About 2 hours one way.
If the boat is real full you might not easily find a place to sit. A good solution is to pre-book to eat on the boat and just keep you seat for the entire trip.
In Tallinn you want to see the old town, that will take all day. It's also fairly cheap to stay in Tallinn and come back the next day. If you have a 2nd day, you might like