The Fastest Ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn

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The most practical way between Helsinki Finland, and Tallinn Estonia, is by ferry across the Baltic Sea. Flying is technically faster (a 30 minute flight), but it is more expensive and you do not save that much time when you factor in the time to travel to and from the airport, plus going through security, waiting for your bags etc. Ferries are preferred for this journey because they are vastly more comfortable. These days you have three options of crossing the Baltic Sea by ferry which are a similar speed:

The distance between Helsinki and Tallinn is about 80km, making it a short journey on a ferry.
The distance between Helsinki and Tallinn is about 80km, making it a short journey on a ferry.

Option 1: Viking Line - M/S Viking XPRS

Duration 2:15 to 2:30
Departures per Day 2-3
Helsinki Port Katajanokka
Tallinn Port Reisiterminal D

The Viking Line XPRS ferry makes the trip from Helsinki to Tallinn in 2 hours 15 minutes to two hours 30 minutes, depending on the specific schedule. It is not strictly the fastest ferry between Helsinki and Tallinn, however the Katajanokka terminal is fairly close the city center of Helsinki, making it more convenient to reach than the West Harbor (in Jätkäsaari) in out opinion. Katajanokka terminal is beside a tram stop, and it anyway a 15-20 minute walk from the railway station.

Option 2: Eckerö Line - M/S Finlandia

Duration 2:15
Departures per Day 2-3
Helsinki Port West Harbor Terminal 2
Tallinn Port Reisiterminal D

Eckerö Line’s M/S Finlandia makes the trip between Helsinki and Tallinn in 2 hours and 15 minutes, with multiple departures each day. From Helsinki the ship departs from the West Harbor in Jätkäsaari, which can take extra time to reach (as compared to Katajanokka or South Harbor). You can often find last-minute ferry tickets to Tallinn reasonably priced with Eckerö Line, making it one of our go-tos when in Helsinki.

Option 3: Tallink-Silja Line - Star and Megastar

Duration 2:00
Departures per Day 2-3
Helsinki Port West Harbor Terminal 2
Tallinn Port Reisiterminal D

The Star and Megastar ferries from Tallink-Silja are the fastest ferries in current operation between Helsinki and Tallinn. They complete the journey multiple times per day between Helsinki and Tallinn in just two hours.

Option 4: Helsinki Vuosaari - Tallinn Muuga (Vehicles Only)

Duration 2:45 to 4:00
Departures per Day 5-8
Helsinki Port Vuosaari
Tallinn Port Muuga

Tallink-Silja and Finbo Cargo also operate a little-known ferry between Helsinki (Vuosaari) and Tallinn (Muuga). The ferry is for those travelling with vehicles only. Since the ferry departs from ports well outside the city center of each place, it may be faster for those travelling with a vehicle, especially lorries.

In general, all three options outlined here are the fastest ferries between Helsinki and Tallinn. The Star and Megastar win-out by 15 minutes, but that is a small edge over the others. There are more leisurely ferries between Helsinki and Tallinn which can last 3-4 hours, but there is not much of an advantage over the others (unless you are doing an overnight cruise or would like a larger, more spacious ferry). When coming to Helsinki from Saint Petersburg and Stockholm, some operators (e.g. Viking Line, Tallink-Silja and St. Peter Line) use these larger ships to make a quick trip to Tallinn and back, before returning to Saint Petersburg or Stockholm.

Before 2018, it was possible to go from Helsinki to Tallinn in 1 hour and 40 minutes using the Estonian ferry Linda Line, which was the preferred method for many since you could arrive right before the boat departed, and it was only at the South Harbor. This however is no longer possible because Linda Lina has gone belly-up in 2018.

checkPro Tip 1

If you are a tourist, we would recommend not taking one of these ferries on Friday nights because you will encounter many drunk Finns, Estonians and Russians returning home after their work-week. It could be fun if you are into karaoke.

checkPro Tip 2

For short ferry trips like from Helsinki to Tallinn, your ticket doesn’t really get you a seat on board. There is limited open seating available, and if you are late, you might end up sitting in a hallway or stairwell for two hours. When you board, immediately find some place to sit and place your belongings there.

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