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General Info about Estonia

Visa Requirements
Now that Estonia is a member of the European Union, citizens of the EU only require a national ID card to enter the country. All other nationalities will need a valid passport. EU citizens can stay up to 90 days (180 days for UK citizens) in a 6 month period without a visa as can citizens of Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, USA, Uruguay and Venezuela. Holders of South African passports can enter Estonia if they hold a visa for Latvia or Lithuania.

Citizens of all countries NOT mentioned above require a visa to enter Estonia and you will need to check the Estonian consulate in your home country to find out what type of visa you require.

Currency
Estonia’s currency is the Kroon and you’ll get about 15.5kr for €1. Notes come in denominations of 2, 5,10,25,50, 100 and 500kr while coins come in 10, 20 and 50 senti.

Language
The official language is Estonian but don’t worry if your Estonian is not up to scratch as English is very widely spoken.

Climate
Estonia enjoys a temperate climate for most of the year with warm and humid summers and cold dry winters. Temperatures generally range from 15 to 18 degrees in summer and -4 to -5 in winter but it can reach as high as 30 degrees in summer and as cool as -23 in winter so it is advisable to check before you go to get the most up to date weather reports.

Time Zone
GMT + 2

Opening Hours
Most shops open between 9 or 10am to 6 or 7pm from Monday to Friday and from 10am to 2 or 3pm on Saturdays. But as with most European destinations this is now starting to change, particularly in tourist areas where shops now open all day Saturday and Sunday.

Tourist Offices
You will find tourist offices in all the major cities but in smaller towns it might be a little more difficult to find them. When you can’t find them, travel agents can be a good source of information, and if not staff in hostels should be able to help you.

Tax
The sales tax percentage on goods in Estonia is 18% but this is included in the price.

Currency Exchange
You will find ATMs which accept international cards throughout Estonia. Credit cards are easy to use in the bigger cities too with most places accepting Visa and Mastercard. American Express is less widely accepted. Banks will also let you withdraw money on your credit card but this usually incurs a 1% fee.

Most banks open between 9am and 4pm from Monday to Friday. Currency exchange offices are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm and often open on Saturdays from 9 am to 3pm. A few now open on Sundays too but this is generally confined to the major cities.

Electricity
Current is 220 V, 50 Hz.

Telephones
When you are calling Estonia from overseas you need to dial the international access code of the country you’re in, then 372 (Estonia’s country code) followed by the area code and then the local number. If you are in the same area code you just dial the local number.

If you are calling abroad from within Estonia you dial 00 (Estonia’s international access code), followed by the country’s code, area code (remembering to drop the 0) and local number.

There is also an English-speaking information service, Ekspress Hotline, which serves the entire country and the number for this service is 1182.

Public phones can be used with a calling card, which you can buy from a post office or a news stand.

Post Office
Most post offices open during shopping hours which are 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday and 9.30am to 3pm on Saturdays. The Central Post office in Tallinn is at Narva mnt. 1 and it opens between 7.30am and 8pm Monday to Friday and between 9am and 6pm on Saturday.

Tipping
Tips generally aren’t included on bills and tipping is only now gaining popularity in the country. If you feel the service merits a tip, 10% is seen as the customary amount to leave.

Public Holidays
Estonia’s public holidays take place on Jan 1st, Feb 24th (Independence Day), March 14th (Language Day), Good Friday, Easter Monday, May 1st, June 23 (Victory Day), June 24th (St. John’s Day), August 20th (Day of Restoration of Independence) and December 25th and 26th.

It is worth taking note of Estonia's public holidays as most businesses shut for the day.

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