6 Ways How to Get from Tallinn to Riga (or from Riga to Tallinn)

Tallinn-Riga bus

Yes, the age-old question – how to get from Tallinn to Riga? If it was the Middle Ages we would probably tell you to wait for the right wind and to set sail. But times have moved forward and there is no ship that would take you south unless you rent one. So what is left? 

In no particular order, here are some options for getting from the Estonian capital to the Latvian one. We have brought out the estimated time of travel and cost, how much hassle you will have making travel arrangements on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = super easy and 5 =  you should get paid to do it), how much fun you will have on the trip on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = bored to tears and 5 = most fun that can be had).

1. Take a plane

2141106251_b0f8952e5c_o

Photo credit: Olli Vainio

TIME: 3 hours (1 h of flying + 1,5 h at airports + 0.5h transport from or to city centre)
COST: from 60€ (basic) to 400€ (business class)
HASSLE: 2 (easy)
FUN: 2 (not really)

Flying, aah… the modern mode of transport, AirBaltic will fly you from Tallinn to Riga. It is no luxury airline but they will get you there and if you are flying for only about an hour then you can suffer through the lack of legroom. Naturally there is the added pleasure of navigating through airports and shuttling to city centre but by now all travellers are probably used to it. Fun-wise… well, we all pack our own fun, don’t we? Whatever book or movie is at hand. But outside of that it’s a plane. Flying is a little bit of fun in and of itself.

2. Take a train

15300093486_910670b64f_kPhoto credit: Phil Richards

TIME: 7 to 8 h
COST: about 20€
HASSLE: 4 (a headache but you can do it)
FUN: 2 (just because its trains)

Trains are romantic – you cannot argue with that – and therefore fun by default. This train trip has the added benefit of going through half of Estonian and Latvian countryside but the downside is you will only see it through a window. The trip is so time-consuming because it takes a longer way of getting to Riga through Tartu and Valga. In Valga you have to switch trains and the layover can be quite long, also you have to buy tickets from two different train companies. Good luck with this one, you are going to need it!

3. Take a bus

7513477660_02467b06ae_oPhoto credit: Simple Express

TIME: 4 h 30 min
COST: 13-16€ on Simple Express or 23-30€ on Lux Express
HASSLE: 1 (super easy)
FUN: 1 (super boring)

Taking a bus from Tallinn to Riga is a long trip. There is no way around this fact. We all have ways of making this tolerable – reading a book or watching something or, the tried and tested favourite, sleeping. Thus, already engaged, you will probably miss most of the countryside that the bus passes through and not look out the window much. By the time you get off the bus you are exhausted from doing nothing at all, still this is probably the way most people make the trip from Tallinn to Riga.

4. Take the sightseeing tour bus

Tallinn-Cesis-Riga
Photo credit: Indrek Kasesalu

TIME: 12 h
COST: 55€
HASSLE: 1 (pick up a phone)
FUN: 5 (most fun you can have)

Traveller Tours will take you from Tallinn to Riga (or from Riga to Tallinn). Not only will you see the countryside fly by from a window but there are stops along the way at cool places where the history and the people involved will be told about. The tour takes an alternative route to Riga via the picturesque small towns of Viljandi and Cesis. You’ll be able to get inside Helme sand caves, explore the authentic Soviet military theme park in Valga as well as visit the sandy cliffs of Sietiņiezis. Oh, and did we mention the bobsleigh track in Sigulda – a Soviet construction masterpiece that’s still used nowadays.

Capital cities of any country tell you only half the story. You should see the small towns, the nature preserves and hear the stories about the people who actually live there.

This tour does it all and is super easy to book.

5. Take a car

TIME: 4 to 5 h
COST: €20 for gas + renting the car
HASSLE: 1 (super easy)
FUN: 1 to 5

Does not matter if you drive yourself or hitchhike. It’s a road trip! If you need to get to Riga the fastest way possible then this is probably it. Just drive South until you hit Riga. Mind-numbingly boring. If you want to take your time then the car gives you the most liberty to explore anything and everything on the way. You have to do all the research and it will take you a long time, but it is totally worth it.

6. Take a walk

LAL-rabaretk-8505Photo credit: Kalev Külaase

TIME: about a month
COST: unknown
HASSLE: 3 (can you plan and pack a bag that will sustain you for such a time?)
FUN: 5 (because you are crazy)

Walk it, just walk it! Maybe there is an apocalypse, maybe you need to keep off a radar (spy!) or maybe you just really-really like to hike. Whatever the case – Riga is only about 300 km away, going straight. That is nothing! But, while you are at it, we will recommend going all out and taking the scenic route. The Estonian Centre for State Forest Management (RMK) has made a hiking route all through Estonia that takes you through the most beautiful untouched nature we have (Oandu-Ikla hiking route). It is only 370 km long and will take to the Latvian border. From there on, there is no official hiking route but you can walk along the seaside which will be gorgeous (only additional 116 km).

You can book the Tallinn–Riga Sightseeing Bus here. Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments section.

The following two tabs change content below.
Defeater of Darkness, Ruler of Heavens, Goddess of Eternity and a Tour Guide. A culture theorist of Middle East who also bakes a mad good cake.

37 comments on “6 Ways How to Get from Tallinn to Riga (or from Riga to Tallinn)

  1. LUX Express was the best way for me to get around the Baltics.

    I also found the prices to be a lot more reasonable than you mentioned for the bus. From Tallinn to Riga I only had to pay 5 euro and the same price onwards to Vilnius.

    Even taking the bus from Riga to Krakow was only 17 euro so I think that LUX Express is the best option for budget travelers that are ok with siting on the bus for a few hours!

    • Do you have a link or website please? I’m planning a trip to Lithuania, Latvia and then Estonia in September. Do the buses run frequently and how long does it take from each country please? Thank you

      • Dear Candy,

        If you are asking about our Tallinn to Riga or Riga to Tallinn tour and need any help then please do not hesitate to write with all the questions you have to tallinn@traveller.ee. The office will be happy to help you!
        But as you are reading this blog post you are already on our webpage and the time of travel and all the relevant links are also in the post above if you have a moment to check it out again.

        All the Best!

  2. I’m interested in booking for mid July for Riga to Tallinn (or possibly the other way around) but also want to know if you go from Vilnius to Riga (or vice versa). If so, please let me know where to book! :)

    Thanks

    • Hello Sarah!

      Bookings for the next summer Riga to Tallinn should open by the beginning of December.
      Check back for Riga to Vilnius in April because we are going to start that tour next year ;)

      All the Best

  3. Is it too early to book for Aug. 5? I’m still planning, so not sure of the time yet. Do offer any other bus tours from Riga to Lithuania or Belarus? It’s a great service you offer and your website is wonderful!

    John in USA

    • Hello John!

      Thank you so much for the kind words!
      It’s not too early to book for August but at the same time there is no rush for those dates yet.
      We always have new tours in planning and who knows what the new summer season brings for Traveller Tours ;)

      All the Best

  4. Hello. I will be travelling to Riga on the 1st of November from Tallinn, is there a way i can get intouch with someone with a car who will be leaving as early as possible? my fight leaves from Riga at 12:30 and i need some one who will be leaving Tallinn as early as 7am. Could you help me link me me with someone please?? Thanks in advance

  5. I will be taking the bus from Riga to Tallin. Is it best to buy online or the day of with the bus driver/ticket office?

  6. Hello,

    we too are looking for such a tour in December/January. It would be great to do such a tour even in winter. On the other hand, I cannot justify the cost for a private tour for two persons.

    • Hello Matt,

      This tour can only run as a custom private tour in winter because there is not enough daylight to do a 12 hour tour. But if you have any questions or would like to get more info about winter touring then please contact us at tallinn@traveller.ee

      Thank you and all the best

  7. Hi. Do you do the Tallinn to Riga tour during winter? My partner and I are heading that way at the end of December.

    • Hello!
      We have not hammered out our winter touring schedule yet. You can do this tour as a private tour for sure but please contact us again via e-mail (tallinn@traveller.ee) for more info.
      Thank you!

  8. Hello! I’m also considering doing this way by bike, but following the RMK itinerary!! Do you think it’s possible? Or are parts impossible by bike? Thank you!

    • Hello!
      As I understand the path is totally doable with a bike. Sometimes the bike-route might go around somewhere (like a bog) but overall it should be fine :). Just download the maps from RMK, they also should have guidelines on their page.
      Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

  9. Thanks for sharing this beautiful information. Baltic is a very attractive place to spend the vacation. Are you thinking of going on a vacation? Then Riga is the best place. It is the place where the tourists are given the opportunity to collect interesting information and enjoy the magnificent historic monuments. Recently I had visited Riga with baltic-airport-transfers.com.

    • Hello Frank!

      To my knowledge there is no regular connection between Tallinn and Riga over the sea, nor can you at the moment take a ferry from Saaremaa to Latvia (there has been talk about starting it again in a few years).

      All the Best

  10. We thought to get a van for us, Talin-Riga. You did not mention the private transfers possibility. We are 7 and some of them quite lazy. Please include this and tell on the scale where would you put it?

  11. Thank you for the information. I’m considering the walk from Tallin to Riga. Would it really take as long as a month? Is this due to terrain?

    • Hello Joe,

      It is very cool that you are planning this hike! The time we gave in the blog is a rough estimation, such a thing depends after all on so many things – how experienced you are, when are you doing it, and what the weather is going to be like. We haven’t tried it out ourselves but according to other Estonians who have hiked the Oandu-Ikla track it takes about 22 days to walk through Estonia. Now, the hiking track we talk about here goes diagonally through Estonia and passes uninhabited places, forests, bogs, etc and ends on Latvian border. From Ikla (on Estonian and Latvian border) it is over a hundred kilometers to Riga. If you walk South from Tallinn to Riga it is faster than taking the Oandu-Ikla hiking path but might not be as peaceful and beautiful.
      Let us know how you do on your hike!

      All the Best and Good Luck,
      Traveller Team

  12. Is cycling a possibility? It’s completely flat between the two cities so it would be very easy going (providing it isn’t too windy)! It’s about 310km so would be around three days if one was taking it easy and taking in the sights. My observations in Tallinn and Riga earlier this year would suggest that cycling is a little haphazard in the cities but well tolerated, I saw a couple of cyclists out in the countryside when travelling between the two.

    • Hello Will!
      You can absolutely cycle from Tallinn to Riga! The Tallinn-Pärnu-Ikla-Riga highway is very busy and has a lot of big trucks driving but if that doesn’t bother you the that is the 310 km way you can take, the fastest. The route covered under walking is also mostly accessible for bikes if you want to take the less travelled path.
      Good luck cycling! Let us know how it goes :)
      All the Best,
      Liine

      • Thanks for your reply. I’d love to go back to Estonia but, unfortunately, I don’t think it will be in the near future. Maybe I will bring a bike with me next time I visit though!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>