Is Estonia Safe? Travel Tips on Crime and Local Laws

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Tourism is booming in Estonia, but are there any safety concerns for travelers? From drones and photography laws to crime and LGBTQ+ safety, this is what you need to know before you go.

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A beautiful town in Estonia Photo © Getty Images/Kavalenkava Volha

Estonia is a relatively safe country for people to visit and travel all year round. As tourism increases each year, we answer the question: is there anything to worry about in Estonia? Here are a few travel safety tips.

Crime in Estonia

Violent crime towards travelers rarely occurs in Estonia, however petty crime does exist, so use your common sense and take general precautions (like you would anywhere you go) such as:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and who is around you. Pickpockets can operate in small groups
  • Secure your valuables while traveling and keep an eye on your bags
  • Only take what you need out with you each day
  • Keep an eye on your credit or travel money card at all times. Credit card fraud does happen in Estonia, particuarly in more touristy locations
  • Avoid doing any personal admin transactions e.g banking on public WiFi services
  • Pickpockets and bag snatchings can occur, generally around transport hubs, the Old Town area in Tallin and crowded spots such as markets, clubs, bars and restaurants
  • Avoid walking through poorly lit streets or parks.

Blood alcohol limits for drivers in Estonia

There are strict rules in Estonia against drunk driving. Anyone with a blood alcohol level above zero will face significant penalties, including imprisonment and fines.

Even those driving their cars via ferry can be subjected to breath checks. So despite the enticing alcohol prices, make sure you are zero before you get behind the wheel.

Drugs

It is illegal to use, possess or traffick drugs in Estonia. Penalties are harsh, even a small amount on you can land you in jail for ~10 years. Your safest option is to not do drugs or get involved with illegal activity while traveling.

Photography

As you would anywhere in the world, avoid taking photos of government, military and infrastructure buildings such as airports. It's always nice to ask someone if they mind having their photo taken beforehand to avoid offense.

Drones

Drones for recreational use can be flown in Estonia without a permit however travelers will need to adhere to local drone flying laws.

Is Estonia safe for LGBTQ+ travelers?

Although same sex relationships are legally recognized in Estonia (decriminalized in 1992), same sex marriage isn't. LGBTQ travelers should remain discreet at all times as homophobia does still exist in many places. Despite this, the country has become more progressive post-Soviet Union rule. The Baltic Pride festival takes place each year changing between Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. The capital Tallinn will host the event in 2020.

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