Tallink Megastar: Helsinki – Tallinn

Spending time in the Finnish capital of Helsinki is absolutely lovely and one of my favourite places to visit.   As well as enjoying the city and surrounding area taking a ferry across to Tallinn in Estonia for a day is a very popular excursion as the journey time is only two hours.

Terminal D, Helsinki, Finland
The stylish ferry terminal at Helsinki

On our recent visit to Helsinki we arranged a trip on the flagship Tallink Megastar.
As ferries depart up to seven times a day from both ports we opted to take the 10.30 a.m. Megastar service. This is Tallink’s newest and largest cruise ferry which has been in service since 2017 departing from the large and stylish West Terminal 2. The terminal is quick and easy to reach as both Trams 7 and 9 terminate there from the city centre with a journey time of around 10 minutes.

Tallink Megastar arriving into port
Watching Tallink Megastar coming into port

On arrival at the terminal we printed out our boarding cards but it’s also possible to download the Tallink and Silja Line app which allows passengers to check-in online and store boarding passes on their phones.

Ferry Terminal D, Helsinki
The ferry terminal in Helsinki’s west harbour

We arrived about an hour prior to departure allowing us 20 minutes to explore the terminal and to watch our ferry arrive from the boarding lounge windows. Standard return fares with seven hours in either port start at only  €34 with upgrades to Comfort and Business Class available at an extra supplement.

Boarding,, Tallink Megastar in Helsinki
Boarding,, Tallink Megastar in Helsinki

Boarding the ferry begins 40 minutes prior to departure and as we’d arrived promptly this allowed us ample time to explore the ship and its many facilities before relaxing and enjoying a meal.

Business Lounge, Tallink Megastar
Entrance to the Business Lounge, Tallink Megastar

Megastar can carry up to 2,800 passengers but with so much space on board I doubt it ever feels overcrowded as there is plenty of room for everyone.    As we were sailing mid-week the ferry wasn’t quite so busy and as we stepped onto Megastar it felt as though we were on a cruise ship as it was so luxurious and fitted out to a very high standard.

Business Lounge, Tallink Megastar
Panoramic views of the Gulf of Finland from the Business Lounge

As a special treat we were booked into the Business Lounge which is conveniently located on Deck 8 with a door leading into it from just inside the main foyer.  This premium lounge is positioned at the front of the ferry and boasts panoramic views through its large windows looking out to sea.

Tallink Megastar Business Lounge
Tallink Megastar Business Lounge

There is a €69 supplement for access to the Business Lounge and although not in everyone’s budget range, it definitely transforms the crossing into a memorable occasion.   Facilities include premium super fast Wi-Fi, a full hot and cold buffet and a ‘serve yourself drinks bar ‘ which includes everything from soft drinks to wine, beer and spirits.   On the outbound sailing we tucked into a delicious brunch buffet with a wide range of dishes including smoked salmon, pâté, fresh fruit, bacon, eggs and pastries.

Delicious buffet in Business Lounge,, Tallink, Megastar
Delicious buffet served in the Business Lounge

For business travellers heading to either Tallinn or Helsinki I would recommend taking Megastar as with its short crossing time between the city centres it is actually much quicker than travelling by air.   The Business Lounge is very comfortable and its facilities comparable with airport business lounges that we have used.  There is ample room to relax and/ or work and as it is just by the entrance/exit customers enjoy priority disembarkation so can swiftly be on their way.  The same applies for business travellers who have taken a car on board.

Complimentary drinks sbar, Business Lounge, Tallink Megastar
The complimentary drinks bar in the Business Lounge

As we departed, we hardly noticed the ferry had started moving as it is powered on LPG and silent in operation.  During the two hour crossing we also had time to take a look at the other facilities available on Megastar, all of which exceeded our expectations.

Business Lounge, Tallink Megastar
The spacious Business Lounge holds up to 150 passengers

The Comfort Lounge is located on the same deck as the Business Lounge and also has cosy seating in a relaxed atmosphere.  A €29 surcharge is payable to access this area with passengers being offered a selection of snacks and non-alcoholic drinks.

Comfort Lounge, Tallink Megastar
Megastar’s Comfort Lounge

All other areas of the ship are included in the basic ticket price including the Sitting Lounge which is a quiet, separate area with reclining, airline type seats. Another option if you don’t want to splurge on upgrading to either business or comfort class is to enjoy a meal in the Delight Buffet Restaurant.  This ‘all you can eat’ restaurant has a changing menu depending on the time of sailing and with the exception of the breakfast sailings also includes wine and beer.  Late breakfast on the 10.30 a.m. sailing is €23 (€20 if booked in advance) and dinner €32 (€29 if pre-booked).  Whilst lunchtime menus in Finnish restaurants are reasonably priced, dining out in the evenings can be expensive especially if you add wine to accompany your meal.  This makes the Megastar buffet restaurant a good alternative and a pleasant way to round off a day trip to either port.

Dining options on board Tallink Megastar
Lots of dining options on board

On board, there’s also the Chef’s Kitchen, a restaurant with an open kitchen and a relaxed atmosphere.  The menu is moderately priced and has selections appealing to most tastes.

Fast Lane, Tallink Megastar
Fast Lane, Tallink Megastar

For light bites there are even more options including the Fast Lane, Coffee & Co., a floating Burger King and two pubs, the Victory Bar and the Sea Pub. The Sea Pub also has a small stage for live performances on some crossings.

Burger King, Tallink Megastar
The floating Burger King on Tallink Megastar

Moving on from dining options, Megastar’s shopping experience extends the full length of the ferry and is stocked with international brands including the Finnish designer favourites of Marinekko and Iittala.

Shopping experience, Tallink Megastar
The vast shopping experience available on board

On the floor below,  passengers can purchase beer, wine and spirits which are all priced considerably cheaper than in Finland so much so that stocking up on the return trip can more than pay for the cost of the ferry with the savings made.   We bought some wine and of course couldn’t resist adding several bars of the delicious Fazer Finnish chocolate to our shopping basket.

Marimekko designer goods on sale on Tallink Megastar
Marimekko designer goods available on board

Our ferry docked promptly at 12.30 and as we were in business class we were able to disembark first.  The nicest part was being offered some Fazer chocolates as we left!

Spending the day in Tallinn

Viru Gate, Tallinn
Viru Gate, Tallinn

The ferry terminal in Tallinn is just a 15-minute walk southwest of the old town. If you want to save your energy for exploring the city centre then you can take Bus 2 which leaves from Reisisadam in Terminal D.

Explore the medieval old town

The walking route from the ferry leads to the imposing city walls that enclose the old town.  Many sections of the walls and the defensive towers are beautifully preserved as they would have looked hundreds of years ago.  The walls were constructed in 1265 and are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tallinn's medieval old town
The charming old town

Enter through Viru Gate which is flanked by two towers and one of the most picturesque sections. Just inside the gate,  a daily flower market takes place which is lovely to see with its large displays of fresh flowers.   Tallinn’s old town is an absolute delight with its exceptionally well preserved maze of narrow, cobblestone streets lined with cosy cafes, interesting small shops, beer halls and restaurants.

Old Town Square 

Old Town Square, Tallinn
The Old Town Square

At the heart of the Old Town lies the Town Hall Square which was once a market square and the centre of the city’s government.

Stunning architecture in Tallinn Old Town
Stunning architecture surrounds the Old Town Square

This cobblestone square is named after the Gothic town hall which stands on one edge of the square and is surrounded by quaint, Hanseatic buildings.   During the summer it’s home to numerous events and it is where a fairytale like Christmas market takes place each December.

Toompea Hill

Climb to the top of the old town via Toompea Hill for views of the medieval fortress Toompea Castle.

City walls, Toompea Hill, Tallinn
City walls, Toompea Hill, Tallinn

The fortress towers above the old town and is the seat of the Estonian Parliament.   The blue, black and white Estonian flag is raised every morning at sunrise to the sounds of the National Anthem.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

This spectacular, onion-domed cathedral perched on top of Toompea Hill is Estonia’s Orthodox cathedral and the grandest, most opulent church in Tallinn.   Entrance is free but photography is not permitted.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn

City viewpoints

Enjoy a walk on part of the walls which span 1.9 km.  Located on the northern side of Toompea Hill is the Kohtuotsa Viewing Platform.  From here there are stunning views over the old town across to the port beyond.

Views of Tallinn from the city walls
Views of Tallinn from the city viewpoints

The Patkuli Viewing Platform is located slightly further along the city walls and also offers breathtaking views over the city rooftops and of the new town.  From there, descend there 157 steps to the town below.

Balti Jaam Market

It’s always interesting to visit an overseas market and the one at Tallinn is no exception.  Balti Jaan is located next to the railway station and contains around 300 stalls over its three floors.

Balti Jaam Market, Tallinn
Balti Jaam Market

There are large halls for fresh fish and meat, an entire lane devoted to fruit and vegetables and lots of inviting dining options in the street food zone.   Upstairs visitors can take a look at Estonian design, crafts, clothing and household goods.

Overall

Back at the ferry terminal we were able to access the Tallinn Business Lounge for  a cup of coffee before boarding the 19.30 return crossing to Helsinki.  Seated by the window we watched the sun set whilst enjoying the delicious dinner buffet accompanied with a glass of wine.  We then relaxed in our comfortable business class armchairs sipping freshly brewed coffee reflecting on what a lovely day we’d just had.  I’d highly recommend taking the Tallink Megastar ferry between Helsinki and Tallinn whether in standard, comfort or business class as the journey definitely adds to the experience.

Enjoying a glass of fizz on Tallink Megastar
The end of a memorable day on Tallink Megastar

In addition to Tallink’s two ferries between Helsinki and Tallinn,  Tallink also operates day cruises on their Silja Line ferries between Helsinki and Stockholm which include two nights on board either Silja Symphony or Silja Serenade and a whole day in either capital city. Further details can be found on their website.

If you have enjoyed reading this post, you may also like:

Helsinki – Free things to see and do

A Guide to Helsinki’s Best Seaside Cafes

During our ferry trip we were guests of Tallink and as always, all views and opinions are entirely my own.

58 thoughts on “Tallink Megastar: Helsinki – Tallinn

  1. Wow, Marion. What a ferry! When I think back to all the ferry crossings I have done between England and France, there is no comparison. The Megastar ferry looks so modern, spacious and clean. My husband worked for a Swedish company and used to fly from Stockholm to Tallinn for regular meetings. He always said that I would have loved the city and, having read, your blog post and enjoyed the photos, I’m sure he’s right!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks like the perfect way to travel between city centers. Travelling on a boat is so much more relaxing than a drive and having all the comforts available looks well worth it. I have to find a way to get to Scandinavia. Thanks for sharing this piece. Happy Sunday. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice piece Marion. My first thought is that everything here seems so perfectly designed. Not just the beautiful buildings, but even the presentation of food in the Megastar business lounge. Love the angular windows too and the way they reveal the sea. Trust the Finnish to transform the usually drab designs of a ferry terminal. As for Tallinn, this is a city I would love to see and the old town has familiar shades of other European cities I’ve enjoyed, such as Bratislava and Prague. What a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Leighton for your kind words and interest in my trip to Tallinn taking the Megastar ferry. It did feel very luxurious and much better than any other ferries I’ve been on, making it an enjoyable part of our outing. Tallinn is a beautiful city and I do hope you have an opportunity to visit at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That definitely doesn’t look like your ‘normal’ ferry! It’s huge and so lovely inside. And the food looks so appetising. Two hours will go by far too quickly when on board the Tallink Megastar, that’s for sure! This also looks like a good place to do some shopping – Fazer chocolate seems like THE sweet treat in Finland. And to explore Tallin, must be wonderful. The architecture, cobbled walkways and medieval fortress – it’s all so lovely! What a truly wonderful experience, thanks for this post Marion!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, what a fun trip, Marion. What’s not to love about a trip with the ferry – no red-eye flights, no horrendous queues, and all the legroom you could wish for: when your travel by ferry, the journey is simply an extension of your holiday. There’s lots of space for the kids to let off steam – and for you to kick back and relax.

    Catching a ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki and from Latvia to Sweden are two of the most popular excursion in my home country and many people also take their cars. Because as long as you can fit all of your gear in the car, you can bring it along. No excess baggage charge whatsoever. The kids get to bring as many toys as they can, and you don’t have to compromise on your essentials either. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 2 people

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