Riga to Tallinn by train
Two charming capital cities with a shared recent history and very different railway systems. Riga is much bigger than Tallinn and has a big city feel about it whereas Tallinn is slightly sleepy, which is no bad thing……
There is a daily rail connection linking Riga and Tallinn, with a change of train at the border town of Valga. The timings are more attractive travelling from Riga to Tallinn as it is a very short cross platform transfer whereas in the opposite direction there is a wait of 3 hours.
Riga Station is located centrally in the city with the Old Town next door and most of the city hotels within a 10/15 minute walk. The station is modern with good facilities, including a supermarket to stock-up on food and drink for the trip as there are no facilities on-board to buy anything.
Tickets for the train to Valga can be bought at the station, or on-board the train with a .50 cent supplement – at the station the cost is €5.60.
The train itself is a Soviet era diesel unit which is reasonably comfortable and offers just one class of travel, My bum was aching after 3 hours….. The toilet on the train was retro but functional – not great and if you can hold on the Estonian train toilet is much nicer.
There is decent wifi on the train, note no plugs so make sure your devices are fully charged, which is useful as the journey itself is not especially scenic unless you have a passion for trees, as there are lots of them!
At Valga it is a simple cross platform transfer from the Latvian train to the Estonian train.
The Estonian train is much more comfortable than the Latvian train and also has 1st class. The trains are air conditioned and have good wifi, plugs, decent toilet, visual information displays and in 1st class 2 + 2 seating and seat reservations are possible. Tickets can be bought on board the train and credit cards are accepted. The fare from Valga through to Tallinn is €16.20 (1st Class €20.60) – the train stops in Tartu, Estonia’s second city, the fare there from Valga is €4.70 (1st Class €5.60).
You can book your tickets online and get a 10% and use an e-ticket. If booking 1st class online you can reserve a seat free of charge. For details on how to book online click here.
Finally on arrival at Tallinn Railway Station you are just steps away from the Old Town or a tram ride away from the rest of the city – tickets can be bought on-board from the driver for €2.