Cost to Retire in Tallinn Estonia

In this report, I share my estimated cost to retire in Tallinn Estonia if the two of us moved here on a tight budget. I will also include estimated middle-range costs in case you have more money. Plus, most people end up spending more than our lower estimate.

As you can see from the video we took with our feet on the ground here, it reminds me of an adult Disneyland.

Google Map Link (Tallinn Estonia)

Tallinn is the capital of Estonia and its most populated city estimated to be approaching half a million people in 2024. The city was first written about in the 12th Century and was captured by Denmark in 1219 because of its strategic location on the Baltic Sea.

After the Danes built a fortified Castle around Tallinn in the 13th Century, they changed its original German name from Reval to its current name Tallinn. Less than a century later, the Danes sold Tallinn to the Teutonic Knights and it was later captured by the Russian Empire in 1710.

In 1918 Tallinn became the capital of an independent Estonia until it was captured by the Soviet Union in 1940 and after being occupied by the Nazis for 3 years. Tallinn has remained the capital of an independent Estonia since the Soviet Union fell in 1991.

Tallinn is one of the most well-preserved medieval towns I have seen in Europe.

After sharing my estimated costs, I will share my retirement desirability factors such as walkability, internet, food, weather, things to do, social considerations, healthcare, expat community, tourist visa, retirement visa, real estate, and our overall retirement desirability score for Tallinn Estonia. Okay, here we go.

Estimated Costs to Retire in Tallinn Estonia

Rents: I found this partially furnished apartment for rent for 400 Euros (428 USD) monthly in a long-term rental in a great area of Tallinn. If you rent for a shorter period on Airbnb it would be much more expensive.

A larger flat with more space could cost twice as much per month or even more. So for the middle range expenses, I estimate $800 USD per month or more depending upon area and size.

Here is the process we use to find great apartments. So, we will show you a table of all expenses in a moment. We will use 428 USD per month for our lower rent estimate and $800 per month for the middle cost of living estimate for expats who want more space.

Utilities: We estimate that the year-round average for our utilities would be about $160 USD per month. The utilities would cost more for the larger space, starting at around $220 USD per month.

Groceries: We estimate about $390 per month for groceries. Other expats are likely to spend more on imported groceries they miss from home spending more than $480 per month on groceries.

Restaurants: We would eat out twice per week mostly in more local-style restaurants averaging about $7 to $10 USD per meal per person and one or two splurges per month of $12 to $17 USD per meal per person. If you add all that up, we would spend around $230 per month for the two of us. We may have a beer here and there, but that is covered below in alcohol.

Other expats are likely to eat more Western-style foods in expensive expat-style restaurants and less in local-style restaurants, so they would likely spend more like $340 per month for 2 people in restaurants. It is lifestyle-dependent.

Cell Phone Data: The cost to get a prepaid Elisa sim card for your unlocked smartphone is about $5.50 USD per month with about 5 GB per month of data, 500 minutes, and 50 SMS texts. My Android phone will act as a hotspot so we can both be on the internet at the same time when we are out of the house together.

Other expat couples are likely to buy two prepaid SIM cards with more data so they would send $20 per month.

Laundry: The apartments all seemed to have clothes washing machines. The above grocery estimate includes laundry detergent.

Drinking Water: We read online that the water is clean here and many people drink water from the tap but we would be more careful. We didn’t see 20-liter jugs here so we would probably get a Brita water filter. The filter refills would be about $5 USD per month.

Internet: 60 MBPS up and down is about $28 USD for in-home wifi.

Public Transportation: The public transportation for tourists is 2 Euros per person. But once you register as a resident of Estonia public transportation is free. We would still take a Bolt Taxi from time to time, so we estimate about $30 per month for transportation.

Other expats may take Bolt Taxis more often and less public transportation, so $100 per month for them.

Alcohol (Optional): Domestic beer in grocery stores in Tallinn is about ($1.71 USD) for a half liter which is about the size of a tall boy in the USA. In bars and restaurants, half-liter draft domestic draft beers are about $4 to 6 USD. We estimate about $140 per month on alcohol for the two of us.

Many other expats would spend a higher amount for imported foreign or craft beers in expat bars, so about $200 USD per month for 2 people assuming they are not into imported whiskey or wine.

Entertainment (Optional): We would budget about $200 per month for entertainment for the two of us. We enjoy doing more do-it-yourself kinds of entertainment so expats would spend a little more, maybe $300 per month, for 2 of them?

Estimated Costs to Retire in Tallinn Estonia


















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Optional Total









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The above lower estimated cost of living would be if the two of us lived in Tallinn Estonia on a tight budget. The middle estimate is just an example of what other expats might spend if they moved here.

To understand what it would cost you to live here, you must put your feet on the ground, see how you would choose to rent, eat, and entertain yourself, and add it all up. It doesn’t matter what anyone else spends because we are all different.

Tallinn Estonia Retirement Desirability Factors

Before you move anywhere outside your home country, create a list of things that you must have for your happy retirement. Here are my retirement desirability factors and I will rank each as high, medium, or low before assigning an overall retirement desirability score to Tallinn, Estonia.

Walkability: High. We stayed about 30 minutes walking distance from the old town area of Tallinn. But we found all of our daily needs within a 5 to 15-minute walk of our apartment. So we just walked everywhere. We did not even bother to ride the public transportation which had a stop right in front of our apartment. We took a Bolt Taxi (APP) to and from our Airbnb apartment to where we caught the ferry over to Helsinki for our day trip. So we would not need a car if we lived in Tallinn.

Internet: High. The wifi in our Airbnb was 100 MBPS up and 120 MBPS down. Way better than we needed to do Zoom calls, upload YouTube videos, and watch Netflix.

Food: High. There was a grocery store right across the street from our apartment and the prices were reasonable enough so we didn’t even bother going to our favorite Lidl grocery store which was just about 20 minutes by trolley from our house. There is also a large selection of various foreign restaurants in Tallinn since it is a capital city with prices running from $12 to $17 USD. There are also local family food places around with meals starting around $ 7 USD per meal.

Weather: Medium. February is the coldest month in Tallinn averaging 18F (-8C) at night but increasing to 29F (-2C) in the day. July is the warmest month in Tallinn averaging 54F (12C) at night but increasing to 72F in (22C) in the day. The best weather in Tallinn runs from June through August. The rainy season is November through January when it rains 13 or more days of the month. About 5 inches of snow falls on Tallinn on average for the months of November through February.

Things to Do: High. Tallinn is on the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea so most activities available living on the sea are available to you such as Kayaking, fishing, sailing, and the beach. Of course, the beach season is shorter because the Baltic Sea is so far north. Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia so it hosts many cultural events, such as the Õllesummer festival of endless food, beer, and laughter, the Medieval Days festival when the city transforms into medieval food and clothing, the Nargenfestival that features classical and contemporary music, and 1o more festivals and events that I will provide a link for. Plus, the usual museums, malls, nightlife, coffee shops, visiting musicians from around the world.

Social Considerations: High. About 15% of people living in Estonia are not Estonian citizens. That means they are here with temporary or permanent residency. There are citizens of 151 countries living in Estonia. English is the most widely spoken foreign language in Estonia with 47% of the population speaking English as their second, third, or fourth language. In the age group of 15 to 29 years old, 85% speak English. In general, Estonians of all ages are kind people and friendly people.

Safety Considerations: High. The United States and Estonia are strong allies and partners. The US State Department` webpage for Estonia published the lowest level 1 risk for Estonia–“Exercise normal precaution.” Numbeo surveys report that crime is lower and life is safer is Tallinn Estonia than in West Pam Beach Florida, for example. But, you can compare Tallinn to other cities in the world at that link. We have been out walking around at 1 AM in Tallinn on a Saturday Night and it felt safe to us. You can also review my report, How to Travel the World Safely, which is how I have remained safe traveling the world for 17 years.

Expat Community: High. Here are a few Facebook pages that cater to English-speaking expats living in Tallinn Estonia: 1, 2, with 40k and 22k embers respectively. These online expat communities are great for learning all about things that expats want to learn when they first move overseas. They are more likely to answer questions they have not answered recently. So, make sure to scroll down or search for previous questions asked and answered before posting any questions to the group.

Medical: High. This healthcare international comparison index ranks Estonia 37th in the world, thirty-two spots better than the United States at 69th. There are different ways healthcare is rated, but this one seems to be considering quality of care in relation to what patients are charged.


You may decide to seek treatment in Tallinn, or in one of the other countries in the world on this or any other ranking. According to this ranking, you are likely to get better health care for much cheaper in Estonia than you would get in the most expensive healthcare country in the world, the USA.

Tourist Visa: High. Estonia is a member of the Schengen Visa countries. Citizens of many countries such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Malaysia, USA, and many many others, are given 90 days of visa-free entry upon arrival. Plus, we can stay in any Schengen member country for no more than 90 days cumulatively of any 180-day period.

Retirement Visa: Medium. Estonia has no retirement visa. It does have an investment visa. According to this webpage, you can either invest in a business activity in the country with a capital of at least 65,000 euros (about $70k USD), conduct your own business with 16,000 euros investment (about $17k USD), or create a startup company plan that is approved by an expert committee. For more information on this investment visa, I have included a link to an immigration lawyer’s webpage. I don’t know this lawyer personally, so make sure to conduct your own due diligence on their background and expertise.

Real Estate: High. Foreigners are allowed to buy real estate in Estonia on the same terms as residents. However, I do not recommend buying real estate in a foreign country until you have lived there for an extended period of time making sure you love it. If you decide to buy, you should also get your own lawyer who has no conflict of interest with you. For example, do not use a lawyer recommended by your real estate broker or local lover.

Tallinn Estonia Retirement Desirability Score: Medium. I like warmer year-round weather. It’s not terrible weather here but cool enough in the winter to make me want to fly south to warmer weather for 6 months of the year. But if you like city life and are comfortable with 4 seasons, and are attracted to the cultural aspects of being in one of the most beautiful capital cities in Eastern Europe then Tallinn would likely be highly desirable for you, especially when compared to some of the more expensive culturally rich cities in Western Europe.

What would it cost you to live in Tallinn Estonia?

To get a better understanding of things you should add to our estimated cost of living watch this video: 9 Reasons You Can’t Retire on $1000 Month Overseas.

Most people will likely be unable to retire for our lower range estimate above. I give example reasons why in this report. Plus, this other report explains how to avoid coming home early with your tail between your legs.

Also, if you are going to try to retire cheap offshore, make sure to read my report, the Two Biggest Risks of Retiring Early for Cheap Offshore, which explains why you should have emergency funds available for unexpectedly large expenses.

You should also add anything to the above table that you spend money on in your home country that is not listed in the above table. Presumably, you find those things necessary in life. To do that, visit the Numbeo Tallinn and add anything not mentioned in the above table.

Never move anywhere until you have visited first personally to verify the living costs for your lifestyle and needs. I am not guaranteeing these prices. These are just my notes and estimates from the time of my visit and this post. Your costs will likely be drastically different depending on your lifestyle and the time since this post.

Many of the expats we meet living overseas are self-insured for medical care. That means that not everyone buys health insurance when they move overseas. That probably sounds crazy to many of you.

I didn’t carry medical insurance for most of my first 17 years living overseas. But last year I bought medical insurance. If you are wondering what it costs and what it covers, watch my medical insurance video at this link. This is not an affiliate link.

More typical expat living costs in Tallinn range from about $1200 to $4000 per month. But people spending that much often have higher savings, incomes, or pensions. They often report spending more on accommodations, entertainment, eating out more, traveling, and alcohol. Many also have more expensive cars, houses, or apartments.

Make sure to grab a free copy of my eBook, How I Fired My Boss and Traveled the World for 17 years, and how I pay for it all.

Tallinn Estonia Old Town Walking Tour

Make sure you walk this path while in Tallinn’s old town to get a feel for some of the most interesting architecture and history.

Editable Google Map

Town Hall Square: This is where you would go to find markets since the 11th Century. This is the most preserved town hall in northern Europe built in the 15th Century. There were older ones, but since Europe seems to be embroiled in wars every century or so, this is the oldest one standing pretty close to how it was originally built.

Other buildings around the square that have survived were mostly built in the 15th and 17th centuries. The cobblestone streets and beautiful colors of the buildings are partly why Tallinn pulls in around 5 million tourists per year.

The square is filled with restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops, and has various festivals, concerts, and cultural celebrations throughout the year. The annual Christmas market is the most famous.

St. Olav’s Church: Built in the 12th Century, Saint Olay’s has been the center of Scandinavian life since that time. During the Soviet Era, the KGB used the tower for surveillance and as a radio tower. Today, it is a Baptist Church now. The tower is open to the public from April until November of each year.

Great Coastal Gate: The Coastal Gate and the Fat Margaret Tower, are two of the 26 remaining defensive towers constructed by the Dan’es to protect the city. Because they were within reach of large ship cannons, they were constructed with 5 letters of thickness, whereas the rest of the city had only 3-meter-thick walls. Fat Margaret was a cook for the soldiers who manned the tower hundreds of years ago. Fat Margaret Tower has one of the best views of the city.

Dominican Monastery Claustrum: The monastery was built in 1246. You can see the old libraries and the rooms where monks and city leaders slept. There is an extensive collection of medieval art and literature.

St. Catherine’s Passage: This passage will take you from the town hall to Dominican Monastery Claustrum along with some of the best crafts markets and cafes in the city.

Freedom Square: The square celebrates and remembers 18000 Estonians killed and wounded during the Estonian War of Independence in 1918 though it took 70 more years for their independence in 1991.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral: The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was built during the 20th-century occupation of Estonia by Russia. It is viewed by many of the Estonian people as a symbol of oppression. However, the church has been meticulously restored as a historical reminder of regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Toompea Hill: Throughout Tallinn’s history Toompea Hill has been built and fortified to defend the city. Toompea is the center for Estonian government functions. In the center of the square, the city was formed by the Knights of the Sword in 1229. Whoever flies their flag over the Tall Herman Tower is said to rule all of Estonia. Much of Toompea was burned in 1684, so that is why some of the buildings look newer than down in Tallinn Square.

Kohtuotsa Viewing Point: This is Tallinn’s most popular viewpoint. It is free and open year-round.

Ferry to Helsinki

While in Tallinn, you will want to take a ferry over to visit Helsinki. It takes about 2.5 hours each way. We went over early in the morning and came back in the evening around 7 PM.

The ferry costs about $15 USD per person each way (the Viking line is the cheaper). You can save some money by booking it online here.

While in Helsinki, here is a minimum set of things I would recommend visiting.

Helsinki was created as a trading town by Swedish King Gustav I in 1550, but Swedish settlers arrived here in the 1300s.

Helsinki is the northernmost city on Earth with more than a million people. In 2012 it was named a World Design Capital and one of the world’s most livable cities with one of the highest standards of living.

Google Map

1) Senaatintori (Senate Square)

Senate Square, or Senaatintori, is a city square and the oldest part of Helsinki. The square includes the Cathedral, the University of Helsinki, the Government Palace, and the Sederholm House dating from 1757.

2) Helsinki Cathedral

Helsinki Cathedral is on Senate Square built starting in 1830 and was known as Saint Nicholas’s Church until Finland gained independence in 1917. Today, it is Finland’s most significant historical landmarks.

With half a million visitors in 2018 alone, it is a popular tourist destination, embodying Finnish culture and spirituality, architectural grandeur, and active community involvement.

3) Kauppatori (Market Square)

Vendors congregate here to sell souvenirs and fresh fish and seafood. Cafes are dotted around the square, and it’s a great place to grab a Finnish meat pastry. The square is a beautiful place to stroll, and the ships in the harbor and vendors selling their goods will take you back to a bygone era.

4) Vanha kauppahalli (Old Market Hall)

The Old Market Hall in Helsinki is the oldest market hall, opening its doors to the public back in 1889 at a time when Helsinki was moving from chaotic open-air markets to more organized indoor setups.

5) Esplanadi Park

Esplanadi Park is a long promenade and popular walking area that opened in 1818 and the Kappeli Restaurant opened in 1867. The park is a popular spot with locals to picnic and enjoy rose bushes, crab apple trees, and aspen trees and features the longest music festival in Finland from May until August with more than 200 artists.

6) Ateneum Art Museum

The Ateneum Art Museum is one of three museums that form the Finnish National Gallery was built in 1887. The museum gallery focuses on Finnish art from the 18th to the 20th centuries. There are also hundreds of international works including Vincent van Gogh.

7) Helsinki Central Railway Station

The Central Railway Station has two hundred thousand passengers per day. The system of rails was started in 1860 when the first track was opened between Helsinki and a city 100 kilometers north. In the most recent renovation, a shopping mall was added to the central station.

8) Kamppi Chapel of Silence (must see)

The Kamppi Chapel is a non-denominational church where people can seek sanctuary from busy Helsinki’s hustle and bustle. It’s oval on the outside and inside and is often described as neutral, austere, or unadorned. It is similar in that way to many multi-faith prayer rooms found around the world. The Chapel won the International Architecture Award in 2010.

Best Beer Deal in Helsinki: 6.50 Euros/500 ml.

Best Lunch Deal in Helsinki:

Where we stayed in Tallinn

We stayed at this Airbnb for $28 USD per night with the weekly discount before adding Airbnb fees. It was a great location. Everything we needed was within walking distance and I have listed all of that below under restaurants, shopping, and services.

How we got to Tallinn Estonia from Romania

We found our flight to Tallinn Estonia from Bucharest Romania on Skyscanner, as usual. The flight was $349 USD for both of us on Lufthansa Airlines. We booked an Uber Taxi to get from our apartment in Bucharest to the Bucharest International Airport (OTP). We got from Tallinn International Airport (TLL) to our apartment in Tallinn on the BOLT Taxi App.

Restaurants, Bars, Services

Restaurants (prices in Euros)

Burger King: Burger set meal, fries, and coke refill 9.95 (have veg burgers)

Barbossa restoran: Draft beer 6, fries 6

Veg B12 VEGANKOHVIK: Lentil soup 4.95, vege stew 7.90

Kebaboom Balti Jaam: Wrap kebab 9.50

Kohalik: Free bread with butter and water. Tofu bowl 11, Grilled pork with potatoes 15.5

Bars, Lounges (prices in Euro)

Airbnb Pub Crawl: US$ 22, 9 pm-2 am

The Monk´s Bunk: 7-9 pm happy hour 3 euro

Ükskõik Baar – whatever Bar: Beer 4 Europ

Labor Baar

Club Hollywood: Beer 7 euro. Entry after midnight is 12 euro – free with the pub crawl tour

URG Gastropub & Stage: Beer 5 Euro


Grocery Store Across from Our Aparrtmemt:

Farmers Market: Fruits, Veggies, Meat, Restaurants

Free eBook: How I Fired My Boss and Traveled the World for 17 Years.