THE COST OF LIFE IN ESTONIA
Reflecting on moving to a new country, first of all, people are interested in the cost of living in it. Daily family expenses are made up of thousands of household trivia, which are not always easy to plan during the moving. We in IT Talent often come across the questions of candidates about the cost of living in Estonia. In this article we will tell you how much life costs in Tallinn and what expenses you should expect.
So, leaving the airport, a new immigrant faces the first question: transportation. Public transport in Tallinn is represented by trams, buses and gradually dying out trolleybuses. The time of service varies slightly depending on the route, but by 6.00 the public transport is running. The end of the work is at 23.00 or a little later. For residents of the city of Tallinn, all means of transport is free, but the first few trips should be for getting the status of a resident will take some time. The ticket fare from the driver is € 2.
Of course, you can always take a taxi: right away at the exit you will see a long line of cars. The trip to the city center will cost an average of € 5-10 - the airport in Tallinn is only 4 kilometers away from the city center. You can pay for the trip by card, in the taxi there is a terminal. Also, Uber and Taxify operate in Estonia.
As for out-of-town trips around Estonia, there are two main ways: intercity buses and suburban electric trains.
The bus station in Tallinn is located in the city center, it is advisable to buy tickets some time in advance, but there is chance to buy them just before leaving. All major carriers sell tickets through their websites - then you do not even need a paper copy, just show an electronic ticket from the phone screen.
A trip to Tartu by bus will cost € 8-12, Saaremaa - € 9-16, you can go to St. Petersburg for € 15, and to Riga - for € 10. For a ticket to Warsaw via Vilnius you will have to pay € 40. For this money you will get a luxury bus with padded seats, unlimited tea and coffee, a clean toilet and a large supply of films and entertainment on the individual screen.
Trains are another great way to travel around the country. In Estonia they are called Elron or "carrots" because of their orange color. You can buy a single train ticket, on the pilet.elron.ee website or at the railway station, which is located close to the Old Town. Thus, a trip to Tartu will cost € 10.50.
Speaking of distant travel, it is usually either ferries or planes. RyanAir flies from Tallinn to Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Norway, Italy and Spain with prices from € 15. AirBaltic offers inexpensive tickets to a dozen other countries. By taking a ferry from Tallinn you can reach Helsinki, Stockholm, St. Petersburg or even the Åland Islands. A cruise to Helsinki or Stockholm will cost € 15 or more per person.
A decent two-roomed flat for rent in a pleasant area will cost you € 350-400 per month - alas, but an additional sum will have to be laid out to the owner as a deposit for the last month. If an apartment is rented via a broker, they will also ask for their services the cost of a monthly lease. The rent does not include utilities, which adds about € 50-70 in summer and € 100-150 in winter. Fortunately, in Estonia there is a practice of showing several accounts for an apartment at different times of the year at the signing of a contract so that a tenant can estimate the scale of expenses.
The most popular sites for housing search are http://www.city24.ee and http://www.kv.ee. Brokers, as a rule, also speak English. However, often housing is leased directly from an owner. The contract with a tenant is quite formal, and if something goes wrong, you can apply to the authorities for protection. Moreover, owners, as a rule, do not object to the registration of a tenant's address of residence, thus becoming a resident of Tallinn, you get access to free public transport and other benefits.
The Internet portal Postimees.ee periodically conducts an assessment of the cost of the food basket in the main trade networks of the city, where you can see the latest results. In comparison, basic dairy products (milk, kefir, sour cream, drinking yogurt, butter, cheese), eggs, vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, onions) and fruits (pears, bananas), meat products (minced meat, chicken fillet breasts, sausages), baked goods (black and white bread) and necessities (coffee, sweets, oat flakes, sugar, salt, vegetable oil, pasta, flour, rice, beer and toilet paper).
It should be mentioned that the quality of products in Estonia is on average much higher than in Russia, so that inexpensive cottage cheese or sausages can be taken without fear of getting something inedible. Prices for products in the largest networks can be checked on the websites of Prisma and Maxima.
If you want to eat out or just have coffee, in Tallinn you can find cafes, bars and restaurants of all kinds, from the venerable café "Narva" to the medieval Olde Hansa restaurant around the corner from the Town Hall Square. A cup of coffee in "Narva" will cost € 1-3, a roll - in € 1. The usual cost of a business lunch is € 3-10. In restaurants, the average bill for lunch for two with a glass of beer or wine is € 30-40, for dinner with a bottle of wine - € 50-60. You can see the list of the best restaurants in Tallinn here.
However, there are many other forms of entertainment in the city. Prices for a movie ticket start from € 3, you can see movies with Russian or Estonian dubbing, or in the original, but with subtitles in Russian or Estonian. Films in Estonian are also accompanied by subtitles. The ticket for ’La Bayadère’ at the National Opera House ’Estonia’ is € 4-28, ’Tosca’ is € 17-30 there. If you prefer something up-to-date, you can visit the ’Smokey’ concert for € 14-20 or ’Scooter’ for € 39-99. Tickets can be bought on the PiletiLevi website.
But let us return to serious issues: health. Any working person in Estonia is provided with public healthcare service from the so-called "Health Insurance Fund" (Haigekassa). The effect of the insurance extends not only to Estonia, but also to emergency medical care throughout the European Union. For an initial appointment with a specialist doctor, an adult will have to pay a nominal € 5, but otherwise everything is free, except for dentistry. Children under the age of 19 also are entitled to full insurance, including dentistry. In case of loss of a job, the insurance is still valid for the next two months, after which it is required to register at the Unemployment Insurance Fund for renewal.
Prices for dentistry vary quite strongly, in some clinics a new patient is offered a free scan, while in others, for examinations and treatment planning, they can request € 20-30 euros and more. The price for tooth filling starts from € 30-90, for tooth extraction from € 25.
However, dental expenses, like many others, are compensated by private medical insurance: the most popular option is Ergo. They will also help you get to the doctor faster if the general queue is too long.
According to the official sources of information, there are 127 municipal kindergartens in Tallinn, including 80 with Estonian, 28 with Russian and 19 with Estonian-Russian language of instruction. The grouping in kindergartens takes place from May 1 to August 15, but in case of vacancies children are admitted to the children's institution throughout the year. " The cost of the kindergarten is € 57.34 per month plus food: € 1.73 per day in the creche, € 1.92 in the older groups. An application for a place can be filled in on the Internet.
In case of no places available in state kindergartens, you can register a child at a private kindergarten: ’Edu Valem’ will cost € 460 per month, ’Montessori center’ - up to € 268 per month. If a child is registered in the queue for a place in the state kindergarten, the city partly compensates the parents the expenses of a private garden - for example, with compensation ’Edu Valem’ will cost € 320 a month.
In Tallinn there are 15 Russian schools, 36 Estonian and 5 with a mixed language of instruction. State schools are free, but there are also private schools in the city. Studying at ’Edu Valem’ will require € 5,200 per year from parents.
Many immigrants from neighboring countries move to Estonia with their car. You can travel around with foreign numbers within a year after moving, then a car will have to be re-registered. The registration procedure is quite simple and will cost a total of about € 200.
A driver’s licence will also need to be changed. The replacement cost is € 26. It does not mean any additional exams, but it sets a time frame. You can change your driver’s licence after six months of living in Estonia, and the whole procedure can be extended for additional six months. If you run out of this time, then you will have to take a driving test.
The price of gasoline in Estonia varies between € 1.20 per liter. The compulsory vehicle insurance on average costs € 200-300.
The Estonian Language
Officially, 53% of Estonians, 38% of Russians and 9% of people of other nationalities live in Tallinn. In practice, this means that the Russian language and a little English, in extreme cases, fully cover all household needs. But speaking the state language is always better than not speaking.
As for beginners, then at any time in Tallinn, there are 2-3 free language courses at language schools available where they will teach you with confidence to say "Hello, my name is Vasya, and I do not speak Estonian - let's talk in some other language" . The most popular options are the Settle in Estonia program and the Integration Fund. Also, it is possible to join absolutely free of charge and at any time the Internet-based course ’Keeleklikk’. There the charming actress and amusing cartoon characters will help you to reach level A2.
That is how the cost of living in Tallinn looks like, if some aspect has not been taken into account, you can search it, for example, at https://teleport.org, comparing Tallinn with your current place of residence. However, having included food, accommodation and entertainment in the description, we have not included the main idea. Comfort, tranquility and security are main reasons why people come to Estonia and stay for a long time or permanently.
Convenient commuting, the opportunity to travel to the countryside at any time of a weekend, without much traffic congestion, children getting to school safely, the opportunity to cope with all matters on the Internet, without queues. We have not included natural parks with convenient paths and stunning views, islands and lighthouses, old farms, castles and monasteries, dawns and sunsets on the seashore because it is free and priceless at the same time. Come and you will see it for yourself.