As one of the least populous countries in the European Union, Estonia offers a comfortable, scenic European vacation experience that might be less congested than more populated countries.
In the Estonian countryside, you can enjoy quaint architecture, deep history, and beautiful nature that is largely undisturbed in this quiet country.
Like all nations, Estonia isn’t perfectly safe.
For the most dangerous cities in this country, keep reading our list below.
6 Most Dangerous Cities in Estonia
Compared to the rest of Estonia and even Europe, Tallinn easily ranks high on the list of most dangerous cities in the region.
As the tenth most dangerous city on the continent, travelers should exercise caution when visiting this region.
In the whole of Europe, almost no other city can compete with Tallin’s murder rates.
To put this into perspective, Tallinn has 5.5 per 100,000 inhabitants as a homicide rate.
Since the population is slightly more than 400,000, this is an astonishing figure.
Overall, an article on the 15 most dangerous cities in Europe reports that there were 24,267 crimes reported in Tallinn in 2018.
Almost half of those crimes (about 40%) were property crimes.
Still, in that year, violent crimes soared by 13% in 2018.
All of this gives good reason for new and seasoned European travelers to keep a watchful eye over their surroundings when they visit Tallinn.
While Estonia is known as a safe country for the most part, it still has pockets of danger like any city in Europe or abroad.
Since there are more homicides reported in this region than in the surrounding areas, travelers need to stay safe and consider what is going on around them.
By keeping tabs on local news before you travel, you can see if this city seems like a safe choice.
If it doesn’t, there are plenty of other wonderful Estonian towns that you can visit and enjoy.
In Tartu, travelers will not usually have to worry about major violent crimes like murder or aggravated assault.
Even so, this city has its fair share of crime.
In a survey by travelsafe-abroad.com, local residents shared a medium risk of mugging, pickpocketing, and scams.
As a traveler, it is always important to consider whether you want to trust new acquaintances.
While some locals may seem friendly and eager to help show you around, it’s best to keep up somewhat of a guard to prevent scammers from taking advantage of your trust.
Additionally, it is crucial that you secure belongings on your person.
If possible, keep cash and credit cards in separate pockets so that they won’t be stolen by a pickpocket at the same time.
Also, if a confrontational individual approaches you intending to mug you, offer up all of the items they demand to stay safe.
To ensure that you will not be a target of pickpockets, thieves, or those who intend to mug you, you should keep your fancy jewelry or other pricey items at home.
If you must keep them with you, it is best to stow them in a bag or conceal them under some other items.
Although most residents consider Estonia a safe and comfortable country, it does have some cities that are less safe than others.
Narva is one such place.
The majority of violent crimes such as aggravated assault, robbery, car hijacking, and even murder happen in this city.
Beyond the crime rates, Narva’s other main issue is a higher degree of racism.
For those who have darker complexions, the local white supremacists can present a unique safety risk.
To stay safe, it’s recommended that tourists plan their trip to exclude non-tourist joints.
Additionally, avoiding bars and pubs in this area is important due to the skin-head presence.
If you just go by the level of crime as a whole in Parnu, it is a fairly safe place.
The crime rate rests around 28.48 per 100,000.
Although this is pretty low, residents have reported a notable uptick in crime rates over the past few years of 56.8, according to a survey by costabroad.com.
For solo travelers especially, the reported concerns that residents have around walking safely at night in this survey are worth taking into consideration.
If you need to go to a bar or pub late at night, try taking a friend with you until you are familiar with safe or unsafe areas.
In the survey, 43.47% expressed a fear of walking at night in Parnu.
While this is less than the majority of participants, it is still a significant number to take into consideration.
While Kohtla-Järve’s danger level is similar to surrounding areas in Estonia, it has had some major crimes and events that could make someone who isn’t familiar with the area reconsider visiting.
Over the past ten years, there have been multiple murders and stabbings in this region.
Additionally, some officials in this industrial city were found to be corrupt.
Naturally, that does not mean that all officials in the city are corrupt or problematic.
If you have the opportunity to do your research, it may help to see how the city took care of this issue for peace of mind.
In 2016, the then-Mayor Jevgeni Solovjov had to step down after a conviction on corruption charges related to offenses that were committed in his political office.
Overall, this city is safe most of the time.
Other than a few major criminal events, it is not a super dangerous place to visit and explore for the average traveler or visitor.
If the corrupt past concerns you, then it may make the most sense to plan to visit other cities instead of it.
By most of the world’s standards, Kuressaare is a safe city with a charming level of comfort to it.
Since safety is relative, though, we need to consider how Kuressaare measures up to other Estonian cities.
On an average day, it is seen as one of the safest cities in Estonia with a low crime rate and low rising crime rate, according to a survey by numbeo.com.
Still, Kuressaare has its unsafe moments.
Back in 2018, a local man stabbed two individuals.
This resulted in one casualty while the other victim was injured.
In a small, safe Estonian city, this kind of violence shakes the community to its core.
It goes to show that even “safe” cities can be dangerous at times, so it’s best to stay vigilant as a visitor, world traveler, or tourist.
5 Safety Tips for Traveling to Estonia
- Keep your cash and credit cards in separate pockets. Like in most countries, the main crime that visitors to Estonia need to worry about is pickpocketing. This kind of theft can be especially harmful if you have limited resources when you travel. To avoid losing everything, store your cards and cash close to your body in separate pockets.
- Save online tasks that may expose personal information for private wi-fi. If you don’t want your personal information to be vulnerable to local or international hackers, it’s best to do online banking and related items on your to-do list for private or secure Wi-Fi.
- Avoid walking alone at night. In Estonia, most residents feel safe walking at all hours of the day and night by themselves. Still, if you are not familiar with an area, we recommend taking a travel buddy with you to decrease safety concerns.
- Steer clear of streets with low lighting. Even in safer cities in Estonia, sticking with well-lit areas on your trip by foot can lower your risks as a target of violent crimes. If you can, try to plan your route so that you will take the main streets with good lighting and visibility. These tend to be more populated to increase safety, as well. Even if you are traveling by bike, we would still encourage you to follow these suggestions.
- Remain aware of your surroundings. Since violent crime in Estonia is relatively rare, being aware of your surroundings is important to notice any shifts in the environment that may lead to danger.
Estonia Safety Overview
READ THE FULL REPORT: Estonia Safety ReviewSafety Index:
- OVERALL RISK: LOW
- TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: HIGH
- PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
- NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
- MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
- TERRORISM RISK: LOW
- SCAMS RISK: LOW
- WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Estonia safe?
As worldnomads.com explains, Estonia is a country that rarely experiences violent crime in comparison to countries with higher crime rates.
Naturally, in this country, petty crimes still occur near the same rate that they would anywhere.
Although nowhere is perfect, Estonia should feel like a comfortable, non-threatening travel destination for most individuals from Europe and abroad.
Is Estonia a friendly country?
Estonians pride themselves on being friendly people who are not shy around strangers.
As estonianworld.com shares, Estonia ranks among one of the friendliest countries, with Lithuania as a close second.
Do they speak English in Estonia?
At this point in time, English edges out Russian as the most widely spoken language in the country.
About 84% of the Estonian population speaks English.
Of that number, 67% speak it as their first language and 17% learn it as a second language.