Last year we gave you a list of 5 very useful apps that would make your life easier while you live in Tallinn. Sadly, two of those are no longer available, so it’s time to give that list a much needed update with the inclusion of two other apps that hopefully you will find as helpful as I do.
This app was actually developed here in Tallinn, it is widely used and I highly recommend it. Taxis in Tallinn have a very wide variety of prices and sometimes they can be ridiculously expensive, so to avoid unpleasant surprises, you can use Taxify to hail a taxi. You simply choose your pickup location and the type of taxi you want: a regular one, a luxury one or a van if you need it for more than 4 people. It works with both established taxi companies and with private drivers, but you can’t choose which one you will get. If you are concerned about safety, don’t be, I’ve never heard of anyone having a bad experience and most of the drivers speak at least a little bit of English.
In the past, Taxify would show you the prices and the time it would take for the available taxis to get to where you are and you could choose which one you wanted depending on that, but for some reason the app doesn’t let you do that anymore. However, you can set your destination and the app will tell you the price range that you will pay for it. Every time I have used it, it has been within that range, so I would say it is quite reliable.
2. Google Maps
Of course Google Maps has to be in this list! I probably don’t even need to describe what it does, so I’ll keep it brief. Tallinn is not a huge city, but you still might get lost from time to time, especially during the first few months, so that’s when Google Maps comes in handy. You can also use it to see which bus/tram or trolleys to take to get to where you want and it is possible to download the map of Tallinn that also works offline, so you can still use it to make your way out of where you are even if you run out of credit or can’t find a wifi spot.
3. Like a Local
This app was also developed in Tallinn and it’s still going strong. It is technically an app for tourists, but it is a nice guide for you to know which are the places people in Tallinn usually go to for lunch or to party. It will be particularly useful at the beginning of your stay in Tallinn to help you learn about the cool restaurants and bars in the city.
Trafi is an app that helps you see how to get anywhere using public transportation. Why should you have another app for that if you already have Google Maps, you ask? Well, because Trafi also gives you real-time information on where the buses are at that moment, so you can more or less know how much time it will take for the next one to arrive or track them if they are delayed.
I once waited for a bus for more than 20 minutes and I was getting desperate (usually they don’t take more than 10 minutes), I checked Trafi and noticed that all the buses from the route I wanted to take were stuck somewhere close to the Old Town, so I assumed there was something blocking the street; I took a different bus and although it was a longer route, I made it home sooner than if I had stayed waiting for the other one to pass.
The only downside to this app is that it is in Estonian and you need to have internet connection for it to work, but it’s still a nice tool and it is very easy to use, so not speaking Estonian should not be a problem.
5. Google Translate
I have a love/hate relationship with this app. On the one hand, it is extremely useful, especially when you first arrive and see all this weird words in the supermarket and you have no idea if what you are buying is beef or pork, and the fact that it works offline is a huge advantage too. On the other hand, I think you run the risk of becoming lazy and completely dependent on it to understand the Estonian language. I mean, you don’t even need to type the word you want to translate, you can just take a photo and the app will translate it for you! Whatever happened to making the effort of learning some Estonian? The app surely won’t help you when you actually have to speak to another human being. So, my advice is that you use it with moderation and don’t take it as a replacement for some good old Estonian lessons at the university 🙂 Also, don’t trust it too much because it very often translates words incorrectly: I’m pretty sure the second picture above is baking powder, not bottle powder
As far as I know, all of them are free and available for iPhone and Android, so go ahead and give them a try!