The average cost of living in Estonia is considered to be quite affordable, especially when compared to Western European countries. Most foreigners who have spent some time here think that living in Estonia is easy, affordable and fun, but I think it depends a lot on one’s accommodation choices, lifestyle, and spending patterns.
In my opinion the prices in Tallinn have increased quite a lot in the past couple of years. For example, groceries seem to be much more expensive than they were two years ago, when I moved to Estonia. A couple of weeks ago, we had some friends from Denmark visiting us in Tallinn, and although they admitted that it’s cheaper to eat out in Tallinn than it is in Denmark, the prices for food in supermarkets are quite similar.
In this article, I’ll look at the costs for housing, food, transportation, and entertainment, so keep reading if you’re interested in how much money you need to live in Estonia.
Accommodation Costs in Estonia
Accommodation costs in Estonia depend on your expectations. If you are a student and willing to live in the university campus, you’ll probably pay between 120 – 250 EUR per month for a single or double room in student dormitories.
When considering private flats, location is an important factor. In Tallinn, if you prefer to live in the city centre/old town, the rental prices can get really spicy. Moreover, the buildings in this area are quite old and the utility costs are very expensive. For example, the rent for a two-room apartment (one living room and one bedroom) is between 400 and 600 EUR, but during winter, the utility costs could go up to 300 EUR.
Areas outside the city centre are more affordable. For example, Kristiine is quite a popular district, where the rent for a two-room apartment in a new building (energy class A) costs about 350-550 EUR, but the utility costs remain under 100 EUR even during winter times.
If you are interested in buying your own apartment, you should expect to pay between 70,000 – 220,000 EUR for a 1-3 room Tallinn city apartment. The process is very easy though, and I was quite impressed with how fast the property buying process went!
If you’re searching for accommodation in Estonia, but don’t know where to start from, check out my article on finding housing.
Food Costs in Estonia
As I mentioned earlier, the cost of food in Estonia increased throughout the past years. Now you pay a similar price to what you find in nordic countries, such as Denmark or Sweden. To give you a general idea, I’ll list the prices for the most common foods:
- Bread: ∼ 1 EUR
- Cheese: ∼ 7 EUR/kg
- Chicken breast: ∼ 7 EUR/kg
- Minced meat: ∼ 6 EUR/kg
- Potato: ∼ 0,50 EUR/kg
- Carrot: ∼ 0,60 EUR/kg
- Cucumber: ∼ 1 EUR/kg
- Tomato: ∼ 2 EUR/kg
- Onions: ∼ 0,5/kg
- Apple: ∼ 2 EUR/kg
- Orange: ∼ 1,6 EUR/kg
- Salmon fillet: ∼12 EUR/kg
- Flour: 0,6 EUR/kg
- Sunflower oil: ∼2,6 EUR/l
- Milk: ∼ 0,8 EUR/l
- Beer: ∼ 1.15 EUR/0,33
- Wine: ∼ 12EUR/l
Alcohol price, in particular, increased dramatically since January 2018, due to higher excise duty. Lots of Estonians travel to the Latvian border to purchase cheaper drinks.
Transportation Costs in Estonia
Tallinn is well known around the world for the fact that it offers its citizens free transportation. But recently, this perk has been implemented all around Estonia.
Most people choose to travel by car, but there are many bikes enthusiasts too! The average price for 1 litre of gasoline is 1.32 EUR.
Taxis in Tallinn are quite affordable. For example:
- Taxi Start: 2,50 EUR
- Price/km: 0,50 EUR
- 1h waiting: 10 EUR
Basically a 10 km ride would cost you 7,50 EUR. Have you heard of Taxify? It is an Estonian-founded transportation startup (similar to Uber) and it’s also my favourite app for ordering a taxi in Estonia.
Entertainment Costs in Estonia
I’d say that entertainment costs in Estonia are quite reasonable compared to other European countries. For example, the prices for business lunches vary between 4 to 10 EUR, depending on the location and your requirements. Dinner for 2 would be around 25 EUR in a neighbourhood pub, or up to 60 in a more fancy restaurant in the city centre.
Interested in the Tallinn nightlife landscape? Most nightclubs have free entrance, but some require a fee between 5-10 EUR. A cocktail costs 7 EUR, while a beer costs around 5 EUR.
A cinema ticket is about 7 EUR for an adult, 5,50 EUR if you’re a student and under 4 EUR for seniors. You can also go for a cooler experience and check out the Star chairs in Apollo cinema — basically a VIP area in the cinema.
A gym monthly subscription is about 50-60 EUR, but most Estonian companies offer compensation via SportID, so you’ll only have to pay a small part of the total gym membership fee.
The prices for haircuts are much cheaper than in other nordic countries, too — 15 EUR for men and 25 EUR for women. Other beauty services such as manicure, pedicure, or waxing are quite reasonably priced, as well.
Conclusion: The Cost of Living in Estonia
Living in Estonia, and especially in Tallinn, has become more and more expensive over the past few years. However, Tallinn remains one of the affordable cities in Europe considering the average monthly income and spendings.
If you work in Estonia, you can expect an average monthly salary of a little over 1,000 EUR. So let’s see how much a couple would spend per month, while living in Tallinn:
- Rent: 300-700 EUR
- Utilities: 150-350 EUR
- Food: 300-450 EUR
- Transportation: 0-150 EUR
- Entertainment: 150-350 EUR
- Other expenses: 100-300 EUR
All in all, it depends on your income and expectations. If you choose a low-priced rental apartment, travel by public transportation, and go out only occasionally you could end up paying about 1,000 EUR (for two). On the other hand, if you live in a more expensive apartment or house, own a car and pay more on entertainment, the average bill could be around 2,300 EUR.*
What is your opinion about the cost of living in Estonia? Let me know in the comments below!
*Disclaimer: These numbers are approximate. Additional costs could occur, such as TV & internet, personal loans, phone monthly subscription, etc.