Beneath that conventional reserved exterior, Estonia quietly marches to its own drummer, and has a particular talent for putting its own quietly unique spin on things.
Even in their (now former) currency, they expressed their national individuality by issuing a bank note in a denomination of 25 krooni - something I don't recall ever seeing elsewhere. I am used to note denominations going 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and so forth, and although I've come across coins with a denomination of 25 (for example, the quarter in the USA), I've never seen it in a note.
All of this is, of course, now academic, since Estonia entered the Euro Zone on 1 January 2011 (and the kroon ceased to be legal tender on 14 January 2011) but it's one of those little quirks that goes to prove that once you scratch beneath that conservative exterior, Estonia is an unexpectedly funky place!
Postcript: Since posting this as a discussion topic on the miscellaneous forum to satisfy my curiosity, I am endebted to travelfrosch for letting me know that Holland had a 25 guilder note before it entered the Euro zone, and SangAji, who says that Brunei issued a $25 note to mark the silver jubilee of the sultan's coronation (these are apparently still in circulation but have become a collectors item).
We came to Tallinn from Denmark on a cruise ship. I knew before I came that the Danish krone (The word kroon, meaning "crown", is related to the Swedish krona and Norwegian krone and to the Latin word corona) which we had been using was different from the Estonian kroon, so I knew we would have to get some money if we wanted to shop in Tallinn. However, it was Sunday which I did not take into account.
We got off the ship, and as I usually do, I was carrying one credit card, one card to use in an ATM and a small amount of cash in US dollars. We just missed the shuttle into town, so we walked down the row of shops first. My granddaughter found a fleece hat that she liked so we bought that. I got a $20 bill cashed - half Estonian kronor and half Russian rubles. For $10, I got 100 kronor. For the other $10.00, I got about 310 rubles.
We paid the pedicab driver with the 100 kroon plus $28.00 which was all of the rest of my US cash, and he gave us a commemorative kroon coin.
On the way back to the ship we stopped again at the shopping area where were some cute cheese slicers, and I wanted to buy a sweater, but the guy in the money booth couldn't get my credit cards to work to get money and most of my cash was still on board. I hadn't thought to try an ATM in town, so I had to go without buying the things I wanted.
Tipping is a general custom in Estonia when visiting restaurants, bars and pubs.
Usually the minimum tip is 10% of the end price, although never under 5 EEK. It is also considered a complete "F*** you" to leave the tip consisting only of coins.
In some places when paying with card you can leave the tip on the check, but it is highly recommended for your own financial safety to leave tips in cash only.
Although Estonia joined the European Union (EU) on the 1st of May 2004, they don't have the Euro as currency.
The local currency in Estonia is the Eesti kroon (EEK). Cash can be exchanged at banks and exchange offices (Valuutavahetus). Before exchanging money, I recommend to check the rates and fees of a few offices.
There are often differences in the rates. The
sign "0 % COMMISSION" does mostly refer
only to "SELL" and not to "BUY" transactions.
Don't hesitate to ask, how much you really
get for your local currency.
Don't exchange your money on the street; these people usually cheat you with other foreign currencies.