Mini Travel Guide: Tallinn, Estonia

Looking for a travel guide to Tallinn, Estonia? Click through for Estonia travel tips from an experienced traveler - what to do, where to go, and how to do it all safely, cheaply, and respectfully!
Looking for a travel guide to Tallinn, Estonia? Maybe you didn’t even know you wanted to visit this beautiful, affordable, safe city – but you do now! I brought in experienced traveler Colleen to share all her best Estonia travel tips!

I had always been curious about the Baltic countries and visiting them had been at the back of my mind since moving to Azerbaijan in 2007.

Fast forward to 2011 and I’m living in St.Petersburg Russia, due to some silly red tape, I’m forced to leave the country for a month. Not bad, right?

Where better to go than Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania? My adventures had me wander through all three of those countries, but I stayed the longest in Tallinn, Estonia; 18 days in hostels, on friends mattresses and a Spanish language teacher’s couch.

Must do in Tallinn, Estonia

Must do in Tallinn, Estonia

KGB museum, Sokos Hotel

Tour must be scheduled in advance through website, (7€) but the guides are great and have a divers array of stories to tell about this fascinating hotel that housed a KGB surveillance point. Check the weather forecast,bring your camera, as you’ll have access to the most incredible views of Tallinn.

Patarei Prison Tour

Open until 2005 with human rights violating conditions, its a fascinating illustration of history-The Germans, Russians and Estonians swapped control of the facility at different points in history.

Tallinn Backpackers Hostel schedules tours often (8€)-only downside is you’ll likely go with a group of mostly drunk backpackers-do make sure you ask the guide lots of questions.

KUMU art museum in Kadirog Park

A 3 in 1 hit, Kadirog has one of the best modern art museums I’ve ever been to (and I live near the Hermitage), the presidents palace, and extensive park grounds for walking and picnicking.

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Must see while in Tallinn, Estonia

Must go in Tallinn, Estonia

Leheema National Park via City Bike

49€. Book a day in advanced and must have 2 people, tours are Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat.  Paldeski via City Bike -1€per hour+ 2.00€train ride one way.

The peninsula packs in as much history as possible with everything from ancient fort ruins, stunning cliffs, and crumbling manors to a Soviet era Nuclear training facility.

Russian Embassy

Walk to it, and look up, you’ll be surprised by what you seek lurking on the gable-the local legend is that the man was peeping into the room of a lovely actress.

Looking for a travel guide to Tallinn, Estonia? Click through for Estonia travel tips from an experienced traveler - what to do, where to go, and how to do it all safely, cheaply, and respectfully!

Must Eat in Tallinn, Estonia

Estonian Chocolate

Germany and Belgian, move over! Estonian Chocolate, though lesser known than the giants of confection from other European cities, is slowly gaining a following among the connoisseurs of this essential food group. Shops abound in the Old Town; many connected to coffee shops. Ah bliss!

Bilini

The Estonians have taken the empty palette of Bilini and made it fantastic! Fillings can be everything from fresh strawberries and cream to chanterelles and blue cheese (a personal favorite, not for diet conscious!)

Ask a few residents where they recommend to sample bilini, as you will likely get several different answers and thus have the opportunity to indulge in the many varieties.

Salmon Soup

Clear broth, with delicate chunks of salmon and a dollop of cream. Tasty enough to convince the most ardent fish soup hater. (That would be me!)

Roasted Almonds

Purchased from the street wagons, and wrapped in a bit of paper, these nuts are roasted in a sugary/caramel topping that means you basically hoover the package in glee.

Saku Original

No visit to Estonia is complete without tasting the local beer. As I prefer my drinks to be of the wine/liquor variety, my opinion on Saku is: OK. But why drink beer when you can imbibe a delicious berry gin called Saare D Inn?

Looking for a travel guide to Tallinn, Estonia? Click through for Estonia travel tips from an experienced traveler - what to do, where to go, and how to do it all safely, cheaply, and respectfully!Cultural tips for Traveling in Estonia

Estonian people culturally are not as ‘smiley’ as Americans, but don’t think for a moment they are not friendly, a few polite words will get you far, as especially in the Old Town they are used to foreigners being rude and drunk.

Jõudu tööle!: Power to your work! Keep Going!
Terviseks : Cheers! Health!

Looking for a travel guide to Tallinn, Estonia? Click through for Estonia travel tips from an experienced traveler - what to do, where to go, and how to do it all safely, cheaply, and respectfully!

Cheap travel tips for Estonia

Go in Autumn! Off-season tickets are almost 1/2 the price (hotels, bike rental, tours etc) sure the weather isn’t the warmest, but less crowds, lots of sun, truly lovely colors and great atmosphere.

Bring your computer, Tallinn prides itself on being the most wired city in the world and…it is! Happy hours and Business Lunches are common in the Old Town, so if I wanted to eat out, I’d do lunch instead of dinner and found a place with 1€ tap beer.

In my experience, In Your Pocket guides are the most reliable and can be printed from the internet.

Most places take credit cards. The exchange counter at the bus station (at time of writing) charged a ridiculous high fee; it’s wise to search for a no-commission exchange counter-I remember finding one at Vuru Shopping Center.

Airbnb is cheaper and more authentic than a hotel, nicer than a hostel. Here’s a two-bedroom apartment for $48 a night and here’s a four-bedroom apartment (with a sauna!) for $92! If you’ve never used Airbnb before, here’s a $40 credit towards your first booking!

Have any of you been to Estonia? Any questions for Colleen?

P.S. My minimalist travel makeup bag – only 3 products!

Photos by Esgo K., Ruslan Valeev // wikipedia // wikipedia // cc

4 Comments

Kimmy Bird

What a great post! I'm currently living in Tallinn as an English teacher, and it is a wonderful city. I'd also say spending a day or so in Old Town is a blast. I walk through it every day on my way home, and I am in love with the quaintness of the town! There are also some amazing beaches if you go in the summer–depending on weather, of course. I'd recommend trying any pastries with their curd cheese. It sounds sketchy, but it's similar to cheesecake and it is absolutely amazing!

Reply
nova

I love this! There are so many places I've never even considered traveling to for some reason, Estonia is one of them. Until now, that is.

Reply
Keara

Tere (hello)!
About the chocolate, Kalev chocolate is amazing! There's a store in the Rotterdam district which is a really neat (and somewhat new) area of Tallin which I highly recommend visiting.
Also, I recommend exploring the entire country if you can. There are beautiful castles you can visit and a visit to the island Kuressaare by ferry would make a great day trip.

Reply
Ana Bastos

Hi! 🙂

I found your blog while searching guides about Tallinn and just saw myself in your description, only with the small difference that I want to save the elephants!

I arrived in Tallinn one month ago. I am Portuguese and before come here I was leaving in Mozambique doing volunteer work.

I am planning to live in Tallinn for one or two years, I am already working in the tourism industry but I'm still discovering the city (although I have been here on holiday two times already) and it is very enchanting!

After the next two years my plan is to buy an old Van and drive through Asia! Just to think of it my heart gets warm.

Good luck with your travelling! I'll keep reading your blog.

Regards,

Ana

Reply

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