City Guide: Tallinn

My uncle used to live in Tallinn so I’ve been going there almost every year for the past 15 years. I remember when you had to apply for a visa to go to Estonia. The city has changed so much during this time. There are no more pirate movies or knock off handbags or hoodies sold in the market.

I took my Australian friends for a day cruise there. It takes about two hours on a boat from Helsinki and it costs 30€ or less. Tallink, Viking Line, Lindaline and ECKERÖ Line all operate between Helsinki and Tallinn.

Unfortunately, the weather was horrible during our visit. It just kept raining and it was so misty you couldn’t see anything on the boat. I took one photo. This is it:


I put my camera away and settled for looking at my old photos of Tallinn.

Rocca al Mare

If the weather is awful and your only aim is to shop, Rocca al Mare is the place to go. A free bus to Rocca al Mare leaves outside the D terminal.

The Rocca al Mare has 170 shops and a bunch of cafés and restaurant. Try the macarons at Cakery Levier, they are so good!

If the weather is nice, you can take a lovely stroll next to the sea. Tallinn zoo is also quite close by.

Estonian open air museum is a short walk away from the shopping centre. So, if you feel like you want to experiencea historical village, head there.

City Center

Most tourists stay close to the terminals at the city centre which is fine if you are on tight schedule. There is a big shoping centre, Viru Keskus, that has the normal chain stores such as Zara, River Island, Mohito, Reserved, Promod and the likes. If you are looking for a good breakfast place try Carmen Café at the Rotermann Quarter. Café Kochi Kohvituba, close to the D terminal, also offers some cheap and delicious cakes.

Old Town

In the Old Town there is a restaurant called Elevant that my relatives and I do a pilgrame-like trip at least once  year. It has fantastic Indian food that is well worth crossing the sea for. This is a must stop every time we go to Tallinn. We should know better by now, but we always overeat because the food is so good and spend the rest of the time just walking the streets in a post-curry haze.

The Old Town has a certain charm. In the summer it is quite packed with tourists and beer gardens. The cobble stoned streets offer plenty of chances to go through different alleys and find little shops. Most of the shops in the centre sell souvenirs, glass items, amber  jewelry and linen.

It’s worth walking all the way to to the top of the Castle because you get a nice view of the city.

Kadriog Palace

Kadriorg Palace was the summer house of Peter the Great. Its opulent halls nowadays display the foreign art collection of the Estonian Art Museum. It’s a short tram ride away from the city centre. There is a big park surrounding the Palace, so it is a good place to ave picnic in the summer. I visited the Palace in February so I didn’t get to enjoy the greenery.


If you are interested in design and decorating, then hop on a tram and head to Telliskivi. It is the creative centre of Tallinn and has small shops selling local products and unique design.

So, if you have time, go beyond the city centree and the Old Town, because there is so much to see and the prices drop. I can’t wait to go back in September and experience a whole new area!

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