Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is a top-rated destination for Finns. Fast ferries take us from Helsinki to Tallinn in just a couple of hours. Day trips can be organised spontaneously according to the weather. However, Tallinn is so charming and full of exciting things to do, that I warmly recommend staying for a bit longer!
It’ll draw you in
Not so long ago, everything in Tallinn was a lot cheaper than in Helsinki and most trips centred around inexpensive shopping. But now, it’s the lovely cafes and restaurants, vivid cultural scene and wonderfully bubbly vibes that draw us in. New museums and galleries seem to be popping up like mushrooms. There are a lively music and theatre scene. International level chefs and baristas are getting more and more ambitious. As for the atmosphere? Relaxed and tolerant. There’s something for everyone. And Estonians are super nice, by the way!
A bit like Berlin
In many ways, Tallinn reminds me of Berlin. There is a certain kind of tolerance that gives way to a variety of different cultures and traditions. They can all co-exist peacefully next to one another. The same can be seen very clearly in the architecture of the city. Ancient houses from the times of Hansa-trade and Central-European influence remain in the middle of rougher, industrial style Soviet-era structures and ultra-modern high-tech buildings. Old factories and warehouses are not all demolished, but they are given a new life instead of theatres, market halls, cultural centres etc.
From the old to the hip
One by one, all the districts around the medieval Old Town are finding their own identities. I could spend a whole day walking around hipsterish Kalamaja neighbourhood. I would visit Balti Jaama Market, follow the route of Tallinn Culture Kilometre and check out the creative vibes of Telliskivi, a complex of former warehouses turned into shops, restaurants, music venues and cafés, surrounded by a lot of street art. Beautiful Kadriorg Park and Kumu Art Museum would easily take another day. Staying longer? You could spend it exploring new areas filled with interesting local and global designer boutiques…
My aunt goes to Tallinn to see ballet and opera. My friends go to sniff new restaurant-trends. Colleagues participate in sports events and my neighbours’ teenagers want to search through vintage -shops etc. Tallinn is a place for all.
To sum up! Well Tallinn is definitely a classic with a twist. A lovely winter travel destination filled with old European charm mixed with thrilling reminders of the early Soviet-era and new, creative entrepreneurship. Now that’s worth exploring!