I’ll be honest. Tallinn was a city that wasn’t on my bucket list. Not because I didn’t have any desire to go there but rather, I just hadn’t heard much about it. But once I did hear about it, I barely had to do any research. I was hooked just by looking at the photos of the town. If you’re headed to Tallinn trust me, you’ve made the right choice and you’ll soon realize that you could spend days if not weeks exploring this enchanting city. But if time is of the essence, here is how to spend an incredible one day in Tallinn
How to get to Tallinn
By Ferry from Helsinki, Finland
It is incredibly easy to get to Tallinn from Helsinki. You can take a high speed ferry from the Katajonakka terminal in Helsinki. This ferry will get you to Tallinn in under two hours! There is also a slower ferry if that’s more your speed (hah I’m punny). You don’t have to get your tickets in advance as there are several ferries a day but if you like some structure in your life, like me, then you can buy them at www.directferries.com
A number of airlines fly to Tallinn and the airport is less than 2 miles (around 3km) from the heart of the city. Uber is easily accessible in Tallinn so you can take this to and from the airport. There is also a regular bus service (takes about 20 minutes to get to the center) and a taxi stand
Before You Go
Tallinn is on the euro. While some places do take card, it’s best to keep cash on hand as we did encounter a few that were cash only
Tipping is voluntary however, 10% of the bill is customary in most places. Tip based on how you feel the service was (10% indicates good service)
If you are spending the night, find an accommodation near the old town since that is where you will spend a bulk of your day
Things to Do
Explore Old Town: Walking through the stone archway of Old Town had me instantly transported to a different time. I was mesmerized by the complete medieval look and feel of the city center. I could envision horse drawn carriages making their way down the cobblestoned paths and gatherings in the center square. The old town, unlike most other European cities, is wholly preserved and its medieval structure and 13th century city plan is exceptionally intact. It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Trust me, you will love wandering through the alleys and streets of Tallinn’s Old Town.
Eat mouth wateringly delicious Estonian food: Call me ignorant but I had no idea food in Estonia was this freaking good. And it was incredibly affordable which made it taste all the better to me. Here are the two restaurants we ate at during our one day in Tallinn and I highly recommend you do the same!
Vegan Resotran V: Yes, yes it’s a vegan place but get over it because it’s so incredibly yummy that you won’t miss the meat at all. The ambiance is also so rustic and beautiful. I recommend taking a break from your sightseeing and eating here for lunch
Rataskaevu 16 or Vaike Rataskaevu 16: Rataskaevu 16 is the number one restaurant in Tallinn. We tried to make reservations the night of and our Airbnb host basically laughed hysterically. Apparently it books out weeks if not months out in advance. However, we found out they had opened another restaurant just down the street with the same menu and chef and we were able to snag a table. Every single bite at Vaike Rataskaevu 16 was perfection. Between the presentation and the bold flavors, this was one of our favorite restaurants and is hands down a must!
Walk in the towers of the medievel wall: I mean who doesn’t want to walk inside the wall of a medieval town? It’ll provide you a different vantage point of the city and the chance to take a closer look at the walls
Check out the Alexander Nevsky cathedral: This orthodox cathedral is truly impressive inside and out and is worth a stop during your sightseeing adventure!
Get a fantastic view: Check out the Viewing Point Kohtuotsa or the Patkuli Viewing Platform for some pretty breathtaking views of Tallinn
Check out the intersection of Nordic and Soviet-era influences: Tallinn is quite the interesting city with it’s Soviet past and Nordic future. You’ll see the two starkly juxtaposed in not only architectural elements but also the graffiti and artwork
Trust me, after you spend a day in Tallinn, you will be planning your return visit! There is so much to discover in this eclectic city. If you have more time in Tallinn, I suggest heading outside of the old city. You can explore some of the areas near the waterfront and the somewhat artsy/hipster-esque district of Kalamaja.
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