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Tallinn, Estonia: Not Your Average European Destination

Updated on August 6, 2013

Tallinn, Estonia

View of Tallinn, Estonia from ferry crossing from Helsinki, Finland.
View of Tallinn, Estonia from ferry crossing from Helsinki, Finland.

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Why Visit Tallinn?

While most people dream of seeing the Eiffel Tower or London Bridge, my European travels landed me in Helsinki, Finland where one of my good friends was staying for the summer. Due to the high cost of living in Finland, many Fins take the ferry to Estonia to purchase alcohol. Aside from cheap booze, the port city of Tallinn also offers all the sights, tastes, and sounds of a vibrant, old European city.

Tallinn, Estonia

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Tallinn, Estonia
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Map of Old Town

Local map of Old Town in Tallinn, Estonia.
Local map of Old Town in Tallinn, Estonia.

Old Town

  • Tallinn was the first old European city I ever visited and when I entered the uneven cobble stoned streets of the city center that had changed little over the past few hundred years it felt like stepping into a fairy tale.
  • The information center is a great resource!! They have resources on guided tours which I highly recommend. Our tour guide was so animated and knowledgeable I was not the least bit bored once. She told us the entire history of the Estonian fight for independence against the Russians including the time that the Estonians faked surrender, got the Russians drunk, and defeated them in the night.

Central Square

Tallinn, Estonia central square
Tallinn, Estonia central square

Eating Soup at Ill Drakon

III Draakon Tallinn, Estonia
III Draakon Tallinn, Estonia

Pie from Ill Draakon

III Draakon Tallinn, Estonia
III Draakon Tallinn, Estonia

Things to Eat- III Draakon

  • My favorite thing about the food was the prices!! So affordable and still phenomenal! One great place is III Drakon. As soon as you enter you feel like you're a character from Game of Thrones entering a tavern at King's Landing.
  • The soup, pie, and ale were all excellent! There is one important catch! If you want sliver ware, be prepared to sing. The barmaid behind the counter won't hand any over until you give her a little diddy in your native language. It sure makes waiting in line a lot more exciting!!
  • The atmosphere is cozy and quaint. There is no electricity inside. Everything is lit by candles and served in clay pots and mugs.

St. Olaf's

St. Olaf's Church Tallinn, Estonia
St. Olaf's Church Tallinn, Estonia

Things to Do-St. Olaf's Church

  • St. Olaf's is the tallest building in Tallinn. It is actually a city ordinance that every other buildings must be shorter.
  • There is an old, wooden staircase that leads to the top. It's quite the walk but worth the view at the top. You will notice as you peruse the walkway at the top that there are padlocks placed on the railing. In several eastern European countries it is tradition for a couple to place one somewhere in the city to symbolize their love.

View of City

Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn, Estonia

Hostel Dancing Eesti

Dancing Eesti Hostel, Tallinn, Estonia
Dancing Eesti Hostel, Tallinn, Estonia

Where to Stay- Dancing Eesti

  • When traveling in Europe, the hostel is your friend. In Tallinn, the Dancing Eesti is a great choice. The staff are friendly and helpful.
  • The rooms and bathrooms were clean.
  • There was also a great little bar attached to the hostel where you can grab a quick drink before a night on the town!!

Menu from Maiasmokk Kohvik

Menu from Maiasmokk Kohvik, a local cafe in Tallinn Estonia
Menu from Maiasmokk Kohvik, a local cafe in Tallinn Estonia

Still Hungry?- Maiasmokk Kohvik

  • Like I said, the food in Tallinn was incredible. Maiasmokk is a great little cafe where you can sit outside and enjoy a nice meal.
  • As you can see from the menu, delicious can still be affordable.
  • Make sure you get dessert! This berry dish is soaked in an Estonian liqueur called Vana Tallinn that I became quite fond of during my time in the country.

Dessert at Maiasmokk Kohvik

Dessert dish from Maiasmokk Kohvik in Talinn, Estonia
Dessert dish from Maiasmokk Kohvik in Talinn, Estonia

Tallinn Highlights

  • See the market in Old Town
  • Eat at Ill Draakon
  • Stay at Dancing Eesti
  • Climb St. Olaf's
  • Dessert at Maiasmokk

How to Dress- The Weather

  • I visited Tallinn in July and the weather was lovely!!
  • Estonia is located at a fairly high altitude so the climate in general is cool. Summer is the most popular time for tourists and lasts from May until September. Highs rarely reach 70°F. There is a decent amount of rain so bring an umbrella.
  • Also, due to the altitude, during the summer there are more hours of daylight.
  • During the winter, there are fewer hours of daylight and eventually the highs are rarely above 41°F.

Architecture in Tallinn

Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn, Estonia


While you may have never even heard of Tallinn before if you're not up on your world geography, I hope I have convinced you to add it to your list of travel destinations. You will not be disappointed, and your wallet won't be either!!!


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    • brenda12lynette profile image

      brenda12lynette 4 years ago from Utah

      Thanks ChitrangadaSharan for you comment!! I hope you get to visit Tallinn one day!!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for the travel guide to Tallinn-Estonia!

      I have been to Europe, but not this one. Your detailed description and interesting facts will be a great guide to people, who want to visit the place, including me.

      Thanks for sharing this interesting hub!