While living in Poland, my friends and I travelled Central Eastern Europe. One of my all time favourite cities was Tallinn, Estonia.
Things I learnt in Tallinn,
- Tallinn is teeny tinie. It is the capital and cultural hub of Estonia, but its population is only 407,947. Comparatively, the population of London is 8.5 million.
- Tallinn has a very high divorce rate, around 50% of marriages fail. For some reason, our free walking tour guide decided to tell us this right at the start of our tour. She accredited to the high divorce rate to how freezing cold the country is.
- In Estonia, it is perfectly acceptable to open a hostel in an attic above a club, that you can only access through a trapdoor above the bar. I thought we were going to be murdered.
- You can travel to Tallinn from Helsinki, Finland via ferry. Which is what me and my friends did. I am ashamed to say that I spent the first 18 years of my life never leaving Europe, but I did not know that Estonia and Finland were so close to each other.
Most importantly, I learnt that Tallinn is the coolest city in Europe.
I spent an incredible, but freezing cold, winter weekend in this beautiful city. It was mid-December, the cobbled streets were frozen, scents of cinnamon and all spice wafted from mulled wine stalls and snow was falling as I explored christmas markets covered in fairy lights.
The Old Town of Tallinn is beautifully preserved. An astounding proportion of the Medieval fortress remains and the city is intertwined with these historical architectural masterpieces. My friends and I participated in a ‘Free Walking Tour’ of Tallinn, which I highly recommend. Our tour guide was well informed, we saw heaps of the city and it was free. Win win.
My favourite section of the Old Town was the Katariina Käik, St Catherine’s Passage. It is lined with craftsman stalls and kitchy independent coffee houses. As well as this, local store owners dress in Estonian medieval clothing. A wander through Katariina Käik can send you back in time.
The cobbled streets of Tallinn
Balti Jaama Turg is another must see in Tallinn. These Russian markets are open everyday and sell everything from crockery to clothing to electronics. You will never know what you will find, it’s a hot bed eclectic pieces. Imagine used cookery books paired with cultural antiques and knock off ‘Calven Kleines’.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Russian Orthodox church found on Tompea hill.
The interior is covered in 19th century mosaics while the exterior is just sensational.
The best advice I could give for visiting Tallinn in the winter is to go with friends, explore the intricate and beautiful city, drink hot chocolate, sit in the bay window of a cafe, watch the snow fall over the Christmas market and enjoy.
PS. Bring gloves. I am not lying when I say it is very, very cold.
Thank you so much, please comment with any Baltic adventures anecdotes!