Just returned from Tallinn and what can I say? I have a new favourite city. I have travelled quite a bit and I don’t give this opinion lightly. Tallinn has to be the most beautiful city I have ever laid eyes on. I absolutely loved it! I am telling everyone I know to go. It was like stepping back into another time and I just couldn’t believe how much of the old city there was. My old favourite was Prague but Tallinn has knocked the competition to the floor. I cannot believe more people don’t know about Tallinn. In fact it was only because Ryanair had cheap flights I went and I am so glad that I did. I ll give my review of Tallinn under a few sub headings.
This has to be one of the most fantastic places I have ever visited in my life. The free copy of The Old Tallinn map and guide was brilliant. I explored the old city in one day. Also it is possible to hire a bike when you are there. I personally think it’s a city much more suited to walking. I wouldn’t have liked to have done a hop on/hop off tour as I feel you’d be missing out on the great sites you see when you are walking.Plus nothing is that far away. I pretty much walked non stop and quite fast as well (an excellent calorie burner especially with the cobble stones :-). I reckon you could do it more casually over two days and if you take lots of breaks. I however was determined to see everything I wanted before Helsinki and have time left over to revisit anything I wanted to. I will write a separate review for tips for the Helsinki trip You can take it as slowly or as quickly as you want to. Churches, museums, restaurant, cafes, great sites the old town has it all
Outside the Old town.
On my last day I did a bit of exploring outside the old town. The focus was more on the old town rather than the new one but still I was curious. I went to the Estonian museum where to my amusement statues of old soviet leaders such as Stalin and Lenin were dumped out the back. Lenin was at least standing though poor Stalin was on his side much to the amusement of the woman running the museum. I think they are planning on making behind the museum into a park but it was rather ironic to see how these mighty figures had fallen (literally) :-) I also went to Pirita beach and harbour. That was beautiful. I attempted to go to Bocca Al Mare open air museum but at this stage I was exhausted having walked all day Wednesday in Tallinn and all day Thursday in Helsinki. I ended up paying the shopping centre a visit instead as I didn’t trust my legs to take me back to get the bus. I also took a tram out to see the suburbs as by that stage my feet were giving up the ghost. I ll be back to do what I missed.
Restaurants and eating out
Some lovely places to eat out absolutely no excuse for a Mac Donolds.Tallinn isn’t a particularly cheap place to eat and drink I hadn’t realised this before I came but if you search well you can find some bargains in really nice places. Obviously if you eat in the square it will cost you more. Still cheaper than Ireland. Here are some of the few we visited starting with the best,
Ukrainian restaurant located on Vene road. Food was absolutely delicious and not too expensive. Blink and you’d miss it unfortunately so it was rather quiet. They need to make it more obvious they are there. That was until the dancing started. Amazing Ukrainian dancing. Really fantastic atmosphere, lovely and quaint. The staff were excellent and I loved hearing the Ukranian music. Their website is www.kumanets.ee. It was my absolute favourite place by a mile and I must write a separate review for it.
I know they are a chain but everything I had there was lovely. Great cakes, coffees. A good place for lunches as well. Quite good value as well.
Fish and Wine.
I liked this place. This recommended to me by a business man on the plane. The Estonians seem to very in to their wine (and so are we). I am not really into fish but there are alternatives on the menu. Wines were beautiful. The food (I had the steak) was beautifully presented. A touch on the small side portion-wise but that was fine.
Normally I wouldn’t dream of going into an Irish bar abroad but my travelling companion had me in a corner. Plus we compromised with sitting outdoors so I did get a good view of the square. The menu was not the same as the one indoors a bit more expensive (understandably) and not as much variety which was a little disappointing. I had the Irish stew which had barely more than a small mouthful of meat in it and lots of potato. It was ok but I got my way about going to the Ukrainian place the next night so I was happy.
Like Molly Malones beautiful location. The food was ok. I ordered pork chops and mash and got wedges instead of mash. The cakes looked nice. It was one of our more expensive meals plus they didn’t have many of the wines in stock.
Any where accessed on the hop on/hop off tour can be easily accessed by public transport so don’t feel you are missing out. The bus/tram system is efficient and easy to use.
We stayed in the St Barbara. Fantastic location and staff super helpful. Rave review to follow from this.
Overall a fantastic break away and I will be raving about Tallinn to everyone I meet for years to come. Go there and see for yourself!Edited: 21 August 2011, 21:28