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How To Spend a Weekend in Tallinn

How To Spend a Weekend in Tallinn
July 16
08:00 2015

Even though Tallinn has only recently emerged from 50 years of Soviet rule, the city has still managed to retain plenty of character and charm, offering a blend of both modern and medieval influences. Boasting a picturesque Old Town, narrow streets and hidden courtyard gardens, Tallinn makes for a really enjoyable city break and is easily explorable on foot in just a day or two. Summer is a lovely time to visit, when the café culture is well and truly alive and you can sit outside on the pavements watching the world go by. It has a fascinating history too, having been occupied for most of its history by one nation or another. Conquered by the Danes, the Swedes, the Russians, the Nazis and the Soviets, Tallinn only properly gained independence in 1991.

Tallinn Estonia

If you’re thinking of planning a city break to Estonia’s capital, this travel guide contains everything you need to know about how to spend a weekend in Tallinn.

What to See

First of all, take in the views from the Patulki viewing platform on the north side of Toompea Hill. When you climb up the stairs from Nunne street, there’s a mural saying “Save the Camera Honey, Enjoy the View”, which is ironic since most tourists then proceed to take a photo of it! From this vantage point, you can enjoy an incredible panorama of the fairytale town wall and towers, St. Olav’s church and the harbour.

After that, make a beeline for the main square, Raekoja Plats, which is surrounded by restaurants with outdoor seating areas so you can sit and enjoy the atmosphere of the Old Town.

From there, it’s definitely worth taking a walk outside the Old Town to visit Tallinn’s spookiest attraction – the abandoned Soviet prison. Costing €3 to enter, the notorious Patarei Vanglamuuseum has been left just as it was when it was closed down in 2004. There are no audio guides, no ropes to cordon off the areas, just eerie corridors and darkened rooms. Although it’s weirdly been renamed a ‘culture park’, there’s nothing pleasant about this place and it’s not for the faint hearted!

Where To Eat

Without a doubt the must-visit restaurant in Tallinn is Olde Hansa. It may be more popular with tourists than locals but it’s an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Housed in a former merchant’s house, the restaurant has a medieval theme, with live period-style music, long wooden banquet tables lit with candles and staff dressed in medieval costumes. Set over three floors, you feel like you’ve been transported back in time to another world. The honey beer is the best beer in Tallinn and is served in big clay jugs, while the ‘Monk’s Bride’ house schnapps is also worth a try. The recommended dish is game.

Whether you’re a vegan or not, Vegan Restoran in Tallinn serves fresh and beautifully presented food in an elegant setting. Try the pumpkin and cashew nut curry served with basmati rice and wakame salad, followed by the raspberry cashew crème with ginger apple chips for dessert.

Vegan Restaurant

If you need to grab lunch on the go, pick up a pie from the teensy-weensy ‘Ill Draakon’ pie shop, tucked under the town hall in the main square. With buttery, flaky pastry and a variety of delicious fillings, these pies are so moreish you might want to pick up two or three. At just €1.50 each, the wild elk & boar pies won’t exactly break the bank! If you prefer to rest for a while you can sit at a table – just remember to clear away your plates after.

For a good cup of coffee and a piece of homemade cake, visit Tallinn’s oldest coffee shop, Maiasmokk Café, which has been in the same location since 1864.

Nightlife

Tallinn has a buzzing nightlife scene and is popular for weekend breaks and stag or hen weekends. Things are a bit quieter in the week but really get going at weekends, when everyone comes out to play. DM Bar is quite the novelty, as the bar pays homage to the 1980’s band Depeche Mode. You might not be able to list any of their songs by title, but if there’s one lyric you’ll recognize, it’s “I just can’t get enough”.

Hell Hunt is a large and popular bar with a wide selection of beers and cocktails, while Shooters is a hit with backpackers thanks to its 5 shots for €5.50 offer. Another novelty bar is ‘Labor Baar’ (Laboratory Bar), where shots are served in test tubes. If you fancy partying into the early hours, most people head to Club Hollywood to hit the dance floor.

About Author

Pommie Travels

Pommie Travels

Victoria is the author of the award winning solo female travel blog Pommie Travels. After graduating from university in 2008, she decided to pack her bags to travel the world, and in doing so, stumbled upon a career in travel writing. Since then she has visited over 45 countries and loves to inspire others to see the world through photography, video and social media.

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