Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia. We love off-the-beaten-path destinations. As part of our trip to the the Northern part of Europe, we had to go Estonia for our Baltic states visit (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). This is the place we heard of fun facts like being the first country in the world to use online political voting. Did you know Estonia is the homeland of Skype, Hotmail and KaZaA, that p2p downloading website you dropped Napster for? Haha, ok, we like to know these fun facts about countries we visit! Hope you will sleep smarter tonight thanks to us!
How to get to Tallinn?
From Dubai: Best is to fly to Helsinki, then fly to Tallinn. Tallinn is only two hours away from Helsinki by ferry, a fun option!
Price Ferry Helsinki-Tallinn: We had it at €39
Booking: You can do it online or like us in an actually office https://goo.gl/maps/xeg2UTXGZd72
Read more on Ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn
We were in Helsinki, so it was inevitable to take the ferry over to Tallinn! No passport checks nothing. We took Tallink at 2pm the day before Christmas at the price of €39 each. Crazy how if we wanted to leave at 12pm, the price would’ve been €90 . It made no sense, so killing 2 hours was perfectly justified.
Best time to visit Tallinn
We visited Tallinn in December, Christmas time and it was quite cold. Although it never went below -2, there was no snow yet. Apparently in October they had a big fall of snow and since then nothing at all. We would say best time to visit during the summer, as during the winter the sun rises around 9:30 AM and goes away at 4 PM, which makes day light visiting quite limited.
Places to stay in Tallinn
Budget: Tallinn Backpackers
Mid-Range: Hotel Bern
Luxury: Savoy Boutique Hotel
There are not many major Luxury stays in Estonia. We had an eye on Hotel Palace from the Tallinn Hotels group, but they were all booked out. Lucky enough, they had room in their sister company Savoy Boutique Hotel. It was a great find, a cute classic boutique hotel with an amazing rooftop view over Old Tallinn. If these 2 hotels are booked, we heard The Three Sister’s Hotel and St. Petersburg Hotel are quite nice and Bern Hotel as well for its more budget price! Read more about our experience at the Savoy Boutique Hotel.
We usually love to AirBnB and use CouchSurfing also. In the best of all worlds, we would try all 4 options, the fourth being a hostel. We will tell you why in an upcoming article about where we like to sleep during our travels.
Since our time was limited and it was Christmas time, it was quite impossible to arrange nice CouchSurfers to meet up with. We were in the hope of getting adopted by a family and have Christmas dinner with them, how cool of a local experience that would’ve been? So we opted for Christmas Eve to stay at Tallinn Backpackers, where we were completely happy had something organized for Christmas! Not sure if our Hostel was quite chill or it was because of the holidays, but it was quite relaxed. Bed wasn’t comfy, had a sore back in the morning, that was the moment we wished Savoy had a room available for us on the 24th! (Rookie move: we ALWAYS arrange hotels late.)
Price: Around Christmas, prices for hotels we around €125/night as for the Hostel, it was around €20/person a night.
Getting around in Tallinn
By foot: Tallinn can be easily explored by foot. You can basically walk everywhere. Although with limited daylight and time to visit, for winter we recommend you to not walk all the time!
By public transportation: Buses, Trolleys, Trams all operate between 6 AM to 11 PM (some lines until 12 AM) It’s around €1, you can board via any door and don’t have to show anything to the driver. The ticket system works on a random-inspection basis, so if you don’t have a validated ticket, it’s a €40 fine.
1-day ticket (24h) – €3
3-day ticket (72h) – €5
5-day ticket (120h) – €6
By taxi: Price is different across companies, and beware, of course there are some scam ones that will charge higher. Safest bet is to tell your hotel to book one for you. From Savoy Boutique Hotel to the Bus Station, for example, it cost us 6 €. If you plan to use a taxi a lot and don’t want to bother having someone booking it for you, a lot of locals uses the app Taxify, so try it out. (Uber is there too) Tip: Each taxi’s rates are posted on a yellow sticker on the car’s right rear window.
Starting fare max: €5.50
Per-KM fare max: €1.10
By Sightseeing Bus: These have 3 routes: red, blue, and green lines. All lines will only cost you €16/day so it’s worth it.
Places to eat in Tallinn
So usually as good travellers, we should’ve done some research, but we somehow were VERY lazy for this whole trip. We decided to play it by ear and simply ask a friend from Dubai that happened to be back in her hometown! (yay). We still have few places to recommend you, thanks to lovely Heleen! Quickly, you need to go to Olde Hansa. But for the full guide? You have to read our article about Places to eat in Tallinn!
Price: You will not pay too much. The price of food is very acceptable in Estonia from our experience.
Things to do in Tallinn?
- Old Town Tallinn
- Raekoja plats (Town Square in Old Town)
- Walls of Tallinn
- Kalamaja & Telliskivi
- Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
- Kadriorg Palace
- Kadrioru park
- Seaplane Harbour
- St Olaf’s church (Go up the stairs for the view!)
- Museum of Occupations
- Kiek in de Kök
- Estonian Maritime Museum
- Pirita Convent
- Church of the Holy Ghost
- Great Coastal Gate and Fat Margaret Tower
- Estonian Open Air Museum
- Danish King’s Garden (City view from there)
Tips for Estonia
So many things to do in Tallinn, but yet just another European city. Don’t spend more than 3 days there. If you are in a rush, you could fit it all by “running around”, but to do it all we recommend at least 2 days. Do go outside of the capital and see the stunning country that is Estonia!