Tuesday, February 26, 2013

tallinn, estonia.

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, lies on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, only 40-ish miles south of Helsinki, Finland and easily accessible by ferry.  I spent a few weeks in Scandinavia this summer and was quite taken with Tallinn, one of the smallest European (and medieval) cities.

Stay.  Merchants House Hotel, small complex of 14th and 16th century buildings with rooms all looking in on the central courtyard. The historic buildings contrasts nicely with the luxurious designer interiors 

Do: Spend some time in Kadriorg, a large, forested park with paths to the Baroque Kadriorg Palace, the Presidential Palace and several museums. The cutting-edge design of the spectacular Kumu museum provides persuasive juxtaposition from the cobblestone streets of Old Town.

Drink. Hell Hunt, which is arguable the first Estonian pub.  Despite the name, the bar actually means, “tender wolf” or sheep in wolfs clothing as I like to think.  It has cold drinks, a good terrace and decent prices; the European trifecta, no?  

Eat.  F-Hoone, all things considered, it’s a pretty chic menu in an industrial setting amidst a medieval city.  Located in Kalamaja a very groovy little neighborhood, it is worth the venture.  Check in with the staff as this place also hosts parties.

Drink more.  Levist Väljas, known as “The Black Hole” is a magnet for trouble so naturally I sniffed this out from the get-go. It's a dive and I am probably three to five years too old to go there, but that doesn't stop me.  Its basically the go-to for last call so you can pass out with a flourish and a big ending.

Tallinn is internationally recognized for their ornate wooden doors.  The most photographed door in Tallinn is a 1640 bright red, green and gold door which is located at Pikk 26; it’s the door belonging to the historic home of the Brotherhood of Black Heads.  I personally was not impressed with that famous door, but enamored generally with the recognized door artistry.

Shop.  Rotermann Quarter is a downtown shopping area with clothing boutiques, department stores and restaurants. It's situated between Viru Keskus, Tallinn port and the Old Town.  This is worth a trip if you are looking for a modernized shopping experience separate and apart from Old City.

Shop more.  Viru street in the Old City and its side streets offer a wide mix of shopping, including some obvious tourist traps.  I found a small shop on a side street, which I cannot find the name of, that specialized in intricate wool capes.  Tallinn has a pretty enthusiastic cape culture for lack of a better term, but off the beaten path, and for a bit more of an investment, the individual artisans are creating some truly amazing capes.  I will add a photo of mine here ASAP. 

Fun Fact: To help it regain its sovereignty in 1991, Estonia staged a Singing Revolution. 

Need help planning your trip?  Check out these guys.


  1. great trip loved it , love your blog

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