It feels like forever since I’ve done an Eat+Stay+Play guide (by the way, you can access all of the guides here) so I’m really excited to bring you this guide for Tallinn, Estonia!
First of all, I cannot believe we went to Estonia. It has such a far-and-away sound to it, doesn’t it? It’s been on our list for a while so when we decided to venture through Scandinavia, Estonia made complete sense. Like previous Eat+Stay+Play guides, you’ll get a snapshot look at the city when it comes to restaurants, lodging, and sights to see. None of my guides are meant to be all inclusive but rather a way for me to share how we approach traveling (especially international travel) and to provide tips and suggestions for planning your own trip. There are some rather dreamy photos included, too.
So let’s get started on Eat+Stay+Play: Tallinn, Estonia!
We planned for 4 days and 3 nights in Tallinn, allowing for one of our days to visit Helsinki. Some of the guidebooks recommend staying in Helsinki and taking a day trip to Tallinn, but if you enjoy Old World European charm like we do, then I can say without a doubt you want to do what we did.
Drinks along St. Catherine’s Passage (Katariina käik)
Dinner at Jahu Tanavagurmee
After a luxurious nap to combat jetlag, dress comfortably and start exploring Old Town. Get your bearings and find a spot for your first Estonian beer. We loved the cozy atmosphere of St. Catherine’s Passage and found a spot where we could watch passersby against a backdrop of ancient tombstones. There are artisan workshops with leather goods, knits, and wooden carvings to explore, too.
Walk through Old Town and just take it in. On our first night in a new city, I like to keep my camera in my bag. There will be plenty of time for photos, so just enjoy the colorful buildings, carved old doors, and cobblestone streets. Grab an easy dinner at Jahu Tanavagurmee. The pizza was some of the best we’ve had (rivaled Rome actually) but they have burgers that looked great as well. We didn’t have dinner reservations so a counter service place with a comfortable patio was ideal on our first night.
Breakfast at CRU Hotel (the staff is really friendly and also talented at making the perfect cappuccino)
Lunch at Von Krahli Baar – they have a quiet outdoor patio down a little alcove
Reservations at Rataskaevu 16 (#1 restaurant in Tallinn)
Spend the day walking through the Upper and Lower parts of Old Town. Start at Fat Margaret, a 16th century former artillery tower, and work your way to Toompea (Upper town). The tallest tower of Toompea Castle, Tall Hermann awaits you. Soviet flags once flew from Tall Hermann until they were defiantly replaced with the Estonian flag at the fall of the USSR. Nearby is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral for a taste of Russian Orthodoxy.
Dinner at Rataskaevu 16 is an absolute must. Locally sourced ingredients come together in flavor combinations that are new and exciting. Service is outstanding and the interior decor is cozy and romantic. It was one of the best multi-course meals I’ve had in Europe.
Day Trip to Helsinki, Finland
Lunch at Cafe Engel
Spend the day exploring Helsinki on foot. The Lutheran Cathedral and the National Library are worth a pop-in. Helsinki is supposed to have the finest collection of Slavic books in the world, and if you’re a book nerd like me then the library will impress you. Walk down the esplanade and end at Stockmann Department store. It’s like Finland’s Harrods and has a pretty swanky rooftop for a cocktail. For a Finnish fashion souvenir, stop into Marimekko for a brightly patterned purse or top.
Lunch at Wabadus
On your last day in Tallinn, enjoy a lazy day and a long lunch. Climb the medieval wall and gaze over the city below. Do some last minute shopping in the square from the many booths set up each day. Juniper wood is prevalent in this region so you can find some beautiful items for kitchen and home at a great price. Freedom Square is a great spot for lunch outdoors at Wabadus. The food is carefully prepared and couch-like seats make it hard to leave.
Tallinn is by far one of my favorite cities in Europe. We will definitely be returning!
Thank you for reading and sharing! Stay tuned for another Eat+Stay+Play guide for Stockholm.
Xo – Erin
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