Visiting Tallinn

View on Tallinn from the ship

This week we visited Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. As we are leaving Finland soon behind my wife wanted to travel together with her friends from her very early days in this country. They quickly decided on Tallinn as it just 2 1/2 hours away by ship from Helsinki and furthermore so much more interesting than any Finnish town we know.

We had visited the city before many times however for this trip we wanted a more relaxed atmosphere and decided to stay one night in a hotel. We arrived at Tallinn harbour at around 11am and went straight on towards the Old Town to check in our hotel. This hotel was something special for us as it is a historical building construced in 1437, full of small corridors, an amazing layout and you basically feel like in some old castle.

Being pushed around my tourists

The first day we just spent walking around, finding nice restaurants, a cafe to relax and most importantly for us guys, buying drinks and watching the World Cup at night. Even though I had been so often in this city I saw so many more sights I had never seen before. Sadky, due to utter laziness I forgot my camera in the hotel room and could not take any pictures of those (for me new) interesting areas of the old town.

After a not so relaxing night, full of creaking floors, stairs, music and crying babies we started our shopping tour through the new inner city. I believe that this was the best day for the women and the worst day for us guys. I do not remember how many hours we spent in the shopping malls but I do know that one can get very bored sitting in front of a shop and waiting for the better half to come out. Towards the end we still had some drama coming  up as we went (thanks to me) to the wrong ship terminal and had to run to the other one, arriving just in time before the gates were closing.

Happy people after eating Thai food

Last year we visiting Tallinn together with my in-laws during summer. Besides that they were amazed why everything was so much cheaper than in Finland they also wondered why there were so many old buildings. “In China something as old as this gets torn down and a beautiful new apartment block is constructed!” – You just go to love those apartment complexes in Chinese cities, enhancing together with the smog the overall beauty.

Here are some links for more information:


St. Olav Hotel

Tallinn Historic Centre

P.S. Old buildings are really noisy, you hear each step taken around you due to the old wooden floor, stairs are creaking non-stop, and you wont get any sleep if there is a baby crying next door however it is still worth the experience



18 thoughts on “Visiting Tallinn”

    1. Tallinn is really worth a visit. The Old Town has much to offer when it comes to sights and food! Besides that you can go around the newer areas which also have some nice stuff for example the Hotel Viro (highest building there) has a programm explaining how the KBG spied on the guests during Soviet time 🙂

      I honestly believe that Tallinn is the more interesting city to visit compared to Helsinki. However in helsinki city center you got all the buildings which were build during the Russian Empire Era resulting that it looks like St. Petersburg a bit

  1. Nice post! I’ve never been to Tallin but I guess it is just a matter of time before i visit it. It does look nice according to your pics. Anyway I guess traveling with toddlers is always a bit stressful, isn’t it? With or without old noisy buildings 😉

    1. It is really nice place to visit. The problem was not our little baby for us but from our friends the 1 1/2 year old girl who can be really noisy during the nights. Anyways, I can only recommend staying in such a old hotel at least once, its pretty interesting 🙂

  2. You still managed to get some decent photos after leaving your camera in your hotel room for one day, lol. It’s good to hear that you enjoyed the trip even though you got bumped around by tourists and was dragged along to the shops with your wife and her friends. You are a nice guy. Rarely do I make time for shopping, especially for clothes, on a holiday unless things are really cheap. And if I do go shopping on a holiday, it usually is for a couple of hours – and I always like to get something for the people back home too 🙂

    1. They all wanted to go shopping because it is so much cheaper than in Finland (often only half price up to 1/ 10 even though Estonia is also in the European Union and just a coiple of hours away…).
      I really wonder how many hours I was sitting around in front of those shops, killing time by observing all the different people.

      1. I am more a person who really hates shopping except of pet stores…I dont know why but I really love checking on aquarium stuff however there was no store nearby so I was stucked with sitting around 🙂

    1. Yes, Tallinn is a very beautiful city. I was there first time in 1995/1996 and it looked completly different (at least what I remember). Everything was still pretty much in ruins, no modern buildings, the old town hanging in pieces but they did a very good job over the years 🙂

    1. It is really a great place. In case I go there again this summer I will try to find even more places to explore. The Old Town is really amazing with all its historical buildings

  3. There is a difference between just “old” and “historic.” I grew up in Manila and I’m hearing that “historic” buildings are being torn down. That is not unusual in a developing country, which is often so anxious for “progress” that “historic” loses value. Only later do they regret that preservation was not considered, such as renovation of interior rather a new build, even if renovation is more expensive.

    1. I am a bit slow today. So did they tore down real historic buildings or just old ones (lets say build after 1920)?
      For example my in-laws meant buildings from before 1600AD, so these were not just old but had real historical value. Because of this mentality they were even surprised about our 100+year old wooden lodge which I think is not even that old…

      1. Much of Manila was destroyed during WW2, despite overall commander Army Gen. Yamashita declaring it an “open city” as he retreated to a prepared defense in the north. His subordinate, a naval officer, increased the garrison with naval forces (marines) and made a “hold at all costs” defense. Many “historic” pre-war buildings were reduced to rubbble.

        In the U.S., anything over 50 years is presumed to be possibly “historic and cannot be altered or demolished until the state historic preservation agency has looked at it and determined historical value. If determined “historic” then there are strict guidelines for alteration. Generally, the completed alteration must be consistent with architectural style of the era in which the building was initially built.

        In the U.S., the “historic” designation has been applied to entire “old city’ downtown areas. Examples are Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. The French Quarter in New Orleans is a historic district, even though some buildings are pretty shabby or ordinary looking. Outside New Orleans, many Civil War era plantations are historic and protected, which possibly would not be needed since they bring in lots of tourists for tours.

        The Philippines did not adopt a similar preservation approach until fairly recently. Here’s an article on that:

      2. Thanks for the article. This is pretty interesting and it reminded me on something else. I realized that in Germany many historical buildings get still torn down, sure they are not some huge mansions or similar, just simple houses in the inner cities with perhaps 200years or more of history but they all have something in common: they are in a very bad condition and they are in the way of some new projects…
        So I believe unless something is not in the UNESCO list, they still can get demolished when people with enough influence want them gone.

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