Day trip to Tallinn – Cultural shocks and things to do

Tallinna (4 of 8)
Tallinna - Aleksanteri nevskin katedraali
Tallinna (3 of 4)

Our trip to Finland this summer also included a trip to Tallinn, Estonia. We spent our first day in Helsinki, and the next morning we jumped on a ferry that took us to Tallinn. If you are travelling to either Tallinn or Helsinki, I highly recommend visiting the other. There is a ferry that runs across the Baltic Sea, and the ride only takes about two hours. It’s also affordable – we paid 40 euros per person. This means it’s pretty much the same price as a 20-minute ferry ride from Sorrento to Capri! I’d call it a bargain. Book your ferry ride here.

However, there’s something you should know before you get on the ferry. Alcohol in Finland is very expensive, so it is very common to take the ferry to Estonia just for the purpose of buying loads of booze (and I mean loads, in its literal meaning) and getting drunk. The day was hot, so we sat on the deck the way there – and we were the only sober people. That was ok though, there was no misbehaviour, but it is a bit funny to see people getting drunk at 10 am. We, however, had more ambitious plans than just drinking, so we decided to save that for later.

The only thing you really need to see in Tallinn is the old town. The buildings are from middle ages, and the part of town is very lively: full of little shops and restaurants. It is so beautiful and cute, you are going to love it! Tallinn is ideal for a day trip as, in my opinion, there isn’t much else than the old town and the shopping centres.

Restaurant in Tallinn Old Town

Tallinn is very affordable, at least in comparison to Helsinki and London. Therefore, I’d recommend going somewhere a little nicer so that you can get great value for your money. We looked at some reviews online and ended up at Restaurant Pegasus in Tallinn Old Town. We sat outside, but the restaurant was really cool in the inside, too. The food was absolutely delicious, and the chicken in my salad was probably the best I’ve ever had. They also served homemade bread, which was so tasty that I still wish I could buy that somewhere. The service was professional and friendly, even though they forgot to bring us our starter – but because of the free bread, that was totally cool. I’d score Restaurant Pegasus 9/10.

Shopping in Tallinn

For Finns, Tallinn is an interesting shopping destination as some of the shops there are different than in Finland. In Finland, you find a lot of Scandinavian clothing stores (BikBok, Cubus, Vero Moda etc), whereas Tallinn offers a more international selection, so pretty much the same shops as in the UK, including Reserved, River Island, Stradivarius and more. As a Londoner, this isn’t particularly exciting for me, but I did notice that the sales were much better. The sales percentages were high and there were still sizes left, so I did purchase a couple of things that made it to the list of my favorite clothes right away. I also bought a little souvenir for my cousin’s new baby from a local design shop.

Sightseeing in Tallinn

There is a famous viewing platform in Tallinn old town, which has the words “The Times We Had” painted on the wall. I wasn’t too keen on queuing to get a picture with that, but other than that the viewing platform was nice. However, a more exciting thing was Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. I’m not religious, but I do enjoy visiting churches and temples on my trips because they are always so beautiful. In addition, religion plays an important role when it comes to culture, so it is an interesting travel experience to visit local religious landmarks. You are not allowed to take photos inside the cathedral, but you can still go in for free.

A less traditional but just as important sight is Super Alko. This is the ultimate destination of those Finnish booze tourists and is located right next to the port. Essentially, it’s a warehouse-like bottle shop. My British boyfriend had never seen anything like it, and described it later as “an Ikea but for booze”. We didn’t buy much from there, except for a bottle of Kyro Distillery Napue Gin, which is supposed to be one of the best gins in the world. I’m not surprised – it’s so good and I highly recommend you try it if you’re a gin fan.

Let me know if you’ve been to Tallinn and what are your best picks!

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