A January 2002 trip
to Tallinn by angelsil
Quote: A look at Tallinn, Estonia, from the perspective of a young, budget traveler. Tallinn is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has not yet been trampled by tourism--see it now! This journal covers where to stay and eat and what to see, with tips on where to find cheap beer :-)
However, my most memorable moments in Tallinn were not spent in pursuit of some cultural or historical goal. The best time I had was walking the streets and enjoying the architecture and feel of the city. As Tallinn is fairly small, its no problem to walk everywhere and the atmosphere and people are so inviting I highly recommend just striking out on your own and getting lost.
Internet cafes are everywhere, so it's very easy to keep in touch with your friends and family. There are international phones readily available as well.
While Summer is the high season for Talllinn, do not be dissuaded from a visit during other times. I visited in the dead of Winter and found a beautiful city that was almost bereft of tourists. The proximity to the Baltic keeps temperatures moderate and visiting during the off-season allows you more room to breathe in the charm of the city.
For visitors who do not have a student discount card, the Tallinn Card (offered by the tourist bureau - see link above) allows free use of public transport, as well as access to the museums and discounts in restaurants and shops.
The bus station and airport are a bit out from the city. If you are arriving by plane (quite cheap from most of Europe), you will need to take a bus into the city and the buses can be quite full. A taxi ride is not terribly expensive and to be recommended. Moving on from Tallinn is quite easy: trains and buses connect the city with St. Petersburg, Moscow, and all the capitals of Eastern and Western Europe.
Accommodations are quite nice and far above the typical Eastern European hostel. Dorm rooms (six to eight bunks) and private rooms are available. The dorms are segregated by gender. The hot water is readily on tap and there is a kitchen for those who self-cater. The only downside is that Vana Tom (used to be the Barn) is a bit highly-priced for a youth hostel. However, it is far cheaper than any B&B or low-end hotel in the old city and does offer discounts for HI members and Peace Corps.
If you're looking for a cheap, clean place to stay and proximity to sites and nightlife is your main goal, this is where to stay. The average guest here is in their 20s, so it may not be appropriate for those who want to bed-down early. Also, the street noise can be a bit much as the hostel is below a popular strip club! Directly next door is a very nice Chinese restaurant that I can highly recommend.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 8, 2003
(372) 6 313 252
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 8, 2003
St. Nicholas Church
We stumbled onto this by accident on my last night in Tallinn, lured in by the pyramids in the sign. The decor is pure Egyptian kitsch and the drinks are a bit overpriced, but this bar was one of the few that wasn't full of tourists. The music was typical European techno and the crowd seemed to be young, professional Estonians out for the night.
One of the Egyptian gimmicks at Mumia is the availibility of Nargileh or Sheesha smoking from large hookahs. Being a sheesha fiend, I had to order some for my table! The reaction from the Estonian clientele was priceless and I very quickly realized that most people had not seen the hookahs in actual use. I believe we started a trend, as a few tables followed our lead and soon the whole bar was smoking apple-flavored tobacco and a good time was had by all.
The cathedral is part gift shop, part house of worship. Depending on when you visit, you may find yourself mobbed with tour groups or alone with a group of worshippers. The interior is quite impressive, but make sure to take the time to walk around the outside and enjoy the architecture - especially if you won't be going on to Russia itself. As this is an active cathedral, please be respectful. Dress appropriately and be conscious of your voice and manners.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Toompea, Upper Old Town
For fans of the band, this is a must see. For others, it's not a bad place to kick back with a beer. The drinks are reasonably priced and the snacks were tasty. The clientele seems to be a mix of curious tourists, dedicated fans, and locals who enjoy the ambience. It's located in a cellar in the old town and is very convienent to many other night-life spots.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 8, 2003
Depeche Mode Baar
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