An April 2006 trip
to Tallinn by sararevell
Quote: After spending two days in Riga, we took a bus to Tallinn where we spent another two days running around cobbled streets. It’s a wonderful city for a short break and staying within the city’s medieval walls means you’re always a stones throw from a snug café or underground bar.
If you are in Tallinn on the weekend it’s worth making reservations for restaurants as the good ones are obviously popular and get booked up.
At certain times taxis can’t drive inside the city walls so it’s worth checking with your hotel if you need to book one.
Hotel | "Insomnia at Vana Tom"
We booked a double room, which are downstairs from the dorms, right behind the small reception area. This is where the cleaners meet to chat early in the morning, and where stag parties and late-night revelers congregate at any time between midnight and 5am. We didn’t get much sleep and our complaints to the staff went ignored. If you’re after some privacy and quiet, look elsewhere!
The shower rooms and toilet facilities were okay, but with only three showers and two toilets, they could have done with adding a few more. The kitchen area was also somewhat small and uninspiring, and had a kettle that no longer worked.
One other aspect that may be a draw, or a deterrent, is that Vana Tom is located directly below a strip club. The strip club is signposted more clearly than the hostel itself, so if in doubt, follow the signs to the "Striptiis Baar." Due to the shared stairwell, there’s a nice odour of cigarettes and urine that greets you as you enter the hostel on the second floor.
I really have no good words to say about this place. I’m sure it’s great for groups and budget travelers, but overall we were extremely disappointed, and angry with the fact that the staff had so little disregard for people who want to sleep during the night rather than during the day.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on July 28, 2006
(372) 6 313 252
Restaurant | "Hot Pots at Svejki Juures"
I ordered a pork hot pot and my husband ordered the schnitzel. After a short wait, my hot pot was delivered to the table in a camping tin, with a fork slid down the side holding the latch in place. The schnitzel looked more like a folded omelette but both meals were yummy and tummy-warming. We almost went back the following night but forced ourselves to try somewhere different for our last night out.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 20, 2006
Uus tn 25, Olevimagi 16
(372) 641 1021
Restaurant | "Italian Corner at Café Al Sole"
I had the colourful gnocchi with cherry tomatoes and goats cheese and my husband had the risotto prosciutto. We shared a smooth crème brulee and felt quite self-indulgent. We were trying to travel on a budget after all but in fact our bill, which also included one starter and three glasses of wine, only came to $36.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 20, 2006
Cafe Al Sole
Tallinn, Estonia 10140
(372) 6117 617
Restaurant | "Pizza with a View at Fellini"
Despite the upscale feel, two pizzas, one wine, and one beer came to $31, and we had a great view.
Fellini Italian Club Restaurant
372 6 314 775
Restaurant | "Coffee and Cake at Kehrweider"
You can sit at the back by the glowing service bar or duck through to one of the other rooms that overlook Raekoja Plats, where you get a feets-eye view of people as they scuttle across the cobbles of Tallinn’s main square.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 20, 2006
372 555 474 36
Restaurant | "Tallinn's Own: Reval Cafe"
Attraction | "Down with Imperial Red at Kuku"
It was early evening and we stole the last booth. Almost every minute someone would walk around looking for the next person to leave, giving me the impression that this place is a popular night spot. The food menu didn’t appeal to us so we only stopped in for one drink, a pint of Estonia’s very own Imperial Red.
Kuku Klubi (Kuku Art Club)
Vabaduse Valjak 8
Tallinn, Estonia 10146
The bus and walking tour departed from the Sokos Hotel Viru in a "Reisi Ekspert" minibus. We drove around for an hour, stopping off at the song bowl on the way to Pirita and back. Our guide, who spoke excellent English, couldn’t have had less enthusiasm for her subject matter if she tried. Both my husband and myself felt like the bus part was a waste of time, tacked on in order to justify the exorbitant tour price.
The bus dropped us off at the Aleksander Nevsky Cathedral in Toompea where our grouchy guide decided to cut the walking hour down to half an hour. Not that we were sad to leave her company early but the whole tour seemed a bit of a joke and we learnt little. The one advantage is that the tour’s shortcomings prompted us to visit the excellent City Museum the following day. The tour ended at the Town Hall Square.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on July 20, 2006
Attraction | "The Hidden Door of Levist Valijas"
This underground cavern is dark and dingy, just like the pessimistic bartender on duty that night, but it’s a cool place to hang out and drink cheap beer. It was quiet that night and the bartender told us about how people in Estonia generally can’t afford to go out very much. He certainly didn’t seem too impressed with the general economic situation and complained about the neighbours (residents) above the bar who put an end to live bands and DJs playing at the bar. It did seem a shame. Levist Valijas looks like the sort of place where struggling musicians should be discovered.
Attraction | "Tallinn City Museum"
The lower levels of the museum, which used to be a merchant’s house, start with Tallinn’s trading history, and as you work your way up the floors, you learn about Tallinn’s rich history and independence struggles with the Germany, Sweden, and of course, the former Soviet Union. The displays are impressive and eye-catching, and some are interactive. There was also a thoughtful (but possibly temporary) top floor exhibit about Islam and Tallinn’s Muslim community and connections with the Muslim world.
It’s definitely worth spending an hour or two here if you want a good history lesson. It gives great insight into Tallinn and the development of the Baltic trading industry in general.
Tallinn City Museum (Tallinna Linnamuuseum)
Vene Street 17
Tallinn, Estonia 10123
+372 (2) 644 6553
London, United Kingdom