Estonia is the cheapest of the Baltic countries and when compared with nearby Helsinki, it comes less than half the price. That's why in summer so many Finns flock to the ferry terminal in Helsinki's harbour on Friday evenings or Saturday mornings to take one of the regular ferries across the Baltic. The convenient 5pm trip every Friday on the 'Wasa Queen', operated by the Silja Line is usually invaded by Finns who come over to Tallinn for a drinking spree on Friday night and cheap shopping on Saturday morning.
There's nowhere cheaper in Tallinn than the Keskturg. Located on Lastekodu tanav and reached from the city centre in less than 10 minutes by Tram 2 or 4, it is a daily outdoor central market which is always crowded with locals who come here from all surrounding areas. It is mostly a paradise of food stalls which specialize in fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, dairy products, pastries and more. There's also a wide range of clothes, shoes and bags for sale; you'll not find however, the designer fashion clothing you may be looking for. Even if you do not intend to buy, come here at least once, push yourself against the bustling crowds between rows of market stalls and see how the locals bargain to get their money's worth. There are also two other similar but smaller markets not far away from the city centre: the indoor Kadaga market and the Balti Jaama Turg, next to the railway station.
Don't think that shopping in Tallinn is limited to markets only. Since the fall of Communism, numerous department stores, fashion boutiques and beauty parlours have emerged everywhere and made shopping more fun. Tallinna Kaubamaja at Gonsiori 2 occupying a whole block in the new city centre behind the high-rise Viru Hotel is a big department store keeping with West European standards, while the excellent Stockmann at Liivalaia 53 near Hotel Olympia renowned for its wide range of imported products compares well with Helsinki's Stockmann, though prices are much cheaper.
If you are looking for something special with the touch of Estonia to take back home, visit one of the numerous shops that line the streets of the Old Town, particularly those along Vene, Viru and Harju streets. The top place to go for designer clothes and handmade garments is Demini, the beautiful four-storey corner building at Viru 1. With three full floors displaying the widest range of designer fashion clothing in Estonia, Demini Shopping Gallery opens 7 days a week with shorter hours on Sunday. Likewise, Max Mara at Harju 6 is another fashion boutique which specializes in Estonian hand-knitted garments and handmade suits. To complement Max Mara's fashion, the nearby Dolores beauty parlour at Harju 3 offers the widest range of natural cosmetics and mineral beauty products in Tallinn.
For Estonian handicrafts, ceramic souvenirs and leather products, Uljas ja Tutred on the Old Town square and Rewill at Vene 7 are the best places to go. You even have the opportunity to see how Estonian handicrafts are manufactured if you visit the small factory shop Teasponi Pesupood at Muurivahe 52/54. Decorative glass, crystal and fine porcelain, all imported but inexpensive by Western standards are sold at Luumera at Viru street 24. Susanna at Dunkri street 5 sells similar products.
Tallinn's alcohol and liqueur shops are a haven for those seeking top-quality vodka and local or imported wine and beer. There are many shops selling alcoholic drinks and tobacco products both in the Old Town and outside. Near the Old Town square, Ararat at Suur-Karja 17/19 and Alkoholimyymala at Suur-Karja 2 have the widest range of alcoholic drinks in Tallinn. Try Davai or Ulemiste Vodka, both made in Estonia and much cheaper than the widely available range of Dovgan Classic Russian Vodka. Or why don't you buy a bottle of grapefruit or peach gin, so unusual and yet so refreshing when chilled? If you want something lighter, there's a wide range of local beers from which to choose; however, they’re not as light as you may think. The 2 picks are unarguably the blue-canned Saku or the red-canned Koff lager. If you really want to go back home with a taste of Old Tallinn, don't leave before buying a bottle of 'Wana Tallinna', a local liqueur with a high alcohol content.
Enjoy Tallinn's wonderful shopping scene!