For the second day we had booked ferry tickets to Tallinn. Most popular companies are Viking Line or Tallink Silja Line. Eckerö Line is also an option, but in my experience it tends to be more expensive than the first two. We were booking just one day before, so the evening return on Viking Line was already fully booked, so we picked up Tallink. Both companies are equally good, so the main difference is the schedule. We took the 10:30 departure and 22:30 return. If you just want to see the Tallinn Old City and have lunch somewhere, the 19:30 return would’ve been an even better option, but we wanted to have dinner in Tallinn, which is something I try to do every time I visit, because Tallinn has some really awesome fine dining restaurants, but the prices are almost half of what you’d have to pay in Finland.
We booked tickets online and despite booking almost at the last minute, the return trip cost only 20€ per person. The ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn was a very new and modern with nice seating, but the ferry back was rather old and dated. No difference in travel time though, only in comfort. There are cafes and shopping available on the ferry, but we chatted and read books for the two hours it took to get to Tallinn.
I have written down the places I wanted us to see in Tallinn and when you place them on Google Maps, you can see that everything is really close to each other. In my opinion you can just head to the Tallinn Old Town and walk around there without any specific plan and it is likely that you will see all the sights anyway. 🙂
I had the following locations on my list:
- Oleviste kirik (St. Olaf’s Church)
- Kompressor pancake cafe
- Kohtuotsa viewing platform
- Patkuli viewing platform
- Tallinna toomkirik (St. Mary’s Cathedral)
- Aleksander Nevski katedraal (Alexander Nevsky Cathedral)
- Raekoja plats (Town Hall Square)
- Katariina käik (St. Catherine’s Passage)
- Telliskivi creative city
- Mix Restaurant
The Tallinn old town is located approximately 1,5km walk from the harbor. You can also take a taxi, but remember to check prices beforehand. We walked to the old town and roamed around a little bit before heading to a pancake cafe called Kompressor.
At Kompressor we had to wait for maybe 15-20 min for some people to leave and we seated ourselves at the table. You order and pay at the bar and the service wasn’t great. The upside is that the pancakes (they serve savory and sweet) were all great, very filling, and amazing value for the price. The downside was the service (or lack thereof) and that we actually needed to wait for our pancakes something like 45 minutes. We had time, so that wasn’t an issue, but we really wanted to eat as soon as possible, so we would get hungry again by the time we needed to have dinner. We failed spectacularly as the service was ver slow, but we also underestimated the sheer size of pancakes and were still quite full by the time we headed to a restaurant. 😀
After lunch we headed back to explore the rest of the old town. It is very picturesque and we got lucky with a rather nice day and sunny weather.
We descended the stairs from Patkuli viewing platform and headed towards Telliskivi creative city, which is an area outside of old town. Quite easy to find and not a long walk from the old town. It has developed in recent years and has a lot of restaurants, cafes, and shops. Of course this being the Midsummer, almost everything was closed, but I have to visit this place again at some point, because it looked really cool.
After Telliskivi, we headed back to old town and saw the Town Hall Square and roamed a bit around the city trying to find Katariina käik, which I thought was a church, but it turned out to be a passage (St. Catherine’s Passage). So we found it, we just didn’t know it. 😀
Near the old town walls there is a street filled with flower stalls and I almost always buy roses there as they are so beautiful and cost much less than in Finland. This time I bought beautiful yellow roses, but the seller was somewhat grumpy and didn’t even wrap flowers in wet tissue (I had to do that later myself).
After this, we headed to a restaurant called Mix. I have been in a restaurant called Kaks Kokka before and a friend of mine has just visited a restaurant called Kolm Sibulat, which she raved about and I really wanted to go to either one of them, but both of them were closed. When I have friends over, I usually like to go to restaurants which I’ve visited before and thus know that we’re going to get good food. This time we had to improvise and chose Restaurant Mix somewhat at random (we looked at nearby restaurants on Tripadvisor and our first choice was full). The restaurant was really good! My friends were so full that they opted just for appetizers, soup, and dessert, but I had to try everything even though I wasn’t that hungry. I must say it was worth it! 🙂 The service was also very nice.
After the lovely dinner, we headed back to the boat and midway back it started to rain. So we didn’t manage to escape the rain altogether, but at least we were already on our way back. The boat left a bit ahead of schedule and I must admit that I snoozed with my head on the table almost all the way back. At the end of the trip my friend complained about some jerks, who watched YouTube videos the entire two hours with volume on and I had blissfully missed the entire thing because I was wearing my noise-cancelling headphones and was listening to music. Apparently this “watching things on my phone with volume on” is a thing nowadays. I keep running into it all the time and it’s not just exasperated parents trying to placate their kids, but people of all ages. So yeah, noise-cancelling headphones is the money extremely well spent for me and are warmly recommended. I’ve had mine for two months now and I never leave the house without them anymore.
So, of course our trip to Tallinn was just scratching the surface of Estonia, but it is totally doable in a day. Tallinn has enough of nice hotels and restaurants at reasonable prices (especially compared to Finland), so if you want to stay longer, it is advisable. 🙂
On Monday I had a small dental surgery and my friends visited the Suomenlinna fortress located on an island just outside on Helsinki, so I don’t have pics of it, but it is a nice place and I recommend visiting it. Unless it’s winter. If it’s winter, stay away as you will freeze to death. It’s super windy there and combined with low temperatures, it is really not a great place. 🙂
We met up later in the afternoon and had ice creams at Magnum Pleasure Store.
After that I took my friends to visit the Teurastamo area, which is an old slaughterhouse area, which now has restaurants, shops and acts as an are for different fairs and street food events. There we had late lunch outside on a terrace from Ho’s Food, which serves Chinese street food and finished with artisanal ice creams from Jädelino. As it was Monday during working hours Teurastamo was unusually quiet. I have visited it before only during lunch hours or in the evening and there has been much more people there.
After Teurastamo we headed back to the city center, picked up my friends’ suitcases, and I walked the to the airport train. We saw the train arrive, got in, and I just heard the last of the announcement that the train will be split in half and only the first part of the train will continue to the airport. I just managed to tell my friends that we need to get out, but then we noticed that us and two other people were locked in. So I got to press the “Help” button in the car and talk to the driver that he needs to come and let us out. He said that he’d be there in a minute and when he came, he grumbled about reading the announcement six times and still somebody managed to get locked in. 😀 But all is well that ends well and my friends boarded the correct train for the airport and the long weekend was over.