Has anyone been to Tallinn, Estonia?

Oct 25th, 2003, 12:54 PM
  #1  
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Has anyone been to Tallinn, Estonia?

Hi,

A friend has asked me to accompany him to Tallinn for a week in May,2004. Does anyone have experience in visiting this city?

Thank you,

==Mike
mendota98 is offline  
Oct 25th, 2003, 01:30 PM
  #2  
 
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A good few years ago now, since when (and especially since Estonia won the Eurovision Song Contest) it has (by all accounts) become a rather chic place for a long weekend. A perfect Hanseatic Old Town on top of a hill (rather like a mini Prague), surrounded by what was then a rather drab and still evidently Soviet city. Already popular with weekending Finns (the languages are very similar), the city itself offered plenty of picturesque and historic things to see for several days, but there are also beaches and countryside that are apparently worth a visit.
PatrickLondon is online now  
Oct 25th, 2003, 01:42 PM
  #3  
hsv
 
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Mike,

I happen to have been there a couple of times. Tallinn has a very charming and well preserved Old Town. Living quality for foreigners is superb. You are likely to be pleased and I encourage you to accompany your friend to the area. Maybe you can fit in a side visit to Riga (highly recommended) with a stopover in the seaside resort town of Pärnu?
I have also posted on this subject here on Fodors.
May I refer you to (only) one thread on this subject?

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=2

There are several other threads.
If you do a text search with "Tallin" or "Tallinn" (which is the correct spelling by the way), you will find several other posts.

Fellow Fodorite Elina (who appears to be living across the sea in Finland also usually has excellent advice on the area. If you are lucky, she might pop in on this.

Maybe you want to give us some more details about your oncoming trip- I will gladly help you to my best ability.

In the meantime, I suggest you check the (probably by now famous) website of

www.inyourpocket.com

for some excellent in- depth information on Estonia, Tallinn, restaurants, hotels, what to do, sights, addresses etc. in a very comprehensive and entertaining fashion.

Cheers for now
hsv
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Oct 26th, 2003, 01:45 AM
  #4  
hsv
 
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Mike,
I am sorry- somehow it does not work if I am copying the URL of the Fodors threads in question into my posts.
If you do the text search I recommended, you will stumble onto the relevant bits!
hsv
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Oct 26th, 2003, 05:43 AM
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Jeeez, hsv, I am blushing. Finns are not very good in taking compliments... And yes, I pop over to Tallinn every now and then when the fast catamarans (1,5 hours) go, but not when the trip takes 4 hours (in deep winter, because of ice).

Mendota, the www.inyourpocket.com hsv gave is just about the best link to Tallinn. Do you have some specific questions?
elina is offline  
Oct 26th, 2003, 10:18 AM
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You should go. It's a very picturesque walled city. My wife and I spent 2 days there this past August. It's little touristy but still lots of places to discover by foot. Plenty of good restaurants and inexpensive compared to most of central europe.
Cooltom is offline  
Oct 26th, 2003, 01:40 PM
  #7  
hsv
 
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Elina,

that's part of the Finnish charm, I would think!
The truth has to be stated, though, and I quite like the impression of pretty Fins blushing ;-)

Cheers from Northern Germany (where we usually don't take compliments either)

hsv
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Nov 5th, 2003, 03:53 AM
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I wouldn't hesitate for one second. Tallinn is a little gem. As Patrick London said, it's like a mini Prague, only not as tacky touristy. (No offence to Prague - I love it)or as expensive. I think a week may be a bit long in Tallinn itself though, so do try to get the ferry to Helsinki for a day or 2 (or 3). Just be careful you don't fall in love and miss the ferry back.
hsv gave me some excellent advice a while back so go along with his (?) recs. And enjoy!
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Nov 5th, 2003, 08:15 AM
  #9  
hsv
 
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marcus,

thanks for the compliment.

I was wandering whether you enjoyed your trip. Glad that you evidently did.
BTW: "his" was the correct article!

mendota,
marcus' advice regarding taking a ferry to Helsinki is excellent. Helsinki is definitely worth a look at and the route by sea should be enjoyable. You have a choice of some speed boats crossing in very short time or a regular ferry.

Check these ferry operators' websites:

www.silja.com (ferries+ speed ferries)
www.tallink.com (ferries + speed ferries)
www.njl.ee (speed ferries)
www.eckeroline.fi/en/ (ferry)

Cheers to both of you
hsv



hsv is offline  
Nov 5th, 2003, 09:18 AM
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Went this spring and thought it was a beautiful and relaxing place. We combined it with a trip to Helsinki. Try to go during the week, as the weekends are becoming very popular with British Stag parties. Not a pretty sight!
JimSteel is offline  
Nov 5th, 2003, 09:34 AM
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My husband has been there and thought it a charming town about the size of Boston. Well kept and thought it more attractive than any town he saw in Russia. The architecture is an attractive mix, conical tops on buildings. Very proud, musical patriotic independant people. Well kept parks.
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Nov 5th, 2003, 10:44 AM
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Wow, all of you are extremely encouraging.

elina : my friend stays at the Radisson in the center of town. I assume that would be a good place to stay? Do you have a favorite restaurant or two?

Compared to Paris or London , how much different are the costs of meals, taxi's or hotel rooms?

Any suggestions for a one day itinerary in Helsinki?

Thanks to all. I did not expect so many good replies,

==Mike
mendota98 is offline  
Nov 5th, 2003, 11:37 AM
  #13  
hsv
 
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mendota,

I am not elina, but will still contribute my two cents, if you don't mind.

The Radisson is a European Radisson. You will get rather consistent good quality from it. It has been around for approx. 2 to 3 years. It features a sauna and different room decor themes (e.g. Scandinavian and Mediterranean). It seems to cater to Businessmen, but you should also be well off as a tourist. It is about a 10 min. walk from the historic Old Town.

I hesitated for a second when I heard that Tallinn is about the same size as Boston. I felt Boston was considerably bigger, Tallinn to me actually has a sort of small town feel about it. Especially if you do not venture into the old Soviet style suburbs.
Tallinn counts about 400,000 inhabitants- that in my opinion is considerably smaller than Boston. If you account for most of these people living in the aforementioned suburbs, you might imagine that the city center is easily walkable.

For restaurants I would probably recommend a visit to Vana Tunnel for grilled meats. My personal favorite used to be Roosikrantsi, but this has closed shop about a year and a half ago, I think.
A lot of people stop by Olde Hansa. I have not eaten there, but its medieval food mostly gets some good reviews.

Prices of living are a fraction of what you are paying in Western metropolises like London or Paris.
Expect to pay around € 10.- for a good quality entree, I would estimate.

BTW: If you have some time, I still stick to my recommendation to pay a visit to Riga, Latvia, when in the region. It is about twice the size of Tallinn. And whereas its Old Town is also well preserved but maybe a bit smaller than Tallinn's, it is surrounded by a beatiful belt of Art Deco Houses that are also immaculately restored or at least to be.
Riga is a bit less touristy (which in my opinion Tallinn can be, especially during summers), at least you do not notice all the foreigners as dominantely as in Tallinn's Old Town.

If you decide to travel to Helsinki, I would suggest to start with a sightseeing tour. Buses leave at the Silja Terminal. Tours take about two hours, if I recall correctly.
Afterwards you can take a stroll down Esplanade and Mannerheimintie. But here elina will definitely have some better advice.
Do take a look at the famous chapel in a rock and the Sibelius memorial (the latter being somewhere in the outskirts, I think close to the Olympic stadium). Also you should pay the dome church a visit and the market right by the port. The dome is just a few steps away.

If you can manage, I would probably do one trip of the passage on a fast ferry and take the conventional ship on the way back for a true sea- experience with some wind blowing around your nose!

For anymore questions, do post!
Regards
hsv
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