Okay, so if I’m being honest, Tallinn didn’t rank very high up the Jetset Boyz list of places we want to visit. In fact, the only reason we ended up in Tallinn was because we wanted to try out Business Class on the Finnair A350 and Tallinn via Helsinki was the routeing that gave us the lowest price tickets. However, we are never ones to look a gift horse in the mouth. We decided to use the flight as an opportunity get a couple of hotel stays under our belt and see what the city had to offer for 2 days in Tallinn.
Arriving at Tallinn Airport, we were immediately struck by how lovely the airport is, with the themed gates. We were landside about ten minutes after landing. Before long we were in a taxi speeding towards the Hilton Tallinn Park, which was where we based ourselves for our stay in Tallinn. By the time we arrived at the hotel it was getting late, so on Friday, we settled for viewing the cityscape from the hotel.
Exploring the Old Town
Our hotel was directly opposite the Politsei Park. The shortest route to the Old Town was to walk through the park. The park is a lovely green space with lots of places to sit. For this reason, I can imagine that on a warm sunny day it would be a pleasant place to chill out.
The site of the park was previously a vegetable garden for the city police force. In the 1950’s it was redeveloped into a park with a strong Stalinist geometrical layout. Then, following a restyle in 2004, the park now has play areas for children, a skate park and a doggie playground. We thought that the doggie playground was a great idea. The dogs we saw in there looked like they were having fun. (The park was hosting a Dogs’ Picnic on Saturday afternoon, but we missed that).
The Politsei Park is lovely green space to chill out on a nice day if you visit TallinnClick to tweet
Finally, we reached the old town after taking a slightly round-about route. (I let Bart navigate and ended up going left when we should have gone right). In my opinion, the Old Town is a beautiful and interesting place to explore. Regrettably, the cobbled streets and steep hills may be a bit tricky if you have impaired mobility. However, if you can manage the climb, it is well worth it!
Views of Tallinn from the Old Town Wall
On our way to the Old Town, we passed through Freedom Square. The square houses the War of Independence Victory Column. This commemorates those who fell during the Estonian War of Independence of 1918 to 1920. This 23-metre high memorial dominates the square and was manufactured from unique arctic glass, a material designed to imitate actual ice floes. It looked impressive in daylight. However, it is supposed to be even more spectacular at night when it is lit up.
As we walked up the hill towards the Old Town, we kept passing things that we thought we’d like to take a look at. Unfortunately, we realised that we didn’t have nearly enough time to explore everything we wanted to. We did, however, get to see the striking statues of the three monks. These inhabit the Danish Garden and represent the monks who died there (I think).
The streets of Tallinn Old Town feel a bit like a maze as you wander through them. Every road seems to twist and turn and have a myriad of little side streets running off them. Some of these little side streets lead to viewing points where you can look out over the city and the views from them are fantastic.
The streets of the Old Town are packed with quirky little shops and cafes and restaurants offering tempting food. We spotted a little place called Bogapott that was a mixture of a café, art shop and pottery. We had some pretty tasty pasta, washed down with Saku Originaal, Estonia’s most popular beer. The food and drink were served in crockery hand-made in the pottery, so each item of crockery was unique.
So much to do in Tallinn and too little time
After lunch, we continued wandering. We soon came to realise that we were only going to scratch the surface of the city in the time we had. We would have liked to have done so much more. But rather than run around like idiots and try to cover loads of things, we decided to stick to exploring the Old Town’s streets. There was plenty there to keep us occupied for the rest of Saturday and Sunday.
Because of our short timeframe, we didn’t get to visit the harbour or go to the Seaplane Harbour Museum. Similarly, we missed out on exploring Tallinn’s underground network of 17th-century tunnels. By the same token, we didn’t have the chance to enjoy the subterranean theatre of the Tallinn Legends or ascend to the top floor of the Viru Hotel to see the KGB museum.
When we left Tallinn on Sunday afternoon, it was a bit of a regret. We wished we’d had longer to get to know the city. As we sat it the taxi on our way to Tallinn Airport, we both said we’d like to visit the city again. Also, July in Tallinn has long days and reasonably warm weather. With so much more we’d like to see and do in the city, we could well make a repeat trip in the summer.