A Trip to Tallinn

Posted on April 30, 2023

The first thing I noticed about Tallinn is it is a beautiful city. Its medieval streets are clean, proud, and intriguing.


On our arrival, we were greeted by cold and clean air and a walk straight into the street of the Russian embassy. Outside were tens of banners expressing hate towards Putin and his brutal, imperial fantasies. I felt a sense that if Putin dared have a go at Estonia, they would fight like dogs to retain their independence and stability.

During the 1990s and 2000s Estonia went through a phase of being a bit of a cheap stag party capital and there are still remnants of that in the obligatory Irish bars. However, high pricing appears to have pushed the lad’s weekends back down to the Med as we saw none going on. I don’t know if that was a strategic operation or not.

Development and Viewing Points

Outside the old town, there is development and lots of it. This brings together an eclectic skyline featuring ancient, communist, and modern glass structures emerging from Western democracy and capitalism.

There are some great viewing points, notably the former TV tower and a big wheel on top of the American-style shopping mall.  The walk back from the mall involved a slightly edgy trek through the old communist concrete blocks. When rain and sleet edged in, it added to the bleakness in a way that made it feel like a 1970s movie scene from the Cold War. Oddly, I quite liked that edgy feeling.

Around the Cobbled Streets

Around the cobbled streets of the old town, there are plenty of bars and restaurants at wildly varying prices. The town square is beautiful but it has adopted a full-on Scandinavian pricing policy. Yet a few streets away you are back at English prices or just above.  We ate at an excellent restaurant called the Odessa. Not cheap but it really was great food and drink.

On the whole, I really liked Tallinn. However, I will say April is an early time to go. The Botanical Gardens are like England in February. There are signs of spring but not many. Still, the clear, cold air we experienced for much of the trip made walking pleasurable in weak but noticeable sunshine.

In summary

Tallinn is a vibrant, clean, and proud place, with noticeable confidence in its own identity.  The people in shops and restaurants are still a bit abrupt, particularly the elder ones who have seen huge changes, but it’s not really an issue.

For a country that has gone through much in the last 100 years, you can sense that Estonia is not going to tolerate outside interference again. Becoming members of NATO and the EU has emboldened them and they are not afraid to let the bully next door scare them.

I hope it is a bright future where blood and soil merchants like Putin are consigned to history.

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