Unfiltered Tallinn – Travel Journal

My journey started on the 23rd of September 2017 at 4 a.m. and to be honest, it might have been the hardest travel experience in my life. Besides the fact that our flight had a 5 hours stopover in Warsaw, too short to visit the city and too long not to get bored, I also decided to party the night before and to go straight from the club to the airport. Of course it was fun, but neither the airplane nor the airport are comfortable places to sleep in. The best part is that I can’t remember the take-off, the landing or the turbulence from our flight. Actually, I can’t remember anything from none of my flights.

We arrived in Tallinn around lunch time and we checked in at our accommodation (only for the first night) at the Welcome Hostel. The bed was 12€/night and we also stayed very close to the city center. In this case, our room was suitable for 10 people and our big group fitted perfectly. I know that a lot of you might think that a hostel isn’t always the most comfortable choice . Even so, every time I travel I always prefer to stay at a hostel or to find an airbnb. I could say that I was truly lucky this year to find the coolest places to stay in every city that I have been to.

You can check Welcome Hostel here.

I found it quite interesting that a lot of things that were at no cost for the locals were priced for the tourists. For example, the public transportation in Tallinn is free for its citizens, but for foreigners it costs about 6€ for 5 days or 1€ a single ride/student. Even if my friends told me that they have barely seen any bus controller ever, the fine is 40€ and I bet you don’t want to take the risk on that. However, if you don’t want to take the bus or the tram you can always get an uber for 4-5€/ride, cheaper than any cab. Normally, after 12 p.m. the buses stop working and we took a lot of ubers to go out at night and to get back home in time for breakfast.

Tallinn is a medieval city full of tales, myths and legends.

If you ever visit this city you must take a guide to show you around and tell you about all the legends that exist: The Old Town Pervert, The St. Olaf’s Church, The Devil’s Wedding, The Old Man of Lake Ülemiste or The Old Town Weather Vane and many many other fascinating stories.

Tallinn’s Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and is listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

One of the things that I enjoyed the most in the Town Hall Square was the the medieval tavern Draakon where you can warm up with a moose soup, meat pies, ribs, sausages and free pickles. You can also get a beer or some wine, but no matter where you are in Tallinn the drinks might cost you more than the food itself.

The St. Olaf’s Church and the stunning 360° view after all those 258 steps.

Around the old city, the modern architecture has developed.

The tale of The Old Man of Lake Ülemiste is one of the reasons why the construction of Tallinn will never be completed. The Lake Ülemiste is the largest of the lakes surrounding Tallinn and you can see it on the way from the airport to the city center. The legend says that there was a young woman, Linda, who lost her beloved husband Kalev. When she heard the devastating news, she sat down on one rock and started crying, thus creating this very big lake that nowadays it’s called Ülemiste. As years passed by, Linda’s story was forgotten and the only one to remember it was an old man, a mythical figure who was unable to escape the tears that filled the lake and was therefore destined to watch over the waters until the time is right. When the citizens of Tallinn started to benefit from the clear water of the lake, this old man was so upset that he put a curse on the city. He said that whenever the city will be finished, he will come and flood the town sweeping away the progress.

It is said that you shouldn’t be out wandering through the Old Town after dark on a cold autumn night because there is a chance that you could meet the old man. If you do meet him, he will have a question for you: “Is the city finished yet?”. Thus, the correct answer would be: “No, this city is not finished. There is a long way to go yet and there is much to be done”.

Telliskivi, the hipsters’ district.

Here you can find local living, abandoned factories as well as speciality coffee shops, cool restaurants and local designers. It is a concrete example of the communist influence with a twist thanks to the young generation. Tallinn has its own graffiti festival, Mextonia, that brings bright colours in this otherwise grey neighborhood. Oh, and the coffee was remarkable at the Living Room.

Rotermann Quarter is another neighborhood from Tallinn where you can take a night walk and enjoy an idyllic atmosphere.

As I experienced it, the nightlife in Tallinn is particularly crazy, what is to be expected from a city where the Russian influence has such an impact. You can find clubs opened every night. On Mondays, you can try karaoke at Red Emperor, a place where foreigners gather, or on weekends you can go to the Hollywood and party until morning. They are very strict on age and you should be at least 18 to enter the clubs.  Depending on the place you choose, the shots cost you about 1-2€, the beer 5€ and the long drinks 11€, besides the entrance fee that can vary between 5 to 10€.

Certainly, there are a lot of things you can do in Tallinn and it would take me too long to talk about every single one that I’ve done during my stay here, but whenever you have the chance to visit this city you can always leave me a message or comment down below.