"Shades of Grey" Top 5 Page for this destination Tallinn by antistar

Tallinn Travel Guide: 1,894 reviews and 5,387 photos

According to legend, Eskimos have over a hundred words for snow. Being continually exposed to the same thing normally causes humans to develop an ability to differentiate between things most normal people can't see. My Estonian friend told me one morning that the weather had improved. "But the skies are still grey", I complained ungratefully. "But it's a lighter shade of grey," she explained.

By the end of the week in Tallinn I finally got it. I looked out of the window and could see from the shade of grey that the sun was only a single layer of cloud away from me and about to appear in the flesh. I whipped out my camera and marched into town to take pictures while I could. For when the sun shines in Tallinn it is a wondrous place. The old city is fantastically well preserved and a joy to walk around.

But don't worry if the sun isn't shining. Tallinn has a collection of some of the best bars and restaurants I've ever experienced, and the best seem to be unknown to tourists completely. I was lucky enough be guided by a local expert, taking me to possibly the best curry I've had outside of Britain, and some of the cosiest (smoke-free) bars on the continent.

Thankfully the locals still seem to be very friendly and welcoming despite the hordes of tourists, mostly British and Finnish, that descend on the city all year round. The number of tourists does mean that most people speak English and that there are lots of tourist facilities. You also have to put up with the tourist crowds, and the pick-pockets they attract. You can also find English beer in most bars, although I'm not sure that's a good thing...

Overall a great city, one that should be high on anyone's list of places to visit. Even if you can't figure out what you'd do in Tallinn for more than a few days, there's another major European capital just a couple of hours ferry ride away across the Gulf of Finland. Ferries to Helsinki run every day, come hell or high water, and you can do a day trip in either direction very easily.

It's cheaper going from Tallinn, though, as is everything. You can drink beer, rent a hotel room, take a taxi, eat food, etc. for a fraction of the cost you'd expect in Finland. Just as an example, I bought a sandwich the size of a matchbox for 5 euros in Helsinki airport, along with a donut for 2.50. That's the price of a main course in a nice Tallinn restaurant!

There are photo albums from my 2008, 2009 and 2010 visits on Facebook (better quality).

  • Last visit to Tallinn: Feb 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (78)

Comments (8)

  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo
    Sep 1, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    Wonderful pages, looking forward to our visit there soon

  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo
    Sep 1, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    Wonderful pages, looking forward to our visit there soon

  • mvtouring's Profile Photo
    Dec 13, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Another city on our list for 2013. Thanks for the great tips.

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo
    Jan 2, 2011 at 11:14 PM

    Hi Tim Thanks for introducing me to my newest favourite European city! We had a wonderful time, and Tallinn is absolutely magical in the deep midwinter (even if the temperature never ventured above -8 centigrade!) Regards Cathy

  • Jul 15, 2009 at 12:15 AM

    The cafe was a nice place to relax and enjoy a piece of cake and coffee. I had a wonderful afternoon tea there and the price is reasonable. Thanks for the recommendation.

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    Mar 20, 2009 at 7:54 PM

    Quit whatever job you have and go into travel writing. good stuff as always. the tip on language use was particularly helpful.

  • bugulma's Profile Photo
    Jan 5, 2009 at 12:14 AM

    nice page of yours brings me reminding my days in Tallinn I liked. I found in your transportation tips the info about metro, they opened it in such small city? interesting point of view on Russian-Estonian relationship in dangerous tip :-)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Dec 20, 2008 at 9:12 AM

    Hello, Tim! Your pages are a joy to read! Thanks for your efforts!


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