There are a number of budget airlines flying to Tallinn Airport in Estonia such as Easy Jet and Rayan Air. I have always flew with Estonian Air and they are of the same quality. The only difference is probably that they still serve you free food, which is honestly not great, unless you take business class.
The passport control is fast and easy and in no time you are out of the airport. I have been to Tallinn over 10 times and I have not had my luggage lost or stolen. If you need cash there are several ATM machines before you exit the aiport. However, once i have decided to run an experiment, the goal of which was to live in Tallinn for 3 days without needing an ATM. It was a success. All taxi’s accepted both credit and debit cards as well as every single restaurant, pub and cafe. Moreover, Internet connection is considered part of service provided in Estonia and you can use it virtually anywhere.
Taxi “need to know”
As soon as you you exit the airport you will see 2 lines of taxi cabs. The one nearer to the entrance is the cheap one. The further one is fine as well but it will probably cost you twice the price, although its just as safe. So, if you are in a hurry and not too worried about your spending you can take either one. How to understand the taxi price? Take a look at the back door window. All taxis are obliged to display their fair.
For comparison, with the cheap taxi company you would pay about 150 EEK (equivalent to $7) to reach the city centre. With the other one, it could be $14-28. This is still way below what you expect you pay in another country.
The quality of the taxi and the driver does not depend on which line you take. They all so far have been very helpful and polite.
If you are travelling on business, no matter how you pay and which taxi you choose, they all are able to provid eyou with a receipt. Just ask in English (they will understand you) or in Estonian for “kvitung”.
Tallin is a popular destination for people from the Eastern Europe. Unfortunately, most of the deals such as real estate are way gone.
Tallinn could be split into 2 areas in terms of interest.
The Old City and the rest 🙂
The Old City is stunning, covered with cobalt stones and surrounded by the century old buildings. Driving is not allowed in the Old center but it would take you no longer than half a day to explore every corner of it. Not that you would not want to come back for more in the evenings. Taxis are not allowed in the Old City so they will drop you at one of the entry points to it.
In the Old center you will find an enourmous variety of the local AND world cousin. An only if you go to a hotel situated restaurant, you will pay the local price. Estonians love going out and socialising, so they are the main crowd here. They are polite and you would hardly find a drunk or a homeless person around. There are plenty of suvenire shops around and besides all the usual tourist stuff you can get great gold and amber jewllery.
If you are after the post soviet architecture, you can find it as soon you leave the Old City. Most of the architecture you will encounter are the traditional post soviet 6 and 8 story builds.
Eating in Tallin
Tallinn offers a great variety of places to eat with many different cultures on offer. You can find your easy to swallow traditional burger joints as well as exotic Indian and Japanese. I would say that my favorite is the local food that has heave Russian/Estonian tradition which is exactly what most of the places offer.
get the starter tray which is brought to you by girls dresses in truditional russian outfits (but about 80% shorter), it includes: Shots of vodka, blini with caviar and sour cream, and traditional russian pickles served with Vodka.
Once you progress with your dinner, try grilled surgeon shashlyk and siberian pelemni. However there are whole load of amazing dishes they have to offer. All are from the best ingredients and at super reasonable price.
Nevski is another restaurant in the Old City. It is part of the hotel called by the same name. The prices might be a bit higher than in other places but you will get to enjoy the authentic Russian / Estonian food cooked to perfection.
For the ones that like something different, try:
The jellied meat starter. I love it as I grew up with it but everyone I know so far could not adjust their pallette to it. 🙂
This is a pretty authentic Indian cousin. You will be surprised how much you have been fooled by “adopted indian food” within your country after you try it here.
This is a really cool local hangout. As soon as you walk in you will feel the easy atmosphere. This is the best for drinks. To me, it reminded of pre-war pubs and clubs. All prices are local and the crowd is great.
Musi is a cafe. If you like deserts, this is pure heaven. At Musi, I suggest you order a variety of cake slices with tea or coffee. Don’t be worried this place is last but cool. Their interioir design is awesome. I came here many times late in the evening when I and my friends just wanted to chat around. Also they have an amazing menu of desert wines to go with your cakes. Try it. Prices are regular to other Tallinn places.
I have been turned off by the friend’s reviews from the place untill one day I was actually invited to go there for dinner.
I am not sure if it were the same place they have been talking about.
The owner spent several years in Asia training to cook asian food and Sushi, and it was an AWESOME treat.
There is a most strange restaurant in Tallinn. Everything they serve has garlic in it. Including Ice-cream.
I have never visited it so I cannot say how good and exciting it is, but i am sure if you have a garlic fetish you will anjoy it!
For those who are worried about their taste buds, go here. This is a simple and very good Italian.
Where to stay in Tallinn?
This has been my hotel of choice for many years. It is located dead in the heart of Old City. The rooms are modern but are still based in the caves of the old culture. Food is great. There is also a secret courtyard that comes very handy in the summer. The people are very friendly and will try to help you with anything you need. I have stayed here about 10 times.
Obe day my company became too big for the Merchants house and we adopted the 5 star Swiss hotel as out choice for travel.
Swiss hotel is one of the most unique and welcoming places. The design of the rooms is fantastic and modern. The room delivery could be better, but if you eat within the hotel premises you will love it.
The breakfast and lunch are simply gorgeous.
If you cannot get or afford Swiss or Merchands there are so many other hotels in Tallinn. However the only one i can talk about is Radisson Blu.
I can imagine it being a great and fashionable hotel at some poin, but right now, despite or because of its decor it seems more out of date to me than other places I stayed at. However, the rooom service is very good indeed by many standards of mine 🙂