I will tell you about my trip to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, in this post. As always, eating well was one of the main attractions of the trip.
The beautiful Hanseatic town of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is only 85 km from Helsinki. I had an opportunity to spend a long weekend there as I participated in a conference. It was different to visit the town on business as it has always been a leisure destination during the summer holidays and just before Christmas. When living in Helsinki it was ever so easy to take the ferry over, even for a day trip.
The town is growing and developing. Estonia is no longer the somewhat poor and old-fashioned neighboring Soviet state many of us remember from the early 90’s when the boarders opened as the country gained their independence. The city is full of life, growing and flourishing – and the Estonian are quite hip – great fashions and great places to visit.
It was stormy as we set off and the catamaran we’d booked was cancelled. Luckily there are several, three to be precise, shipping companies that traffic the route Helsinki-Tallinn, and we could easily purchase ticket to another ferry. The trip takes 1,5 – 3,5 h depending on the type of ferry you take.
The first lunch we had in town was at The Farm which serves traditional Estonian game-based dishes with French twist. The decor is French country-style. The late Thursday lunch was not too busy and the servants had plenty of time for everyone. The cold starters and desserts are prepared in a kitchen with an open view to the restaurant – the cooks and other personnel are behind a glass so that you can see them. They can naturally also see the customers. The food was delicious, I had smoked breast of duck and my companion wild boar. The duck was served in a steaming colander – and looked quite odd but had a wonderful perfume of smoke. The tastes were very delicate.
Tallinn was busy that weekend and all of the restaurants we had listed were fully booked. Next time we will make bookings in advance. Our hotel receptionist recommended a close by restaurant, Magus Auk, also with French tones. This proved to be a good recommendation and had a menu degustation (tasting) with a mix of small dishes. Very tasty and new combinations. In the end we thought the four courses were too much.
The conference took place at the Sokos hotel Viru conference center which is very centrally located yet not in the old towns. The facilities were good and again the catering excellent. The coffees and snacks as well as the lunch were delicious and served smoothly and professionally. There was absolutely no queuing. The change from Thursday evening through Friday and the to Saturday transformed the town. There were of course tourists in the old town during the week but the amount doubled if not tripled. Also, the quests changed at the hotel as most business people had rushed home.
One always makes new acquaintances in conferences and I had the pleasure of meeting many Estonian as well as other European professionals in language education and teacher training. The Estonians recommended several places for dinner or lunch and the last day, before boarding the ferry, we had a late meal at Kohvik Moon, a hipster restaurant in the trendy Kalasadama area. They serve a mix of Estonia and Russian food and flavours and have an interesting if not hilarious decor.
There was also a lovely small cafe with exquisite cakes, Le Bonaparte on the street called Pikk.
I can truly recommend Tallinn for gourmands and history interested tourists. It is also an excellent destination for well-being tourism too as they have excellent spas. The prices are very reasonable compared with those of Finland. I tried the services of Elemis Spa at the luxury hotel Telegraph. The spa is located in their new wing and it offers different treatments, saunas and small pools.
Shopping is one of the major attractions, wide selection and good prices. Much handicraft too. There was absolutely no time for the shops for me this time. My husband happily discovered the town on his own and was gladly surprised to bump into a group of old school mates. What a small world!