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Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Helsinki lies about 80 kilometers North of Tallinn, Estonia, 400 kilometers Northeast of Stockholm, Sweden and 300 kilometers West of St. Petersburg in Russia. With all three cities, it has close historical connections.

 

On my last trip to Finland in January, I didn’t just visited the lovely city of Helsinki (with the very interesting iittala factory), but I was also lucky enough to squeeze in a daytrip to Tallinn. I never realized that it would be so easy to visit two countries in such a short period of time -and not feel rushed.

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

 

A Lovely Day Away

With the Eckerö Line, you can make the crossing to Tallinn twice per day. There are cabins on board, so you can leave your belongings on board when you only visit for the day. Of course, you can also stay overnight.

 

The Finns that travelled with us on this trip, told us that Tallinn is the place to have a proper girls day out, as doing your hair and nails, etc. is a lot cheaper there than in Helsinki. Also bread, craft items and alcohol are a lot cheaper, I’ve been told. And because you can enter the ship with your car as well, you can stock up good too.

 

But making a trip like this is not just about the shopping. In fact, quite a few people like to make the crossing just because of the onboard entertainment, no kidding! The Eckeroline prides itself for their choice in live music… and especially the karaoke, our host Timo Nygard tells us proudly.

 

And yes, people are actually keen to dance and sing too. (I have proof of this:)

 

I love the look on the face of the woman at the end. (Like: ‘What the BLEEP is going on here?’)

 

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

 

Enjoying the Journey

We’re enjoying the broad selection of food as one of us suddenly looks out of the window. ‘Wow! Have a look at that sunrise!’. Good bloggers as we are, we all jump up to make our ways to the deck for that perfect shot….

 

…only realising that -16 degrees with no coats on is actually a pretty stupid idea.

 

But we have to make our priorities and so we keep clicking, before rushing back inside as quickly as we can before we turn into living ice sculptures. Let me know if it was worth it:

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

 

All Aboard! … The Titanic

Once off the boat in Tallinn, it’s only a short walk or even shorter taxi ride into the center. But we make a stop at the Lenusadam Seaplane Museum first, where we get to experience the amazing Titanic Exhibition. Because learning about ships that sink misserably will make our boat journey back to Helsinki in the evening just a little bit more adventurous.

 

I must say that I was actually really impressed by this exhibition and that I can only but recommend it. What I liked, was that before entering, you got a boarding pass with the details of one of the actual passengers of the Titanic. Making your way through the exhibit, you get to know more about their life onboard… and at the end you’ll get confronted with the harsh truth of whether ‘you’ survived the disaster or not. I was a 15 year old girl and neither me nor my mother survived unfortunately.

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

shocking facts.

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting TallinnDaytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

At the end of the exhibition, you have the chance to dress up a little and pretend Leonardo diCapro is standing behind you on the bow of the ship. Or do as I did and go black&white to pretend you were actually on the ship!

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

 

Estonian Design Hotspot

If you didn’t know that Estonia was pretty well-known for their design (like I didn’t know that), then the following will bring you up to speed. With our visit to the Estonian Design House and the Nu Nordik Shop, we learn that even though Estonia is just a small country, the density of designers is very high. Some even say there is 1 designer for every 800 inhabitants! Check out some of the best design shops in Tallinn.

 

We got to have a look in the studio above the shop and met Markus Vihma from the Reet Aus Design team. They design garments made out of recycled materials. Each item of their collection has a label with a unique calculation of the environmental impact. And it all looks really cool too!

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

 

Estonian Food Hotspot

I’ve found out recently that I’m not really the ‘hotspot’-type. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good place to eat and it makes me happy when the interior looks a bit funky, but I never compile a list of ‘must see’ coffee places or restaurants when I go on a trip. Actually, I don’t even like coffee, but that’s beside the point now. I just like to walk around towns and villages and walk into a place to check out if I like it or not.

 

But I love it when people bring me to a spot they recommend as it’s usually a place I wouldn’t have found on my own. And in Tallinn, we got taken to Baar Bistro Kukeke. This fun little place located in an old railway depot house from the 1800s and they serve fresh, seasonal and mainly local food.

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

Fantastic Cakes with even more Fantastic Names.

 

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

Loved the interior!

 

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

I’m a huge fan of goat’s cheese. Not so much of beetroot, but in this dish I actually liked it!

 

 

 

Admiring Old Tallinn

While I won’t say no to a bit of modern art and design, I’ve always grown up with visiting historical sites (say no to that with an archeologist dad). And I still prefer the old over the new, to be honest. So visiting the historical center of Tallinn was a great experience for me. The streets looked like a fairytale book and I kept looking over my shoulder if Santa was following us.

 

The entire center of Tallinn is World Heritage Listed and it’s easy to see why. It was built up from the 13th to 16th centuries, when Tallinn was a thriving member of the Hanseatic trade league. The city wall is almost entirely intact still, including guard towers, just as the colourful houses, hidden courtyards and grandiose churches. .

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Don’t miss the viewing platform from the east corner of the Toompea hill

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 This funny guy started chatting to us on the market square and invited us for a free drink in his tavern.

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

Not sure exactly what we were drinking, could have been motor oil for all we knew, but with such a cold, anything to warm us up would have been gladly accepted.

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

This drink was acceptable in the Middle Ages, but today? Not so sure…

 

 

Goodnight, Tallinn

One day in Tallinn is a little short to see it all, although everything we saw was easily accessible on foot and we got a great sense of the look and feel of this pituresque town. Now it was time for us to get back to the ferry and to continue our adventures in Helsinki itself.

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

Daytrip from Helsinki: Visiting Enchanting Tallinn

 

I’ve seen that there is both a modern as a historical side to Tallinn and I really found that the Estonians have found a good balance to combine the two. Adding the snow, the city got a great atmosphere that definitely made me a bit sad to leave…

 

… to be continued one day, I hope!

 

Lesson Learned: Sometimes, the best discoveries are made when you don’t plan them.

 

 

Have you ever been to Tallinn? What is your best recommendation to see or do there?

I was in Finland as part of the Nordic Bloggers Experience / MATKA Travel Fair. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Follow all bloggers through the hashtag #nbeFinland and #Matkamessus- Special thanks to Satu Vänskä-Westgarth and Johanna Uimonen for showing us Tallinn this day!

 

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26 Responses so far.

  1. Esther says:

    Wow, supercool! Talinn has been on my list for a bit :-) And I guess TWO citytrip in one makes it even more attractive!

  2. As we visited Helsinki in the end of February we also went for a daytrip to Tallinn and I loved it :) it’s such a lovely city. And I love the fact that we almost made the same picture from the “The Time we had” spot :D
    Anita Brechbühl recently posted…Photo Essay – Lissabon im Retro-LookMy Profile

  3. VanBerry says:

    I’ve just been on a mini-cruise from Stockholm to Riga but the Helsinki-Tallin tour is definitely on my bucket list! Thanks for the great pictures and tips!

  4. Linda says:

    Leuk! Hoop er ook eens te komen.
    Linda recently posted…Nieuwe site in de maakMy Profile

  5. I loved this post! Brings back great memories! And you got some great shots too!
    Cacinda Maloney recently posted…Phoenix, Arizona in The Spring: PerfectionMy Profile

  6. Yie says:

    Looks like you have fun! I’ve never considered Estonia as a travelling destination prior, but you sure have got me thinking about it!
    Yie recently posted…BeachsideMy Profile

  7. Sammy Dorn says:

    Wow! The Titanic Exhibition looks really interesting. I have been to the Titanic Exhibition in Belfast, but it doesn’t look as interesting as this!
    Sammy Dorn recently posted…‘This is the best thing I have EVER eaten!’My Profile

    • Nienke Krook says:

      I loved it, great set up and the Seaplane Harbour Museum itself was just stunning, an amazing space to hold the exhibition. I think they said that on this one, they have actual artifacts, where most travelling exhibitions only have replica’s? Not sure about it, but would make this visit extra special!

  8. Amy says:

    Wow! I love this post, just what I’ve been looking for. I’m going to Tallinn in 6 weeks – can’t wait now!
    Amy recently posted…breakfast at the PeninsulaMy Profile

  9. Escapist says:

    I wanted to cross to Tallinn by ferry once (when I was in Helsinki) – that was in 2010. I’m sorry I had no time and I had to rush back to catch my flight… It’s an awesome city (Tallinn).
    As for “Titanic” – are you sure you want to hear that word when traveling by ship/boat between Tallinn and Helsinki? :P

  10. Sarah says:

    Prachtige foto’s! Ik wil al lang eens naar Tallinn, maar had niet verwacht dat het er zo modern en tegelijk ook zo traditioneel uitzag!
    Sarah recently posted…Birthdays AbroadMy Profile

  11. This in one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen and the food are so delicious! The first picture looks so much the same with the place called Vigan in the Philippines! :)
    Adrian Mendoza recently posted…4 Ways on How to Get the Most Out of Your Trip to ParisMy Profile

  12. Great post. Many visitor blogs to Tallinn don’t really have many insightful things to say, but you’ve done a really good job of covering some things other than the cliched.

  13. Interesting blog you did on Helsinki and Tallinn in Estonia. I didn’t realize they had a Titanic museum there. I’m sure you must have been reminded of the ocean liner’s poignant story, its own and its passengers.

    • Nienke Krook says:

      The museum was set up in a great way, where you really got to experience how life on board must have been and there was plenty of information about all the things that went wrong during this trip, most of them that could have been easily avoided unfortunately.

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