After having introduced to you Riga today I’m going to tell you about Tallinn which has a similar character. First of all I have some good news for you. If you are planning a city trip to Tallinn for the weekend but you’re not sure whether you will have enough time to visit the city within two or three days I can ease your mind. Tallinn is not London, Paris or Barcelona and you don’t need to go from one sight to another by metro when making a sightseeing tour. To be honest I even finished it after less than two hours. And I didn’t even need a map to find the way.
A Danish city as Estonian capital
The first thing you should know about Tallinn when planning a city trip is the name of the Estonian capital. Tallinn has a lot of stories to tell and you will find German, Danish, Swedish and Russian influences here. And it’s already the name which tells us about the Danish influences. The original name of Tallinn was taani linn which means Danish City. It has been shortened to tallinn and this name remained until today. The architecture is very similar like Copenhagen. Tallinn reminds me of the famous Nyhavn in Copenhagen with its cute little colourful houses. When the Danes conquered Tallinn in the past they tried to build it in a similar way like Copenhagen.
Tips for a weekend trip
The first thing you will find in many guide books about Tallinn is the old restaurant Olde Hansa which offers some real medieval cuisine. However I have to inform you that it’s not the cheapest one in Tallinn as it’s too popular and too touristic. When you pass by young women wearing traditional Estonian national costumes will invite you. Maybe they will even offer you some original Estonian pepper snaps as they did to me. I can tell you that I saw black in front of my eyes when I tried it. The young lady told me that after an old medieval Estonian tradition you have to stand on one foot. If you don’t fall down then you can be sure that you are still fine. But if you are looking for some cheaper prices you should check out the small restaurants and cafés in the side streets of the city hall square. I had a good sandwich with reindeer ham there. Estonia is also really famous for its cakes and confectioners. One such confectioner and café I can recommend you is Maiasmokk in the heart Tallinns old city. I’ve been there and believe me I didn’t even know what to choose as everything looked so fine and delicious. Watch out if you are planning a city trip to Tallinn while being on a diet!
The alliance between Tallinn and Helsinki
There are many examples of an alliance between Estonia and its oversea neighbor Finland. And it takes no more than one hour to go by ferry from Tallinn over the Baltic sea to Helsinki. Estonian and Finnish are two languages very related to eachother and both nations can understand eachother without big problems. But you will find a connection between Estonia and Finland in other fields. In times of the Soviet Union Estonian People listened to Finnish radio and watched Finnish TV. Estonia and Finland are the only two nations in the world which share the same national anthem which by the way was written by a German namely Frederik Pacius. The cultural and linguistic proximity made it easy for Estonia to get its independence from Russia. The Estonian national songs played a very big role for the Estonian national identity and that’s why we call this revolution the singing revolution or laulev revolutsioon in Estonian. The big Estonian Song Festival called Laulupidu is organized every five years on the so-called Lauluväljak which you will see from the pier when arriving to Tallinn by ferry. The next Laulupidu will take place in summer 2019. So if you are planning to visit Tallinn you know when to do it. And once you are in Tallinn it’s really worth to take the ferry to Helsinki.
At the end of this article I’m going to tell you another funny thing about the relations between Estonia and Finland. A stereotype says that Finns come to Tallinn just to buy alcohol and to drink as alcohol is much more expensive in Finland. And when I went to the supermarket in Tallinn to buy the famous Estonian beer Saku I indeed met many people from Finland there so I can confirm this stereotype. And do you know how the Estonian call the Finns? Our four-legged friends.