Before I took off to Europe last September, I knew that I had to visit at least 1 of the Baltic States in the north: Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania. Because Finland was the first country I visited in my 77 Days of Euro Trip, and I would continue the journey to the west, Estonia became my easiest choice. Tallinn, the capital city, is located only 2.5 hours away from Helsinki by ferry.
I decided to go there on my seventh day of the trip (18 September 2016). I went there with my friend, Reni, who hosted me in Espoo (a city next to Helsinki). The fare for our ferry return tickets was 19 Euros per person by Eckerö Line – M/s Finlandia, so it was definitely a great deal. This price is for deck seating, meaning you won’t get a cabin in the ferry. But who needs a cabin anyway for such a short trip?!
I don’t know whether you had already expected this kind of ferry before or not, but yeah, it’s literally a cruise ship. Beside the indoor and outdoor deck areas, they also have restaurants, bars, game centers, supermarket, duty free shops, toilets with lockers, and even playrooms for children. There are cabins as well, as I mentioned, but obviously they are not public areas. You have to reserve them in advance if you’re in need for private rooms. It’s not a bad idea if you’re traveling with family or in a bigger group, though.
Reni went shopping a little bit at the supermarket and the duty free cosmetic shop. She said that for a lot of things, prices are much cheaper in ferries or in Estonia, compared to the ones in Finland. Many Finnish residents take a day trip to Tallinn just to do weekly or monthly groceries. After shopping, most of the time we just chilled out at the deck areas, and of course, took some wefies for fun.
The ferry departed at 8.30AM from Helsinki, and finally arrived at the port of Tallinn at 11AM. Now we’re officially stepping into the middle age…!
Oh wait, before we see all the pretty pictures, I’d like to share something funny that my friend and I found just after arriving in the city. I warn you, this is a little bit gross, but if you like disgusting stuff, I bet you’ll like this one. Get ready now.
So Reni was feeling like she really needed to go to toilet, and it happened that we found this public toilet in the city street. We approached the cubicle and noticed that we had to pay to open its door. We quickly read the instruction written on the cubicle wall, and collected a few Euro coins to make the payment. The door automatically opened after we put all the coins, and so this is what we saw:
Tadaaa…! Surprise, surprise!!!
Reni screamed as she immediately walked away from the cubicle, feeling totally disgusted by what she just saw. I laughed so hard and I told her to wait for me as I quickly took these 2 photos before running after her. I mean, I could not just walk away as well and not photograph the situation going on there for the sake of good ol’ memories! Man, that was probably the most interesting thing I’ve seen in Tallinn! LOL!
Overwhelmed by the surprise, we continued walking until we reached the Old Town. Don’t worry, buddy. From now on, I’ll only show you eye-and-soul pleasing pictures.
Just in case my pink sweater stole your attention, this is actually the one I mentioned in my Enjoy Helsinki Without Breaking Your Budget post. Yep, it’s a secondhand Gina Tricot sweater I bought in UFF for only 1 Euro!
The Old Town of Tallinn is one of the best preserved medieval cities in the Northern Europe where you can enjoy cobblestone streets and Gothic architecture all around the neighbourhood. This Old Town is also listed as one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
Centuries ago, the city of Tallinn itself was once a major trade hub between Russia and Scandinavia. Nowadays, Tallinn is called The Silicon Valley of Europe as it has the highest number of startups per person in Europe. I think you should also know that Skype software was invented by Estonians. Cool, eh?
There was this cultural event held by FeelRussia.com in the Town Square when I was in Tallinn. They had dancing and singing performances, mostly done by teenagers. It was fun to watch this kind of show as it makes you attracted to visit the country that’s being promoted in the event. It’s also nice for the performers as they get to travel and experience different cultures in different countries.
After enjoying the show for a while, Reni and I decided to stop and have lunch somewhere. After comparing menu at several eating places, we chose to try a restaurant called Vana Toomas. We tried Estonian beer and their traditional dishes (so they said). I ordered a bowl of creamy pea soup, or hernepureesoup as written in the menu.
The meal came with a basket of bread for both of us, and in the end we paid about 13 Euros each. It’s actually quite expensive for Tallinn standard, but it’s pretty reasonable as the restaurant is located in a very touristic area. At least, it is much cheaper than eating out in Helsinki!
I’ve mentioned earlier that people from Finland often come to Tallinn just for shopping. But it’s true that the prices in Estonia are much cheaper, I’ve proved it myself when we went to Lindex, a Swedish-brand clothing shop. Previously, I was looking for touch-screen winter gloves, and found a pair in Lindex Helsinki which was priced 20-something Euros. Somehow, I saw the same gloves in Lindex Tallinn, and I was shocked to see that the pair only cost 7.90 Euros! That’s crazy. Of course I bought it there, straight away.
Another thing that is ridiculously cheap in Tallinn for European standard is the fridge magnets sold in souvenir shops. I bought 2 magnets in a shop called Kauplus Suveniirid for only 1 Euro each. Compared to Finland, I had to spend 4-5 Euros for 1 magnet.
Okay, now let’s enjoy the view in the Old Town of Tallinn a little bit more:
Oh yes – they have RICKSHAWS in Tallinn! We didn’t try it, though, cause it cost 10 Euros per 10 minutes, haha…
We went a little bit outside of the Old Town as Reni wanted to shop some more in the nearby shopping center. She found a good deal of a pair of ankle boots: 19 Euros!
We returned to the Old Town area before going back to the ferry port to spend the rest of the day. We picked Burger & Ribi – Väike Resto to have some Cappuccino and cheesecake with berries.
Well, it was definitely a day well spent for both me and Reni! We walked back to the port before 5PM. Reni said we might have to queue as there would be a lot of people boarding the ferry… and she was right. The entrance to the waiting area was opened at 5.30PM, but then we could only board the ferry at 6.15PM. At 6.45PM the boat departed from Tallinn and arrived in Helsinki at 9.15PM. We had dinner in one of the ferry cafeterias.
To wrap it up, I think Tallinn is a cute small city with stunning historical sites and friendly citizens, and I look forward to visit again someday. Not sure when will be the next time for me, though. All I know is, if I do another Euro Trip, the other 2 Baltic states (Latvia and Lithuania) are still waiting for me! xxx