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Tallinn Guide




Getting in

Ever since Tallinn was named party capital of the year by the New York Times in 2006, travelling to Tallinn has been getting easier and easier as people flock in by the drove to experience the incredible Tallinn nightlife for themselves. Between Easyjet, Ryanair and Estonian Air, Gatwick, Luton, Liverpool, Dublin, East Midlands, and Manchester airports do great value flights out.

Getting around

In the city centre, getting around on foot is really your only choice, so we’d pack some flats and get walking. If you’re going a little further out, there is a bus, tram and trolleybus network running around the city. There are hundreds of taxis too, but some of them can be a little dodgy and try their best to rip off tourists. Ask your hotel for a reputable agency, and always book ahead.

Head outdoors

Go out and get some fresh air at the:

Pirita Marina and Beach

Once one of the sites of the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games, now it’s a large sandy beach with plenty of sunbathing locals – in the warmer months.

Tallinn Botanical Gardens

With indoor and outdoor sections, it’s a way to see a little greenery at any time of year.

Kadriorg

A leafy park that also contains small museums, a seaside resort, and the Kadriorg Palace, it’s the perfect place to escape a hangover.

See the city

Tallinn’s a beautiful city, but no one has time for a mammoth tourist expedition when they’ve got a whole gaggle of hens in tow. If you fancy cheating and getting a good look over the city without having to traipse all over the city, head up to the observation deck of St Olav’s Church. Once the tallest structure in the world, and still the most beautiful in Tallinn, it offers some gorgeous views in an atmospheric setting. If just seeing Tallinn isn’t good enough and you’d like to be able to see all the way to Finland, try the Tallinn TV Tower. The observation deck on the 21st floor gives you a panoramic view of the city and beyond.  

Tallinn tipple

Whilst we always advocate drinking sensibly, we’re not in denial – most hen dos, especially those in party central Tallinn, commonly involve having a drink or three. Don’t pick up your vodka just yet though. Drinking in Estonia is a complicated process, and there are a few things you’re going to need first.

  • Zakuska. Sort of like appetizers or starters, but to be eaten whilst drinking vodka. Usually consists of things like pickled herring, pickled onions, salted crackers and rye bread.
  •  A man. In Estonia, it’s considered bad manners for a woman to pour her drink if there’s a man present, so grab yourselves an amiable gent and put him to work!
  • Seljanka. This is a soup the Estonians invented specifically to cure hangovers, with tomatoes, onions, pickles and (of course) a lot of meat. Prepare a vat, and have it waiting for you and the girls in the morning.  

Talking Tallinn

No one, particularly the Estonians, will be surprised if you don’t master the language just for a hen do. Nonetheless, it might be worth learning a few phrases to make your stay a little easier.

Cheers! - Tervist!
Do you mind if I smoke? - Kas ma tohin suitsetada?
The menu, please. - Paluks menüüd.
The wine menu, please. - Paluks veinikaarti.
Beer/vodka/gin/cocktail/wine/coke - õlu/viin/džinn/kokteil/veini/kokakoola
I’m a vegetarian - ma olen taimetoitlane
I don’t eat meat - ma ei söö liha
Herrings in sourcream sauce - heeringas hapukoorekastmes
Blood sausage with sauerkraut - verivorst hapukapsaga

If you master these basic Estonian phrases and feel like moving up a level, get your head round these tongue twisters:

Jäääär (edge of the ice)
Kõueöö (night of the thunder)
Puuõõnsus (hollow of the tree)
Töö-öö (working night)

Festivals

Music festivals

The Estonians once ousted the Soviet Regime from their country through song, so it’s no wonder such a huge number of their festivals revolve around music and celebration. If you too are feeling musical, check out:

  • Tallinn Winter Festival, Feburary. Top musicians and singers perform, particularly those involved with the National Opera Estonia or the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
  • Tallinn Music Week, March. A huge display of bands from around the Nordic and Baltics region.
  • Tallinn Intertational Jazz Festival, April. The biggest jazz festival in the Baltics, it brings 3000 different performers from 60 different countries to Tallinn.
  • Estonian Song Celebration, July. It’s one of the largest choral events in the world, and an UNESCO decreed masterpiece. It only takes place every five years, with one due in 2014, and last time it involved 35,000 singers performing for 90,000.
  • Tallinn Guitar Festival, June.
  • Rock Summer, June.
  • Tallinn Chamber Music Festival, August.

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