Worth getting out of bed for
Arts and culture Visit Kadriörg Palace (www.ekm.ee) on Weizenbergi. An art gallery and a museum, open daily, it also hosts concerts.
Something for nothing Opposite the palace is Kadriörg Park. Folk come to watch concerts in the pagoda here in summer from a boat on the lake. The Old Town Square is the most famous and busiest part of the city; still, it’s a great spot to sit in one of the many cafés and watch the world go by. But the biggest treat is Pirita Beach, about seven kilometres from the city centre, where you can swim and surf, or rent a boat and visit the islands.
Shopping You don’t really hit Tallinn to shop, though on Viru, the main shopping street, you can pick up typical souvenirs – textiles, wooden crafts and vodka. Avoid buying in the old town where prices are hiked up; instead, visit traditional craftsmen in Kadriörg. Katariina Kaik is Tallinn’s most enchanting alleyway, where you can watch artisans making jewellery, pottery
and stained glass.
And… Naissaar is an island and nature reserve in the Gulf of Finland (+372 639 8000; www.naissaar.ee) where you can take tours. Naissaare Reisid(www.naissaarereisid.ee) offer trips around the island in a revamped Soviet army truck. The best way to get to and from Naissaar is on a boat from Pirita harbour called Monica (+37 52 55 363).(see above in Bars and Restaurants).
Bocca on Olevimägi (+372 641 2610), is a stylish restaurant/bar in town, serving delicious Italian cuisine at lunch and dinner. Place-of-the-moment Pegasus on Harju (+372 631 4040) is a minimalist bar and restaurant on two floors. The chic interior showcasing young artists and cosmopolitan cuisine give it a Manhattan feel, but the view over mediaeval buildings reminds you that you’re in Tallinn. Le Bonaparte on Pikk (+372 646 4444), is Tallinn’s best French restaurant and Troika on Raekoja plats (+372 627 6245) is fun if you want a Russian experience of stroganoff and folk music. Restaurant Ö (+372 661 6150) is a stylish and airy environment to enjoy international and Japanese cuisine. The most fashionable folk flock here to look pretty over tasty soups and fresh sushi.
Café Moskva (+372 640 4694) on Vabaduse Väljak is a modern bar and restaurant, buzzing with Tallinn’s most glamorous types in very cool, contemporary surroundings; it serves fusion food and stays open until midnight. Bocca (+372 641 2610) on Olevimagi is a hip Italian bar and restaurant with good-looking staff, again popular with the fashionable crowd. Make sure you book at least ten days in advance to eat.
Café Anglais (+372 644 2160), on the second floor of the Teachers’ House on Raekoja Plats, has a warmer atmosphere than other cafés in Tallinn. A great place for a coffee and cakes, it also serves a divine hot chocolate made from real chocolate bars. Black and white photographs adorn the walls, and soft jazz and blues plays in the background.
To seek out Tallinn’s more cutting-edge scene,you have to make your way through a carpark in the port on Mere Pst, to find Bon Bon Lounge and Club (+372 661 6080). Its wood carvings and mirrors give it an Asian theme, with a soundtrack of hip hop,global grooves and house. Club Privé on Harju (+372 631 0545) is a cheesy club that’s so naff it’s cool,and the location for the said-to-be wild Vibe parties; there’s live jazz on weekdays worth pitching up for. Nearby Pegasus (+372 631 4040), also on Harju, is an extremely popular nightspot (having one a handful of awards),and is along the same lines as Viewpoint St Olav’s church on Pikk; its spire offers the best view of Tallinn. Take the wobbly lift up Teletorn TV Tower (www.teletorn.ee) to the Galaxy restaurant for views of the city and beyond.
30 April Walpurgis Night sees a big Volbriöö party. November Jazzkaar, global jazz festival (www.jazzkaar.ee). June Eat, drink and dance at Grillfest www.grillfest.ee) BBQ championship. June-July Old Town Days – mediaeval traditions, street markets and performers. July Beer Summer (www.ollesummer.ee), Nordic festival. August Modern dance festival (www.saal.ee). December Sip glöggi at the Christmas market.
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A lovely hotel in a beautiful city. Staff were exceptionally polite, after a bit of confusion with taxis they footed the bill, presented us with champagne on arrival and upgraded u...more