Estonia is considered as “The Finland of Eastern countries”. But it’s too reductive to resume how much this country has to offer to those who want to discover it. Estonia is not only a Nordic or an Eastern country, but also between everything, and this is unique! Estonia is independent for 30 years only, and inhabitants are deeply involved in the construction of their own culture.
I remember a guy I met on the ferry between Helsinki and Tallinn who asked me : “what are you gonna do during one whole week in Estonia, is there enough things to do and see?”
And after my travel, I can answer this question: one week was obviously not enough!
In Tallinn, enjoy the slow life between history and ultra-modernity, but always surrounded by nature! If you visit Tartu, take the time to visit museums and drink a local beer in a pub! Then, If you decide to visit Narva, don’t miss the medieval castle and a walk around the soviet suburbs, it is real time-travel!
During my travel, I take a boat, plane, tramway, bus, and trains, and the country is very well-connected.
I advise renting a car only if you want to visit the countryside and natural parks (as I don’t have my driver’s license, I didn’t rent a car and that is my regret because the countryside looks interesting and surprising!). If you want to visit only cities, this is a waste of money to rent a car! It is easier to use a train or a bus between cities, these transports are very reliable and comfy in Estonia. To visit cities, you can do everything on your feet or bicycle, even in Tallinn!
Food is probably my favorite part of every travel! Estonian food is very similar to Russian food, and I ate a lot of Russian dishes (such as a Seljanka soup, or Pelmeni…delicious!)
In Tallinn, enjoy your morning visiting Telliskivi creative city and Jaama Turg (market), and then, try food from all over the world in one of these food trucks with a cosmopolitan atmosphere!
- Maiasmokk Tallinn: The oldest coffee in town! Don’t miss the cozy atmosphere and tasty latte!
- Swissotel Tallinn: A French man, established in Estonia for 10 years, advised me to go to the Swissotel bar/restaurant. And the place was amazing! On the 30th floor (one of the highest buildings in Tallinn), surrounded by large windows, you can admire at the bar side a beautiful sunset over the Baltic Sea and the modern Tallinn whereas after, for your dinner, at the other side of the room, you have an incredible view over the old Tallinn! This place is a bit expensive and fancy, so if you want to save your money and enjoy the same view, another building not so far has the same view: Sokos Hotel Viru. The last floor is a KGB museum that everyone can access.
- Olde Hansa Tallinn: One of the most epic restaurants of my life! A local advised me to try this restaurant. It is very famous in the city and at first sight, it can appear like a tourist trap. But no! Everything in this big restaurant is about the medieval era. Atmosphere, dark lights, decorations, costumes, music, and even food! But it doesn’t look cheap or fake, it is very realistic, and you immediately feel the vibe! The waiter was kind and cheerful and all the musicians talented! The food was tasty and the price was not too expensive. I recommend 100% this address, you will not regret it!
- Werner Cafe Tartu: if you like pastries, cake, and tea it is the place to be! You can choose between a lot of different delicious and generous cakes with a cup of tea or coffee!
Also, Tallinn is full of bars and pubs which are safe for women! (And finally, less for tourist men because of scams)
I walked a lot in the evening in Tartu or Tallinn and I felt safe (honestly, more than in French big cities). The criminal rate in Estonia is one of the lower in Europe and walking in the street as a lonely woman is not a problem (even if you can hear some unpleasant comments from men, unfortunately, it’s everywhere like this.)
On another hand, you must be careful in some places:
- Railway stations, as everywhere in the world, it’s a hub where people come and leave, and you must be careful with your personal stuff. Normal attention is required and everything is gonna be okay!
- Former industrial cities as Narva. I had no problem when I visited this city and the crime rate is also low, but this city is at the border with Russia, and they are some drug traffics. (as every border town, there are traffics, and we must be careful!)
To put it in a nutshell, Estonia was an amazing discovery for my first travel alone and now, I just need to come back to this country to visit more!
This is written by Judith Grg. She shares her story about her first solo trip to Estonia
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