Mouth-watering flavours, inspiring art, fascinating history, relaxing at the spa and above all – quality time together. Our mini-break to the capital of Estonia was full of food for both body and soul. It never seizes to amaze me how much Tallinn manages to evolve. There always seems to be something new to see, no matter how many times you visit. It’s the perfect city for a weekend trip, especially for those into culture and delicious food. Here’s a blog post about our romantic get-away to this trendy capital.
Relaxing Jacuzzi Time
Photo: Part of the hotel spa as seen from the gym. There’s a wide selection of different saunas to choose from like salt sauna and traditional Finnish sauna.
There are several different companies offering regular ferry connections between Helsinki and Tallinn. We chose Eckerö that has a ferry leaving at 3:15 pm from Helsinki. The way over to Tallinn went smoothly, listening to music and enjoying the views over the sea with the setting sun (wow, actually seeing the sun, imagine that in November in Finland!). With Eckerö the ride over is just over 2 hours and we arrived in Tallinn around 5:30 pm.
Once in Tallinn we decided to save time by taking a taxi to our hotel, located just a short walking distance from the old town and Toompea Castle. We’ve stayed at Park Inn by Radisson Blu Meriton Conference and Spa before and since it has such an amazing gym we decided to stay at the same hotel once more (I know, how boring, right?).
We checked in, left our luggage in our room and immediately threw on our bathrobes and wandered down to the spa. The spa is perhaps not five-star luxury, but it’s nice enough. It has quite a decent selection of different saunas as well as a large pool and two Jacuzzis. We hit both the steam sauna and the salt sauna and relaxed in the Jacuzzi.
Late Dinner and an Early Night
Photo: This little alley became one of our favourites, located close to Kiek in de Kök.
After the spa we were starving, so we headed towards one of my boyfriend’s favourite restaurants in Tallinn, Pulcinella. Personally, I don’t think the food is that great (in fact, my main dish was so salty I couldn’t eat it), but if my man is happy, I’m happy. If you’re ever in the old town and craving some really good French fries you might want to consider giving this place a try, they were actually really good.
We were pretty relaxed after the spa and dinner just made us even sleepier. We decided to just head back to the hotel for an early night. We strolled through the cobblestoned old town streets and fell in love with a tiny alley right by Kiek in de Kök.
Slow Morning and Pumping Some Iron
Photo: An enormous, exceptionally well equipped hotel gym all to myself – paradise.
We had a good night’s sleep and loitered down to the breakfast buffet pretty late. After having worked several Saturdays in a row it sure felt nice to enjoy a nice, slow morning for a change, reading yesterday’s newspapers I hadn’t had time to read. And there were croissants – my favourite!
After breakfast and some time for the food to settle we finally hit the gym. I’ve actually never, ever seen such an amazingly well equipped hotel gym. It’s enormous and I can’t really think of anything missing. The best part is that it never seems to be crowded and we got to enjoy this whole humongous gym almost to ourselves. I got a great workout done. What a fantastic way to start the Saturday!
Historical Vibes and Beautiful Views
Photo: View over the red-tiled rooftops of the old town from Hellemann’s Town Wall.
After the gym it was time for some sightseeing. I’ve been wanting to visit Hellemann’s Tower and Town Wall for forever, but somehow haven’t been able to convince my fellow travel companions to join me before. Now I finally had the chance to check out this 14th century tower and walk along its 200-metre town wall.
Hellemann’s is located in the north part of the old town (close to the flower market) and the entry is just 4 euros. Quite the bargain if you ask me. We learned a lot about the city history and enjoyed some beautiful views over the old town. It was a teensy bit scary for someone who’s occasionally very scared of heights, but still doable.
Photo: Tallinn as seen from one of the Hellemann’s Tower windows. The tower is 700 years old.
Lovely Lunch at Pegasus
Photo: I ate so much during our weekend in Tallinn! The food was amazing.
After exploring historical Tallinn it was time for lunch. I’d heard good things about Rataskaevu 16 so we thought we’d check it out. Unfortunately, it was full: we should’ve made a reservation. However, they recommended us their “sister restaurant” Pegasus just a short walk away.
Pegasus was fantastic! The atmosphere was really cool (I especially loved all the books) and the food was divine. Even my cider, Sheppy’s raspberry cider, was so great I was bummed out I didn’t have room in my stomach for more than one. We had a vegetarian lunch: some excellent cheese, crispy kale and probably the best complimentary restaurant bread I’ve ever had followed by ravioli with aubergine.
Photo: Yummy raspberry cider at Pegasus.
An Evening in Trendy Telliskivi
Photo: The Telliskivi neighbourhood seems to be full of colourful murals. This one is located right next to F-Hoone restaurant.
After lunch it was spa time again and this time we enjoyed the aromatherapy sauna, steam sauna and the Jacuzzi.
Feeling very relaxed it was time to plan our next meal (again!). I’d heard several people recommend F-Hoone in the creative neighbourhood of Telliskivi. As it is right next to the brand new museum Fotografiska where we were headed next we decided to give it a try.
And it was a good thing we did. Once again the food was amazing as was the ambience and overall experience. F-Hoone is located in an old, renovated industrial warehouse and it has kind of a trendy, hipster vibe going on. The food is very reasonably priced (at least from a Helsinki point of view) and delicious. They have a good selection of alternatives for vegetarians as well. I had a really good grilled aubergine with a lentil-tomato stew. The rich, creamy cheesecake was the perfect ending to a perfect dinner.
Photo: Delicious endings – a lovely cheesecake with fresh berries at F-Hoone.
Night at the Museum – Visiting Fotografiska
Photo: A cool mural right next door to Fotografiska.
Our next stop was Fotografiska, a brand new museum in Telliskivi. I had mixed feelings about visiting as it’s been so unbelievably hyped. Sometimes when a place is really hyped (especially on social media) everyone just seems to continue praising it just because that’s what you’re “supposed” to feel about that particular spot. Thus, these kinds of places can sometimes be a bit of a letdown.
This was not the case with Fotografiska and I can see that everyone raving about it really, truly mean it. Not only was it a really great museum with some amazing exhibitions and a nice vibe. It is probably one of the most open museums, as they express it themselves on their website. For example on Fridays and Saturdays they’re open until 01 am.
What a great way to make art and culture more available to people with all kinds of different lifestyles! I’m really excited about this concept and hope this inspires other museums as well.
Photo: My absolute favourite exhibition at Fotografiska was Kristy Mitchell’s Wonderland. It was so moving and delicate, I loved it.
After Fotografiska we strolled through the old town and ended up at Wine not? – a really cosy little wine bar with a super friendly and fun staff.
On Sunday we took the ferry leaving at 12 am from Tallinn. Once again Tallinn managed to exceed my expectations!