Tallinn, Estonia

Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.
–Paul Theroux

After a two year stint in Moscow, the time has come to share the tidbits and factoids about our various meanderings around the continent. While these will all be elaborated on, there will be a list is of our highlights and vortexes of doom.  The first place I’ve thought to cover is a city that dared surpass our wildest expectations and has now become a place we rather long to return to.

Tallinn, Estonia

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Tallinn is perhaps one of the most overlooked cities in Europe. Perhaps because Eastern Europe is still so fresh and new since the wall came down, perhaps because few have heard of it. If you’re flying from Moscow, it’s one of the nicest little getaways within an 1.5 hour flight from Sheremyetevo airport and when you need a weekend away that won’t break the bank, a fresh gust of sea air or steak that does not cost one million dollars – those in the know head to Tallinn.

Airport: Lenart Meri Tallinn Airport

I’m an airport fiend. I’ve often said that if I were homeless, I would live in an airport and ride the conveyor belts. Using this as a precedent, I love this airport and I may have told Steve to leave me there. Simple, chic design with clean lines, clear                       directions in a variety of languages (one of which was English) and a mere 2 miles from the old town in the city center. Need one ask for more? It’s small enough to be uncomplicated, and well designed enough that you do not feel you are in a shoe box.

Where we stayed: Merchants House Hotel

french bath - merchant suite

My hotel go-to is booking.com. I’ve used expedia, orbitz and others but find myself back at booking every time. The selection of unique as well as boutique hotels has never steered us wrong and Tallinn was not exception.

There is something to be said about a French bath in your room. Amazing, should be said. It would be wrong to say that I booked the hotel just for the French bath in the Merchant Suite. It’d almost be untrue as well. I suppose the moral of the story is: while we were not disappointed, remember that not all French baths were created equal. The room design and layout was fantastic with an extremely comfortable large bed and tasteful decor. The front desk personnel were extremely helpful and  detail oriented – they were on top of our various requests and always ready with tips and suggestions – from arranging airport pick up to booking services at their onsite spa facilities. The breakfast option was included, and it was good. The piece de resistance was the spa, which was affordable and wonderful. My life has not been the same since the full body warm honey massage.

Oh – did I mention the hotel is literally around the corner from the city center? Yes. there’s that too.

Food and libations we recommend:

(disclaimer – we were at an unfair disadvantage that a friend turned us on to all the below)

El Gallo Nero

32, LAI TN (OLD TOWN), 10133 TALLINN

(T): +372 646 4010

cafe nero 1

In one word- delightful. Pinot nero and antipasto platter. Sit in the sun, watch the electronic train cars whizz by. You cannot go wrong.

Peppersack

Viru 2 / Vana turg 6, Tallinn

(T): +372 6 466 800

Grilled beef fillet in a cherry wine sauce. To. Die. For. That said, somewhat touristy, but totally worth it. Garlic bread, ginormous baked potato and smoked cheese soup.

Chocolaterie de Pierre

Vene st.6, Tallinn 10123
tel. + 372 6418061

Delicious handmade truffles and scrumptious coffee. In a quaint courtyard of artisan boutiques.

Drink Bar & Grill

Vaike Karja 8, 10140 Tallinn

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This one is tricky to find, but well worth the effort of the street maze. Best fish and chips in town and as they advertised, “no crap on tap”. Bottoms up!

Kehrwieder Coffee Roasters

Saiakang 2

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Really good coffee. Really really good coffee. Detail- we bought multiple pounds of Zimbabwean coffee to bring home. Also quite alluring milk shakes.

For more info on Tallinn and all it has to offer, check out the London Foodie’s recent post.

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