Estonia Week on 501 Places – reflections from the departure gate

After five days in Tallinn, we are on our way home. It’s been a busy yet relaxing week, and I will leave Estonia with many happy memories (and a few pounds heavier too!)

This morning we saw a little more of the Old Town and noticed how much more activity there was as the weekend approached. Many more tourists were being led in groups through the town; mainly Russian, but we also observed the guides leading groups from Japan and Germany. Tallinn certainly took on the air of a lively A List European capital, a long way from its sleepy appearance only two days earlier. The cafes were buzzing with activity, and the shops selling more marzipan, amber and roasted nuts than during the week.

After a small garlic themed lunch (the garlic ice-cream is highly recommended) we packed our bags and slowly headed out of town. The airport is so near to the city here that it only takes 15 minutes to get here on the local bus.

So what are my thoughts on Estonia and Tallinn? Overall they are very positive. Tallinn is a truly beautiful city, and it is hard to imagine anyone visiting here and not being impressed with the incredible buildings and maze of alleyways that still hold their medieval charms. Local business owners are still very welcoming to tourists and their politeness and interest contrasts sharply with over-run cities such as Prague, where many visitors complain of rude and shabby service and of a general dislike of tourists by the locals. Tallinn’s tourism boom is still relatively young, so it has every chance to make it successful for the long term.

Visitors coming to Tallinn for a weekend will probably not see outside of the city, and that is a shame as the coast and the national parks offer another side to Estonia; wild, lonely and beautiful. If I am recommending a visit to Estonia for friends and family (and I certainly will) I will encourage them to stay here for several days and experience life in Estonia beyond the capital.

Spending a week here we met universal politeness and hospitality from the Estonians we met. The streets felt safe to wander, driving standards are among the more considerate in Europe, and we took a while to get used to waiting for the green man on pedestrian crossings, coming from a country where jay-walking is the norm.

It’s also been a pleasure blogging at the end of each day and putting down my thoughts and experiences while they have been fresh. While the internet connection and this netbook have combined to give a reliable if slow access to the net, I will look forward to getting home and reading what I have written!

Thanks to and the Tallinn City Tourist Office for their partnership and support of Estonia Week on 501 Places.

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Freelance travel writer

2 Responses to “Estonia Week on 501 Places – reflections from the departure gate”

  1. Triin #

    Thanks for your posts about my home Estonia! I have lived 5 years away (in London), you know more about Tallinn than I do. Want to go to Lahemaa now!

    October 9, 2009 at 11:12 pm
  2. Andy Jarosz #

    It's so true, I think visitors get to see places that the locals put off "for a rainy day". I'm sure you know London better than me. Visit Lahemaa for sure; it's beautiful. And don't forget the Jagala waterfalls on the way!
    Thanks for reading.

    October 10, 2009 at 8:24 am