ESTONIA TRAVEL DIARIES
I haven’t been abroad since my honeymoon, so when my husband suggested a city break to Estonia to visit a friend who moved there, I jumped at the chance. It’s no secret that money is tight for us, so instead of having to save for an all-inclusive hotel somewhere sunny, we only had to fork out about £60 for Ryanair flights to Tallinn.
We went for five nights and chose morning flights to make the most out of our day. However, we soon realised that a 6am flight from London Stanstead meant that we’d have to leave our house at 11pm if we wanted to get to the airport for three hours before the flight. That was a long, tiring drive.
Because we got an early flight, we arrived in Tallinn just before 11am, meaning we had basically the entire day to do what we wanted. We ended up exploring a little bit of Old Town after taking the tram from the airport before heading to our friend’s apartment to unpack and nap.
The next day we were up bright and early again to travel to Helsinki, Finland for the day. The ferry was around £15 for a return trip each, so we couldn’t say no! The ferry port was easy to navigate; there were machines to check in and easy directions to follow to find the gate. The trip took three hours and the ferry was like a small cruise ship – there were bars, cafes, duty-free shops and even a Burger King.
Helsinki was fun to explore. We headed into the city centre and passed the outdoor market, some parks and a lot of shops. Helsinki is a little more expensive than Estonia so we didn’t end up buying anything except a pain au chocolat in Starbucks but it was a lot of fun to explore the seafront, parks and city anyway. We ended up walking about 20km and my legs were definitely feeling it at the end of the day. We ended the day in Estonia with a pub dinner (I had prawns).
For the third day, we decided to visit Tallinn zoo after a well-deserved lay-in. I wasn’t expecting a big zoo, but I was wrong – it’s huge. My legs really didn’t appreciate another 15km of walking, but I do love seeing all the animals. I didn’t quite love the goat that rammed into me with his giant horns in the meet-and-greet area, though. Only me. In the evening we went out for dinner at an Irish bar (Chris was too scared to try Estonian food plus it was the cheapest place to go) then out for cocktails at an awesome boho-style bar that you have to access via a souvenir shop.
Saturday was quite a chilled-out day; I felt a little poorly so I stayed in most of the day and got ready at my own pace, then we went to two different shopping centres for a look around. We were running low on spending money at that point so, again, I didn’t buy anything (despite falling in love with a jumper and a midi dress), but it was nice to walk around. I even spotted a butterfly garden in one of the malls and a ferris wheel on top of the entire building, which we would have gone on if I didn’t suffer with Vertigo! In the evening it was Eurovision time, so we found a bar called The Bar With No Name which was playing it and consumed way too many 2-4-1 cocktails.
Sunday was our final full day and I spent all of it inside due to not feeling well again. It was also the warmest day (26 degrees) so I didn’t want to overheat myself by walking around, so I chilled at the apartment, packed the suitcases and then ate a roast dinner cooked by the boys which was great. I didn’t eat much for the whole holiday – we generally skipped lunch every day – so I didn’t manage much of my dinner before I was full. I wish I could say the same now I’m back in the UK!
TOP TIPS FOR ESTONIA
- Download the Taxify app – it’s the Estonian version of Uber. The taxis are really cheap and take about three minutes to pick you up.
- The trams are so easy to navigate – buy your ticket at the machine (which is in English) for 1 Euro and use Google Maps to know when to get off.
- Head down the side streets of Old Town for the cheaper bars and restaurants – the square is great but slightly more expensive as it’s aimed at tourists.
- There’s nothing to do in the airport and ferry terminals, so don’t arrive super early. Security and check-in is really quick!