When you research Estonia, 9/10 times it will show you a picture of the Old Town. What google fails to capture is the extent of its beauty, magnitude and liveliness. The Old Town was the first thing on my Estonian bucket list and has been my computer background for the past 8 months; I couldn’t wait to go.
After my exchange buddy, Victoria, picked me up from the airport and dropped my unnecessary amount of luggage at my apartment, we headed to the old town. Just a 5 minute walk from EBS, my first impressions were more beautiful (and 10 times bigger) than I imagined.
Between all the main streets, there are tons of hidden corridors strung with lights. It’s a medieval heaven, and over the past few weeks myself and my exchange friends have slowly been able to discover some of the highlights (on our student budget – of course).
As a caffeine addict, I love cafes. The old town is full of cute cafes with amazing coffee, chocolate and pastries. My favourite place is Cafe Mademoiselle, but you’ll have no trouble finding a good place – there’s one on every corner.
The number of food options is overwhelming. If you’re craving an authentic, medieval Estonian experience (on a student budget), you can enjoy delicious pastries, soup, drinks and more exotic options for a couple of euros in the cozy and candlelit Ill Draaken (don’t miss the pickle barrel!). If you’re into vegan food, Vegan Restaurant V has great options and a beautiful atmosphere. If you’re super hungry, you’ll definitely be full after having a pancake at Kompressor for only 5 euros. Or if you just want to go out with your friends and enjoy a nice dinner, an amazing place is Must Puudel (thank you Valentine for taking us!). And you have to try the best Lemonade at Frank’s (see photo below)! In a few words, the old town is a foodie heaven.
From escape rooms to museums, there are tons of things to do. A great way to spend a winter afternoon is to go skating for only 5 euros. If there’s clear skies, it’s definitely worth the hike to check out the iconic viewpoint (you’ve probably seen it on anyone’s Instagram who’s visited Tallinn). It’s a great place to take your friends who are visiting, get some photos, drink mulled wine and enjoy the breathtaking view.
As all the Erasmus students know, Monday nights are reserved for Karaoke at The Red Emperor and on Wednesdays you can enjoy 1 euro drinks at Club Münt. The Exchange Student Network (ESN Tallinn) has amazing opportunities and events weekly, from salsa lessons to parties – so you’ll never be bored. Tallinn has an amazing nightlife culture, with many clubs and bars right in the old town. For pre drinks on weeknights, Labor has become our favourite, with half priced drinks before midnight, and all their shots served in test tubes – perfect for sharing. With my friends, we love going to Studio and Lekker (Techno). Special events and guest DJs are on every weekend at a variety of clubs, and you can find them all on Facebook.
It’s only been a few weeks, but I know I still have a ton to discover. The old town is beautiful, but there’s more that Estonia has to offer and I’m excited to write about it in my articles to come!
Photos: Jackie Muru
Editor: Kärt Mättikas