It is not secret that the Old Town is pretty throughout the whole year, but not many people know that short walk/ride from the city centre can bring you to even more beautiful places to fill up your album with memories from Estonia. We are bringing you a combination of indoor and outdoor activities that are suitable for small and large groups as well as people who travel alone.
You want to go to the seaside but to avoid the tourist traps? Then Paljassaare is the right place for you. It is located only 10-15 min car-drive away from Tallinn city centre and can be easily and cheaply reached by taxi. However, if you take a taxi, “Pikakari beach” (Pikakari rand) is a more well-known landmark for local taxi drivers. It is also possible to reach the area by public transport. Bus nr.59 goes hourly throughout the day from the Central Train Station (Balti Jaam). The peninsula itself is more famous for the birdwatching towers.
There are 231 bird species registered in Paljassaare. There are 6 birding spots to be pointed out. 2–2,5h trip allows you to get acquainted with Katariina’s bulwark, both two birdwatching towers in the Lesser Paljassaare peninsula and hence the reedbeds and sand flats between the Lesser and Greater Paljassaare peninsulas. If you have 4-5h spare time, you can also go to the northern tip of the Greater Paljassaare peninsula. However, depending on the date and weather of your visit, you will get 75-95% of the species from the shorter trip.
If you are not all that much into birds, you can still enjoy the view of Tallinn from a different perspective, have a small chat with the local fishermen, spot some boats/ships and even hang out with your friends around the fireplaces located in special areas around the peninsula.
2.Viru raba (Viru bog)
Although not exactly in Tallinn, Viru bogs are a real joy for the nature seekers and lovers. Situated in Lahemaa National Park, an hour drive from Tallinn towards Kuusalu, the 3.5 km trail introduces the vegetation and terrain characteristic of the raised bog in Estonia. It was completely renovated in 2013 and is accessible by wheelchair as well as by pram (only until the observation tower). There is camping and campfire possibility and it is supplied with information boards. It is, however, advisable to book a guide if you want to know more about the history and plants in the area. Depending on the period when you visit, you might be lucky enough to come across some berries and even mushrooms during the hike.
3.Botanical garden and TV tower
Located 10 kilometers from the city center you will find the beautifully designed botanical garden. Its collections, as well as outdoor and greenhouse expositions are the most unique in Estonia featuring over 8000 species. Besides the local plants you can see thousands of foreign rarities which are feast for the eyes not only for the true nature lovers. It is recommended to check their website for certain exhibitions before visiting and book a guide if you want to fully experience it.
If you want to escape from the nature, just next to the Botanical garden you will see the grandious TV tower. Officially the tallest building in Tallinn and Estonia (314 meters) is a great tourist, culture and leisure center. A panoramic view from 170 meters, restaurant and terrace on the 22nd floor, interactive multimedia solutions that introduce Estonia and Tallinn and view of the ground through a glass floor of the platform are just a few of the attractions waiting for you there. The legend says that on a clear night, one is able to see the lights of Helsinki over the sea.
Everyone that has ever opened a guide to Tallinn, have definitely heard about Kadriorg Park. It is the most outstanding green area in the center of the city, kind of an Estonian Central Park. Among the beautiful nature you will find attractions like Peter the Great House where the Russian Tsar and his wife Catherine stayed during their visits to Tallinn, a number of museums including KUMU (the Estonian Art Museum which was voted European Museum of the year 2008), Kadriorg Art Museum, Mikkeli Museum and the Miiamilla Children’s Museum.
The park also features monuments of important cultural figures such as sculptor Amandus Adamson, author F.R. Kreutzwald and artist Jaan Koort. Perhaps the most popular part of the Kadriorg Park is the Presidential palace which was designed and built in 1937 by Alari Kotli. Last, but not least, when in Kadriorg, it is definitely worth paying a visit to the Japanese garden which was opened in 2011 and is designed by Masao Sone from Kyoto. It is in the north-east pond in Kadriorg and the inspiration came from the buried limestone slope, the boulders, large trees and a small waterfall.
5.Northern lights watching
This is probably the most actual activity at the moment. The Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis) are collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the Earth’s atmosphere. The result is lights which appear in many forms from patches or scattered clouds of light to streamers, arcs or shooting rays that light up the sky with an eerie glow. They come in shades of red, yellow, green , blue and in some cases violet.
Although they can be seen mainly in the northern and southern hemisphere in an irregularly shaped oval, they can also be seen in Estonia. The Estonian FB group Eestimaa virmalised (Northern Lights in Estonia) has a list of places from where locals, enthusiasts, photographers and adventurers can enjoy this phenomenon. The best time to view is around midnight or basically during dark nights filled with clear skies. It is certainly a one-time life experience for people coming outside Scandinavia, Alaska and some parts of Siberia and most importantly, it is for free.
Written by Deni Delev