When I was researching places to stop on this trip, I read that Tallinn was a great, cheap alternative to Stockholm. I wouldn’t recommend skipping Stockholm altogether (it definitely has it’s own unique culture and experience to offer) but it was a great way to balance out our budget.
Go broke in Stockholm, pinch pennies in Tallinn (and Riga). It wasn’t actually that dramatic, but you get the picture. I also read that Tallinn gets a little rainy in the summer. Reviews said Tallinn could be so beautiful if you got lucky and enjoyed it in the sun.
Well I’m here to tell you that it’s just as beautiful in the rain. The colors pop, the squares empty out and there are so many cozy cafes to duck into when the rain falls heavy outside.
On our second day in Tallinn, the forecast was rain all day long. In the morning, Rosie got a massage and I caught up on work. It’s difficult working at normal hours from the road, so I like to get things done in little chunks and then check in each night during San Francisco working hours.
We met at Reval Cafe but decided we wanted to walk around before settling in for lunch. The rain had held off most of the morning and was only lightly drizzling.
We wandered the cobbled streets until we decided on lunch at Must Puudel. It has such a cozy atmosphere. For starters, we ordered a brie, balsamic and strawberry bruschetta. It seems like everything on this trip has been drizzled in a sweet balsamic reduction and it’s so good!
Next we split a pulled oyster mushroom burger that was really good(!) and a healthful quinoa and grilled veggie salad topped with grilled goat cheese. Splitting food is my favorite way to get a little taste of everything. I am a chronic food-splitter.
We hung out at Must Puudel for awhile, as it rained outside, and later enjoyed the matcha soy lattes.
When the rain lightened up we left to explore more of Tallinn, but quickly had to jump under cover for a few minutes when the rain poured down again. We hid out with a girl staying at our hostel and an old Italian woman who was a bit lost and didn’t have any set travel plans for Tallinn.
We all walked her over to the tourist information center and then continued walking to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. It’s my favorite building in Tallinn and has made me realize how much I’d like to visit Russia to see the architecture there. (Tallinn is just a 5 hour drive from St. Petersburg. So tempting!)
Since we had some time to wander without the rain, we decided to stop at our favorite vegan chocolate shop (again!) for some nice cream. They made a new batch that was raspberry flavored! So good with the chocolate.
After the nice cream, we walked back towards our hostel. Rainy days are a great opportunity for making friends since everyone is hanging out indoors. We saw our friend from earlier (the one we dodged the rain with) and met a few new ones from Australia, Spain, Mexico and Germany.
That evening we went to dinner at Chakra. We were really looking forward to this meal after reading about the chef. He is from India, spent years cooking for the most popular Indian restaurant in the main square of Old Town Tallinn and then decided to open up his own spot. Rosie got us a reservation the day before, and we were glad she did. The place was full when we arrived.
The food was really good. We got a variety of vegetarian dishes: the three sauces, roti, raita, matar paneer and vegetable pakora. This was more than enough for the two of us (and only 23 euros – much less than the 45 euro prefixe vegetarian dinner for two).
Our one grudge was that the waitress refused to serve us tap water. She said they only served fancy bottled water (1.5 euros a pop for a small bottle) when there were carafes of lemon water clearly sitting on other tables around us. Even when we said no, she brought out open bottles and charged us for them.
After dinner we went for drinks with our new friends from the hostel at a terrible American themed bar. The bar was serving free cocktails (read: no alcohol, all sugar) but we also tried the ever-popular, and highly entertaining, hot shots. They are a layered shot of Estonian cream liqueur, hot coffee and whipped cream. Best taken hands-free with a sense of humor.
The moral of the story is that there is plenty to do in Tallinn, even on a rainy day. There are also lots of museums but we were more interested in the cafe culture and outdoor spaces, which are still easy to explore in the rain with the right jacket!