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Travel Like Finn and Have a Cruise to Tallinn
It is difficult to find any Finn living in Helsinki area who would not have visited Tallinn yet. Taking a day cruise to Tallinn is a common way to relax among Finns. Travelling to Tallinn is also extremely inexpensive, tickets are almost free most of the time with seasonal price offers by cruise companies. In addition, the price level in Tallinn is relatively cheaper compared to Finland. So why wouldn't you visit this one of the most popular destination of Finnish people without a need to worry about your budget.
By the Sea Only 80 Kilometers
We recommend you to take a Finnish cruise ship to Tallinn called Eckerö Line* . Eckerö is a small town in Åland islands and it is also the home harbor of this company. Between Helsinki and Tallinn, Eckerö Line is operating m/s Finlandia which is a moderate sized modern cruise ship. It can operate almost on any weather even with the presence of high wind, waves or ice.
The ship may not be the newest one but it has been renovated well and the staffs are friendly. Cruising time takes only 2,5 hours each way so you have plenty of time to enjoy your drinks and food, entertainment and fresh sea air while on the ship. The schedule is changing every now and then so please check the current schedule from Eckerö Line's homepage. Usually you have ample eight hours to enjoy and explore the beautiful city of Tallinn.
What to Do in Tallinn: A Sample Itinerary
We decided to make you 4 stops What to See List for your 8 hours stay in Tallinn.
Stop 1: Tallinn TV Tower
TV towers are sometimes a little boring sightseeing spots but according to our opinion Tallinn Teletorn makes a difference. It is located 10 kilometers outside from the city center and this is a great chance to see something else than only the old town. Because Tallinn is a moderately small city, visiting the tower will give you a clear panorama view of the city. So after arriving to the harbor, walk to the center of Tallinn and head to the bus station. Take the bus number 34A or 38 to Muuga (aedlinn). Remember to download an offline map to your phone beforehand to make navigation easier.
Bus tickets can be bought from R kiosk at Tallinn bus station.
The bus drives along the coast line of Tallinn so the view is great. After half an hour journey, the bus starts climbing up to a small hill inside the forest where the TV tower is located. From the tower there is a great view over the whole Tallinn and if you are lucky enough that there is clear sky during your visit, you can see Finland over the Baltic sea too. Lots of information are displayed inside the tower about how it was built and the history of soviet intervention trying to stop the people getting information from outside. The views from the top are really exceptional. If you feel brave enough, try a walk round outside roped to a rail.
Stop 2: Tallinn Old Town
After spending one hour in the TV tower, take a bus back to the central bus station. Walk 5 minutes to the Tallinn old town. Exploring around the old town by feet is easy and fast and there are many great places to stop. You can have amazing photos, visit churches and see Estonian parliament building. We recommend you to eat in the old town. If you are a fan of inexpensive food head to a small restaurant called Karja Kelder (Väike-Karja 1, Old Town) that serves local food and drinks at a basement of an old building.
After the lunch why not to stop at a local cafe. One option is the oldest Cafe is Tallinn called Café Maiasmokk. However, that is quite expensive so prefer a smaller more authentic cafe if you have strict budget. There are plenty of them to be easily found around the area.
Stop 3: Estonian Maritime Museum
Every trip should include at least one museum. Because Estonia is located close to the sea, we recommend Estonian Maritime Museum (Pikk 70). Museum has many floors and a lot of information available. If you feel tired or not a fan of museums, just replace the museum stop with a cold drink in the old town. The old town is full of nice terraces that are great spots to relax during the summer.
Stop 4: m/s Estonia Monument
Probably your time is now running out and you should be at the harbour half an hour before the ship leaves back. When walking back to the harbour why not to stop at m/s Estonia Monument (Väike Rannavärav 1). Give a few thoughts for the victims of this tragic accident in 1994.
Shopping Malls in Tallinn
In the case you didn't like our recommendations or you were fast with your visits, we give a few more tips. For a shopaholic traveller, Ülemiste shopping mall is a simple choice to do quality shopping. It can be easily reached by a bus (number 15) or by a taxi in 10 minutes. Be careful with taxis in Tallinn because their prices vary a lot.
After shopping you can just relax next to Ülemiste lake and do on one of our favourite hobby - plane spotting. Tallinn Airport is located right next to the lake so this is the best location to view planes departuring and arriving to Tallinn Airport. By the way, it is cheaper to fly to other cities in Baltics from Tallinn.
There are many companies that have routes between Helsinki and Tallinn. We are partnering with Eckerö Line* which is a Finnish cruise company heading regularly to Tallinn. Their ships are cruising under the Finnish flag and the service quality is good and stable. If you plan to stay overnight in Tallinn please check our tips for booking cheap hotels.
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We are updating articles when we get new information. This article has been edited last time on 12/17/18.