I was not in Tallinn for about 20 years. It decided to go to Tallinn for the weekend by car (from St. Petersburg). It can be noted even before trip, hotels in Tallinn is much cheaper than in Helsinki. Budget hotel for two nights for two people was booked at the price of 60 euros. (Hotel reservations are here.)
Photos from trip to Tallinn. September 2012.
From St. Petersburg to Tallinn
St. Petersburg had left early in the morning, about 3:30. The distance from the northern edge of St. Petersburg to Ivangorod (town near the border) is about 180 kilometers. The rain did not let drive fast. Road condition is basically good or quite normal. There were a few areas with old, uneven pavement. In Ivangorod town refueled (there are a few petrol stations). We arrived at the border at about 06:15. There were only few cars. Crossing the border on the Russian side took 10 minutes, and 15 minutes on the Estonian side.
The road from Narva to Tallinn was in excellent condition. It is much better than we have in Russia. Closer to Tallinn is great highway by two lanes in each direction. The total distance from St. Petersburg to Tallinn is about 400 kilometers. We arrived in Tallinn around 10 am, parked the car next to the hotel and went for a walk around the city. (In the center of Tallinn all parking is paid, and it is much more convenient go to walk.)
“Karjatare Bed & Breakfast” hotel has appeared not best looking building located in a residential area near the city center. The hotel room is apartment with a bathroom and a kitchen. Condition of the room is not the best, but it is habitable. The kitchen has kettle, refrigerator, old microwave. The bedroom has a TV. Wireless internet operates.
Despite the fact that the hotel requires a complete redecoration, it has obvious advantages:
- Convenient location near the town center.
- Free parking is available.
- Low cost.
- Near is located a cheap supermarket.
After checking into the hotel we went for a walk into Tallinn. We walk to Tallinn passenger port, looked at the sea, and from there went to the Old Town. Near the old town (just to east) is located shopping centers “Viru” and “Foorum”. In the shopping center “Viru” are located many shops which sell clothes, shoes and many other products of famous brands. Assortment is about the same as in the shopping centers in many European cities, the prices also are not much different (possibly some products a little cheaper).
After a short walk through the city we went to the supermarket (on the ground floor of the shopping center Viru) and went to the hotel. At the “Rimi” supermarket you can buy anything food cheaply. There is a vegetable, fruit, cheese, sausage, alcoholic beverages. The supermarket is sold by weight ready salads and hot dishes. Cooked food can be bought a little cheaper than in supermarkets of St. Petersburg.
The second day in Tallinn
On Saturday, the day started with a walk through the Old Town. Near the Town Hall Square is located an information point for tourists (you can see location on the map). Here you can get free city maps and guides in several languages. In the “Upper town” we went to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Viewing platforms offer a good view of Tallinn. Everywhere is a lot of tourists from many countries. There are lots of little shops and cafes. Old town are visiting all tourists in Tallinn.
On the tower of the St. Olaf church is an observation deck for tourists. To get on a platform costs 2 euros for adults, 1 Euro for children (the entrance to the church itself is free). The site is located at a height of 60 meters. Climbing to tower is by a very narrow steep stairs. It will be hard to go upstairs for the elderly and sick people.
There are McDonald and Hesburger cafes at the entrance to the Old City from the “Viru Gate” (the eastern side). Prices are about the same as in Russia. Slightly north is a “Rimi” supermarket, where you can also buy an inexpensive meal.
The afternoon was devoted to shopping. Shopping in Tallinn did not make a positive impression. Most shops are the same brands and about the same price as in many other cities. Near the old town and the hotel “Sokos Viru” is located “Viru” shopping center. Shopping center is connected to the department store “Tallinna Kaubamaja”. A little south-east of this place is a department store “Stockmann”.
In the evening we go by car to the shopping mall “Rocca al Mare keskus”, which is located in the western part of the city. It is really big shopping mall. There is a hypermarket Prisma on the ground floor, and Stokmann Outlett on the second floor.
The impression is that shopping in Finland (and in St. Petersburg) is much more interesting. The shops in Finland almost always have any sales and discounts.
Free entry, exit for the money
Only by a desire to discourage tourists from Russia to travel to Estonia can explain the organization of work at the border crossing point in Narva. It seems that the Estonian border guards want to complicate border crossing (at the exit of Estonia).
- To leave Estonia through Narva need to reserve a place in line for some time. This service costs € 1 and is done through the Internet.
- Booked? That's not all. By that time you need to come to the company Transservice-N, which is located on the outskirts of Narva (when driving from Tallinn the first traffic light to the right). Here, at the time you ordered, you need to buy for three Euro voucher to cross the border.
- Then you need to get to the border crossing point (after the round to the right and then to the left) and get in line.
- There are no good pointers and information. For the fact that the border guards can not (or rather do not want) to quickly pass cars and tourists have to stand in line, we have to pay 4 euros for standing in line.
This organization of work can only be explained by the fact that Estonia wants to create problems for tourists. Free entry, exit for the money - the invention of the Estonian border guards. They do not want us to come to Narva. We do not go in the near future.