Are you a digital nomad looking for the best unknown & cheap european destination to work on your laptop, discover incredible land marks & have some fun without going bankrupt ? Or are you simply a long term traveler looking for a little piece of budget paradise ?
Look no further, Tallinn is definitely where you want to go !
Amongst all three Baltic capitals, we found Tallinn had one of the most beautiful architecture. Thanks to being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Tallinn’s Old town has been amazingly well preserved and would make any other european capital jealous. Simply getting lost in the cobblestone streets will transport you back to the Middle Ages.
But the history and culture isn’t the only perk, there is everything you could ask for living in a european capital for a few weeks / months. There are great people, great food, great bars and all that without spending a fortune. Of course, you’ll find plenty of Webpreneurs friendly Wifi cafés in town.
A Guide to Tallinn for digital nomads
Useful Informations :
- Estonia is part of the Schenghen Area which means there will be no control if you come from or are going to one of the member states.
- Currency : Euros
- You can visit Tallinn easily in 2 days
- Estonie-Tallinn, a French expat blog (http://www.estonie-tallinn.com/) (in French)
- Tallinn Wiki Travel : http://wikitravel.org/en/Tallinn
- Tallinn Tourist Information Centre http://www.tourism.tallinn.ee/eng
How to get there
We arrived in Tallinn early in the morning after a night ride in a bus from Lithuania, and it was one of the most comfortable bus we’ve both been on.
If you are travelling on a budget and don’t mind sleeping in a bus, we recommend you to travel with Lux Express as they offer the cheapest prices (less than 20€ from Vilnius to Tallinn and from Tallinn to Saint Petersburg), comfortable seats, plugs to charge your devices and free WiFi. They operate several routes across Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Russia. They are also very helpful and quick when it comes to fixing issues with your booking, which is a plus. They do everything right to satisfy our inner freedompreneurship and it is rare enough to be saluted.
Another common way to get to Tallinn is to get on a ferry from Helsinki or Stockholm. The main ferry companies operating each day are Tallink, Viking Line, Eckerö Line and Linda Line. You will find all the useful informations about ferries on the Estonian Tourist Information’s Website and the Tallinn Tourist Information Centre’s Website. I find their advices quite honest, they tell you for example not to shop on board of the ferry as it can be more expensive than in Tallinn or Helsinki.
Flying to Tallinn is of course another option, but in our case it was a lot cheaper to fly from Brussels to Vilnius and then get on a night bus from Vilnius to Tallinn. That being said, you need quite some time to allow it of course.
Need some tips on cheap flight booking ? check our 6 steps to book the cheapest flights.
Where to stay
We haven’t tried all the accomodation possibilities in Tallinn so we can only speak about what we’ve experienced and we’ve found one of the best hostel we’ve stayed in so far !
We stayed at The Red Emperor Hostel and it is simply brilliant ! It has all you expect from a hostel, cool vibes, nice and clean rooms, low prices, central location and super-friendly staff. Great balance between comfy, quiet rooms and a party hostel with a killer bar. A pint of Saku, a tasty local beer, is only 1€ for a Liter during happy hours (how great is that ?!). Wifi works fine, the common area displays big tables and it gets quiet during the day which makes it a digital nomad friendly environment.
How to get around
Pretty much everything in Tallinn is within walkable distance (no need to spend on transportation tickets), especially the Old Town, so you won’t really need to use public transportation. If you do, there are trams and trolleybuses that can take you to remote places like bus stations and ferry port.
Where to eat
- The Third Dragon (Raekoja Square)
On the main square, all the restaurants are not really worth their touristy prices, except the Third Dragon. Located inside the Town Hall building, the old medieval tavern will take you back to the Middle Ages.
The waitresses are wearing costumes, there is no electricity, only candlelights, you can eat soup in wooden bowls and dry meat with your hands. It is delicious and will only costs you for 4€ per person. Seriously, make sure you try it when you go to Tallinn.
- Kompressor (Rataskaevu 3)
Enormous. Cheap. Pancakes. Need I say more ? Just go. It’s tasty and it won’t break the bank.
What to do
We are history nerds. There, I said it. So when we walked around the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, admiring the historical buildings, the colorful building facades, the town walls, the churches… We simply fell in love with this city. All the shops and restaurants are decorated and people are all dressed up. It feels like being on a film set, and I do love historical reconstitutions. The more we discovered Tallinn and the more we were loving it. But there are tons of other reasons why you would love it too.
Here are our must-sees/must-dos :
Town Hall Square
At the heart of the Old Town, the Town Hall on Raekoja Square is a landmark. Built in the 13th century, it is a unique example of gothic town hall in Europe. There is a market some days where you can see loads of expensive local handmade products. You can have a seat in one of the numerous cafes, enjoying the sun (if you’re lucky like we were !) on a terrace, although they all are quite touristy and therefore expensive.
The Town Hall Pharmacy (11, Raekoja Square)
I don’t know about you, but I find it pretty cool to visit “the-most-something” places, the oldest, the biggest, the first, the last, etc. Open since 1422, this pharmacy, now also a museum, is known to be the oldest pharmacy still running in Europe. The owners, the Burchart family, were not only selling medecines but also alcohol, jewelry, gunpowder and many other goods such as marzipan. The pharmacy is still running today, selling modern day products in an old fashioned display of wooden shelves and 17th- to 20th-century pharmaceutical objects.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
If some of you are religious architecture fans, you will love this one ! Built in 1900, when Estonia was part of the Russian empire, it was dedicated to the Prince Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky. With its onion-domed roof top and an interior decorated with mosaics and icons, it is a fine example of orthodox architecture.
Tallinn’s free walking tours
Every hostel has a free walking tour to offer, and if you’re not staying at a hostel you can always ask at the tourist information centre. Walking tours are a great way to explore the city and get anecdotes and story about each building. Plus they are usually done by students and it’s their way to make some extra money (as I’ve done in the past), so be nice and tip your tour guide !
Spas ! (Yes, with an exclamation mark)
We didn’t actually go to a spa… So why am I talking about it then you say ? Well because Tallinn is known to be a spa city since the 1800’s and it was worth mentioning it ! Here’s a list of spas you can get all pampered in. What a better idea than a spa after a hard day getting things done on the laptop ? That’s a very good point for us.
Let us know which one you preferred.
Budget accommodation and restaurants, reliable wifi, full of History, friendly people, spas… Now you know why Tallinn has to be on your bucket list ! It really seems that this city has been made for location free entrepreneurs and that jewel is not so crowded yet… Go there before the rest of the crowd !
Can you think of a better european capital for digital nomads ? Share it with us in the comments below.
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