Shore Excursion and Port Information
Tallinn, Estonia Information
Updated by Nancy Norris
Language and Currency
What is Tallinn Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?
A valid passport is required for entry but no visa is necessary for stays of less than 90 days.
The official language of Estonia is Estonian ad the currency is the Estonian Kroon. Most of the older residents speak, little, if any, English, but since English is now being taught in schools, you will find many of the younger residents speak English. Many places will accept Euros and credit cards are widely accepted.
Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is located on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland. It is the industrial and cultural center of Estonia, a major naval port and a city rich with historical presence. This ancient community has been under several rulers, most recently Russia. In 1991 Estonia declared its independence and is presently the most westernized of the Baltic States. This well-preserved medieval city has embraced capitalism and new restaurants, hotels, cafés and shops are opening everyday. The heart and soul of Tallinn lies in the old walled city, however, and it is a delight to view and explore the watchtowers, fortifications, medieval shops and churches within its confines.
Tallinn experiences a maritime climate. Temperatures from May through September range from 50-80°F with 65° being the average temperature in the summer (June- August).
Celebity's Century Docked in Tallinn, Estonia
The ship will dock in the commercial pier area and you will be required to take a shuttle bus to town. The old walled city is within walking distance of the shuttle drop-off.
One of the Entrances to Tallinn's Walled City
The shopping of interest to visitors is located in the old town section of the walled city. As you make your way downtown, look for the walls and an entrance into the city through the walls.
The Viru Gate Entrance to the Old Town
The main shopping is on Viru (the main street leading from the Viru Gate to the Town Square), the neighboring side streets and the maze of streets around Town Square, in particular Pikk.
Estonian Sweaters by the Thousands
There are thousands of Estonian sweaters for sale and the best buys can be found in the stalls under the wall on Müürivahe (near the corner of Viru). They are high quality, wonderful designs at give-a-way prices. Linens and other knitted items such as quilts, hats, socks, vests, gloves and scarves are also available at unbelievable prices. You will find Russian goods like nested dolls, lacquered boxes, napkin rings and hair barrettes, ceramic dolls, fur caps, military clothing and artifacts, hand painted eggs, amber jewelry, porcelain dishes and much more at prices that were as good (or better) than in St. Petersburg. The flower market is a great place to buy a huge bouquet for just a few euros for your cabin.
Just One of the Many Shopping Opportunities
The shops around Town Square offer many high-quality artisan items such as costumed dolls and stuffed toys, wrought iron pieces, furniture, leather goods, china and ceramic pieces and souvenirs. All in all, Tallinn offers some of the best shopping in the Baltic and one shouldn't hesitate to make a purchase if they like the product and think the price is reasonable. You are likely to find it more expensive elsewhere.
Tallinn, a Walled City
Your time in Tallinn is best spent exploring Old Town which was actually once two separate medieval towns separated by a wall. Dome Hill (Toompea), site of the upper town, was the seat of the ruling government. The lower town, site of the Town Square, was the merchant and trading center.
One of the Streets Separating Upper Town from Lower Town
Two steep narrow streets connect the two towns. The ship will usually offer a walking tour of the city, but you an also forge out on your own. From the point at which the shuttle bus drops you off, enter Old Town through the Viru Gates, passing the Flower Market along your way. Once through the gates, continue along Viru to the Town Square.
This is the center of the action where you will find numerous restaurants and outdoor cafés that provide a perfect vantage point for watching the continuous local entertainment perform on the bandstand.
Entertainers Performing at Town Square
You will be able to enjoy everything from orchestras performing classical music to folk dancers and rock bands to children’s choirs. The Town Hall is the dominant building in the cobbled square, but it is surrounded by other interesting buildings such as the Apothecary dating back to 1422. From there, head up Dunkri where you will pass the Wheel Well on your way to St. Nicholas Church (Niguliste Church). Built in 1230 and dedicated to the Patron Saint of Seamen, it is now a museum and concert hall. From here you can pass through a gate in the wall that separated the two cities and climb the stairs to the Upper Town. Here you will be able to view the King’s Garden, and Kiek in de Kok, the tallest cannon tower of the old town and now acts as a museum. From the tower you will easily be able to spot the pink palace which is actually an addition to the Toompea Castle and is the present site of the Estonian Parliament.
Alexander Nevski Cathedral
Across palace square is Alexander Nevski Cathedral.
Alexander Nevski Cathedral
This Russian Cathedral is modeled after St. Basil’s on Red Square in Moscow. Continue walking uphill to the Dome Church (Toomkirk), Estonia’s oldest church. If you venture inside you will see tombs pave the floor and hand carved coats of arms adorn the walls. Passing under a yellow arch, you will enter a courtyard that offers expansive views that are breathtaking. With the time you have remaining, you can return to the Town Square and visit the Historical Museum and/or the Maritime Museum (both on Pikk), spend time shopping along Pikk and Viru streets or find a wonderful place for lunch and people-watch or just savor the experience, as I did.
Just One of the Many Views Walking Tallinn, Estonia
Wandering the streets of the old walled city, enjoying the entertainment on the open air stage in Town Hall Square, shopping in the stalls along Müürivahe and just allowing yourself the luxury of being transported to another time when life was simpler is definitely a “don’t miss” experience.
Yes, if you want to experience an authentic medieval meal, Old Hansa next to the City Hall is an excellent choice. However, my personal favorite is Balthasar, a garlic restaurant in the Town Hall Square.
Named after the famous writer that lived in the building, the main component of every dish, from appetizers to dessert, is garlic.
Great ambiance, exceptional wine and succulent escargot made it a high point of my visit.
Monica J. Pileggi,
148 users found this review helpful.
Tallinn, Estonia Shore Excursion and Port Information Tallinn is a lovely walled town with colorful buildings. I spent most of the day walking around the town with Deb and...read more
162 users found this review helpful.
Tallinn, Estonia Shore Excursion and Port Information Star Princess has only a half day here, but the upper and lower old town can easily be seen in that amount of...read more
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