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Finland

Helsinki

Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, is an easy day trip by boat from Tallinn. I did a whistle stop tour, a big highlight was the architecture there. 

There are beautiful cathedrals, art museums and waterways. 

Once named one of the most beautiful train stations in the world, Helsinki Central Station is the main train station in the city. The statues at the station wore face masks the day I visited – very appropriate for the times we are living in. 

Uspenski Cathedral 

Helsinki Cathedral

Ateneum Art Museum

Helsinki City Hall

Seagull sculped by Villu Jaanisoo stands tall on Tennis Palace at one of the entrances to Helsinki Art Museum

Oodi Helsinki Central Library

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Features

Covid

A collection of different images and impressions from around Europe during the Coronavirus pandemic

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Estonia

Tallinn Town Hall Square

Tallinn's Town Hall Square, known locally as Raekoja plats, has sat beside the Town Hall building since 1322. 

It is a vibrant place with a great atmosphere, and is the venue for many events, concerts and markets. There are plenty of bars and restaurants scattered around the area and it is generally bustling with locals and tourists alike. 

Town Hall Square offers a variety of restaurants to sample traditional food. 

Find the bear sitting outside Restaurant Troika and head in for a truly traditional meal, you'll find bear meat on the menu. Other options include The Beer House, which boasts a metre-long sausage and Olde Hansa, known for its bear and elk sausages.  

The Town Hall Pharmacy, or Raeapteek, is located in the city centre opposite the Town Hall. It has been running in the same building as a pharmacy since the 15th century, making it the longest running business in Tallinn and one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe. 

Tallinn has become a destination for film crews – most recently, parts of Christopher Nolan's Tenet were shot here. 

I was lucky to stumble upon a movie being shot in the Square, check it out below.

One final mention is the Tallinn Christmas Market – an annual event that runs from the last week of November to the 7th January. The central focus of the market is the Christmas tree, which is believed to be the first ever publicly displayed Christmas tree in Europe. 

There is hot food and drink alongside a variety of market stalls, Christmas stands and general merriment! A special thing to experience if you find yourself in Tallinn during the festive season. 

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Estonia

Club D’Boiss

Club D'Boiss is a hidden gem in the heart of Tallinn. 

It is a gentleman's club that offers a range of services: an in-house barber, a relaxing cigar lounge, a bespoke tailor, an alternative workspace.  

The ex-pat community are drawn here along with in-the-know tourists. Fridays have become the best opportunity to stop in with the recent opening of the Jazz Club. I highly recommend a visit here. 

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Estonia

Telliskivi

Located in a repurposed industrial complex, Telliskivi Creative City is a true highlight of Tallinn. 

Charged with creative energy, it has become a favourite spot for locals to enjoy art, music, great food and entertainment. There are a plethora of independent businesses housed here, as well as start-ups and NGOs. 

Artists from a dozen different countries have contributed to the art that covers the walls in Telliskivi, making it a go-to venue for street art fans. Tours are available for visitors who want to learn a bit more. 

You'll also find Fotografiska, a fine art photography museum. You can lose a day looking through the incredible imagery there. Check out the gallery at the end of the post for more. 

There are numerous restaurants and eateries to discover in Telliskivi and there is also a weekly market held there. 

Telliskivi hosts a huge amount of events year on year – including the Tallinn Music Festival. 

Gallery

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Estonia

Freedom Square

Freedom Square is a popular public square located in Tallinn Old Town. 

You can find significant city landmarks here along with restaurants and a bit of nightlife, including well-known jazz bar, Philly Joe’s. It is also a place that various functions and events happen. 

The War of Independence Victory Column is a memorial to those that died in the Estonian War of Independence. The Cross of Liberty sits on top of it. 

I witnessed a rally for Belarus once in the Square – people were protesting the re-election of Alexander Lukashenko.

It also has it more relaxed moments, with people just enjoying a meal or night out. 

I was really impressed by Cafe Mood, which sits just on the edge of Freedom Square. The atmosphere and service were fantastic – a very cool place. 

The walls were painted by an Italian tattoo artist.

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Estonia

Huskies of Tallinn

I was lucky to take a trip outside of Tallinn to Paasiku Dogs Manor, a family owned and operated farm that is home to over 20 Siberian Huskies. 

The owners lives really revolve around these very special dogs and you can feel how emotionally invested they are in the wellbeing of their animals. If and when any of their pack are rehomed, they are incredibly selective about who the dogs are rehomed with. 

The farm is also home to some alpacas and the owners told me that they are going to try to bring in ostriches and kangaroos as well. 

It was pretty mild on my visit to Paasiku, but a friend of mine has shared the below photos so that you can see the dogs in action in the snow as well as some Husky pups!

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Estonia

Tallinn Nightlife

Tallinn has such a diverse selection of restaurants and bars – there are loads of places to eat and loads of places to drink. 

The city has a real independent feel with so many local businesses. Whether you're after an authentic German-style pork knuckle, a great Thai or Texan meal, or just a fun night out, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the number of options Tallinn has to choose from. 

All around the city there are great places to be discovered for a drink, a dance, or just to have some fun. The atmosphere is excellent. 

Gallery

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Estonia

Hotel Viru

Tallinn’s Hotel Viru was built in the early 70’s and was a secret home to the KGB during the Soviet era. 

It was mandatory that any visitors to the city stop over in the hotel so that the KGB could keep tabs on movements in and out of Tallinn. 

The KGB took over an entire floor of the building, using it as a radio centre and a hub to spy on hotel guests. 

Espionage devices were discovered following Estonian Independence in over 60 of the hotel rooms. 

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