Hey ya’ll, we are so excited to have you guys back for our second installment of Tallinn, Estonia! If you missed part one on the Old Town, make sure you check it out to get the full scoop on this magical city! We’re going to pick up today in the eclectic Kalamaja district, located just outside of the Old Town behind the Balti Jaam train station. This up and coming area that was once home to fishermen, ship builders, and dock workers, is now housing an influx of artists, students and bohemian hipsters. It’s full of flea markets, vegan eateries, and trendy nightspots for the new era of free thinkers that are moving into the neighborhood. It is a fun and unique part of Tallinn that has taken part of it’s oppressive, Soviet history and turned it into a cultural hub of art and progression. Here are some of our favorite parts of the Kalamaja area!
Arguably our favorite area of Tallinn, this old Soviet factory complex cannot be missed on a visit to Kalamaja. Here you will find amazing cafes, our favorite coffee shop in all of Europe, craft brew bars, artisan shops, and a different cultural event every week. Every part of the Soviet era architecture has been transformed to reflect the new generation of thinking in Tallinn. Beautiful murals don the walls and art installations can be marveled at all around the complex center. Here are some of our favorite places and things in and around Telliskivi.
Renard Coffee Shop
This place is hands down our favorite part of the Telliskivi area. Besides having the best cappuccino in Tallinn, they also have a super friendly staff and a super unique concept of business. Within the multi-use building where Renard resides, there is also a barbershop, a jewelry maker, a skateboard shop, and a mechanic shop for custom made motorcycles.
This industrial chic restaurant was where we found our most delicious meal in all of Tallinn. Although it’s bit confusing to find the front door, don’t let it discourage you because this place is mouthwateringly magnificent. The dishes are fresh, gourmet, and cheap while the ambiance is modern, unique, and artistic. Their menu is seasonal but if you find the pork tenderloin or the salmon poke, let your tastebuds sing!
There are actually twelve Reval Cafes, but we only went to one in Telliskivi and one in Old Town. The one in Telliskivi is where we found ourselves sipping warm coffee trying to get out of the cold. Although we would still choose Renard over Reval for coffee, the restaurant in Old Town is a great place for a lunch spot.
Tallinn’s ancient name was Reval, after the Dane’s conquered the city in 1219. After gaining independence in 1918, the Estonian’s renamed it Tallinn in their native language. So thats why you might see other things called Reval, paying homage to the history of the city!
Although we’re not totally sure what this little area is called, you can’t miss it since it’s to your right when you come up to Telliskivi and next to Renard. There are two story cafes, food truck type containers, and a bar situated in two train cars on the premises. Since we came here early in the morning, there wasn’t a ton happening (plus it was freezing!) but during the evening and warmer weather this place gets things going!
Located right next to the container area we just described, SIP stocks over 650 craft beers and 350 wines so grab a bottle of something before you head up to one of the overlooks in Old Town to watch the sunset or picnic in the park.
This is a flea market of sorts that happens near the Balti Jaam train station. You can find Soviet antiques, local delicacies, Russian babushkas, and other random market items. It has a temporary location since the main marketplace is under reconstruction but if you need a souvenir, start here instead of the overpriced Old Town shops.
Meaning “Bottle Bar” in Estonian, this place started the revolution of craft beer in Tallinn. Owned by a British expat who imports the highest quality of the sweet nectar of life, this place is a great stop for any beer lover on a quest for craft beer in Tallinn.
If you love the water, learning about maritime history, or need an activity for kids who love those things, this place is for you! It is located on the harbor in the Kalamaja district and offers interactive exhibits and displays. You can climb aboard a submarine, see the steam powered icebreaker Toell the Great, and check out a short 184 seaplane, all life size and marvelous. Tickets are about $15 for adults, $8 for kids 8 and up, and $30 for a family ticket.
Technically located just outside the Kalamaja district, the best part of this place is that it is FREE. It is a quirky two story building with a mini cafe in the bottom, with a rotating art display from local artists. You don’t need to go out of your way to see it, but free is free and if you need something to do, this offers a nice walk from town to the harbor.
We can’t say enough how much we love Tallinn and we hope you make it to Estonia to see this magical city for yourself. Whether it’s walking the cobblestone streets of the Old Town or enjoying a craft brew in Telliskivi, there’s something for everyone in Tallinn!
We’ll see you next time for the last installment of the Baltics, but until then make sure to tell us your favorite part of Tallinn in the comments below!