Helsiki & Tallinn


8 days of hard walking

When choosing a on a holiday for 2017, and after the success of our last trip to Budapest, Rita and I decided a trip back to Europe would be a good way to spend the last part of August. This time, however, it would be a little longer than a long weekend.
The original idea has been an inter rail trip across southern Europe but, after much speculation and very little planning on my part, we settled on a visit to Finlands largest city Helsinki. I, on the advice of a friend, always wanted to visit Estonia, so it wasn’t long before we had added Tallinn (a 2 hour ferry trip) to the list.


After a short train journey (the trains are clean and cheap), and a cobbled walk to the AirBnB we were out again to explore the city. We headed from the Punavuori design district over to Senate Square, ascending the stairs (named by the locals as the Cliff edge) to Helsingin tuomiokirkko (Helsinki Cathedral)  where we were immediately surrounded by an ecliptic group of old, young, smart and disheveled looking people, speaking all different  languages and hell bent on smashing their fingers against their phones…

Our flight over was un eventful other than a concerning baggage reclaim security

guard (left) when we arrived in Helsinki airport and bit of a confusing train map (below) showing the ride from the airport to Helsinki City centre. (don’t worry they seems to have, rather than simplify the map, employed a team of young people to help the tourists).

Although this could have something to do with the fact we had arrived in Finlands 100th birthday celebration? Either way they seemed happy enough to help.

We had entered a pokemon tournament!

There can only be one?  But even after everyone else had left there were still these two ladies .. maybe they’d won, maybe they had lost more than just their Pokemon, we’ll never know, but this was not the only tournament we would see this trip.


Its not too bad to be honest!

We did a lot of walking in Helsinki and a few places stood out – I have linked information on them for you

Helsinki was mostly a friendly and lovely place to visit, the vibe of the place was good and we never felt worried about our personal safety

Around different parts of the city you will find K-Marts, they are like Tesco (add your own local shop here), they have everything you need and would expect from a grocery shop. The one thing to be aware of is the price. The cost of, say, of some broccoli can range from €3 to €4 with alcohol being more expensive than most of the more expensive places in London. This beer, cost me €8.50 for half a litre.

This was in Il Birrificio (linked right), it was a cool place and we visited a few times.. check out their menu under Birri Special.. that’s half a roasted pigs head for €45, and we saw a young couple attempt to tackle it.. not a 1st date I would suggest…


The Weather (I'm English after all)


as you can you see from my last picture there is an umbrella in the back ground, this brings me to my next point. Sunny it was not, most the time it was either raining or over cast, with the exception of a couple days.


Note the rain defence which were employed as part of everyday life, so, even though we went in August we needed waterproofs.


That being said, I can’t remember a time where we were really cold, just a bit wet most of the time.

Just before we leave Helsinki - round two…

We didn't stick around!


Old and New

So, on to Tallinn,

We made our way to the West Terminal (Helsinki) to get a 2 hour ferry across the Boltic sea to the Estonian Capital. The walk from the BnB to the ferry building was clear enough, with the help of Google maps, but if you use Eckerö Line Ferries, as we, did you will need to go all the way down to the end of the dock.
All the way past where it says west terminal (on the map below)  down to  theterminal 2 building.

of course you will have to make it past this old chap… he lives on road down to the ferry…






thats right he is taking a piss..


The arrival at Tallinn is an easy and orderly affair, there are the occasional youth ridden tuctuc’s you’ll have to avoid but the port building is a lot closer to Tallinn old town than as in Helsinki.

We stayed in the old town, near this church and after a quick beer had checked into our new home for the next few days

Walking around Tallinn old town is akin to walking around different parts of a fairy tail with narrow streets and medieval city wall.

There is history everywhere you turn, from old churches, Bastion, Monasteries and a Cathedral.

You won’t be short for tings to look at and do.  Also walking around the narrow streets is a giant game of dodge the tourist. 
They have the tendency to come at you with selfie sticks these days.

Click below for a list of some of the places we visited in Tallinn

We did do more than this, we visited places such as the Kiek in de Kök, Rotermann Quarter and other buildings but I didn’t always have my camera with me.

Round up

Over this side of the sea the K-Marts have changed to Rimi’s but they consist of much the same produce with one notable exception, the price. While in Helsinki the cost of a small bottle of mineral water could cost as much as €3 but the price in a Rimi , and generally in Tallinn was as little as €0.34.

The food was better too, cheaper and of a better quality. We had a very good meal at Van Krahli Aed and it was quite reasonable compared to Helsinki.

But I think we’d agree our best meal in Tallinn (apart from the pesto pasta) was at Rataskevu 16.

Tallinn has some skys too

Both cites were lovely and well worth a visit. here are a few more pics

... I have no idea

If you find yourself over in that part of Europe I would recommend the following… I have Gmap’d some of them for you.


I think Rita and I were both in agreement that we could see ourselves living in Helsinki but not Tallinn, for all it’s charm it remained a strangely cold place. Helsinki, while expensive had a much easier family orientated feel about it. One of favourite days was spent walking though around Tölöviken bay area, around the some back streets with ease, no one bothered or harassed us.


Hopefully you enjoyed the blog

Martin & Rita


 one panaroma and some legwork