We caught the 9pm ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn because it was the cheapest option at €154, but also because arriving at midnight worked for us, as we planned to stay in a 24 hour car park just near the harbour. Meaning we could sleep and have a full day sight-seeing for just €2 (this was only our second paid overnight stay).
Known as the party ferry, where Finns get to enjoy cheap drinks in the bars and at the duty-free, it can apparently get lively, but as it was only a Tuesday; things were relatively calm.
We killed the 3 hours by checking out the duty-free, which wasn’t as cheap as I expected (or wanted), but probably was for the Finns, and lounging in the bar (without a drink). Over the summer months dogs are not allowed to stay in the vehicles, which was fortunate as it was another sweltering evening and Stanley enjoyed the attention and rubbing himself on the bar carpet!
Arriving in darkness was a welcome but also eerie experience. For weeks we haven’t really had any dark nights, and driving through an old Soviet state at midnight, especially past Linnahall to a car park in the grounds of a demolished factory was quite something.
Tallinn provided a lot of things we’d been missing, particularly its medieval old town and city walls and gates (bars), which when entered, immediately reminded us of home – York.
Although cooler than previous days, it was still hot, so we limited our visit to the old town. Taking in the Town Hall Square:
Where we enjoyed our first beer (a shared half costing €3) and a couple of cheap pasties (€1.50 each) from the touristy but right up our street ‘III Draakon‘:
We enjoyed the views from Toompea (Upper Town):
Taking in the Russian Orthodox Cathedral on the way up:
Before leaving we walked on top of Linnahall, a multi-purpose events venue built in classic Soviet style (yes concrete) for the 1980 Moscow Olympics (Tallinn hosted the sailing event).
Like the area around it, it is currently waiting to be renovated. It will hopefully play host to many top acts like in its glory days, Scorpions, Chris de Burgh and Alphaville to name a few, but at present it appears to be a place for teenagers to hang out and smash their beer bottles.
We liked Tallinn and would certainly visit again, perhaps flying in for a city break.
Next we headed west to find some dog friendly beaches.