I’ve never been to Europe before, and I didn’t expect Estonia to be the first country I’ll be visiting. Like any usual person, when I heard I was heading here I got on google and expected the internet to shoot up some answers! Oddly enough, Estonia was constantly highlighted on its rich history, and a lot of boring facts – and for the first time, I gave into the saying “everything on the internet is not true” – because once you land in Tallinn and explore the city, you’re honestly in for quite a treat!
- I assumed it was simply because I’ve never visited Europe before that I felt so overwhelmed by the beauty, but everyone who’d visited the country before has always constantly outlined the fact that Tallinn is nothing like the usual Europe scene, whatever that means – there’s just something so beautiful with how they’ve incorporated the skyscrapers and the old buildings preserving their rich history within architecture.
- Original Sokos Hotel Viru
- Why? Because this hotel doesn’t just provide comfy rooms and the best cream cheese + croissant combo for breakfast – but it literally housed a KGB radio center at the hotel that was used to spy and eavesdrop on the guest – which is now turned into a museum. How cool is it to actually stay at the hotel where all this happened!
- Seaplane Harbor
- If you think planes and harbors are boring stuff, you’re going to change your mind once you step into the one of a kind seaplane harbor. Explore a real submarine, check out all the 200 + exhibits on display and end your day with either a delicious meal at the cafe above or dress up in uniforms and take fun pictures with your squad!
- Tallinn Old Town
- Think Harry Potter met medieval times! The town is absolutely breathtakingly stunning, with cobblestone roads, pastel, and rich intricate details. It honestly feels incredible magical to walk down the area, there’s such a hard to describe atmosphere which can only be truly understood if experience yourself!
- I’m going to dedicate an article just for this because the food here is taken very seriously and it’s absolutely delicious. If you can’t decide, their salmon is pretty bomb.
- Lahemaa National Park
- It maybe a quite a bit of a walk, but boy was it worth it! The view is gorgeous, and you can get some very Instagram worthy shots right here. Plus, with the fresh air, the cool air, there’s a feeling of ease and beauty around it! We did visit Estonia at the beginning of winter, therefore we’d couldn’t indulge in any berry picking or any activities – but you know there are multiple things to do throughout the year!
- Christmas Market
- Here’s the best part of the Christmas market, it starts way before December, around November? Just so you can enjoy Christmas a tad bit longer than usual, and the whole place turns magical with the fair lights, the giant Christmas trees, the tiny stalls selling all sorts and fun stuff from bags to caps and not to forget the warm cups of mulled wine in both the alcoholic and non alcoholic versions. Mind you there’s a particular dish that blew our minds for just 2€ – the croffle which is a cross between a croissant and waffle, and generous amounts of chocolate sauce. Heaven in a bite, especially since it was extremely cold and this was warm!
- E- Estonia
- You think you’ve seen it all when it comes to technology but you’re wrong. Estonia has been so progressive and is the living and breathing example of a digital world transformation. You can do literally everything online, except getting married or divorce of course! But literally everything else from purchasing a house to selling off your car – can be done at the comfort of your own home.
- Vintage stores
- Estonia is stuffed with these, you can find some pretty exclusive designer labels in tiny boutique stores and real vintage Moschino and all sorts of cool things – that make for great collectibles or souvenirs!
- The Cat Cafe Nurri
- If you love giant fluffy cats as much as I do, then you’re going to absolutely adore this cafe – filled with at least 15 cats from different species. Enjoy a hearty meal, feed these cuties and enjoy the afternoon.
- they’ve got a whole bunch of activities to do in Estonia from shooting, to escape rooms, multiple museums and of course treating yourself to an Estonian acapella – honestly some of the best I’ve heard and what an obedient and calm audience.
- Käsmu Maritime Museum
- Situated well away from the city, but what a cozy little museum with the homeowners filled with such exciting stories to share. We had lunch there and hands down was THE best we’ve ever had during our trip in Estonia. Literally made from scratch in their very own kitchen.
Bonus reason: Estonia has been nothing but a treat for a Muslim woman like myself. I walked alone on the streets and felt extremely safe and no one cat called or caused any unnecessary commotion. Despite halal being a factor, there are multiple restaurants that have halal friendly dishes in the menu to large Turkish joints every now and then you’d bump into.
Written by Zainab Faizal
Instagram account: @queen_bae_1926