We'll do our best to meet your anticipations and take you on an impressive journey to our city's amazing sights.
Dive into Estonian cultural heritage at the Estonian Open-Air Museum. If you're interested in Estonian history and culture, visiting the Estonian Open-Air Museum is a must. It's a reconstructed town showcasing Estonian architecture from the 18th to the 20th century. There are almost 80 exhibitions, the oldest being a 300-year-old chapel from the Noarootsi parish.
You can enter all the buildings, which are furnished just like they were in the past, and the "locals" there will tell you about their traditions and history. There's even a tavern serving delicious traditional fare.
1. Take part in the national Song and Dance Festival
The Estonian Song and Dance Festival takes place every five years and is the country's biggest and most important cultural event. It's also one of the most significant choral events in the world, with over 30,000 performers and 80,000 audience members who often sing along.
The song festival tradition started during the Estonian national awakening in the middle of the 19th century and has continued until today. It's a huge festival where national songs and dances are performed in front of a vast audience, and it's a sight to behold!
2. Shop At The Balti Jaam market
Even though the actual site is currently under construction and won't be reopened until summer 2017, you can still visit a small-scale version of the Balti Jaam market in the DEPOO building next door.
It's one of those places where you can find anything and everything, from fresh produce to second-hand clothing, antiques, Russian beauty products, homemade jams, and so on. Even if you don't plan on buying anything, go to see the hustle and bustle.
3. Try milli-mallikas at Valli Baar
This will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime experience because once you've tried it, you won't want to again. Ever. Well, that's just my experience. If you consider yourself a trooper, you might even grow to like it… Or at least endure it.
Anyhow, it would be best if you certainly did it in Tallinn; it's how you gain the locals' respect.
4. Take Home A Unique Souvenir
During the last decade, local products have become popular among locals and tourists in Estonia. Little boutiques that sell local designers' creations have been popping up like mushrooms after a storm. Krunnipea, Tali, Nu Nordik, Eesti Esindus, and Les Petites are just a few.
If you're more into beauty and skincare products, you'll find Estonia's best cosmetic brands at Pillerkaar. Don't be tricked into buying "local amber" – get an authentic local souvenir from one of these shops instead.
5. Relax Like A Local In Kalma Saun
Kalma saun is one of the oldest public saunas in Tallinn, dating back to 1928. Although the building has been renovated several times, it's still a place of history and tradition.
As a foreigner, you might find it odd to sit in a small, hot room with other naked people (there are separate saunas for men and women), but for an Estonian, it's an entirely regular and enjoyable pastime. If you want to say you've genuinely experienced Estonian culture, then some time at a sauna is a must.
6. Find Out Why We Have A Museum Of Occupations.
Many people don't know that Estonia was occupied more than once. This museum was established to tell the story of our small nation's journey to independence.
The permanent exhibition covers the German and Soviet occupations and the Singing Revolution that eventually led to our independence. There are also temporary exhibitions that change regularly.
Right now, the museum is being expanded, and by 2018 it will be twice as big and have a new name: Vabamu (that's short for Vabaduse Museum, which translates to 'Museum of Freedom').
7. Get Cultural At Kultuurikatel
Previously a power plant, the unorthodox 'Culture Cauldron' hosts various events, including workshops, fashion shows, concerts, art happenings, and more. Check out their website to see what's coming up.
While in the neighbourhood, go and see the roof of Linnahall – where the local youth hang out. Offering an uninterrupted view of the sea, it's the perfect place to watch the sunset (or rise).
8. Spend A Day At A Bog
A bog is a wetland that features rather frequently in Estonian nature. Bogs are so common that there are several near Tallinn to choose from.
Despite being the closest – around a 30-minute bus ride from the centre – the Pääsküla bog will make you feel like you're hours away from the city's busy streets. Other famous bogs include Kakerdaja and Viru, roughly an hour by car from Tallinn.
9. Travel Back In Time To The KGB Museum
The museum's location is also significant: it was where the KGB had a secret room for listening to important guests' phone calls.
This museum is essential for understanding the extraordinary measures the KGB took to protect Soviet Estonia – in other words, to oppress its citizens.
The KGB was the notorious national security agency of the Soviet Union. Everyone born before 1980 still remembers them, and younger people have heard all the stories.