Travel, Food & Books

Winter Holiday in Tallinn Estonia

Under the clear, frosty sky of winter, Tallinn, Estonia, presented a picture of ethereal beauty, brimming with beautiful churches, with its spires piercing the cold Estonian sky.

Riga to Tallinn by Lux Bus

We travelled on a Lux bus to Tallinn for our 3D2N winter holiday. The bus provided charging ports and movies for entertainment. Unless you have compatible earphones, you would have to watch the movie without sound, or you could purchase the earphones with the driver for 1€.

There was also a toilet on board, mineral water for sale at 1€, a free WIFI, and coffee and tea. Additionally, the legroom on the bus was quite spacious. So, Michael did not suffer throughout the 3-hour 30-minute journey. 

The scenery along the ride was breathtaking, with a frozen river, snow-covered trees, and snowy ground, and we didn’t need to stop at the border control. Our bus fare costs 19€ per person. Although we didn’t depart on the dot at 7 am, 10 minutes late, we still arrived earlier than the scheduled time. By 11:30 am, we arrived at the bus terminal in a cold and crisp atmosphere. 

Park Inn by Radisson Meriton Conference & Spa Hotel

From the bus terminal to our hotel, Park Inn by Radisson Meriton Conference & Spa Hotel, we ordered a Bolt service cost 5.70€ for the 10-minute ride.

The hotel let us check in early. Before noon, we were already in our room! The room was modern, and the big windows offered an unrestricted view overlooking the houses, which was nice to look at when the snowflakes fell gently, adorning the surrounding buildings with a blanket of white.

Tallinn Old Town & Its Attraction

St. Olaf’s Church

A towering spectacle that once held the title of the world’s tallest building.

Swedish St. Michael’s Church

This place of worship had undergone numerous changes. It served as a hospital, almshouse, women’s reformatory, retirement home, and gymnasium before eventually returning to the local Swedish community.

Currently, besides as a worship place, it is also frequently utilized as a concert hall, and the basement is also home to the Museum of Estonian-Swedish church art.

Toompea Castle

The history of Toompea was a narrative of the various rulers and invaders of Estonia, each moulding and strengthening the area to their liking and needs. Currently, the Riigikogu (the Parliament of Estonia) is housed within the walls of the castle.

Boris Yeltsin Memorial Plaque

In commemoration of Boris Yeltsin, the first president of Russia. In recognition of his contribution to the peaceful restoration of Estonia’s independence.

Monastery Gate

Monastery Gate (Klosterpforte) and the Towers Square (Tornide väljak) named Nunna, Sauna and Kuldjala Tower.

Holy Spirit Church

The oldest public clock in Tallinn is the elaborate one that is situated on the wall above the entrance, showcasing intricate carvings from the late 17th century.

Tallinn Town Hall

Built in the 13th century, this Gothic town hall on the centre square of this medieval old town was still very much alive with its Christmas Market when we were there in early January.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Completed in 1900, this orthodox masterpiece stands as a proud testament to Russian influence in Estonia. In my opinion, this church in Tallinn was the most visually striking one, judging by its exterior.

Saint Mary Cathedral

Tallinn’s oldest church dates back to 1219, with its exterior dating back to the 15th Century and its tall spire added in the 1700s.

Tallitor’s Tower

One of the oldest medieval structures in Estonia dates back to the 13th century and was originally part of a large fortress complex. Rising 50 metres in height, it remained a prominent landmark and a testament to the rich history of the region.



When we first arrived in Tallinn, we walked to Lido for lunch. Located at the Solaris centre just outside of the old town, Lido was our favourite chain restaurant in the Baltic region.

Hence, we took the chance to sample the meals and found out that they cost 9€ more than the price we usually pay in Latvia, which was around 23€ for the two of us.

Old Estonian Restaurant

Located in the heart of Tallinn, after a day of wandering around in the freezing temperature, we stopped by the Old Estonia Restaurant. Their warm interiors offer a respite from the winter cold outside. 

We selected exotic meats for our lunch: a hearty Stewed Elk Meat and a succulent Braised Bear Meat. In addition, we indulged in a few of the establishment’s signature beers. 

Personally, I found the Elk meat to be more to my liking compared to the Bear. To me, the Elk had a similar taste to deer meat, while the Bear offered a bolder flavour. The total cost of our meal came to 95.60€.

Hotel’s Buffet Lunch – Grill 250°

On a day when the temperature was too cold to be wandering around, and the sky spitting snow, we had a lazy day and stayed indoors in the comfort of the hotel. 

For the price of 12.90€ per person, we get to choose from the buffet selection of dishes: Sauerkraut soup with pork, Roasted Beef in Onion Sauce, Breaded Fish, Oven Potato, Buckwheat, Cauliflower Gratin, Creamy Herb Sauce, some dessert and coffee and tea. 

Tallinn to Riga by Lux Bus

Three days of exploring the old town’s cobblestone streets, braving the frosty winds ( -16°C to – 20°C ) to visit the majestic churches, their spires piercing the sky. It was challenging but worth it! For the record, I never felt this cold in my entire life. It was just our luck that we travelled away during a cold spell week.

The Bolt back to the bus terminal cost 6.40€, which was slightly more than getting one from the terminal to the hotel. The bus fare also costs the same at 19€ for the scheduled time at 2 pm. The journey was supposedly 3 hours 56 minutes to Riga but ended up 5 hours journey due to traffic. 

Unforgettable Memory 

Stopped by Police

The moment that will always stay with me was when the authorities halted us for not using the pedestrian crossing. In Latvia, the regulations were not closely monitored by the police. However, this was taken very seriously in this country and likely others in Europe.

In addition, I didn’t bring my passport and left it in our hotel room, which was also considered a violation. Moreover, at this point, I had yet to receive my Latvian Residence ID and could only provide a document stating that my application was being processed and I was permitted to remain in the country. 

I was unsure if this document permitted me to travel outside of Latvia or if it was only valid within the country. This caused me great uncertainty as I had already exceeded my allowed stay in the European Union.

The Verdict

Thankfully, fortune favoured us, and they ultimately let us go. However, they did request that I retrieve my passport from the hotel before heading out and carry it with me at all times. It might be a different story if I had the passport and documents with me at that time! I often wonder what would happen. A trip to the immigration office? Deportation? Fine? Or if it was okay. 

Have you encountered a similar situation while travelling in Europe?

Travel Date: 02nd January – 05th January 2024

Facebook Comments
Visited 19 times, 1 visit(s) today

Next Post

Previous Post

© 2024 Travelbookworm

Theme by

error: Content is protected !!