One day is not nearly enough time to explore all of the hidden alleys and beautiful cafes that Tallinn offers but if you only have one day, I suggest you explore it slow travel style.
Slow Travel encourages us to slacken our pace, re-consider our motivations (and itineraries) and embrace a “less is more” instead of a “fast is better” ethos. It emboldens us to take pause. To think. To saunter instead of rush and enjoy the details instead of blurring past them. —Lola A. Åkerström
We slow travel Stockholm as the least-stressful way of traveling with kids who often have short attention spans, no understanding of schedules, and short legs that tire easily.
Traveling slowly is our modus operandi and we apply it regardless of where we are in the world.
Visit a 300-year-old operational blacksmith workshop
We discovered this blacksmith’s workshop when our daughter tripped on a cobblestone and fell into the closed door of Old Smithy.
Apparently, the blacksmith thought she knocked on it and he opened the door and welcomed us in. (You never know what doors will open when you wander around Tallinn.)
We spoke with the blacksmith who was getting his fire started and he talked us through his daily routine as he started hammering away at a rod of iron.
After 20 minutes or so, he had melted, hammered, shaped, and twisted the rod of iron into a tiny leaf.
You can book the site for a workshop and try your hand at blacksmithing if you have some time. If not, it was well worth hanging out with a real blacksmith and watching him work.
Kid review: “I felt like we’re getting a good feeling of what life was like back in medieval times.”
“I want to be an astronaut and a blacksmith.”
Climb St Olaf’s Church tower for unbeatable views of Tallinn
We passed St Olaf’s church after leaving the Old Smithy and saw that you could climb the tower for a few Euros. Being the adventurous family we are, we all headed up the spiral stone stairs only to quickly remember why I hate climbing towers.
If you’re scared of heights or have a child who trips over cobblestones, maybe SKIP CLIMBING THE TOWER.
The views from the top were absolutely lovely and unbeatable. The weather was gorgeous and you can walk around the viewing platform to see the entire city.
That said, there are goony tourists at the top taking endless selfies and otherwise blocking the platform which makes it hard to make a quick exit if you start to feel vertigo.
Kid review: “Would we die if we fell from this height?”
“I’m glad I didn’t fall.”
Website: St Olafs Church
Visit Europe’s Oldest Pharmacy
I wouldn’t have told you that an old pharmacy would be cool but it was definitely worth the visit.
Located right off the main city square, the Raeapteek is one of the oldest continuously running pharmacies in all of Europe with a guesstimated opening date in the 1400s.
I think the pharmacy staff are a bit tired of tourists taking their photos and never buying anything, so help them keep their business operational by buying a packet of Kleenex.
There’s a side room full of old bottles, weighing scales, and information about the pharmacy.
The main photo on this blog was taken from inside the pharmacy looking out onto the square.
OMG, the FOOD! Ridiculously delicious, amazing, and delectable in all aspects.
Our friends recommended Restoran Ö as one of the top 5 best dinners they’ve ever eaten in their lifetime.
We didn’t have the type of time that Restoran Ö requires to fully enjoy the dining experience, so we booked a table at their sister restaurant, Kaks Kokka.
Not only was Kaks Kokka incredibly accommodating, but the food was beyond compare.
Our server brought out the softest bread with whipped herb butter that made me want to head to the kitchen and hug the chef. The rest of our lunch was even more delicious.
Our daughter was tired and laid down on the couch to take a much-needed afternoon nap.
Not only was that fine by us (and our server) but our server even asked if she needed a blanket.
Needless to say, families are welcome at Kaks Kokka, which is rare to find in fine dining.
Kid review: “My pasta and chicken is really good.”
Save room for chocolate
As if eating the most delicious lunch wasn’t enough, we headed to an artists’ alley to Chocolate de Pierre for creamy rich ice cream and chocolate cake.
Before the chocolate cake, our kids were too tired to walk, their bellies ached, and they were whiny.
After the chocolate cake, they were giggling and acting silly and ready to explore again. Worth every Euro.
Be sure to wander the handicraft stores around the cafe for more exquisite local art.
Kid review: “Thish chocolate cake ish delishous.”
Address: Pierre Chocolaterie Vene 6, 10123 Tallinn, Estland
Explore the wall
Due to two very tired children, we didn’t get a chance to explore the entire city and visit all of the towers around the wall.
Tallinn is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the wall that surrounds the city remains mostly in tact from its original construction in the 1265. You can hop up on the wall (for a small fee) and walk along the perimeter for a bit. Some local vendors have nestled their tables in the eaves of the wall itself and the result is a magical teleportation back in time.
Kid review: “The wall is so cool!”
Wander around and soak it in
There were tons of street performers, musicians, and artists lining the streets of Tallinn and many more places that we’d love to visit again.
If you have more than a few hours and your kids aren’t tired, you could probably check off a few more activities on your list.
We enjoyed the sunshine, beautiful flower stalls, fountains, and the meandering streets and alleys Tallinn offered us during our short stay.
If you’ve been to Tallinn before, leave a comment and let me know what we missed that we should definitely see on our return visit.