Things to do in Tallinn

Tuck into the local gingerbread

Though the Finns might dispute it, Estonia lays claim to being the source of many a Christmas tradition including gingerbread. As a result, the sticky brown biscuits are taken so seriously they're an art form. Every December, the Design and Architecture Gallery ( hosts an annual Gingerbread Mania art exhibit where everything is made out of gingerbread.

Relax on the beach

Given its long mercantile history, it remains a mystery as to why Tallinn’s seaside location still comes as a surprise to many. In any case, its Baltic setting means beaches; Pirita, Stroomi, Harku and Kakumäe are the main public ones and all come with vast stretches of welcoming golden sand.

Take a Kayak on the Pirita River

Along with sandy beaches, Tallinn is also blessed with a river that cuts through the centre of town and flows to the sea. Before the Baltic, it passes through gorgeously green marshes that are easily explored by kayak or traditional wooden rowing boat. Ask 360 Kraadi (tel: +372 56 864 634; to get you afloat.

See the sights from a balloon

Blue Sky Balloons ( has regular hot-air balloon flights outside Tallinn in Harjumaa or Raplamaa. Each flight is about 45-60 minutes and needless to say, the views are spectacular.

Whack your back with a birch twig

Estonia's sauna culture dates back to the 13th century and there's no shortage of places to unwind in Tallinn. Smoke saunas (heated with pungent pine logs) are the best, though more modern varieties like those at Kalma Saun (tel: +372 627 1811; are equally good. Be warned: 'whisking', or beating yourself with birch twigs, is expected.

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