Published: December 15th 2011December 15th 2011
First blog and what better time now the winter has fully doffed its cap than to speak about Tallinn, a city with that renders the temperatures here in the UK as somewhat tropical. Yep, the old Christmas markets are in town now and there’s some trouble in Tallinn over the famous Christmas tree in the market square which keeps falling down – there’s some suspicions that it might have been a rival town on a mission of sabotage.
Either way, Tallinn has gained something of a dubious reputation for stag weekends in recent time, with many bemoaning that those pesky Brits abroad are over there causing all manner of trouble, boozing it up and generally making a nuisance of themselves. It’s these kind of stories that I’m used to as a web content editor with a company dealing in stag weekends and I suppose it’s understandable. “Brit arrested after Tallinn stag do
brawl” definitely makes a better headline than “Tallinn stag weekend goes swimmingly, group immerse themselves in local culture and are perfect ambassadors for the UK”. Not only is the second one probably too lengthy to get past most sub-editors, but it’s not exactly the most captivating news. Sadly, though, the former story is the one that gets run and the general population assume that all stag groups are up to no good.
This certainly isn’t the case, however. We’re always keen on hearing stories of men who’ve gone abroad and actually had the curiosity to explore the city they’ve chosen to bid farewell to the groom-to-be’s singlehood. Estonia’s capital is particularly fascinating for groups of this ilk, with its medieval architecture and cobbled streets giving a truly unique sense of place unparalleled in Eastern Europe. The city centre is also on the relatively small side which means you don’t have to invest in hiking boots to explore it properly. The city’s old town is preserved as part of the UNESCO World Heritage List and is in fine shape with its uber-trendy shopping streets and cultural highlights.
The Tallinn Free Tour was the way I chose to discover the city on my visit there earlier this year and I could heartily recommend it to anyone. With former students showing me around, I found all of the best nightspots to get a drink later on in the night and to meet fellow travellers and not to bump into the stag weekend groups that lacked the curiosity of some who headed for the main market square. Unfortunately this section of the city is best avoided with its extortionate drink prices and identikit clubs/bars you get anywhere in the world.
A real highlight for me was the Kadiriorg, which is an old seaside district with old Art Deco buildings which offered a real foot into the past and also features a palace and gardens to explore. I went in the summer when it was still relatively warm and I enjoyed dipping a toe into the Baltic seas at Stroomi Beach and Harku Lake in North and Western Tallinn respectively. If you do make a trip over here in summer, don’t miss out on these places as they offer great opportunities for watersports which I unfortunately missed out on my trip there.
So there you have it, a brief introduction to Tallinn as a cultural city break or, indeed a stag do. You can also call this a defence of the stag do, too, it gets a bad rep, but perhaps this needs revision.