Picture the scene: it’s 2009 and a pair of fresh-faced students had ventured to Tallinn for their first back-packing experience. more “A Beginners’ Guide to the Estonian Craft Beer Revolution”
There is no better way to explore Tallinn than on two wheels. Cycling offers the kind of flexibility, freedom and fun that motorised transport simply cannot. Hidden side-streets, secret forest paths and enticing neighbourhoods all become accessible when you venture out on a bicycle. more “Cycling in Tallinn: The 5 best rides in the Estonian capital”
Icy pavements, daily snowfall and sub-zero temperatures: it’s true, Estonia does not seem like the ideal country in which to ride a bicycle in winter. more “The Adventurers’ Guide to Winter Cycling in Tallinn”
Crisp carpets of pristine snow, the first warming sip of spicy mulled wine, an evening walk in the peaceful glow of orange streets lamps and the Old Town at its enchanting best. more “7 Reasons to Visit Tallinn this Winter”
Dynamic, yet peaceful.
Modern, yet traditional.
Nordic future, Soviet past.
Fiercely patriotic; yet outward-facing. more “A Brief Introduction to Tallinn”
Another rumour circles. Abandoned factory in Kalamaja, easy access and full of trees. It’s time to explore. more “Exploring the Abandoned Volta Factory”
It was the last day of our London to Tallinn bike ride and – by sheer coincidence – my birthday. Such days deserve celebration and I cannot think of a finer way to mark the occasion than a visit to an abandoned submarine base, hidden deep in the peaceful forest ambience of Laahemaa National Park. more “Hara: Abandoned Soviet Submarine Base”
Adventure, exploration and freedom are the guiding principles of any great trip. Here at Hidden Tallinn, we try to delve beyond the everyday sights and sounds of the cities and towns to bring you the hidden stories and cool places that make Estonia such a rich and fascinating country to explore. more “Cycling from London to Estonia: Summer Adventure”
The Soviet obsession with statues is clear. From Berlin to Bishkek, the former Iron Curtain cities are littered with these grand images of strength and unity – propaganda and personality cult – like the scattered wreckage strewn across the landscape in the wake of a mighty storm. more “Soviet Statues – Abandoned and Unloved”
“Empty your mind. Be formless. Be shapeless. Like water, my friend.”
Information on this beautiful abandoned water tower is pretty limited.
Standing on the abandoned rail tracks more “Abandoned Water Tower, Telliskivi”
“This place is not fit for humans and never has been”
Still utterly fascinating and darkly captivating, Patarei Prison sits ominously on the Baltic coast; more “Re-visiting Patarei: Abandoned Prison”
During my first visit to Tallinn in 2009 I was privileged enough to witness a magnificent spectacle…
25,000 Estonians – young and old – all wearing national dress, standing on a magnificent semi-circular stage in front of a crowd well in excess of 100,000, all singing patriot, historic, emotional songs of freedom more “The National Song Festival”
50km East of Tallinn, perched on the precarious coastal limestone cliffs that characterise the coastline, lies the former Soviet military town of Paldiski. more “Paldiski: Abandoned Lighthouse and Crumbling Industry”
RMK is an organisation responsible for the upkeep and general preservation of Estonian state-owned forests. With over 2.2 million hectares of forest covering the land (40% of which is owned by the state) this is no small task. more “Keila-Joa Waterfall”
Approximately 30km to the East of Tallinn – along the Tallinn-Narva highway – lies Estonia’s tallest natural waterfall, Jägala. Measuring 8m in height and 50m in width she may be small compared to some of her cousins across the globe but nonetheless, up close, the power more “Jägala Waterfall (Jägala Juga)”
Pirita Health Track – Pirita Terviserajad – is a 7.2km track slicing through the picture-perfect forest which characterises this beautiful district to the east of The Old Town. more “Pirita Health Track: A Beautiful Place To Cycle, Walk or Run”
Ever wondered what The Old Town would look like from 50 storeys high? Well, now you don’t have to. This photo was taken from the top of the TV Tower, the tallest building in Estonia, proud member of the World Federation of Great Towers (yeah, I had no idea that existed either) and my favourite building in Tallinn. more “Tallinn Old Town – From 175m In The Air”
The steps of Linnahall were originally built to signify Tallinn’s status as hosts of the sailing events for the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. As part of a larger regeneration project – which included the building of a brand new highway, the sailing club in Pirita, the famous TV Tower and even the airport – the I.V. Lenin Palace of Culture and Sport, as it was originally known, is perhaps the only structure which has failed to live up to its billing. more “Linnahall: Abandoned Soviet-Era Concert Hall”
Cycling is undoubtedly the most liberating and efficient way to explore Tallinn. With numerous cycle paths and amazing natural scenery, a bike is almost as essential as a camera… maps are optional.
This gorgeous forest is located on Rummu tee (near Pirita), a short ride from the TV Tower. Notice the quaint, yet slightly eerie, cemetary on the right hand side of the path. Very Interesting. more “Summer Cycling: Reminiscing”
About 4km away from the Old Town, down the coast towards Pirita sits a very touching monument to the Russian and German soldiers who lost their lives in the second Great War. The striking gateway and sporadic scattering of crosses generate both a sombre and slightly eerie atmosphere while the large list of names creates a very poignant reminder of the price of conflict.
Originally built to provide better communications for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the TV Tower is a fascinating example of Soviet delusions of grandeur. Famously, this huge structure is the site where, in 1991, a handful of radio operators risked their lives to protect the free media of Estonia.
As Estonian independence loomed large on the horizon the order was given for Soviet assault troops to seize the TV Tower, a key pillar of communication to the outside world. Upon hearing this, ordinary Estonians turned out to protect the tower as a small group of brave armed locals barricaded themselves inside, standing their ground against the odds until the tanks were forced to turn back. more “Tallinn TV Tower”
About 50km from Tallinn lies the small town of Riisipere. After a lengthy bike ride we came face to face with this magnificent yet eerie mansion. Dating back to the 1800’s, the building and its grounds have been completely abandoned and left to the mercy of the elements for many years, giving this once grand structure a far more imposing aura.
I have often heard the phrase ‘a wall of silence’ used to describe a stillness so profound that it feels all-consuming. The grounds of Riisipere Mansion were engulfed by silence. No birdsong. No breeze. No rustling of the leaves. No life could be heard. Gardens were overgrown and a solitary rusting bench lay forgotten next to a vast lake that stretched out into the void. more “Stalked: Abandoned Mansion, Riisipere”