The Scoop: Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia, and it has a prime location as a port on the Baltic Sea. Many couples and families have found their way to Tallinn because they were intrigued by its history or entranced by its beauty, or maybe they can’t resist its diverse food scene. Whatever brings them to these shores, visitors will be able to enjoy a lot of fun date activities and take in memorable sights from Old Town to Tallinn Television Tower.
Years back, I booked a cruise in the Baltic Sea because I wanted to explore different cultures and horizons on a single trip. I expected to check some European cities off my bucket list and get a few profile-worthy pictures of historical sites. I didn’t expect that my favorite stop on this week-long journey from Copenhagen to St. Petersburg would be a port city I’d never heard of: Tallinn, Estonia.
When we stopped at Tallinn, I disembarked from the cruise ship early in the morning and planned to be back by lunchtime. Instead, I spent the whole day taking in the sights.
From the quiet Old Town to the bustling entertainment district, I enjoyed discovering the different flavors of the historic capital city. I walked from one local attraction to another and eventually took public transport to the city center aka the Manhattan of Tallinn.
The city center is a hub of restaurants, theaters, shops, and other unique places to visit. The Freedom Square offers an open public space where couples can enjoy a quiet moment of conversation on an afternoon date or perhaps join a crowd in a protest, a parade, or listen to a concert on certain holidays.
“We just so happened to be here on the 14th of June when some kind of commemorative event was happening and the whole square was full of balloons that were being released,” said a visitor from the U.K. in a TripAdvisor review.
Tallinn is a wonderful place for a weekend getaway or a romantic date because it has a lot of different things to do, and none of the city’s major attractions are unreasonably expensive. If you’re looking for a budget date activity on the shores of the Baltic Sea, take a page out of my travel book and plan a trip to this historic city in Estonia.
Making History Come Alive for Visitors
Tallinn’s Old Town has stood for centuries, and it is an impressive artifact of the city’s history. You’ll know you’ve reached Old Town’s borders because it is surrounded by a tall limestone wall that has been carefully restored and maintained.
Most of Old Town’s buildings were constructed between the 13th and 16th centuries. They’ve been updated and modernized on the inside, but the outward façade has stayed true to the original appearance. Old warehouses have long since been converted into restaurants and coffee shops, but customers can still see the evidence of the past standing proudly through the generations.
One museum and pharmacy in Old Town boasts having been open since 1422, which makes it the oldest continuously operating pharmacy in Europe.
Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it has many quaint attractions that hearken back to medieval times.
One of the most popular things to do in Old Town is enter St. Olaf’s Church and climb to the top of its tower. This is the tallest building in the ancient part of the city, and its observation deck offers a panoramic view of Tallinn.
I paid three Euros to explore this historic monument, and it was quite an experience. The narrow steps spiral upward with just enough room for people coming down to squeeze past you. I was huffing and puffing, thinking maybe I should just swallow my pride and head back downward — when a couple coming down gave me some much-needed encouragement. “It’s worth it,” a guy said as his partner gave me a smile. “You’re nearly there.”
I took a deep breath and powered the rest of the way up until I reached the open air. While standing atop St. Olaf’s, I could see across Old Town’s red-tiled roofs and catch glimpses of the modern city beyond it. It felt as if I were looking through time. And it was well worth the long climb.
I could just imagine couples standing atop that summit and sharing an intimate moment. I saw a lot of selfies being taken all around me, and it wouldn’t have shocked me if someone had decided to get down on one knee up there.
As far as date activities go, a trip to Old Town is a great way to slow things down, see the world through a new lens, and take your relationship to new heights.
The Restaurant Scene Has a Little Bit of Everything
Tallinn is full of must-see destinations, and the diverse neighborhoods support a variety of cuisine. It’s a great mix of the familiar and the brand new. I saw so many adorable bakeries and cafés in Old Town, and then I spotted a Tex-Mex honky-tonk and cantina down the road. My jaw dropped, and my mouth watered. Whatever type of food you’re craving, you can find in these eclectic city streets.
The restaurant scene keeps things interesting by highlighting local delicacies, fusion food, and international fare, often on the same menu! One of the most popular and romantic date spots in Tallinn is a pizza place that features live Italian music. La Prima Pizza Vanalinn brings authentic Tuscany flavors to Old Town and has a wonderfully imaginative and cozy atmosphere. Locals have praised its pizza for being the best in the city.
If you’re looking for a boozy date night, you can frequent the local pubs and share a pitcher of beer or a bottle of wine with your significant other. The bar scene includes an eclectic mix of sports bars, wine cellars, Irish pubs, and cocktail lounges. I’d recommend that adult couples take a stroll down Sauna Street, which features a lot of good drinking holes within walking distance of each other.
Tourism has been down in Estonia over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the country’s vaccination rate is steadily climbing while its infection rate remains low.
European travel is slowly reopening — with precautions in place — as the current climate improves.
Many couples in neighboring regions are only too eager to rejoin the social world and take a romantic getaway along the Baltic coastline. Tallinn stands ready to welcome people back to a clean, modern, and dynamic destination. The Tallinn Tourist Information Centre has even issued Goodwill Agreement badges to local companies that have helped slow the spread of COVID-19 and kept customers safe.
“By joining the Goodwill Agreement, the service provider declares that they act in compliance with the requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and that they are committed to providing a safe environment for both their customers and employees,” the team explained.
Tallinn: A Unique City Where Medieval Meets Modern
I spent an action-packed sightseeing day in Tallinn during my Baltic cruise, and I barely scratched the surface of what this historic city has to offer. I didn’t have the chance to stop by any of its five public swimming beaches, and we were already sailing to the next port by the time the city’s nightlife attractions opened.
Tallinn wasn’t the most famous or anticipated stop on my week-long voyage, but this Estonian city ended up being the highlight of my vacation because of its welcoming atmosphere and quiet beauty. The city offers a good balance of modern attractions and historic points of interest. Couples who consider themselves history buffs can spend all day exploring Old Town, while other daters may enjoy strolling through the gardens, going to see a show, or sampling the local cuisine.
“Tallinn is a cozy capital with clean air and a relaxed vibe,” local experts explained. “Tallinn is an evolving city that will never be finished. Each season reveals a new facet, providing a reason to come back and stay a little longer.”