Tallinn – like and hate

So it has been more than 3 months. At the beginning it went very slow (seriously – veeeeeeery slow), but now the time speeded up a bit. I still have doubts if I made a right choice (even though I see that I like the city more and more every day) but I blame bad weather, lack of Vitamin D, and the fact I have been sick for the past 2 weeks. But OK, here is the list of love and hate to Tallinn, Estonia!

This would not be a standard list. I will just put categories and the thing I hate and like. If someone gets offended… well… just face the truth ;) Anyways, 3…2…1…here we go!

1. People of Tallinn

  • LIKE: I like the fact that people of Tallinn are generally polite and do not speak a lot. Why? I fell a little bit puzzled when they used a long sentence in Estonian while I understood only “Tere” ;) Russian community is more open and since I speak some Russian, that part is all right ;)
  • NO-LIKE: Surprise, the fact that people are closed! Really, I have not found as closed society as the Estonians. And yes, I blame Scandinavian culture for that ;-)

2. City of Tallinn

  • LIKE: It’s not as tiny as some people say it is. I heard a lot of stupid opinions like “You can get from one side of Tallinn to another using public transport in 20 minutes”. No, you cannot, however 20 mins. is a time needed to get from the center to many other areas. Due to Tallinn’s size, I bet I still have not discovered 70% of the city and I am planning to do it in months ahead.
  • NO-LIKE: Except the Old Town – barely no open space events in winter. Ok, it’s understandable – it was -24 degrees Celsius a while ago. More “no-likes” connected to the city can be spread in different categories.

3. Shopping

  • LIKE: I would say that there is a big supermarket in almost every more densely inhabited area of Tallinn. I live in Põhja-Tallinn and the nearest supermarket and a shopping mall is just 30 seconds walking from my building. If I decided to walk for 10 minutes (or take 3 stops with the bus) I will get a few more. There are also tons of big shopping malls in almost every part of Tallinn.
  • NO-LIKE: Some of the malls seem to be not perfectly connected with public transport (e.g. from Põhja-Tallinn you can either get a bus that runs only at working days or you need to get to the center and then change to the right bus). Just an example: it makes no difference if I take a bus or go by public transport to Rocca Al Mare shopping center – it will take 40 mins. in both cases. Supermarkets are usually quite crowded as well, regardless of the hour of the day.

4. Services

  • LIKE: In many places with services people speak English. So far I used the bank, electronic appliances shops, R-kiosk (Yes, I know it’s shopping, but approach here is different) and Internet/TV company. No problems with English at all :) The quality of the services is also very good (I am very happy with my mobile phone and mobile internet, quality of the landline Internet, TV, my bank rates etc.)
  • NO-LIKE: Prices. Services in Tallinn seem to be quite expensive. I mean – 15 euro for a haircut is not horrible, though in Warsaw you can get it for 7-8. TV/Internet are also around twice as expensive as in Warsaw. Also utilities are higher than in Warsaw.

5. Public transport

  • LIKE: It’s free of charge for residents. At the same time – its quality is not bad and if it’s delayed – it’s like 5 minutes max. (unless we have a blizzard or we have a blizzard and rush hour at the same time – then it can be more). Not so super crowded when I usually go to work (between 8.00 and 9.00 or 12.00 an 13.00)
  • NO-LIKE: It’s free of charge for residents. So it can be super-crowded at rush hours and sometimes it’s not comfortable. Some buses and, especially, trams number 1 and 2 seems to be small and there are a lot of people inside for a few stops. Some of the buses and trams are not heated during winter (because it simply does not work). There are 2 more “technical” no-likes: 1. You can find bus, tram and trolley with the same number. This can be confusing to some. 2. Sometimes there are 4 and more stops with the same name in the same area (Warsaw solved it by adding the number to the name, e.g. Dworzec Centralny 03 and Dworzec Centralny 06).

6. Jobs

  • LIKE: There was an article some time ago saying that Estonia is no. 1 in Europe for expats. Understandable – companies pay well and salary to price relation is really all right. There are a lot of new start-ups too, and some already established ones.
  • NO-LIKE: The atmosphere in the office is weird sometimes (maybe I am unlucky though). People are usually very silent and every time you want to say something, you feel like disturbing. People also seem not to like any random jokes. I am thinking of changing my workplace because of that.


I concentrated on 6 elements of life, I bet there will be more in the future. Nevertheless, these 6 gives you some view of Tallinn. It’s really a normal city. I am sure there would be more to do in spring and summer. Also: living in Tallinn is not super stressful. You might need some time though to get used to a different culture. I think that 3 months is enough for a start and I already passed that period. How will it go further? We will see :)

Have a good week ahead!



One thought on “Tallinn – like and hate

  1. I think that the prices in Tallinn are just going up all the time. Maybe us Finns are to blame ;) Restaurants, hairdressers everything. Still – for us 15 euros for a haircut is cheap but I can understand it feels expensive if you are used to paying half!


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