Running - Outdoors -Nature
Running in Tallinn and Estonia in general is wonderland of forest trails. It seems that no matter where you are at that you aren’t far from trail, in town or out. Summer and Fall running is idyllic and when winter finally settles in with snow and ice that stays you just need to adapt your gear. I found great success with a pair of IceBug running shoes complete with mini spikes to run across thick shelves of ice with no worries.
Again, there are endless places to run but below are a few options that I enjoyed.
Nomme Forest – Great place to walk or run. You can park at the Nomme market and pick up your fresh fruit and vegetables, pastries, Kalev chocolate, or hatchepori either before or after a run or walk through the woods. Also, just beyond the Nomme Market parking is a prime place for sledding in the winter!
Harku Vaike – My go-to place was here, an extension of Nomme forest that has an endless network of trails. This and Nomme are a bit outside of the tourist area. Harku Vaike is an 8k loop that has numerous options for extensions. This place is my running and nature ‘life line’ when in Tallinn.
Kadriorg Park – This is a great place to get in a nice walk or run and it is located just a short tram ride from downtown. The park becomes surprisingly large when you venture out on the trails that lead back to the Japanese garden. Here you can also take a nice walk taking in the President’s residence, art museums, the pond area, and can be extended out to _______ monument with a view of the seaside.
Piritia Seaside Walk – Walking along the seaside on the Pirita side of the city offers nice views of the Old Town in the distance and great sunsets. This is a long, flat paved surface that connects downtown Tallinn with the suburb of Pirita.
Occupation Museum – This is a must do if you want to get an understanding of the Estonia’s history within the USSR. Be forewarned, the times described here were bleak. But, a visit here is very important to get an understanding of Estonia’s identity and resilience.
KGB Museum – How often do you go to a museum at the top of a hotel? This place is unique as they describe the times of Hotel Viru while under the Soviet regime and the elaborate methods of spying on guests. The place is virtually as the Soviets left it after a quick departure. A nice view of the city is also provided. The visit takes place as a tour after joining downstairs.
Sea Harbor Museum – Even if airplanes and boats are not necessarily your thing you will likely enjoy this museum. The building itself is an architectural marvel and layout and design makes it worth the visit. You can walk through a WWI era submarine, view ice-sailing vessels, and be presented with a multi-media overview of Estonia’s maritime history. This is definitely a top site to visit in Tallinn.
TV Tower – You can see the tower off in the distance from the city looking down the shoreline towards Pirita. You get there via a nice drive down the coast and through the woods. At the top, you are afforded the highest view in Estonia. It is interesting in part for the view and also the journey out there.
Pirita – Seeing this upscale side of Tallinn with its trendy restaurants, shoreline, nice neighborhoods, and forests is recommended if you are spending extra time in Tallinn. Maybe a nice meal at NOA or even just a walk. Also located here were water-based sports for the 1980 Moscow Olympics. See if you can spot the remaining Olympic symbol in the marina.
Balloon Tallinn – If it is a sunny day and you want a great view of Old Town you can take the balloon for a ride straight up and down. It is about a 15-20 minute trip and you can get a 360 view of the city and coast.
Festival and Events
There are many different festivals throughout the year in Tallinn. The most famous is the Tallinn Music Festival that takes place every __ years. I haven’t had the chance to attend that yet but was able to take in a number of other great events. And Estonians really turn out for their events whether it be a small neighborhood festival or something on the international level like the Music Festival.
Tallinn marathon – This is a great September event that offers a 10k, half-marathon, and full-marathon. The course is mostly flat and gives a great tour of the city and starts and ends at the edge of Old Town.
Numerous neighborhood festivals – These occur mostly throughout the warmer months and offer all kinds of good, local food and handmade goods and crafts. Attending one of these is a great way to really feel Estonian.
Teleskivi Food Festival – If you want to try different Estonian food here is your chance. Teleskivi is no longer a quiet artsy area hidden on the side of Tallinn.