Eastern and Central Europe (Eyewitness Travel Guides)

(Ben Green) #1


Shopping & Entertainment

Traditional handicrafts and souvenirs can be found all

over Estonia. There are plenty of stores and market
stalls that specialize in art, antiques, jewellery and
knick-knacks, and Tallinn’s Old Town is one of the
best places in the capital for gift shopping and souvenir
hunting. The country also has an eclectic entertainment
scene. The larger towns and cities such as Tartu and
Pärnu have a crowded cultural calendar as well as a
splendid nightlife. Tallinn’s many classical music and
opera performances are a major draw.


Just about every Estonian town
has a turg (market), although
they often sell only fruit, veg-
etables, house hold goods and
everyday items. Tallinn’s main
market, the open-air Central
Market, offers a glimpse into
the everyday life of the city’s
inhabitants. The market selling
knitwear at the corner of Viru
and Müürivahe Streets covers
a stretch of the Old Town
wall and is a great place to
find a gift. Uus Käsitööturg, a
popu lar stall in this market, has
a good selec tion of traditional
handicrafts and souvenirs. The
Christmas Market in Town Hall
Square (see pp100–1), which
runs through December, fea-
tures everything from knitwear
to marzipan.


Most shops are generally
open from 10am to 6 or 7pm
on weekdays, from 10am to
4pm on Saturdays, and are
closed on Sundays. Shopping
centres usually open from
10am to 8 or 9pm daily. In
small towns and villages,
open ing hours are more erra tic
at weekends, with many
shops staying closed or
only open ing for half a day.
Grocery stores nor mally keep
longer hours. However, there
are several 24-hour conve-
nience stores in Tallinn.


Tallinn’s Old Town is packed
with bars and pubs of every
size and description. There
are several popular Irish and
English-style pubs, including
Molly Malone’s and Scotland
Ya rd, as well as stylish lounge
bars such as Déjà Vu and the
extravagant Lounge 24. There
are also a number of quieter,
cosier pubs scattered around
the Old Town. Hell Hunt,
contrary to its name, is a relax-
ing spot for a chat and a drink.
Most of the good clubs are
situated in or within walking
distance of the Old Town.
Many, such as Bonnie and
Clyde, are equally popular
with locals and visitors. Club
Privé and BonBon are the
most exclu sive hangouts,
while serious clubbers can try
the port-side Oscar.
Elsewhere, Tartu has an
impressive range of lively
places. One of the best-
known nightclubs is Atlantis,
while the most exclusive is
Illusion. Another favourite is
the Maailm. Occasional live
performances take place at
the Genialistide Klubi.
Pärnu also has an active
nightlife. Lime Lounge is a
stylish place for a drink, while
Postipoiss is a restaurant-cum-
pub with frequent live music.


Tallinn’s contemporary art
scene offers plenty of galleries
and small shops that stock a
variety of attractive oil paint-
ings, graphic art, sculpture,
textiles and off-beat ceram ics.
Navitrolla Galerii sells both
originals and prints. The city
also has many antique stores,
sell ing everything from Soviet-
era paraphernalia to exorbi-
tantly priced Russian icons.
Special permission is needed
to take some objects out of
the coun try, so check with the
shop’s manager before buy ing.
With stunning bronze items,
silver ware and crystal ware,
Reval Antiik and Shifara Art &
Antiques, are among Tallinn’s
best antique stores.


Towns and villages are good
places to find local specialities,
including textiles, ceramics and
ornaments. Marble is used to
make carved ashtrays, and
pestles and mortars. The use
of dolo mite, a translucent


Estonian food products can be
bought in any supermarket.
Rye bread is a local staple, as
are sprats, smoked fish and

mineral, is unique to Saaremaa
Island (see pp106–107). Pärnu
(see pp108–109) is known for
its handwoven linen.
Tallinn abounds with a
variety of hand i crafts. Wooden
toys and utensils are common,
as are traditionally woven
rugs with beautiful and elab-
orate pat terns and a wide
range of ceramics. Bogapott,
an exclusive ceram ics studio,
and Galerii Kaks, with its wide
range of textiles, are worthy
of a visit. Nukupood stocks
hand made toys as well as dolls
in tradi tional folk cos tumes. In
Katariina Gild, craftsmen can
be seen at work on handi-
crafts, jewellery and ceramics.
A-Galerii has a great selec tion
of local handmade jewellery.

cheese. Try Kaubamaja and
Stockmann, two of the
country’s largest department
stores, for variety. Chocolate-
lovers should try the brand
Kalev, Estonia’s oldest confec-
tionary producer and, in
Tallinn, the handmade delica-
cies at Anneli Viik. There are
also numerous bakeries selling
delicious pastries and cakes.
Estonia’s national drink is a
sweet brown liqueur called
Vana Tallinn, but in terms of
consumption, beer is the most
popular tipple. Saku Original,
Tartu Alexander and A Le Coq
are all popular brands. Locally
made as well as quality
imported vodka is cheaper
here than in other European
countries. Saare Dzinn, a gin
flavoured with berries from
the Estonian islands, is good
too. Liviko, one of Estonia’s
leading alco hol producers,
has stores all over Tallinn.
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