What to do in Estonia? What to see in Tallinn? Where to go?

Olde Hansa restaurantI have written down these ideas for a visitor of Estonia. Thought it might be useful for others as well.

TALLINN
In Tallinn check out the TV tower and its new restaurant. http://www.teletorn.ee

In that Pirita area is also the Pirita nunnery ruins http://www.piritaklooster.ee/ and white beach.

In Tallinn on the way from Pirita to city there’s Kadriorg park with Kadriorg Art museum in an old palace http://ekm.ee/en/ and the famous huge KUMU art museum. There’s also a small Peter I house museum.

Tallinn Old Town has some nice souvenir shops on Müürivahe street and nearby there (glass and textile). http://www.katariinagild.eu/

There is a nice view on 3 platforms on the Dome Hill, upper part of old town.

Also check out the churces. The one in upper town is the oldest, 13c Dome Church. On upper town, across the street from House of Parliament, is the Russian Orthodox church from 1900. With its gold and shine it’s totally different from local Lutheran churces.

The 15c St Nicholas Church is a museum with a ticket entrance. There’s a famous painting Dance Macabre (Dance of Death).

Holy Ghost Church near Town Hall square has an old wall clock and nice wooden interior.

Drinks on the Town Hall square are quite expensive.

If you want to listen live music in the evening, go to Clazz (clazz.ee), Chicago (chicago.ee) or Rock Cafe (rockcafe.ee – a bit away from center, big concert hall) or check jazz.ee for Friday evening concerts (NO99 is the location for jazz events). As for disco with music, Amigo club in Hotel Sokos Viru is an option.

As for eating, Olde Hansa http://www.oldehansa.ee/ near town hall square is quite famous for its medieval food (for some the food made from old recipies does not seem tasty; also quite expensive).

Across the street there’s another similar, but less expensive http://www.peppersack.ee/

There’s Indian restaurant http://www.elevant.ee/ nearby on Vene street and Italian nearby on a street between houses http://www.controvento.ee/.

PÄRNU
In Pärnu, summer capital of Estonia, ~160 km from Tallinn, is a lot of Finnish tourists on summer time.

There’s a beach side hotel Strand Hotel and Spa (http://www.strand.ee/est/ ). The spa is quite small and not so exciiting, but there’s disco on last floor of the hotel and the hotel is quite inexpensive.

Parking near beach side is usually quite expensive, but as hotel guest it’s free.

Pärnu beach has a new walking promenade and the beach is quite crowded on summer time.

Not so far from the beach is a luxurious hotel Ammende Villa (http://www.ammende.ee/)! I totally suggest it, especially when they have the small concert in their main house.

The accommodation can be same house or their other house. The eating takes place main house anyway. It’s very nice, small and cozy.

Not far from Pärnu is Saaremaa island. You take a ferry there; driving back towards Tallinn on mainland. Book ferry ticket online or pay on spot – http://www.tuulelaevad.ee/index.php?lang=en

During St John’s night, end of June (21-26), it can be overbooked.

HAAPSALU
Forgot to mention between Tallinn and Pärnu is Haapsalu city, 100 km from Tallinn.

It has some historical places to see and Fra Mare spa hotel.

MUHU AND SAAREMAA ISLAND
Once you get off the ferry, there’s first a Muhu island that you pass.

If you want to enjoy a 5 star hotel, take a coffee stop at Pädaste Manor house. http://www.padaste.ee/

They have a high level restaurant, just like Ammende Villa.

Accommodation there is quite expensive, about 500 eur. I stayed there once and took some beauty salon services as well.

On Saaremaa island I like hotel Arensburg. It’s in a theatre style, black walls and high ceilings. http://arensburg.ee/

Some other spas – http://www.saaremaaspahotels.eu/

Fairy style hotel – http://www.hotelliveeb.ee/et/grand-rose-spa-hotell/tema-ja-temake/hotelli-galerii

GoSpa has the biggest spa and is quite new and a bit more expensive – http://www.hotelliveeb.ee/et/gospa/spaapuhkus-kahele-gospa-s-2/pakett

These are all in city Kuressaare, which is not too big city to walk everywhere.

Near Arensburg I suggest the Italian restaurant. I like mussels and bruchetas there.

There’s beach side more close to Go Spa.

Nearby is also old and huge castle http://www.saaremaamuuseum.ee/en/! It’s 5-10 min walk from each hotel.

OTEPÄÄ
In other parts of Estonia I like spa in Otepää, very south end of Estonia.

It has a nice sunny view on the lake from the inside pool side windows and I especially like it when there’s no other people there 🙂 http://www.pyhajarve.com/

The lake is one of the warmest waters during summer time.

You can also rent a boat or the so called water bike to that lake.

By kilometers nothing is far, but bear in mind we have not many wide highways and it is difficult to pass cars in heavy traffic.

TARTU
Tartu is a peaceful town. It is the second biggest town of Estonia with about 100 000 people (Tallinn is 400 000).
It is a university town, so go to see the old 16c university main building. The doors might be open all year round and just peek in the classrooms.

Tartu has an old town like Tallinn, which is not accessible by car.

If you are by car I suggest a hotel Pallas near edge of old town, free parking for guests.

It is close to the huge shopping center Tartu Kaubamaja (there’s also eating place last floor) and the old Vanemuise Theatre.

The hotel room has huge windows, all the wall size, towards the city center. http://www.pallas.ee/

As for eating, also check Vilde Kohvik. http://www.vilde.ee/

Walk to the town hall square and visit the museum on that town hall square in that house that does not stand straight.

Tartu has a river and the famous bridge near that square.

Tartu has also some old buildings on the Toome mountain and a huge beer celler behind town hall square. http://www.pyss.ee/

Tartu also has a toy museum http://www.mm.ee/

NEAR RUSSIAN BORDER
On the way back if you want shock tourism drive through the poor eastern part of Estonia.

There’s the huge lake Peipsi and on more to the north the cities Narva, Kohtla Järve etc close to Russian border.

Also Paldiski and Klooga, suburbs near Tallinn, are still living in the past.

PALDISKI
If you come by ferry to Estonia with a car you might come on Kapelskär-Paldiski route though – http://paldiski.ee/

It is cheaper than Stockholm- Tallinn car transport.

Paldiski has nice high seaside cliffs with magic views.

As for children activity .. Our national toy character is Lotte, but I don’t know if the Lotemaa is ready or not.

You can also check the government website – visitestonia.ee.

Read also from my blog: Estonian history and Tallinn historical places

Authorities tell debt collectors to stop publishing private debt data

Data Protection Inspectorate has told several debt collection agencies to stop publishing names and birth dates of private debtors on their websites, writes Äripäev.

The agency said that it had checked 66 websites and found that only two of them were complying with law.

Read more from BBN

Estonia expects Russia to fulfil the principles of WTO

During the discussion on European Union-Russia trade relations at a meeting of the European Union foreign trade ministers in Brussels, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that in addition to the positive steps that have been taken, Estonia is expecting Russia to fulfil the principles of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

According to Foreign Minister Paet, Estonia is affected the most by the ban on live animal imports from the European Union into Russia. “One notices that Russia is trying to restrict the import of those goods whose import tariffs were significantly lowered when Russia joined the WTO,” he added.

Paet said that high import duties on used cars and customs rates that are higher than the agreed amount for some paper goods are not in accordance with the obligations that Russia accepted. “The European Union is working towards solutions and we hope that Russia will abolish trade restrictions that are against WTO regulations,” he said.

Estonia would also like to discuss the fulfilment of WTO regulations at the European Union-Russia summit in December. “A common understanding of WTO requirements and their fulfilment is essential to both sides, and problems in trade relations between the European Union and Russia must be resolved,” emphasised the Estonian foreign minister. 

Another trade-related matter on the agenda of the European Union-Russia summit is the current status of negotiations on the trade and investments chapter of the EU-Russia framework agreement. “The EU would like for the framework agreement to be as comprehensive and detailed as possible, and in moving forward we expect both the trade and investment sectors to be fully represented,” Paet stated.

Source: Estonian Review

Free trade agreements with Singapore and Canada

At a meeting of the European Union foreign trade ministers in Brussels, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that he feels it is important that the European Union conclude free trade agreements with important trade partners.

Paet stated that the European Union’s negotiations with Singapore are in the final stages and the conclusion of the agreement will improve the competitiveness of EU businesses and investors in Singapore as well as in Asia as a whole. “For Estonia it is most important that we get better access to Singapore’s services market, especially in the area of information technology and e-services but also in the areas of logistics and transportation and financial services,” Paet said.

Estonia also supports quickly wrapping up negotiations for a free trade agreement with Canada. “We hope that this can happen before the end of the year,” the foreign minister noted.

The foreign trade ministers also discussed opening free trade agreement negotiations with Japan and Morocco. “Japan is a major player in global trade and the market there is very large. Japan is also an important strategic and trade partner of the European Union,” Paet stated. “Estonia would like for co-operation between Japan and the EU to be as comprehensive as possible in order to create a long-term, well-functioning strategic partnership,” he added.

Preparations for free trade agreement talks with countries along the southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea have developed the furthest with Morocco. “Promoting economic relations is an important element in guiding the EU’s southern neighbours toward reforms, and starting negotiations with Morocco will hopefully give a positive signal to others as well,” stated the Estonian foreign minister.

Source: Estonian Review

Tele2 opens 4G network

Tele2 Eesti, a mobile communications company in the international Tele2 Group, Tuesday opened the fourth generation (4G) network in Tallinn.

It appears from information given by the Tele2 web site that the Tele2 distribution area would cover Tallinn and its immediate vicinity. Next year the company will erect at least 150 new support stations and will extend its distribution into the more important regional centres. The company will cover most of Estonia  by 4G distribution by 2017.

The Tele2 4G network can be used by means of a Tele2 4G net stick, and the network permits speeds up to 150 Megabits per second, which is five times faster than the 3G and 3.5 networks. The cost of the unlimited speed and 30 gigabyte user value Tele2 4G package is 30 euros a month, according to the company’s website.

A similar EMT 4G package now costs nearly 35 euros and the unlimited user volume EMT Internet 4G+ package 100 euros a month.

Elisa has opened its 4G test networks in central Tallinn, Pärnu, Viljandi, Haapsalu and Tartu.

Source: Estonian Review

Average salary increased to 855 euros

According to Statistics Estonia, in the 3rd quarter of 2012, the average monthly gross wages and salaries were 855 euros and the average hourly gross wages and salaries were 5.21 euros. Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2011, the average monthly gross wages and salaries increased 5.7% and the average hourly gross wages and salaries increased 8.1%.

Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2011, the irregular bonuses and premiums per employee decreased 2.3% and influenced the growth of the average monthly gross wages and salaries by 0.2 percentage points. The average monthly gross wages and salaries without irregular bonuses and premiums increased 5.9%. Real wages, which take into account the influence of the change in the consumer price index, increased 1.9% in the 3rd quarter of 2012. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, real wages increased for the fifth quarter in succession.

Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2011, the average monthly gross wages and salaries increased the most in other service activities (14.4%) and the average hourly gross wages and salaries in arts, entertainment and recreation (13.9%). The reason for the increase was the low level of wages and salaries in the previous year.

Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2011, the average monthly gross wages and salaries decreased only in transportation and storage (0.9%). The average hourly gross wages and salaries increased in all economic activities – the least in administrative and support service activities (2.5%).

The average gross wages and salaries were 861 euros in July, 842 euros in August and 864 euros in September.

According to the Wages and Salaries Statistics Survey, the number of employees as at the end of September had increased by 3.8% compared to the same period of 2011.

In the 3rd quarter of 2012, the employer’s average monthly labour costs per employee were 1,158 euros and the average hourly labour costs were 8.22 euros. Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2011, the average monthly labour costs per employee increased by 5.7% and the average hourly labour costs by 7.5%. The average monthly labour costs per employee increased the most in other service activities (14.3%) and the average hourly labour costs in information and communication activity (16.4%).

Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2011, the average monthly labour costs per employee decreased only in transportation and storage (1.0%) and the average hourly labour costs increased the least in the same activity (0.9%).

Statistics Estonia conducts the Wages and Salaries Statistics Survey on the basis of international methodology since 1992. In 2012, the sample includes 11,523 enterprises, institutions and organisations. The average monthly gross wages and salaries have been given in full time units to enable a comparison of different wages and salaries, irrespective of the length of working time. Calculations of the monthly gross wages and salaries are based on payments for actually worked time and remuneration for time not worked. The hourly gross wages and salaries do not include remuneration for time not worked (holiday leave pay, benefits, etc.). In short-term statistics, the average gross wages and salaries are measured as a component of labour costs. Labour costs include gross wages and salaries, employer’s contributions and employer’s imputed social contributions to employees. The low wages (salaries) of employees of education in the 3rd quarter was related to reflecting the holiday leave pay of most employees in the 2nd quarter.

Average monthly gross wages and salaries, 1st quarter 2008 – 3rd quarter 2012 (euros)
  Year 1st quarter 2nd Q 3rd Q 4th Q
2008 825 788 850 800 838
2009 784 776 813 752 783
2010 792 758 822 759 814
2011 839 792 857 809 865
2012   847 900 855  

Average monthly gross wages and salaries and monthly labour costs per employee, 3rd quarter 2012

Diagram: Average monthly gross wages and salaries and monthly labour costs per employee, 3rd quarter 2012

Average hourly gross wages and salaries and hourly labour costs, 3rd quarter 2012

Diagram: Average hourly gross wages and salaries and hourly labour costs, 3rd quarter 2012

Source: Statistics Estonia

Ryanair to restore most flights to Tallinn

The Irish discount airline Ryanair  confirmed information that the airline would restore at least five air routes to Tallinn.

Elina Hakkarainen, Ryanair’s Nordic and Baltic market and sales director, told BNS that the reopening of five routes had been endorsed and tickets to the routes could be bought from the website of the company. “We are working on the summer timetable and all the destinations will be endorsed during the next couple of weeks,” Hakkarainen said. “The opening of the Bremen and Frankfurt Hahn destinations will also be made during the next few weeks.”

It appears from the Ryanair web site that flights to Dublin will be renewed from 16 March, to the Girona Airport near Barcelona and to Manchester on 25 March, and to Dusseldorf Weeze and Stockholm Skavsta from 26 March.

Last year 376 849 Ryanair passengers flew via Tallinn, 20% of the passengers that used the Tallinn Airport.

Source: Estonian Review