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Photo by: Krõõt Tarkmeel
Photo by: Peeter Langovits

Shopping in Tallinn

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By • 11.08.2017

In Tallinn, the folk traditions exist alongside the contemporary.

You can find some of the most amazing art pieces exclusively made with traditional skills. The most unique Estonian souvenirs are traditional Estonian handicrafts.

Most of Estonian design can be seen in small galleries, design boutiques and fashion stores. You will find many unique, handcrafted pieces from some of the most imaginative designers in Estonia. There is something for everyone and ceramic, textile and fashion, wood and furniture, jewellers and handicraft.

Great news for those itching to spend: Tallinn is a consumer-friendly city! Most shops in the Old Town and department stores throughout the city are open seven days a week, and major credit cards are widely accepted. 

The best places to find quality fashion, shoes, perfume and the like are the elegant boutiques along Old Town’s Viru and Müürivahe streets, also in Rotermanni Quarter and the large, full-service department stores and malls.

A required stop on any shopping tour of Tallinn is the St. Catherine's Passage. Here in medieval-style workshops run by the Katariina Guild’s artists, onlookers watch as glasswork, ceramics, leather goods, quilts and other items are created right before their eyes.

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Favourite gifts and souvenirs from Estonia

Difficult to decide which gifts to buy to your friends and family? Handicraft items such as hand-knitted woollen sweaters with traditional Estonian folk patterns, fun felt hats, juniper coasters and limestone candle holders are always a good choice.

You should also consider following ideas as gifts:
Original art such as graphic prints, handmade jewellery, colourful glassware or fine ceramics.
CDs of Estonian composers of international acclaim (Tormis, Pärt, Tubin, Tüür).
Soviet-era trinkets, sold in antique shops.
Dark, bittersweet Estonian chocolate and other local sweets produced by the Kalev confectionery.
Hand-painted marzipan.

Department Stores & Shopping Centres

Shoppers on the lookout for local and international brands in fashion, shoes, cosmetics, electronics, toys and the like should head to one of the many new department stores in Tallinn – many of them just outside Old Town. Visitors from Western Europe and North America will find many familiar brands and worldwide chain stores. Department stores tend to be open late on weekdays and stay open on Sundays, which is great for those who happen to miss the opening times of smaller shops and boutiques.

Art and design shops

Even if you're not planning to buy, a visit to these commercial art shops will give you a feel for Estonia's creative trends. Estonia's range of design products, be they in home furnishing, fashion or something more traditional, can be found in shops throughout the city. Browsing through these shops is not only a great way to get in touch with the nation's design portfolio, it's also a perfect way to find a one-of-a-kind gift or souvenir.

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Handicraft shops

The most uniquely Estonian souvenirs you can bring home from Tallinn are examples of traditional Estonian handicrafts – beautiful, usually functional items created by hand, following centuries-old methods.
Knitwear of all types is popular: colourful jumpers, scarves, hats, socks, gloves and mittens can be found in a wide variety of patterns. Linen is also widely sold, as are household items made from leather, stone and wood. Keep a special eye out for kitchen utensils made from sweet-smelling juniper wood.

More handicraft shops

Book shops

Estonians love to read and you can find many sprawling bookshops in Tallinn that you could spend hours in. Two of the largest examples are Rahva Raamat in the Viru Centre, and Apollo in the Solaris Centre. More than just book shops, they also sell music and DVDs, and even have comfy cafés attached. In both Rahva Raamat and Apollo you'll find a good selection of titles in English, as well as literature in German, French, Spanish and Russian. There are also shops like Raamatukoi that offer a variety of second hand and antique books.

Eco shops and markets

In Estonia, as in the rest of Europe, consumer demand for natural and eco-friendly products is continuously on the rise. Visitors shopping for organic food and eco-friendly household and beauty products find several shops that meet their needs. Eco-friendly products are also in stock at Tallinn's large, mainstream supermarkets such as Tallinna Kaubamaja, Stockmann, Selver, Rimi and Prisma.
Many of these carry labels, either Estonian or international, marking them as environmentally friendly, produced with a low-energy process or meeting certain quality or fair-trade standards.

Markets in Tallinn can be fascinating places to shop. Outdoor markets in and around Old Town specialise in souvenirs and handicrafts, such as the knit market along the Town Wall on Müürivahe street or the summer time markets on Town Hall Square. 
In December, the centre of Old Town becomes home to the world famous Christmas Market, where you can find handicrafts and all sorts of holiday-related products.

Do-It-Yourself gifts

Anyone can buy trinkets while travelling, but if you want a souvenir or gift with more meaning and a personal touch, there's nothing quite like making it yourself. Not only will you have the unique experience of learning a new skill and making something with your own two hands, you'll also get an opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends while doing it. The creations you take away will be one-of-a-kind and highly personal, making truly special gifts or mementos.

Tallinn has a number of workshops that will start you along the road to becoming a master craftsman.

Vintage shopping

Tallinn is into vintage as much as any other lively and creative European capital, offering many lovely, smaller, specialised and second-hand shops and boutiques in an attractive price range. Let's not forget the lust for vintage of the many big fashion labels available here in Tallinn.

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