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Photo by: Kadi-Liis Koppel

Photo by: Rasmus Jurkatam / EAS

Photo by: Rasmus Jurkatam / EAS

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Top things to do in Kalamaja

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Kalamaja is one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in Tallinn. It's easy to reach on foot from the port, city centre or Old Town.

The rise of Kalamaja district started at the end of last decade, when young local students, start-up people, designers and musicians rediscovered the lovely neighbourhood right next to the Balti Jaam railway station and market. Locals and visitors alike love the for its area's colourful houses, liveliness, community living with shared backyards, and hugely popular street events (such as the Kalamaja Days taking place this weekend, May 18-19). During recent years, the property prices have gone up in Kalamaja, but it is still one of the most in-demand areas of Tallinn.

Kalamaja has its own unique vibe - it's the bohemian heart of Tallinn. 

Here are the top things you should see and experience in Kalamaja. To learn more about the area, including the Telliskivi and Noblessner districts, read our Kalamaja neighbourhood guide.

Visit the most popular museum in Estonia

The Seaplane Harbour (Lennusadam) was opened in 2012. It’s a top-notch maritime museum located on the shore of Tallinn Bay. 

The modern museum is part of the Estonian Maritime Museum and presents maritime history through real life-size exhibits. Here you can step on board of an icebreaker or see what it was like inside a 1930s submarine. 

What makes the museum even more interesting is the fact that it’s built inside gigantic seaplane hangars from the beginning of the 20th century.

Experience colourful Kalamaja

Kalamaja is known for it’s special wooden architecture. Old, colourful wooden houses have been renovated and newer ones built as apartments in Kalamaja are in great demand. The neighbourhood is especially popular among young local families.

Take a stroll down the Valgevase, Kungla and Kalevi streets to admire the stunning wooden architecture. Here you’ll find beautiful wooden houses with 2-3 storeys and central stone staircases. These type of houses are called "Tallinn houses". Tallinn houses were built from 1920’s until the Second World War, and can be found only in Tallinn.

Along Tööstuse street you’ll find colourful wooden Lender houses, also typical for Tallinn. Lender houses originate from the beginning of 20th century.

Eat in Telliskivi

When in Kalamaja, a visit to the Telliskivi Creative City is a must. It’s a cluster of easy-going, popular restaurants, creative work spaces, galleries and performance spaces. Head to F-Hoone, a restaurant in Telliskivi that initiated the development of the hotspot we see today. 

F-Hoone opened its doors in 2010, when Telliskivi was only an abandoned old industrial area with a couple of creative offices. The new cosy and affordable restaurant brought life to Kalamaja and invited local people to discover Telliskivi.

Now the area is populated with different restaurants, bars, and cafés offering a wide range of cuisines and specialities. Find our top recommendations on where to eat in Telliskivi in our blog post about the area.  

Extra tip: if you are in town in the beginning of June, pop by the Tallinn Street Food Festival (08.-09.06.2019) in the Creative City.   

Mingle with locals at community events

Kalamaja is the original community driven neighbourhood in Tallinn. When in Tallinn, check for events taking place in Kalamaja. Every Saturday there’s a flea market in Telliskivi Creative City (indoors during winter months and outdoors with finer weather). In July (12.-14.07.2019) one of the biggest events of the year, Tallinn Maritime Days, takes over at the seaside of Kalamaja.

The crown jewel of local community events, are the Kalamaja Days that are taking place this weekend (18.-19.05.2019). During the weekend, locals organise yard sales, guided tours, pop-up cafés, concerts, competitions etc. It's the perfect opportunity to mingle with local Kalamaja residents, and peek behind the otherwise closed doors.

Other festival that gathers almost every inhabitant of Tallinn to one place is the Tallinn Street Food Festival in Telliskivi Creative City. The Street Food Festival has played a vital role in popularising international street food in Tallinn and Estonia. More than 60 food trucks, tents and pop-up kitchens from Estonia and abroad take part of the festival serving thousands of street food hungry people. The Tallinn Street Food Festival takes place in June (08.-09.06.2019).

Shop for local produce

Gone are the days when fresh berries, potatoes, watermelons and Soviet nick-nacks were sold on rusty wonky tables and sheds at the Balti Jaam market. The new, polished, renovated Balti Jaam market was opened in the beginning of summer 2017. It's one of the showpieces of today’s contemporary Tallinn and Kalamaja.

At Balti Jaam market you can spend time shopping for clothes, antiques, meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, bread, cakes and basically nearly anything that may come to your mind. There’s a full grocery store and a gym, restaurants and street food vendors.

If there is something that you can’t find from Balti Jaam market (and Kalamaja), then you probably don’t need it.

Extra tip: you can find a large choice of cute design, vintage, and art shops also at the Telliskivi Creative City and the at the Noblessner Seafront Quarter

Read more about the area

With these five pointers, you are ready to go and explore the bohemian, easy-going, lovely, contemporary but old Kalamaja neighbourhood in Tallinn. For even more inspiration, check out our related blog posts and articles below: