Shopping: Where to shop on your Estonian holidays
If you think your credit card is safe in Estonia and that there’s nothing to buy here, think again! Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the shopping scene in Estonia has morphed beyond recognition. There’s been an explosion of shopping malls, shopping centres and department stores in recent years. For this small country and population, the number of shopping outlets is amazing.
Whilst the shops do not have the range and big names that you’ll find in Paris, Rome and London, you can nevertheless find some international brands here. At the Stockmann department store in Tallinn, men will find Giorgio Armani waiting to adorn you to its style and elegance. Take a look at the websites of stores like Kaubamaja and Stockmann and it’ll give you an idea of where Estonians are at in the fashion scene.
If you’re keen on shopping, Tallinn is the city to start with! 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.
At the elegant boutiques along the Old Town’s Viru and Müürivahe Streets you will find quality fashion, shoes and perfumes. The best places to try are also the large department stores and malls that have recently sprung up all over Tallinn. At Stockmann, there is also a delicatessen where you can try some local foods.
For something more local and colourful in Tallinn, a visit to the outdoor knit market on Müürivahe Street is a must. Here you’ll find local women selling their knitted products. For a quaint shopping experience, head for Katariina Passage off Vene Street. Here, in medieval buildings, Katariina Guild’s artists run workshops in medieval-style and you can watch glasswork, ceramics, leather goods, quilts and other items being created right before your very eyes. If you’re on the hunt for good quality souvenirs, this place is a must. Lühike jalg also has a range of tasteful craft stores featuring the work of Estonian artists.
What souvenirs can you buy from Estonia?
- Handicraft items to look for include hand-knitted woollen sweaters with traditional Estonian folk patterns, wood carvings, beer mugs, fun felt hats, juniper coasters and limestone candle holders.
- Original art such as graphic prints, handmade jewellery, colourful glassware and fine ceramics
- CDs of famous Estonian composers (look out for Tormis, Pärt, Tubin and Tüür)
- Trinklets from the Soviet-era (sold in antique shops)
- Dark, bittersweet Estonian chocolate and other local sweets produced by the Kalev confectionery
- Hand-painted marzipan – I can see myself buying this!