Tallinn’s Culture Kilometre and the Kalamaja District

I’m back from a long absence! My apologies – this summer was unexpectedly eventful and there were numerous distractions. But thankfully it’s all over and life has resumed its routine. I shall continue where I left off in Tallinn.

While googling and reading around to find something interesting to do, I saw other bloggers talking about this ‘Culture Kilometre’ (Kultuurikilomeeter). It turns out this is a walking trail outside the city centre and away from all the touristy crowds, which allows one a glimpse of Tallinn’s historical and industrial side.

So explore this walking path I did, and I have to say that I had a good time seeing this quiet part of Tallinn. If you’d like a place that isn’t swamped by people, this seaside area of the city is something to consider. I also enjoyed the street art I saw at the starting stretch (see featured image above).

Tall chimney with barrier to catch falling debris at the start of the Culture Kilometre in Tallinn, Estonia.

About halfway through the walk I saw the Patarei prison, completed in 1840 and used by the communist and Nazi regimes for several decades. I’d read that one was able to enter the prison and see what was inside, and so was looking forward to doing the same. Unfortunately, I learnt – at the prison gate – that the entire complex had been permanently closed to the public since October 2016. If you’re interested in seeing what the interior was like, feel free to hop over to this page.

Banksy street art of a cyborg warrior holding a sword at the entrance gate of the Patarei prison in Tallinn.
Recognise that name?
A building of the Patarei prison in Tallinn with curved brick walls.
Patarei Sea Fortress Prison

Next to the Patarei prison is the Seaplane Harbour (Lennusadam). If there’s one place I could recommend to visitors of Tallinn, this would be it. Built as a hangar about a century ago, it now serves as a maritime museum showcasing plenty of model ships as well as a real WWII submarine (that you can actually enter!).

Exterior of the Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour in Tallinn, Estonia.

On the other side of the road from the Seaplane Harbour is a quiet park where one can chill for a bit, which I understand used to be a cemetery (until the Soviets decided to destroy it in the 1960s). From this park, it’s then possible to walk through the residential area of the Kalamaja district. (The word kalamaja means ‘fish house’.)

This district is full of old, colourful and wooden houses and also used to be a fishing harbour for the city. It’s very quiet and there are barely any tourists walking about. I walked through this part of Kalamaja to make my way back to Telliskivi, another historical district of Tallinn, where I had some lunch at a little restaurant called Boheem.

A house with walls made of wooden planks in the Kalamaja district of Tallinn, Estonia.
Two houses with exteriors made of wooden planks in Kalamaja, Tallinn.

And that was the end of my walking tour. I learnt a fair bit about Tallinn that day and I think the Culture Kilometre walking trail would suit anyone who wants to see more than the usual sights in the Old City.