UK comparison website: Tallinn one of the top five locations to start a business

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is one of the top five locations for millennials to start a business, according to the data of a British comparison website.

According to the data released by GoCompare, Tallinn has a reputation for being digitally savvy and it tops the leaderboard owing to a combination of the ease of registering property and starting and running a business.

Estonia in general scored 6.5 for the cost of living, which according to the data is the best score compared with all European and North American cities.

As a country, Canada is winning overall with four of its major cities – Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto – featuring in the top ten. Canada’s biggest city, Toronto, offers the best business funding in the country, according to the comparison website.

New Zealand number one for starting and running a business

New Zealand was, however, named as the number one country for starting and running a business, and it also scores highly for its diversity rating, making it one of the best places for women and immigrants to start a business.

The city-state of Singapore scores highly for starting and running a business, making it attractive for tech startups – being home to over 270 fintech startups.

And the British capital, London, also scores highly among all metrics, making it a popular destination for entrepreneurs – despite its high cost of living.

The data, released by GoCompare, measures the ease of registering property, starting and running a business on a day-to-day level, trading across borders, and diversity.

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are the generational demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when this cohort starts or ends; demographers and researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending years.


Cover: A woman in Tallinn (the image is illustrative/photo by Aliis Sinisalu/Shutterstock).

A company plans to launch the first public smoke sauna in Tallinn

A newly-founded Estonian startup plans to open the first public smoke sauna in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, by the winter of 2018, and intends to introduce the Estonian sauna culture to more people around the world.

The company, Estonian Saunas, was founded by Anni Oviir and Adam Rang from inside a sauna, using their digital ID cards.

“As more people discover Estonia, we’ve found that more people from abroad want to visit Estonian saunas,” Oviir said in a statement. “We conducted market research with tourism agencies and international visitors, which shows there is a lot of interest in the Estonian sauna culture but not enough opportunities to experience and learn about them.”

“Unfortunately, the closest that most visitors to Estonia get to a sauna is the electric one in their hotel,” Oviir stated. “That’s because they find it daunting to visit public saunas, don’t get invited to Estonian homes, and rarely leave Tallinn. We need to make real Estonian saunas more accessible.”

Working together with saunamasters

Smoke saunas are the oldest type of Estonian saunas and still considered by sauna fans to be the best, but most are now located in Võrumaa where they have been granted protected cultural status by UNESCO. There are currently only three public smoke saunas in the entire northern half of Estonia and none in Tallinn. However, according to research by Visit Estonia, 75% of visitors to Estonia never leave Tallinn.

“The market for Estonian saunas is as big as we can make it because we want to reach visitors who would otherwise never get the chance to visit a real Estonian sauna, as well as Estonians who may not have tried a smoke sauna before,” Rang noted. “We are working together with saunamasters and sauna makers across the country who would benefit from this increased interest. When visitors learn about saunas, they are really learning about the people who use them so they provide a fascinating insight to the history of Estonia itself.”

Oviir and Rang run Estonian Saunas in their spare time and have self-financed the company.


Cover: Anni Oviir and Adam Rang at an Estonian smoke sauna. Images by Ekvilibrist.

Gallery: Nostalgia for summer at the Tallinn Motor Show 2018

With above-freezing temperatures just around the corner, Tallinn’s Saku Suurhall hosted a motorcycle fair.

The powersports show, focussed mostly on two-wheeled fun, brought together exhibits from major dealers, including a few exciting new models unveiled for the 2018 riding season.

The Tallinn Motor Show competes with the longer-running Motoexotica show that marks the start of the wait for spring in Tartu; names aside, both shows are very much intended for riders from Estonia and nearby to get together and window-shop for new bikes and new gear.

Harley-Davidson’s eminently drool-worthy range of chromed cruisers competes for attention with Honda’s broad, practical range, including the brand-new version of their Gold Wing luxury tourer, as well as a new Adventure spec of their popular Africa Twin onroad/offroad bike. The latter is aimed squarely at an audience that was previously split more or less evenly between BMW and Austria’s KTM.

Beating Tallinn’s unbearable traffic jams

The Bavarians were here showing off several takes on their R Nine-T nostalgia bike, as well as the brand-new G310 GS, a cheap and lightweight entry-level model in their venerable adventure range. Meanwhile, KTM was displaying its full model line, including the brand-new 790 Duke, an exciting middle-weight street bike that is sure to be of interest to any urban commuter who thinks Tallinn’s traffic jams are finally becoming unbearable.

KTM-owned Husqvarna, meanwhile, brought out not only its well-respected super moto and dirt bikes, but also the Svartpilen and Vitpilen models – a chance to own a piece of high-concept moto design that is affordable and practical to ride every day. The European representation was rounded off with Triumph, the British brand that can easily compete with Harley-Davidson on heritage and history; and now it has proper dealer support in Estonia.

While neither Kawasaki nor Suzuki were represented at the Tallinn Motor Show, Yamaha was definitely here to represent the Big Four along with Honda. The Asian contingent was further represented by Benelli – an Italian name now used to sell Chinese-manufactured models, which undercut their more established rivals on price quite usefully.

It wasn’t not just about new showroom bikes, though, as the Tallinn Motor Show also included a display and competition for project bikes – unique custom models constructed by Estonian craftsmen over the winter, in addition to a big booth for Tallinn’s Renard Speed Shop.


All images by Andrei Tuch.

Qatar Airways to open a route to Tallinn

Qatar Airways is to open 16 new routes in its 2018-2019 season, including a route between Tallinn, Estonia, and the Qatari capital, Doha.

The new routes were announced by the airline’s CEO, Akbar al-Baker, at a press conference held on the opening day of ITB Berlin, the world’s largest international travel fair.

In addition to the Doha-Tallinn route, the airline announced it would also open new routes to Luxembourg; London Gatwick; Cardiff, Wales; Lisbon, Portugal; Valletta, Malta; Cebu and Davao, Philippines; Langkawi, Malaysia; Da Nang, Vietnam; Bodrum, Antalya and Hatay, Turkey; Mykonos and Thessaloniki, Greece; and Malaga, Spain.

The airline also increases the frequency of its flights Warsaw, Poland; Hanoi and Saigon, Vietnam; Prague, the Czech Republic; Madrid and Barcelona, Spain; and the Maldives.

The world’s best airline in 2017

“Qatar Airways is tremendously excited to announce further expansion with a significant number of new destinations to be added to our extensive global network throughout 2018 and 2019,” al-Bakr said at the press conference. “This is a direct reflection of our commitment to connecting travellers across all corners of the world in a way that is meaningful and convenient to them.”

Qatar Airways currently operates a fleet of more than 200 aircraft via its hub, Hamad International Airport, located in Doha, Qatar.

According to the Skytrax World Airline Rewards, based on the votes of airline customers around the world, Qatar Airways was declared the best airline in the world in 2017. It also received the same recognition in 2015 and 2012.


Cover: An A380 of Qatar Airways (the image is illustrative).

A travel magazine declares Tallinn’s Christmas market one of the best in Europe

An American travel magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, has declared the Tallinn Christmas market as one of the best in Europe.

In its 2017 “The Best Christmas Markets in Europe” list, the magazine listed Tallinn as number two, saying the market’s highlight is its Christmas tree that “the city has been putting up in front of its town hall since 1441 – making it the first Christmas tree to ever be displayed in Europe”.

“In addition to Estonian Christmas dishes like black pudding and sour cabbage (it’s better than it sounds, we swear), Tallinn’s market also has a Santa who arrives by reindeer-pulled sleigh,” the magazine adds, somewhat weirdly as what it calls “sour cabbage” is commonly known in the English and German-speaking world as “sauerkraut” – something that at least in the US, where Condé Nast Traveler is based, is commonly available and a well-known ingredient in sandwiches and hot dogs.

The list also features the Christmas markets in Prague, the Czech Republic; Brussels, Belgium; Vienna, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; Dresden, Germany; Copenhagen, Denmark; Nuremberg, Germany; Stockholm, Sweden; Strasbourg, France; Edinburgh, Scotland; and Salzburg, Austria.

Condé Nast Traveler is a luxury and lifestyle travel magazine published by Condé Nast, an American media company that also prints magazines like the New Yorker and Vanity Fair.

The Tallinn Christmas market will be open until 6 January 2018, daily from 10AM to 8PM (hot Christmas drinks are served until 11PM). The cultural programme will run on Fridays from 5PM to 7PM and on Saturdays and Sundays from 12PM to 2PM. Father Christmas can be found at his house every day from 3 December, from 12PM to 6PM.


Cover: The Tallinn Christmas market from air (image by Kaupo Kalda).

Tallinn awarded for being a testing ground for breakthrough technologies

The European Commission has awarded the Estonian capital, Tallinn, for its initiative to act as a testing ground for potential breakthrough technologies.

According to the European Commission, Tallinn has “fostered the use of self-driving cars, parcel delivery robots and ride-sharing”. According to a statement by the commission, “Tallinn has also implemented an innovative e-residency system, which enables local citizens and businesses to work closely together with foreign entrepreneurs” – although this is a state initiative, not the city’s.

The French capital, Paris, was awarded the 2017 European Capital of Innovation prize of €1,000,000. The award recognises Paris for its inclusive innovation strategy.

The runner-ups – Tallinn and Israel’s second-largest city and tech hub, Tel Aviv – were both awarded €100,000. The prize money will be used to scale up and further expand the cities’ innovation efforts, according to the commission.

Tel Aviv got the award for it having set up a Smart City Urban Lab that links up innovative start-ups with leading technology companies in order to facilitate breakthrough innovations for solving urban challenges.

Developing and testing out new ideas

“Cities are not defined by their size and population, but by the breadth of their vision and the power bestowed upon their citizens,” Carlos Moedas, the commissioner for research, science and innovation, said. “Some cities are not afraid to experiment. They are not afraid to involve their citizens in developing and testing out new ideas. These are the cities that empower their citizens. Today we are here to acknowledge these cities.”

The 2017 European Capital of Innovation award competition was launched in March 2017 for cities with over 100,000 inhabitants from EU member states and countries associated to Horizon 2020. Thirty-two cities from seventeen countries applied to this year’s competition.

The winners were chosen by a panel of independent experts coming from universities and the business sector,” the commission said.

The European Capital of Innovation award competition first took place in 2014. The awards are granted under Horizon 2020, the EU’s biggest ever research and innovation framework programme with a budget of €77 billion over seven years (2014-2020).

The competition for the 2018 European Capital of Innovation is due to be launched in the first quarter of 2018.


Cover: A driverless shuttle in Tallinn, summer 2017 (the image is illustrative).

Tallinn Airport among ten best in the world

According to the airport guide, Sleeping in Airports, Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport (TLL) is the third best airport in Europe and the ninth best in the world, based on the overall experience determined by travellers who had taken the site’s 2017 airport survey.

In the annual survey, the guide asked travellers to rate airports worldwide based on their overall airport experience. People ranked their experiences on comfort; services, facilities and things to do; food options; immigration and security; customer service; navigation and ease of transit; cleanliness; and last but not least – sleepability.

“The best airports in the world are the ones that inspire you to book a trip based on the receiving airport alone. From ultra-efficient processes to friendly staff and a wide array of activities you never thought you’d find in an airport, these airports become a memorable part of any trip,” the guide said, adding that the best airports were continuously working to improve. “We’re constantly seeing new developments and ideas come to life, creating a more spectacular travel experience than we thought possible.”

Like a living room

Sleeping in Airports said that, of all the airports voted onto its list of best airports in Europe, Tallinn gathered the biggest number of comments. “Voters wrote in with praise for the world’s ‘coziest’ (and perhaps most inventive) airport. It sounds as though TLL has put particular effort into surprising travellers lately – with locally-themed gates, children reading the airport announcements, and seating made from local fabrics.” Travellers also took delight at the airport book exchange. Just recently, Tallinn became the first airport in Europe to feature a gym within the airport terminal – that also has views onto the runway.

“In general, the consensus among voters is that waiting here is very similar to waiting for a flight in your own home or living room,” the guide said. “The different areas look like they could be your living room, or a cafe in a hip part of town. All gate areas reflect different aspects of Estonia, so you learn and admire even while at the airport arriving or departing,” one survey respondent was reported as saying.

However, the voters wished Tallinn Airport connected to more cities. The lack of flight connections is a well-known issue in Estonia and a constant headache for domestic travellers, many of whom are forced to use the airports in Helsinki and Riga, the capitals of Finland and Latvia respectively, instead.

The airport guide concluded that all in all, the Tallinn Airport proves that bigger isn’t always better – “and that a little bit of love goes a very long way”.

Top 10 best airports in Europe

  1. Helsinki Vantaa Airport, Finland
  2. Munich International Airport, Germany
  3. Tallinn International Airport, Estonia
  4. Zurich Kloten International Airport, Switzerland
  5. Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport, Netherlands
  6. Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Sweden
  7. Copenhagen Kastrup Airport, Denmark
  8. Dublin International Airport, Ireland
  9. Porto Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, Portugal
  10. Vienna International Airport, Austria

Top 10 worst airports in Europe

  1. Heraklion International Airport, Greece
  2. Rhodes International Airport, Greece
  3. Paris Beauvais–Tillé, France
  4. Santorini National Airport, Greece
  5. Cluj International Airport, Romania
  6. Rome Ciampino International Airport, Italy
  7. London Luton Airport, United Kingdom
  8. Chania International Airport, Greece, Greece
  9. Berlin Schönefeld Airport, Germany
  10. Berlin Tegel Airport, Germany

Top 10 best airports in the world

  1. Singapore Changi International Airport, Singapore
  2. Seoul Incheon International Airport, South Korea
  3. Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Japan
  4. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, Finland
  5. Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong
  6. Vancouver International Airport, Canada
  7. Tokyo Narita International Airport, Japan
  8. Munich International Airport, Germany
  9. Tallinn International Airport, Estonia (TLL)
  10. Zürich Kloten International Airport, Switzerland (ZRH)

Top 10 worst airports in the world

  1. Juba International Airport, South Sudan
  2. Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport, Saudi Arabia
  3. Port Harcourt International Airport, Nigeria
  4. Crete Heraklion International Airport, Greece
  5. Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Nigeria
  6. Santorini Thira National Airport, Greece
  7. Dar es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport, Tanzania
  8. Rhodes International Airport, Greece
  9. Paris Beauvais-Tille Airport, France
  10. Tashkent International Airport, Uzbekistan


Cover: Gate 5 at Tallinn Airport (images courtesy of Tallinn Airport.)

Tallinn is Lonely Planet’s best value destination for 2018

Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world, has ranked the best value destinations for 2018 – and the Estonian capital, Tallinn, is number one.

The travel guide ranked the top ten destinations to “tempt frugal travellers”. “Estonia’s capital is compact, fashionable and terrific value. Explore one of Eastern Europe’s loveliest old towns on foot for free, stay in good-value dorms, guesthouses or private homes, and take in Baltic Sea views and a superb panorama of the city from the flat roof of the vast Linnahall (one of Tallinn’s best free things to do),“ Lonely Planet said.

“Connected by budget flights from around Europe, the city isn’t a secret – but if you want a taste of Tallinn to yourself then head to Kalamaja, a fast-changing neighbourhood home to Telliskivi Creative City. The food trucks here offer Instagrammable fill-ups that won’t tax your wallet,” the travel guide added.

Best in Travel 2018 – Top 10 Best Value (Lonely Planet)

  1. Tallinn, Estonia
    2. Lanzarote, Canary Islands
    3. Arizona, US
    4. La Paz, Bolivia
    5. Poland
    6. Essaouira, Morocco
    7. United Kingdom
    8. Baja California, Mexico
    9. Jacksonville, Florida, US
    10. Hunan, China

In 2016, Tallinn hosted 2.5 million foreign visitors who stayed at least a day in the city. It remains to be seen whether an endorsement by the Lonely Planet will drive this number up in 2018.

Lonely Planet, founded by British-Australian couple Maureen and Tony Wheeler in 1972, is the largest travel guide publisher in the world.


Cover: Rooftops of Tallinn Old Town (Liina Notta/Visit Estonia).

LIVE: The future of Tallinn debated in English

The most prominent English-language political debate before the Estonian local elections on 15 October will take place on Monday, 9 October, supported by Estonian World.

Almost 183,000 non-citizens are entitled to vote in the Estonian local elections on 15 October. Almost 29,000 are from member states of the European Union – and their common language is usually English.

Many Tallinn-based expats have complained for some time that no political party has attempted to address their votes or even managed to translate their political programmes in English. This, however, changed in the weeks leading to the elections as one after another the parties published their platforms in English and in one case, even in German.

Issues most relevant to the expat community living in Tallinn

The biggest pre-election debate in English will be arranged as part of the Estonishing Evenings – a series of events that started in the spring of 2017 and usually hosts different speakers expressing their viewpoints and experiences on hot topics and matters concerning both the locals and non-natives living in Estonia.

Supported by Estonian World and the Telliskivi Creative City, the event, titled “The Future of Tallinn – a debate with election candidates”, will have all major Estonian parties represented, plus a representative of the only expat election coalition. Debaters are Yoko Alender for the Reform Party, Lance Gareth Edward Boxall for “International Voices”, Kaspar Kurve for the Estonian Greens, Kadri Kõusaar for the Social Democrats, the minister of justice, Urmas Reinsalu, for the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL), and Abdul Turay for the Centre Party.

The debate, moderated by the Portuguese expat and Tallinner, Joao Rei, and the editor-in-chief of Estonian World, Silver Tambur, is centred on the issues that are most relevant to the expat community living in Tallinn.

The debate will take place at the Erinevate Tubade Klubi (the Club of Different Rooms) at the Telliskivi Creative City in Tallinn on 9 October at 7 PM. Estonian World will also live stream the event.


Cover: “Tallinn Hydroline” – an architectural proposition for Tallinn, against rising sea levels. Courtesy of Iwamotoscott Architecture (the image is illustrative).

A new English-language school opens in Tallinn

The new International School of Tallinn with close to 20 pupils from more than ten different countries starting their studies in the first year opened in the Estonian capital on 4 September.

There are two composite classes in the first year with pupils coming from a variety of countries including Estonia, South Korea, Denmark, USA, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria and others.

The school, located at the Ülemiste City campus and meant for the children of expats in Estonia, will be providing education in English and based on the globally recognised International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum.

The International School of Tallinn has specially invited experienced teachers from the US and the Philippines to start teaching in Estonia.

The aim of the International School of Tallinn is to provide education from primary classes until the end of upper secondary school. The new educational institution has placed a lot of emphasis on multidisciplinary integration, developing general competencies, problem solving skills and creative and science-based teaching.

The school was founded by Mainor, a private company that started as a small but influential consultancy even before Estonia regained independence in 1991, and later developed into a substantial conglomerate with almost 20 subsidiaries and interests in education, metal and wood industry, energetics and real estate. The company is also the developer behind the Ülemiste City, a modern district in the immediate vicinity of Tallinn Airport.


Cover: A child at the International School of Tallinn (courtesy of the school.)

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