EstAdventures, Tallinn, Estonia
EstAdventures is a small, privately owned and run tour company based in Tallinn
, that was founded in the early-to-mid-2000s by expat Australian
Andrew Meek, who originally came to Tallinn just to study for a semester and ended up staying for good (having met an Estonian girl!). His interest in history and in Estonia in particular soon led him to realize that of the many fascinating things to see here, many were not covered by the mainstream tourism agencies. So he set up his own operation to fill the gap and share his discoveries with tourists with similar interests. A stroke of luck from a dark tourism perspective, because indeed the official tourism agencies are very reluctant, to say the least, to include Estonia's more recent historical legacies in their offerings for foreign visitors. In particular the Soviet era is a period that, from the official standpoint, should simply be forgotten about (see this book review section
However, Andrew, like me and most other people interested in modern history (rather than the same old 'old stuff') do want to learn about that part of history as well, even though (or even precisely because!) it was a very dark period for the Baltics.
EstAdventures' success is proof of the fact that there is indeed a market for such tours. Meanwhile EstAdventures has several guides, both locals and ex-pats offering a range of tours, while Andrew himself seems to have stepped down from acting as a guide himself (he also founded a craft breer brewery back home in Melbourne!).
I was glad to find EstAdventures when I was planning my trip to the Baltics in spring 2014, and I was lucky to still get Andrew himself (though I am sure his Estonian guides are just as good, I hasten to add) leading me and my wife on his “Soviet Tallinn
– Back in the USSR
” tour, which also included the Maarjamäe memorial complex
. It was brilliant, informative, and fun – see the separate chapters for more details. On the basis of my experiences I do not hesitate to wholeheartedly recommend this tour and EstAdventures generally.
They are also happy to tailor tours to special wishes of visitors on customized private tours. Given my impressions from the Soviet Tallinn tour I can only presume that these must be very cool too, even though I haven't (yet) been on any of them myself.
UPDATE: the former "Soviet Tallinn" tours have been replaced by tours with the broader title "Communist Stories of Tallinn", but they seem to still include the same stops as my Soviet tour had ... except Maarjamäe
, which you will now have to visit independently.
Meanwhile I'm happy to pass you on to EstAdventures own website
(external link, opens in new window) where you will find all the relevant tour descriptions and contact details. If you do book a tour with them, don't forget to mention that you found them on dark-tourism.com (here's why