Gluten-Free Estonia

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Updated in June 2023, first published in September 2020

Why Estonia

You may have guessed it, I am from Estonia. My gluten-free Estonia experience started when I was travelling home in December 2019, having just received my coeliac disease diagnosis here in the UK. I am very glad that I managed to travel then, with everything happening in 2020, as I had to cancel two trips to Estonia. So, this blog post is a mix of my first ever gluten-free travel experience to my home country and an update from a few years later.

Jump to: Tallinn

Jump to: Pärnu

Jump to: Rakvere

Jump to: Tartu

Gluten free on a plane

Back in 2019, I flew to Estonia from the UK through Amsterdam, so my first ever gluten-free plane ride included a free snack on board a KLM aircraft. After my enquiry, I learned that they don’t have any gluten-free food, therefore I was happy with my juice and water.

Ever since I been on board a few other planes, not much has improved in terms of gluten free. I always make these gluten free oat biscuits to lighten up any dull trip. I substitute the peanut butter with plant based butter, lemon zest and juice and the almond flour with some more oats and flour to make the recipe nut free and safe to eat on a plane (in case there’s someone with an air borne nut allergy on board).

Tallinn – the capital

It’s a beautiful city with a medieval old town. There, innovation and development never stops. Tallinn is the capital, primate and the most populous city of Estonia. Located in the northern part of the country, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea.

Here’s an interesting article with images about the streets of Tallinn – Epic streets in Tallinn.

Below are some photos of the Christmassy Tallinn taken on my trip in December 2019:

And some more colourful pictures from my visit in 2023:

Gluten free food in Estonia

Things are changing, mainly because gluten-free has been a fad diet in Estonia for years. It is now a lot easier to find gluten free products in the supermarkets in Estonia, but they’re still very expensive. Gluten-free breakfast options in hotels are almost non-existent still but there’s a lot more knowledge. There is a fair amount of new restaurants that offer gluten free options in Tallinn and this trend seems to be ongoing. But it’s always worth asking if no GF is marked on the menu as quite often meals are naturally gluten free and the risk of cross contamination is low. Gluten free (gluteenivaba in Estonian) is usually marked with “GV” or “G” (be careful and double-check with the staff as “G” may also mean that the meal contains gluten) but quite often it just doesn’t reflect on the menu.

Almost everyone speaks English in Estonia in the bigger cities but it is worth mentioning that in the supermarket you need to look out for the following gluten related allergens: bulgur (bulgur); kaer (oat); kruup, kruubid (pearl barley); kuskuss (couscous); linnas, linnased (malt); manna (semolina); nisu, nisujahu (wheat, wheat flour); oder (barley); rukis (rye); tang, tangud (grits/groats) and their derivates.

Gluten free bakeries

You’ll be pleased to know that there is a gluten free bakery in Tallinn. It’s a bit far from the city centre but the bus 20A takes you there from Vabaduse Väljak (Freedom Square) in under 50 minutes. If you have an Estonian friend, they may be able to order some goodies to a self-service parcel terminal for you. Anyway, enough of the intro, the bakery is called Priileib and they sell their products in some of the biggest supermarkets too (but I couldn’t find any, so maybe you’ll have to be an early bird for that).

In Pärnu, there’s a bakery called Pärnamäed that does quite a few gluten free options. Their products can be found widely in the supermarkets all over Estonia. I tried their handmade sweet almond cookies and salty cheese-sesame cookies (pictured). They were both delicious as I couldn’t stop eating them.

Gluten free in Tallinn

When talking about hotels and gluten free breakfast options, I have only had a semi-positive experience at the Kreutzwald Hotel on Endla street where upon asking they advised which foods are okay to eat and even gave me gluten-free bread. This time, we stayed at an apartment in old town and either had breakfast at the apartment, at Must Puudel where there are quite a few gluten-free options across their menus, or at the wonderful new 100% gluten free waffle coffee shop called Vaffel located in the Kalamaja district. These were my first waffles after my diagnosis in 2019. Just look at this waffle magic in the gallery below. So sad I can’t transfer the deliciousness.

Luckily for us coeliacs, there is a long-standing fully gluten free restaurant called Kivi Paber Käärid in the popular Telliskivi Creative City area where you can also try Estonia’s very own gluten free beer Põhjala Helge (pictured in the corner of the first image). I go there every time when in town and they never fail to impress. I recommend booking a table through their website though, as they get often quite busy.

If you’re travelling in and around North Estonia by car, explore the beautiful Viru raba (Viru bog) not far from Tallinn – we tried to catch a pretty sunset in the evening but it was too cloudy for that. And a lot further East, there’s the lovely Ontika cliff coast with Valaste waterfall (bearing in mind it’s no Niagara but our very own).

Other places to try in Tallinn

Platz in Rotermann Quarter – open for lunch & dinner.

Basiilik in Rotermann Quarter – open for lunch & dinner.

Oasis vegan restaurant in Rotermann Quarter, reported to have gluten-free options. Open for lunch & dinner.

Pulcinella Italian restaurant in Old Town – open for lunch & dinner.

Chakra Indian restaurant in Old Town – open for lunch & dinner.

Elevant Indian restaurant in Old Town – open for lunch & dinner.

Munga kelder European restaurant in Old Town, reported to have gluten-free options. Open for lunch & dinner.

Estonian Burger Factory in the Harbour area – open for lunch & dinner.

Bopp in the Uus Maailm subdistrict – open for lunch & early dinner.

Poke bowl – dotted around Tallinn and Tartu, they have a few bowls that are naturally gluten free. Usually open for lunch & dinner.

Gluten free in Pärnu

Pärnu is the fourth largest city in Estonia, located in the southwest, on the coast of Pärnu Bay, an inlet of the Gulf of Riga in the Baltic Sea. Pärnu is the summer capital of Estonia but also a very prominent spa town. Me and my best friend went for a short spa break in 2019 at the Estonia Medical Spa & Hotel. It was quite nice for the price we paid but with a slight soviet nostalgia feel to it. At the buffet breakfast, everything I could eat, was labelled with GF (GV in Estonian), so that’s a very big step in the right direction. I was well pleased.

Gluten free in Rakvere

Rakvere is my hometown. It’s a small northern Estonian town, 98 km from Tallinn and 20 km from the Gulf of Finland. In 2021, I stayed for a few nights in a nice apartment-type hotel with breakfast included – Rohuaia Apartments & Rohuaia Coffee Shop, where all allergens and gluten-free food is marked on the menu. When requested, gluten-free bread is available too. I can definitely recommend the coffee shop because I even had dinner there.

I just had to go back there for a nice dinner in 2023 because I felt normal with the gluten-free options clearly marked on the menu. Here’s what we had for dinner this time:

In 2023, we stayed at the lovely Villa Theresa on the outskirts of Rakvere, in a very nice and quiet area. Breakfast was included in the price and I asked multiple times if they had gluten free options to which they replied that there was a choice. I can’t fully recommend them as there was a huge risk of cross contamination, mainly because the toaster was literally across all the other gluten free options, so anyone using the toaster could drop crumbs. I brought my own bread and was just careful with what I ate and left without any major problems.

Here are some beautiful views from our walks around the town that keeps on improving (from 2021):

Gluten free in Tartu and in some of the surrounding areas

In 2023, we travelled down the western coast of the beautiful Peipsi järv (Lake Peipus). My favourite grandmother was from the area, therefore as a child, I visited it a lot.

En route, I got glutened at a restaurant in Alutaguse, probably due to a language barrier where the waitress misunderstood me and served me food that had wheat flour in the sauce. I learned my lesson and will now ask for the chef’s confirmation, always.

Alatskivi & Lake Peipus

We stayed one night at the magical Alatskivi castle, a Neo-Gothic castle modelled on the royal residence of Balmoral in Scotland. The breakfast was included in the price and it was quite royal as it is specially made for you and mostly gluten free anyway.

As the only available option, we went to Mõisa Talli Pubi for lunch. I don’t feel comfortable recommending them as they previously advised they can’t do gluten free, but food with “a little bit of gluten in it”. I asked if my chosen option contained flour/gluten and was told that it could be substituted with corn starch and I was absolutely fine afterwards.

For dinner, we went to Kivi Kõrts (Kivi Tavern) which is part of Sibulatee (The Onion Route). The Onion Route is a destination snaking along the shores of Lake Peipus, an area well-known for its cultural diversity. The three cultures to be seen there are Estonian peasant culture, Baltic German manor culture and Russian Old Believers’ culture. It is full of life in summer but in May it was nice and quiet.

Dinner at Kivi Tavern – I guess you need to like fish when travelling around Lake Peipus as normally local fish would be a gluten-free option on many menus in the area.


Second-largest city in Estonia, Tartu is often considered the intellectual capital of the country. It is also known as the “City of Good Thoughts” due to its association with prominent Estonian intellectuals and thinkers.

While you’re there, make sure to visit the Kissing Students fountain, located in the town square and Toomemägi (Toome Hill) as there’s loads to see there. A sighting on its own is the Upside Down House on the outskirts of Tartu (close to the Estonian National Museum) – we had loads of fun there.

In Tartu, we mainly had food in our apartment as the city doesn’t seem too gluten-free friendly at a first glance. But the lunch I had at Trikster Tihane and the dinner ordered from Poke Bowl through the Bolt Food app, were both kind to me, so I can recommend those two places.


Overall, I would definitely keep my eyes open in terms of travelling to Estonia when you are on a gluten-free diet. The main thing to keep in mind, is to always ask as there are options available. As I said in the beginning of this post, the capital never stops developing and every time I return there, it amazes me with new development and technical innovations. I could add gluten free options to the developing list as well.

After all, Tallinn Airport is one of the cosiest in the world and worth a visit by itself.

Let me know if you have been to Estonia thanks to my suggestions by emailing me at

PS, all the links in this article are added for information purposes only, and may have been removed/altered from the time they were added. As it’s only me working on the website as a hobby, I don’t check every single link as often as I would like to. So please be careful when clicking on any of the links. If you notice any broken ones, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via Thank you.