Tallinn is the capital of Estonia and since tourists are known to arrive in this city by many forms of transportation like car, bus, train or plane you could say that it is the most international city in Estonia. Like with other capital cities there is much to delight the eye and lots to do. Tallinn lies on the northern coast of Estonia right on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. Not far from the city center is the beach promenade and this is a popular place for residents who come here to run, take leisurely walks and even cycle.
When visiting Tallinn there are a lot of interesting things to see and do in the city’s medieval Old Town. It is well-known for its authentic Hanseatic architecture. The Old Town has many galleries, cafes and restaurants offering something for everyone. It is a most mystic and fascinating place where you will feel like you have stepped back in time. Here you can walk cobblestone streets lined with medieval churches, old merchant houses, barns and warehouses dating as far back as the 11th century. The Old Town became a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1997 and is often referred to as the “medieval pearl of Europe”.
The very heart of Tallinn located in the Old Town is Town Hall Square where in the summertime you can find lovely outdoor cafes, listen to concerts and see fairs. In the wintertime in December it becomes a magical place with the charming Christmas Market.
At the square take a look at the Town Hall which is the only completely intact Gothic Town Hall in all of northern Europe. It is now a museum and concert hall. At the top of Town Hall Tower you can see a famous weather vane that depicts the historic guard of Tallinn Old Town – Vana Toomas. Across the way you can see the oldest working pharmacy in Europe called Raeapteek. Medieval legend has it that this tiny pharmacy was the birthplace of marzipan which is a sweet that is now loved all around the globe. On this square also stood the world’s very first Christmas Tree in 1441.
You can take a walk along the old city walls that have 26 watch towers. Take a look at narrow Muurivahe Street where the ancient wall has been preserved as it originally was. Here you can also purchase unique souvenirs.
The Old Town is also home to many different churches such as St. Olaf’s Church which has a 159 meter high tower that at one time was looked upon as the highest building in the world. It is an active Baptist church offering panoramic views of all of Tallinn. There is also St. Nicholas’ Church that is dedicated to fishermen and sailors. It is now an art museum and concert hall. This church is famous for its wall painting “Dance Macabre” or “Dance of Death” created by Bernt Notke. Walking up the hill to Toompea you’ll see the biggest Orthodox church in Tallinn Aleksand Nevsky Cathedral.
You’ll see great views from Patkuli and Kohtuotsa viewing platforms in Toompea from where you can see the entire Old Town and the coastline.
Don’t forget to visit Kalamaja where you’ll discover new cafes, bars and galleries located between the scenic coast and the Old Town. Here visitors come upon lovely architectural pearls. The most visited place is Estonia’s largest maritime center Seaplane Harbor. The museum and restaurant have found a home in a renovated seaplane hangar and visitors can see the fascinating digital and physical displays of Estonia’s maritime history including the 600-stone British submarine Lembit.
Nearby you’ll find the 19th century Patarei Sea Fortress and Prison. There is a museum which tell about the Soviet occupation of Estonia and during the summertime there are electronic music festivals held on the grounds.
The very center of Kalamaja is Telliskivi Creative City which includes an indoor shopping street where you can purchase everything from organic cosmetics to the latest in Estonian design. There are also lots of interesting restaurants to explore offering many creative and great quality dishes. Some of the highlights include a weekly flea market, bicycle festivals and street food competitions.
Take a walk to the 18th century Kadriorg Park which was established by Tsar Peter the Great. Here you can also visit Kadriorg Palace and art museum. Kadriorg Park offers visitors a lovely area of green which includes a Japanese garden. It’s all surrounded by the historical houses of Tallinn. There is much to do and see as you walk about this vast park area. Take a look at KUMU a wonder of contemporary architecture and was awarded the title of European Museum of the Year in 2006. Here you will find seven floors displaying Estonian art as well as international art.
When it’s time to relax Kadriorg offer visitors wonderful cafes where you can have your afternoon tea and cake. If you have children along let them have fun at the playground Miia-Miia-Manda where they’ll discover exciting rides. At the café there is ice cream and also sweets and carrot treats.
At the end of a long day you can enjoy a walk at the Pirita Promenade from which you can view Tallinn’s historical skyline.
Come explore and enjoy Tallinn and all of its wonders. These are just some of the highlights of this fascinating city. There is much more to do and see so include this capital city on your must see list.