Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia and boasts one of the very best preserved historic centres you will find anywhere. The city is situated on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, and has been variously invaded by almost all of her neighbours, from Sweden to the Soviet Union, to Nazi Germany. As a result, you can find traces of many different cultures here, especially when you visit the “Old Town” and some of the suburban areas. There is a huge emphasis on the Arts and culture and there are many museums and ancient buildings to visit. I visited Tallinn for a day while on a Baltic cruise, and would very much like to return some day and have more time. Perhaps pick up a car rental and explore the city and the rest of Estonia in depth.
Tallinn Historic Sites in Estonia:
Just walking around the Tallinn historic sites in Estonia is a treat! We approached the Old Town via the Viru Gate, a pair of very old and quaint towers at the beginning of the major pedestrian street into the historic centre, and it was like taking a step back in time. You find yourself surrounded by cobbled streets, Gothic spires and iron street lamps – you almost expect a horse drawn carriage to appear! In the enchanting old town we strolled around the colourfully painted gabled houses, (reminiscent of many old European towns), peered into half-hidden courtyards and gardens, and visited all the almost-intact town walls. This would be a wonderful place to bring children – they would be enchanted by the fairy-tale quality of this town.
The Great Coastal Gate and the Fat Margaret Tower
No one knows how the latter got its name, but it is a very substantial tower! Today it is the naval museum and you can climb up to the roof for an excellent view of the Old Town and the bay. Another good observation point is the Hellemann Tower and Town Wall.
This baroque palace in the very elegant suburb of Kadriorg was built by Peter the Great, and is a must on your to-do list. Not only is the palace quite magnificent, but it is also home to the Art Museum of Estonia, and outside the palace you will also find several other museums. While you are in the area, visit the KUMU (Modern) Art Museum, the Kadriorg Park around the Palace and Peter the Greats’ cottage.
Tours in Tallinn:
There are several tours you can go on in Tallinn such as an Art Tour of Kadriorg Park and Palace, a hop-on-hop-off bus tour around all the main Tallinn historic sites, an Audioguide walking tour of the Old Town or even a bicycle tour.
We choose to stay in the old town and had a great day following our noses and soaking up the atmosphere and some very good food!