Tallinn, the capital of Estonia located on the Baltic Sea is fast becoming a city every traveller should visit. Even though the city itself is over 1,000 years old it has a modern vibe making it an ideal destination for a European city break. With an untouched by war and perfectly preserved old town combined with repurposed industrial spaces and everything in between including green spaces, beaches and forests, there is something for everyone. Here are 5 things you must do in Tallinn.
Visit a Museum
There are approximately 250 museums in Estonia with a large proportion of them located in Tallinn. With museums to suit everyone’s taste, the tough decision is which one to visit first.
If you are interested in the rich history of the city, one of the best ways to learn more is to visit some of the museums that focus on local history. The Estonian History Museum — Great Guild Hall, a Gothic building in the historical centre offers great insight into the Estonian people and the historical events that have affected the country and them the most.
If you are looking for a quirky museum then a visit to Old Tallinn’s Marzipan Gallery is a must. Here you can learn about the history of marzipan and how it was originally used as a medicine. You can also book a guided tour, learn how marzipan is made and even try your hand at making a marzipan sculpture which you can then take home as a souvenir of your visit.
Take a Free Walking Tour
One of the best ways of seeing any city is by walking around it. An even better way is to take a tour with a tour guide. This is because they will be able to give detailed information about the city from a local’s perspective. A free walking tour in Tallinn, allows you to decide how much you want to tip your guide at the end of the tour. Therefore making a walking tour accessible to people travelling on any budget.
Companies such as GuruWalk offer a range of free walking tours. These include itineraries based on modern Tallinn and street art right through to communist stories of Tallinn. Therefore, whatever you want to discover in more detail about the city you can do so. Also, by having a guide, it allows you to ask questions and glean local knowledge that you may not find in travel guides.
Admire The Old Town
If architecture is your thing then Tallinn is the place for you. It has one of the world’s best-preserved medieval Old Towns, which is the oldest part of the city. The area was originally home to wealthy merchants. Most of the beautiful Hanseatic buildings in the Old Town were built between 13th–16th centuries and to this day the majority are intact. So much so, Tallinn’s Old Town was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
If you are a night owl and like to take in the sights and sounds of a city after dark, the Old Town is the place to head. This is because, amongst the beautiful architecture, churches and numerous museums, visitors will also find many pubs, bars and clubs. The Old Town is also home to numerous restaurants serving both local Estonian and Baltic cuisine together with international dishes.
Take In The Views
If you want to see Tallinn from a different viewpoint then head to one of its numerous observation decks and platforms. Seeing the magical ‘untouched’ city from above is certainly a sight to behold. As there are many dotted around the city, you can admire it from many different angles.
The most obvious viewing platform to head for is at the Tallinn TV Tower, which is Estonia’s tallest building. It is 170 m (558 ft) from the ground and offers visitors picturesque panoramic views of Tallinn and beyond.
Others include the Patkuli Viewing Platform. To get to the platform you must scale the city walls on the edge of the Tornide väljak (Tower Square). Also, if climbing a spiral staircase of the Stable Tower doesn’t fill you with fear, the Linnamüür Platform offers breathtaking views.
Visit A Local Church
Considering the relatively small size of Tallinn, it has several churches. With Lutheran to Orthodox and Catholic and churches, they all differ architecturally. However, are all beautiful, many with intricate designs and detail. Located on Toompea Hill the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral can be found. This imposing building is also the largest orthodox cupola cathedral in Tallinn which houses Tallinn’s largest bell.
Other churches that are prime for visiting include the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin (Dome Church). Again located on Toompea Hill, it is the oldest church in mainland Estonia. It was originally built in the 13th century. However, has undergone numerous restorations through the years meaning it is now a mix of architectural styles. St Olaf’s Church also has a fascinating history and was believed to be the centre of the Scandinavian community before 1219 when Denmark conquered Tallinn.