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Tallinn

Top Attractions in Tallinn

LOWER TOWN

LOWER TOWN

A natural starting point on any Tallinn itinerary, the Lower Town is perhaps what you’d consider to be the true medieval heart of Tallinn, a heady mix of Gothic architecture and cobbled streets. Dominated by the imposing and historic Gothic Town Hall, jewel in the crown of the city’s Old Town, Town Hall Square (Raekoja Plats) is the perfect spot in which to soak up the atmosphere of Tallinn at its most authentic. Look out for the Town Hall Pharmacy dating back to 1422.
TOOMPEA HILL

TOOMPEA HILL

According to legend, Toompea Hill was built on top of the burial site of Estonia’s heroic first leader, King Kalev and has long been regarded as the birthplace of Tallinn since the Knights of the Sword constructed their fortress here in the early 1200s, today the seat of the Estonian government. Encircled by city walls, once separating the nobility from the poor of Lower Town, Toompea Hill offers fabulous vantage points over the city and is a Tallinn essential.
DOME CHURCH

DOME CHURCH

Reputedly Estonia’s oldest church, the Dome Church (known also as Toomkirik) was founded in the early 13th century by the first wave of Danish conquerors yet was significantly extended during the 15th to 17th centuries when the church became a Lutheran place of worship. From its lofty position atop Toompea Hill, the church commands fine views over the city and the harbour below yet inside, be sure to admire the many sarcophagi, baroque pulpit and organ loft. 
ALEXANDER NEVSKY CATHEDRAL

ALEXANDER NEVSKY CATHEDRAL

Toompea Hill’s most prominent landmark, the Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was built in the late 19th century as part of the ‘Russification’ process which swept through the Baltic States at that time. Situated opposite the parliament buildings, the cathedral was commissioned by Tsar Alexander III and named after the duke who besieged Estonia in the early 13th century. Boasting Estonia’s largest bell, the cathedral is also renowned for its striking interior complete with frescoes and icons.
DANISH KING’S GARDEN

DANISH KING’S GARDEN

Arguably one of the most peaceful and picturesque locations in Tallinn’s Old Town set between the city walls and Lower Town, the Danish King’s Garden provides a serene spot in which to truly appreciate Tallinn’s views, particularly at night when the city lights provide an additional atmospheric air. So-named after King Valdemar II of Denmark who camped before conquering Toompea in 1219, the garden is said to be the birthplace of the Danish flag.
VIRU GATE

VIRU GATE

Situated at the entrance to Viru Street, one of Tallinn’s main pedestrian arteries into the Old Town and a lively shopping thoroughfare, the Viru Gate is actually a pair of attractive, icy-clad towers, once part of a complex 14th-century gate system. Today they stand as a symbol of the city and for many, is often the first glimpse of Tallinn’s atmospheric Old Town. A definite photo pit stop.
MUSEUM OF OCCUPATIONS

MUSEUM OF OCCUPATIONS

Occupied first by the Nazi regime swiftly followed by nearly 50 years of Soviet rule, the Museum of Occupations brings to life the conditions experienced by Estonians between 1940 and 1991, a period largely known as the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. Situated on the edge of Old Town, the museum exhibits authentic artefacts dating back to the period in addition to high-tech audio-visual displays and provides a fascinating insight into life under occupied rule.
ESTONIAN OPEN-AIR MUSEUM

ESTONIAN OPEN-AIR MUSEUM

Set a short drive from the city centre in Rocca al Mare on the shore of the Kopli Gulf, the Estonian Open-Air Museum occupies over 200 acres of forested land, amongst which you’ll find some 70 buildings detailing Estonia’s farming and agricultural history. A great venue for children, enjoy horse and carriage rides, explore the wooden houses and windmills, and learn traditional farming activities alongside staff in period costume. Worth combining as a day trip with Tallinn Zoo nearby.
KIEK IN DE KÖK

KIEK IN DE KÖK

Literally translated as ‘peep into the kitchen’, Kiek in de Kök is a six-storey cannon tower situated towards the southern edges of Tallinn’s Old Town. So-named because soldiers were able to peer into the kitchens of the Lower Town houses from here, the tower dates back to the 15th century and still has nine cannonballs embedded in its walls. Today it houses one of the branches of Tallinn’s City Museum, specialising in contemporary art, ancient maps and weaponry.
TALLINN TV TOWER

TALLINN TV TOWER

Built in 1980 to provide better communications for the Moscow Olympics, the Tallinn TV Tower is a 314-metre high, free-standing structure offering spectacular views from its observation platform (set at 170 metres on the 21st floor) not only across the city but, on a clear day, across the Gulf of Finland to its Scandinavia neighbour as well. Situated a short distance from Tallinn’s Botanical Gardens, it’s worth combining a visit here, too.

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