tallinn City Breaks
Once obscured from view by Soviet occupation, this Baltic gem has thrown open its doors with vigour. Boasting one of the most photogenic historic town centres in Europe, Tallinn will delight you with twisting cobblestone lanes, medieval squares, glorious spires and Baroque palaces as well as vibrant shopping and enticing eateries to suit all tastes.
Over a mile of medieval walls with 24 defensive towers surround one of the best preserved medieval old towns in Europe and at its heart the lovely main square - Raekoja Plats - with its fine 14th century Gothic Town Hall. The adjacent Toompea Hill boasts two cathedrals and the converted castle, now Estonia’s Parliament, all set amidst a delightful maze of cobbled lanes and historic dwellings. Elsewhere enchanting Kadriorg Park features several museums and the stunning palace built as a summer residence for Tsar Peter the Great.
The Russian Orthodox grandeur of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral offers a fascinating contrast with the so called Dome Church, the Lutheran St Mary’s Cathedral. Museums abound and most, including Kumu, the definitive Estonian art museum in Kadriorg Park, the City Museum – arranged over 10 separate sites – and the Russian Occupation Museum, are well worth a look. Estonia is a nation of music lovers and Tallinn is justifiably proud of its National Opera House as well as the unique Song Grounds, and many churches host classical recitals including the exquisitely decorated Church of the Holy Spirit.
Eat and Drink
Tallinn has excellent restaurants a plenty offering pretty much anything that takes your fancy, from hearty Estonian dishes brimming with delicious locally prepared meats, to international cuisine from around the globe. If you are partial to atmospheric dining in an appropriate setting, Tallinn offers several delightful eateries offering medieval dishes prepared from authentic recipes served in authentic period settings. Coffee is pretty much a national institution and you’re never far away from a cafes or a coffee bar.
In the knit market on Müürivahe Street where craftswomen sell their woolen products or venture along Katariina Passage where, in the medieval-style workshops of St Catherine’s Guild, onlookers watch as glasswork, ceramics, leather goods, quilts and other items are created right before their eyes. Tallinn has embraced the post soviet era with alacrity and classy designer shops can offer excellent value in malls like Viru Keskus and the adjacent Kaubamaja department store.
Just a short walk from the old town walls in the trendy Kalamaja district, the former Baltic Railway workshops have been converted into a “creative city”, Telliskivi Loomelinnak. As well as funky bars and design shops, a theatre space and antique shops, there’s also a busy programme of cultural happenings adding to the vibrant feel of the area.
The Estonian Open Air Museum, a short distance away by bus or taxi, has a splendid collection of seventy historic buildings gathered from across the country depicting life as it was in rural Estonia. Farm animals, horse drawn wagon rides, craftspeople and traditional foods help bring the place to life and the multilingual signage including English is excellent.
Moderately warm summers, cool springs & cold, often stunningly clear winter days.
Any time of year, this city always represents good value.
Goes well with
Helsinki, easily reached by ferry.
Impressed by a city that relishes its modern freedoms whilst retaining its ancient magic...
In Our Opinion
Be impressed by a city that has embraced modernity whilst retaining its ancient magic…
Would definitely travel with Cities Direct again, already recommended to friends...Tallinn
Getting value for money
Combining with a stay in Helsinki, Riga or Vilnius