Tallinn Travel Summary

Estonia’s charming capital city, Tallinn, is straight out of a fairytale and is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in northern Europe.

The Tallinn is segmented into 3 key travel themes to immerse you into everything Tallinn:

  1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful town
  2. Suggested Itinerary;
  3. What to See

Hope you enjoy it!  Carpe Diem!

1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful town

With its cobbled streets, colourful architecture and encompassing city walls, it’s easy to see why it’s considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.   Tallinn’s atmospheric Old Town is straight out of a fairytale and is an enthralling collection of medieval streets and spires.

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Tallinn’s Old Town has managed to preserve its medieval heritage throughout centuries of domination by foreign rulers, rightfully earning a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

You will be enchanted by wonderful sights of ancient churches, medieval streetscapes and noble merchants’ houses.   Tallinn dates back to the 13th century, when a castle was built there by the crusading knights of the Teutonic Order. It developed as a major centre of the Hanseatic League, and its wealth is demonstrated by the opulence of the public buildings (the churches in particular) and the domestic architecture of the merchants’ houses, which have survived to a remarkable extent.

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Resting on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, Estonia itself has a beautiful coastline dotted with an archipelago of over 2000 unspoilt islands. Neighbours Latvia, Finland and Russia are a hop, skip and a jump away from Tallinn.

2. Some Itineraries

8am – Old Town Square:

The Tallinn Town Hall is the oldest city hall in Northern-Europe and the only preserved one in Gothic style.  Completed in 1404, this is the only surviving Gothic town hall in northern Europe. In the summer, you can ascend the Gothic tower’s 115-step, spiral staircase to reach the belfry balcony at the 34-metre level.  Here you will be rewarded with picturesque views of Old Town and the city centre.

Make sure you check out Town Hall Pharmacy. This lays claim to being the oldest pharmacy in Europe that has continuously operated from the same building. Its earliest mention in town records is from the year 1422.  Walk to the centre of the square to see the circular stone, which is marked with a compass rose. From this point, you can view the top of the Old Town’s five spires.

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11am – Alexander Nevsky Cathedral:

Check out the large and richly decorated Russian Orthodox church, designed in a mixed historicist style, was completed on Toompea Hill in 1900, when Estonia was part of the Czarist Empire.

The cathedral features the onion domes, typical of Russian Orthodox churches, and the interior is filled with mosaics, icons, paintings and ornate gold leaf decorations.

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Afternoon – Wander around the Tallinn City Walls:

Tallinn boasts one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval fortifications.  The Tallinn City Walls boast 1.9 km of its original city wall and 20 defensive towers wall still standing.  The building of the fortifications commenced in 1265, however, the existing outline of the wall dates to the 14th century.  In the 16th century, the wall was 2.4 km long, 14 to 16 metres high, up to three metres thick and included 46 towers. Stop off for some food at the Maiden Tower Museum-Café which is situated within the city walls.

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Evening – Fantastic views from Kohtuotsa viewing platform:

The Kohtuotsa viewing platform offers sweeping panoramas of Old Town’s rooftops and towers against the backdrop of the modern city skyline.

You can see most of Tallinn’s centuries-old historical city centre and spires.  You can also see out towards the Baltic Sea.  Don’t miss the opportunity to sample couple of great restaurants and bars nearby which serve up great Estonian hospitality.

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3. What to See:

Tallinn Townhall

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Tallinn Town Hall is the oldest city hall in North-Europe and the only preserved one in Gothic style
  • Completed in 1404, this is the only surviving Gothic town hall in northern Europe
  • In summer, visitors can ascend the Gothic tower’s 115-step, spiral staircase to reach the belfry balcony at the 34-metre level
  • Here you will be rewarded with picturesque views of Old Town and the city centre
  • The Gothic arches, and precious works of art reflect the wealth and ideals of the former Hanseatic town
  • The rarest items are the benches of aldermen from the 14th and 15th century

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Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The large and richly decorated Russian Orthodox church, designed in a mixed historicist style, was completed on Toompea Hill in 1900, when Estonia was part of the Czarist Empire
  • The cathedral features the onion domes, typical of Russian Orthodox churches, and the interior is filled with mosaics, icons, paintings and ornate gold leaf decorations
  • If you time your visit to coincide with the beginning of a service, you will be able to hear the full assembly of the church’s 11 bells, including the largest in Tallinn

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Kohtuotsa viewing platform

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

Kohtuotsa viewing platform

  • The Kohtuotsa viewing platform offers sweeping panoramas of Old Town’s rooftops and towers against the backdrop of the modern city skyline
  • You can see most of Tallinn’s centuries-old historical city centre and spires. You can also see out towards the Baltic Sea

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Tallinn City Walls:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Tallinn boasts one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval fortifications
  • The Tallinn City Walls boast 1.9 km of its original city wall and 20 defensive towers wall still standing
  • The building of the fortifications commenced in 1265, however, the existing outline of the wall dates to the 14th century
  • In the 16th century, the wall was 2.4 km long, 14 to 16 metres high, up to three metres thick and included 46 towers

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St Olaf’s Church:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • St Olaf’s Church is Tallinn’s largest medieval structure
  • St. Olaf’s 124m spire is a Tallinn landmark, and was the tallest building in Europe between 1549 and 1625
  • The church took its name from the canonised Norwegian king, Olav Havaldsson

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Toompea Castle:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Perched on a limestone cliff and towering over the rest of the city, Toompea Castle was the seat of power in Estonia
  • Ever since the German Knights of the Sword first built a stone fortress here in 1227-29, every foreign empire that ruled Estonia used the castle as its base
  • Nowadays the castle is the home of Estonia’s Parliament today

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Kadriorg Art Museum:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • This baroque palace has a grandiose interior, beautiful park and fountains and was a gift from tsar Peter the I to his wife Catherine
  • It houses Dutch, German and Italian and Russian paintings from the 16th to early 20th centuries

 

St Mary’s Cathedral

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • St. Mary’s Cathedral is a cathedral church located on Toompea Hill.
  • It was established by Danes in the 13th century
  • It is the oldest church in Tallinn and mainland Estonia

4. Photo Gallery:

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