Tallinn seems to be one of those places that you either here people rave about, or you’ve never heard of it at all. It’s the capital of Estonia and has more recently started to get popular thanks to the likes of social media. As one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe, Tallinn is more than just a charming old town of cobblestone streets, grand churches, and orange rooftops. It has somehow managed to retain its charm despite its history of being a target for both the Germans and Soviets during WWII.
Tallinn is definitely worth the stop if you’re in Europe. Make it its own destination by flying in, or a day trip from Helsinki. Not to be overlooked, this destination is truly what old-time Europe is about.
1. Get lost in the twisting roads of the old town
One of my favorite parts of being in Tallinn was spending time in the medieval old town. You can get lost in the twists and turns of the streets, every turn transporting you back in time. I challenge you to go without any intentions. Put your phone away and just wander aimlessly. You’ll be happy you did.
2. Visit Telliskivi
The next best thing to the well-preserved medieval part of town is the newer and more hipster area – Telliskivi. A short walk away from the old town (approx 15 minutes), Telliskivi has a much different feel from the old town. Street art splashed along the walls, food trucks and markets line the streets. My favorite concept is Depoo Street. A Street of food trucks that you can either sit inside or outside. Plus an old train renovated into a restaurant.
3. Walk Tallinn Town Wall
One of the most well preserved medieval fortifications, transport yourself back in time while getting views of the city from above.
Note: Tickets are two Euros for adults, one for children
4. Take in the views from St. Olaf’s Church
Originally built in the 12thcentury, climb up St. Olaf’s Church for the best views in the city. Be careful of the lightning… it has at least 10 times causing the church to burn down on three separate occasions.
Note: The viewing platform is closed during the winter; tickets will set you back three Euros for adults, one for children
5. Visit Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
As one of the most recognized buildings in Tallinn and offering free entry, you have to make this a priority stop if you’re visiting. The architecture differs from the rest of the old town – the Russian Revival. This is because the cathedral was built when the country was part of the Russian Empire.
6. Get your sweet tooth fix at Rukis
Snuggle up in this cozy café, sipping espresso and eating your heart out in all things sweets. All displayed beautifully from a glass case, you’ll be tempted to try one of each!
7. Stroll through Balti Jaama Turg
A unique inside/outside concept, this market sells both food and goods. Located in Telliskivi Balti Jaama Turg has something for everyone. You can take away or sit in one of the many boxed restaurants lining the streets.
8. Have a tourist moment at Olde Hansa
While completely touristy, I found Olde Hansa to be quite charming. The concept is to transport you back to medieval times. You’ll be served dinner by candlelight as the waiters and waitresses dress in medieval attire.
9. Go on the free walking tour
This self-deprecating tour walks you through the history of Estonia and old town Tallinn in particular. This tour will last you about two hours and will teach you the importance of Tallinn’s history and how Tallinn has come to be who it is today.
Note: Tips expected
10. Walk St. Catherine’s Passage
A short stroll through this half-hidden passageway, St. Catherine’s Passage is a visual experience if you’re visiting Tallinn.
As of now Tallinn, Estonia is a booming tourist destination and has currently retained its independence for 23 years – the longest in the entire history of the country. So go check it out! See what makes the medieval town just as special and unique as the likes of other popular European capitals.
To read more on Tallinn, click here.