Tallinn – a fairytale city on the southern shores of the Gulf of Finland
Tallinn, the romantic Estonian capital located at the junction of the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea, attracts travelers thanks to its fabulously beautiful architecture. The medieval part of town has hardly changed over the centuries, and so a trip to the ancient village and walk through the old crooked cobblestone streets somewhat reminiscent of a trip back in time.
Excursion tours in Tallinn give tourists the opportunity to stroll through the Botanic Gardens and historic neighborhoods of the Old Town, explore unique museum collections, and learn about the peculiarities of Estonian cuisine while visiting the best restaurants.
When to go to Tallinn?
Tallinn, like many other Estonian cities, has a maritime temperate continental climate, so don’t count on an unforgettable beach holiday on the Gulf of Finland. Although the city has three beaches – Stromka, Pirita and Kakumiau, the Baltic Sea water even near the shore warms up to 19 ° C maximum in the hottest summer months.
If sightseeing is the main purpose of visiting the Estonian capital, the city is fabulous all year round, but in the winter months its narrow streets are usually covered in snow, and early darkness may prevent you from seeing the original architectural monuments.
Peculiarities of visas to Estonia
Before traveling to Tallinn on your own, you must contact the Estonian Consulate for timely processing of a Schengen tourist visa, but if you buy an organized sightseeing tour, as a rule, employees of travel agencies provide travelers with visa support. In addition to filling out the necessary documents and questionnaires, a consular fee of 35 euros is required in advance, and a receipt of payment is usually attached to the package of documents submitted to the Estonian visa service.
Where to stay?
There are many luxury hotels in the Old Town, many of which are located in historic listed buildings. The most prestigious hotels are five star hotels, which include Radisson Blu Tallinn, Savoy Boutique, Schlossle, Swissotel, Telegraaf and Three Sisters. Rooms of luxury hotels are particularly suited to tourists who choose a wedding trip to Tallinn, and the cost of living is 75-300 euros per night, depending on the category of rooms.
Hotels “Clarion Euroopa” and “Domina Ilmarine” category “four stars” can be called a budget option, as a night in a standard room will cost only 47-61 euros. If you are trying to minimize costs by choosing the cheapest place to stay, you can consider two-star hotels, including hotels Braavo, City Portus, Stromi, where you can spend a night for only 29-42 euros.
Where to eat?
When vacationing in Tallinn, you can eat breakfast in the hotel dining room, as only cheap two-star hotels usually do not include breakfast in the room rate. There are pizzerias and restaurants, traditional bars in every district of the capital of Estonia, and in the summertime it is most romantic to dine in street cafes in the heart of the Old Town, for example, on Town Hall Square. Pork dishes dominate the menu, and to understand the culinary preferences of Estonians, you can go to one of the elite restaurants and try the “game” – bear and elk meat, wild boar meat or order salmon dishes.
If you decide to make a wedding tour in Tallinn, you can visit the best restaurants “Peppersack” and “Olde Hansa”, where the interiors are decorated in medieval style, and the dishes are served by waiters dressed in Estonian folk costumes.
But a meal in such establishments costs in the range of 20-40 euros, not including the cost of alcoholic beverages. Within the city walls one can dine in the Balthasar restaurant, famous for its unusual seafood dishes, the new Mannerheim restaurant and the stylized Mexican restaurant Amarillo, and in such places lunch for one person costs about 10-12 euros.
Cafe “Kehrwieder” is located in the semi-basement of an old building and tourists are served here strong coffee and delicious desserts. For unusual salads, marzipan products and all sorts of Estonian desserts, you can also go to Café Maiasmokk, located in the Old Town. There is also a museum of marzipan, where kids, under the guidance of salespeople, can make their own interesting figures.
Features of a vacation in Tallinn
If you plan to spend your honeymoon in Tallinn, you won’t be mistaken, as the beautiful Estonian capital offers travelers endless opportunities for a romantic vacation. Just step through the surviving stone wall into the old town and time stands still, you’ll find chimney sweepers in the old streets and a former Soviet prison where exciting parties are held.
While sightseeing, don’t forget your raincoat and umbrella. And on sunny days head to the Pirita embankment for inline skating or cycling, which you can rent. The Estonian capital is associated with walking, so when choosing a hotel in the historic center do not rush to buy a permanent ticket for public transport.
Medieval buildings in Tallinn were preserved thanks to the poverty of the townspeople, who simply did not have the opportunity to dismantle the Gothic buildings in order to build Renaissance and Baroque palaces on the vacated space. Another feature of the Estonian capital is clean air and no pollution, as there is practically no harmful industrial plants. And during a holiday in a fabulous Baltic city, you can at least for the day to leave the narrow streets, hiding behind city walls, and go into nature, stroll through the virgin forest surrounding the Estonian capital, admire the views of the marshlands.
A vacation in Tallinn is not only a kind of journey through time and history, frozen in the stonework of walls and old buildings. There are nightclubs and trendy discos, and many stores invite customers who want to buy brand-name things, and especially interesting walks through the department stores and shopping centers during the seasonal sales.
Tallinn’s most interesting sights
Familiarity with the sights of Tallinn should begin with a visit to Vyshgorod – the oldest historical district. Here we have preserved most of the unique buildings erected in XI-XV centuries, among which the most interesting in architectural and historical plan are Tallinn Town Hall built in 1404, the architectural complex of Dominican monastery, St. Olaf Church and St. Nicholas Church. It is impossible to miss the other ancient temples of Old Tallinn – the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral belonging to the city’s Orthodox community, the Dome Cathedral and the Church of the Holy Spirit.
Looking at the architectural ensemble of Town Hall Square, pay attention to the operating pharmacy, the oldest in Europe, founded back in 1422. Once the medicine jars were filled with exotic remedies like black cat’s blood, dried worms and frogs’ legs, but now the most famous pharmacy in the Baltics offers traditional remedies.
In the center of Tallinn there’s Toompea Castle, well-preserved medieval, built by the Crusader Order on the hill of the same name in the XIII-XIV centuries. Its grey walls, a bit whitened by time, can be seen walking along any street in Tallinn’s Old Town, and on one of the towers the Estonian flag flies proudly at any time of the year. The majestic medieval fortification has always been a home for members of the ruling dynasty since it was built, and even now Toompea Castle is associated with power – its old walls house the Parliament of the Republic of Estonia.
Leaving Vyshgorod, you can go to the no less famous Kadriorg district, built at the time of Peter the Great, when the territory of modern Estonia was part of the Russian Empire. Here you’ll find a regular park, founded in the 18th century, in the middle of which stands the magnificent baroque Catherine Palace. It is surrounded by picturesque fountains, ponds and natural forest.
Among the sights of Tallinn stands out a monument to the Mermaid, an unusual weathervane Old Thomas on Town Hall Square, but every traveler can find something interesting in the Estonian capital. For some, it is a lot of theaters, others because of the language barrier are eager to visit museums and inspect monuments, and some tourists admire the Estonian cuisine.