This city really is one of the little gems of Eastern Europe. I’ve been to a few different Old Towns in various cities (mostly in the former communist countries) but this stands out for me as having the most character and ambiance.
Myself and my two brothers took a city break in summer 2012 and decided to squeeze two countries into one trip. This of course limited our options but we struck gold with the ferry-connected cities of Helsinki and Tallinn. We couldn’t have been happier with our choice as these were two extremely different places.
The Old Town of Tallinn had most of the original fortified wall remaining and once you pass though the entrance it’s like stepping back in time. So many old churches, archways and cobbled lanes remain and modern restaurants and boutique stores are tastefully assimilated into these picturesque streets.
The main market square seems a place where days could be lost just sipping delicious beer, sampling tasty Estonian dishes like the refreshing cold beetroot soup which went down well a treat while sitting out in the hot afternoon sun, or even watching the beautiful Estonian people strolling through this relaxed and leisurely capital. Having said all that, I want to point out that Tallinn is not just for those wishing to wind down their twilight years. Once the sun sets, the Old Town unfolds into a bustling party spot with pubs and clubs seemingly jumping out of the historic walls.
With an early sunrise in that part of the world, it’s easy to have a moderate enough night out while returning home to your friends and boasting having partied til dawn every night. Aside from the parties there are so many other attractions to this place. While my brothers hit for the shooting range to unwind while firing off a few rounds from Kalashnikovs and other weapons, I took a swim in the Baltic on a lovely beach, walking distance from the centre. And now the new free public transport service makes this place even more inviting (See related articles below).
Overall, this was a very pleasurable and memorable experience and I cannot recommend Tallinn enough to any interrailers passing through the area or for those resilient enough to endure a Ryanair flight, a nice weekend getaway.
PS. For those looking for even more adventure, you can enter Russia ‘visa-free’ for a few days by taking a ferry from Tallinn. See the link for the long list of terms, regulations and exceptions. It could be an interesting excursion.
Click Map: http://goo.gl/maps/UYVur
- Estonia’s capital gives residents a free ride (miamiherald.com)
- Photos: Beer Drinking and Thinking in Old Town Tallinn (bsideme.wordpress.com)
- Free public transport in Estonia (2012indyinfo.com)
- Reflections: A Walk Into a Past & Present Estonia… (downtheavenue.com)
- Back In Tallinn Finally (christinewblog.wordpress.com)