TALLINN OLD CITY – ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CITIES IN THE WORLD!
Author: arzu altinay
Date of Trip: April 2017
Day 1: Tallinn amazed us incredibly with its historical charm! It was a three day visit to the capital of Estonia which is the shining star of Northern Europe. Weather was still cold with lots of wind but we had the sun every day.
The small restaurants around the main town square were getting ready for the season which would be April to October. They put sun terraces for visitors to enjoy and relax at the end of a touring day.
This small Baltic city has the Medieval Old Town at its heart: an area of cobblestone streets, gabled houses, churches and squares all in one compact space.
Tallinn boomed as a key Hanseatic commercial hub from the 13th to the 16th centuries. Old Town has long been the main draw for newcomers – in fact it’s so unique that UNESCO added it to its World Heritage List in 1997. Tallinn was the capital of culture in 2011.
Other regions of the city reflect different ages, from the romantic, Tsarist-era Kadriorg Park to the unforgettable, early 20th-century wooden house district of Kalamaja. A modern shopping and business district in the city centre completes the tableau, making Tallinn an amazing blend of old and new.
Ever since the days of Viking traders Tallinn has been a meeting point for various cultures and nations, so visitors coming from any direction are bound to find something familiar, and something exotic, when they explore the city.
Estonia’s various rulers – Danish, Livonian, German, Swedish and Russian – have each left their mark on Tallinn’s landscape, and their influence can be found reflected in the city’s architecture, art and even its restaurant cuisine.
Our first day we walked around the Old Town on our own and ended up at the Peppersack restaurant which had a very Medieval decor with wooden tables, high chairs and even the waiters dressed accordingly! We enjoyed good, dark Estonian beer with the local black bread made of rye and molasses.
At 8 pm every night, they also do a sword fight which was a pleasant surprise!
Tallinn was easy to reach; we were on a Turkish Air flight and the journey took 3 hours from Istanbul. Once we arrived, finding a taxi was very easy and getting into town was a snap. It cost only 8 Euros in a comfortable and modern vehicle.
Lennart Meri International Airport is only 4 km from the city centre, putting it just ten minutes away from the downtown hotels.
Thanks to its small size and compact layout, Tallinn is easy to explore on foot, eliminating the headaches of bus transfers and taxi rides.
We found that walking around Tallinn is a joy. Now that we covered the Old Town on our own ,we wanted to discover some of the other neighbourhoods around in our second day.
Tallinn has a great seaside walk from the Old Town until Kalamaja… it’s called the Culture Kilometre although it’s a bit longer around 2 km.
It’s a special walk with plenty of historical and industrial vibes from different eras along the seaside. It gave us a completely different perspective away from the old town’s touristy atmosphere. Although most of it has changed after 2011 when Amazing Tallinn was the Culture Capital of Europe, the Culture Kilometre is still worth the time to walk and discover. Today only a small part of the original walkway exists as the seaside area is undergoing major redevelopment.
The official starting point of Tallinn Culture Kilometre is located by Linnahall car park right at the harbour. It’s only a 5 minute walk down from the Old Town in front of the Tallinnk Spa Hotel.
Keep going until you reach the Patarei Prison and Sea Fortress on the right. This imposing seaside complex is a good place to peek into the Soviet era prison life in all its misery, although now they do not let people in anymore.