Whether it is a modern metropolis, a quiet spa town or lonely nature – Estonia offers a wide range of different travel destinations. So shopping tourists will not be disappointed in Tallinn, those looking for relaxation can relax in Pärnu, Haapsalu or on the Estonian islands, nature lovers will find a wonderful setting for hiking and wildlife observation in the Lahemaa or Soomaa national parks. It is the diversity that inspires in Estonia!
The capital Tallinn, formerly known as Reval according to Countryaah, forms the center of the country and is a magnet for visitors. It is the linchpin, as most of the Estonia holidaymakers travel to Tallinn via Tallinn. For a European capital, Tallinn is comparatively small with just 400,000 inhabitants. But this almost familiar appearance is what makes it so attractive. You can get to know Tallinn very well in just a few days, so that a long weekend for a city trip is also worthwhile. At the same time, there are so many beautiful corners, peculiarities and peculiarities to discover that you can spend a week in the city on the Gulf of Finland without getting bored.
Tallinn has flair: the well-preserved medieval cityscape with its winding cobblestone streets, rock-solid city walls, massive defensive towers and pointed-gabled merchant houses is pretty to look at. City guides stroll through the market square in historical gaps, traditional handicrafts and woolen goods are sold in small shops, medieval-style restaurants with names such as Olde Hanse or Peppersack offer wild boar dishes, hearty garlic bread and honey beer. In the old town, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, the visitor feels transported to another time.
As the largest city in Estonia, historic Tallinn actually consisted of two parts of the city: clergy and nobles resided on Toompea. The townspeople, merchants and craftsmen lived in the lower town.
You should take your time for a tour of the old town. We start in the lower town, on Rathausplatz: This is where public life has been taking place for many centuries. Restaurants and cafés line the square; festivals, markets and open-air events are held here. The pretty town hall, first mentioned in 1322, towers over the scenery with its late Gothic facade. If you want, you can climb into the tower via a narrow spiral staircase and you will be rewarded with a great view. Diagonally across from the town hall you can admire the town hall pharmacy from 1422 – one of the oldest pharmacies ever.
A constant companion on the tour is the old, massive city wall. It originated in the 13th century. Many of the towers are still preserved today. “Kiek in de Kök” is the name of an old cannon tower from the 15th century that is well worth seeing. Today it houses the city and military history museum. The “Big Margaret”, an old fortified tower with a diameter of 25 meters, houses the Museum of Seafaring. At “her feet” is the “Katkenud liin” (Broken Line) monument – it is dedicated to the 852 victims of the sinking of the Estonia ferry in 1994.
The Viru Gate in the southeast of the old town can still be admired as one of the two preserved city gates. The wool market, where textiles and handicrafts are sold, takes place every day near the Viru gate. The Pikk is a street that you should follow in peace: this is where the guild houses are. Unmarried merchants of German descent resided in the House of the Blackheads. The facade of the pretty building is in the style of the Dutch Renaissance.
Now into the world of the clergy and nobles: to Toompea. Here you can visit Tallinn Castle, today the seat of Parliament. The building received its current appearance through renovation work under Tsarina Catherine II in the 18th century. The neighboring Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was built at the end of the 19th century. The onion domes, a thoroughly Russian architectural feature, symbolize the Russification of Estonia. From the Domberg you have a great view of the lower town from a viewing platform.
In addition to the medieval flair, the picturesque and dreamy, there is also another Tallinn: Outside the city walls, the modern economic center pulsates, further out in the outskirts, ailing apartment blocks bear witness to the era of socialism. A side of Tallinn that you can hardly guess once you have immersed yourself in the pretty old town.
Outside the old town, however, there are still a few things to see: The suburb of Kadriorg was created by Tsar Peter I, who had a summer residence built here – the Katharinental Palace. An elegant quarter with neat wooden houses was built around the castle. The Estonian Art Museum Kumu can also be found in the extensive park surrounding the castle.
For a nice view of Tallinn you can go to Pirita. Here is the marina and on the sandy beach the Estonians sunbathe in good weather, kite or surf in good winds.
Tip: If you prefer it a little quieter, you should visit Tallinn during the week. At the weekend, countless holidaymakers come in, including many Finns (Helsinki is only 80 kilometers away), who indulge in inexpensive alcohol, and make Tallinn a party city.