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mistybleu Tallinn - A travel report by Amanda
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Tallinn,  Estonia - flag Estonia -  Harjumaa
19584 readers

mistybleu's travel reports

Stepping back in time; Estonia's medieval capital

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I had heard so much about this city, before my visit and had seen pictures so I kind of knew what to expect when visiting they city. But I was very much surprised.

Coastal view of Tallinn
Coastal view of Tallinn
Tallinn, the famous Hanseatic town, is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Old Tallinn is like no other city that I have visited, especially after I spent the last 9 nights at sea and visiting such modern city on my Baltic capital cruise. It had its advantages as well as its draw backs, but I look upon my experiences favourably.

My itinerary was a 12-night cruise departing Harwich and heading to St Petersburg; stopping in the following ports:

Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland;

St Petersburg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia; Gothenburg, Sweden.

So on reaching Tallinn I was on the home stretch; all the other countries so far had been quite normal, so to step back into time was quite intriguing.

Tallinn generally has fairly cold winter, a cool spring with little rain and a moderately warm summers. Not incredible hot, but should have some wonderful day however I’m told that sometimes it gets into the 30s. The day I visited was incredible cool or should I say cold and windy. It felt more like autumn/winter than the height of the summer. I had my fleece on but I swear I could have has a hat and gloves as well.

Owing to its locations, whilst the official language is Estonian, I found that Russian, Finnish, English and even German was widely spoken. But this isn’t really surprising as the old town caters to tourists.

Tallinn is located on the coast and is around 315km from St Petersburg, 280km from Riga, 380km from Stockholm. Its closest neighbour in the Baltic Sea would be Helsinki which is only 82km away and has a daily ferry service between the two capitals.

The time difference is +3 hours from the UK, but likely I didn’t really experience any changes as I had already got accustomed to the time zone. The long days are also great.

It’s also cool that they now use Euros which made it easier to spend.

Favourite spots:
Tallinn's Town Hall
Tallinn's Town Hall
Tallinn has around twenty churches mostly inside the old town including: Lutheran, Russian Orthodox and off course Catholic, with Christianity dating back to the 13th Century when the German crusaders Christianised the country. So religion played an important role in Tallinn’s history however maybe not some much now.

The churches are really great to visit, I particularly liked St Olav’s as it has a spire that is around 159m tall and I was able to climb to the top for a small fee.

Also I had the opportunity to visit the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin (Dome Church) Tower. Even though I didn’t climb to the top, it is also possible. Then there is Holy Spirit Church; this church is famous for having an elaborate clock and a unique wooden interior.

However my favourite is the onion-domed structure of Alexander Nevski Cathedral which is situated on Toompea Hill. It is a beautiful example of a Russian Orthodox church in my opinion.

What's really great:
Tallinn travelogue picture
The main part of the old town is situated on a hill, and it is somewhat of a fairy-tale town as it is enclosed by a city wall complete with turrets and towers to protect the city.

In 1997 it was selected to be included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites as it was a fine example of a ‘medieval northern European trading city’. The town dates back to the 12th century and was thriving trading town.

Alexander Nevski Cathedral
Alexander Nevski Cathedral
There must be other things to see in the city, but headed to the old town and spent the entire day there; some of the things I found interesting:

Town hall square: a spacious cobbled square in the lower part of town. There are many restaurants and bars located here and is a pleasant place to do some alfresco dining. The actual Town Hall is a 14th century gothic building.

Toompea Castle: only the outer back wall of the 13th century castle remains, it was restored back in the 1773 where the pink parliament building was added.

Toomkirk: located in Palace Square is the oldest church in Tallinn.

Alexander Nevski cathedral: which was built in 1894 is a wonderful Russian Orthodox Church complete with the traditional onion domes.

Klick in de Kok: is the tallest cannon tower of the old town.

The Third Dragon
The Third Dragon
The Kolmas Draakon (The Third Dragon) is truly a great place to stop for a quick bite.

They only serve elk soup, cow pies and beer, but really it is the best I have ever tasted. Tucked away in a small door of the town hall, right in the old town square, it has a true medieval feel. Even the waitress's are dressed in traditional attire and you drink out of clay mugs. It is really quaint, just spending 20 minutes in the candle lit room is well worth it and each item only costs €2.

Olde Hansa another great place to experience the medieval buildings and cooking. The environment is incredible.

Other recommendations:
Tallinn travelogue picture
Just across the Gulf of Finland is Helsinki. It can be reached one of the many ferries (incl. tallink Silja and direct ferries) and only takes around 2 1/2 hours and cost from €44.

If you only have a day in the capital, then I found the market around the South Harbour quite interesting. As well as the buildings of Senate Square including the Lutheran Helsinki Cathedral or Church of St Nicolas - a massive columned facade with a huge dome dominates the square. Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral on the edge of the Katajanokka District is definitely worth a visit.

Published on Wednesday May 31th, 2017

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Sun, Apr 01 2018 - 03:56 AM rating by krisek

Great report Amanda. I am impressed that you keep on contributing this this site. Lovely photos, too.

Mon, Jun 26 2017 - 03:31 AM rating by siffer

good reading about a city i would really love to visit. Nevski cathedral look stunning.

Wed, May 31 2017 - 11:19 PM rating by pictor

Interesting read with nice pictures and great ideas for the would be traveller and also the perfect length for reading.
Oh, and having said that, I better actually read it now.

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