Tallinn has so much to offer its visitors. During our visit we began to wonder whether people are aware of just how many attractions, museums, cultural experiences and points of interest there are, beyond just its incredibly well-preserved medieval city centre. In our last post we discussed some of the surprises Tallinn had in store for us.
We highly recommend that you check out the Tallinn Card if you're looking to save money on Tallinn's attractions. Valid for your choice of six, 24, 48 or 72 hours, a Tallinn Card will get you free admission for all of the city's top attractions, as well as an unlimited number of rides on the buses, trams and trolleybuses. You'll also enjoy many valuable discounts and even more freebies on things like bicycle and boat hire, ice skating, sightseeing tours and much more.
Take In the Views
There are plenty of places in and around Tallinn's city centre to climb up for a better view. Head to one of these vantage points to look out over this beautiful city:
Kiek in de Kök (Komandandi tee 2, www.linnamuuseum.ee) - This 38 metre-high cannon tower allows for views in any weather and you'll discover many informative displays as you climb.
Oleviste Church Tower (Lai 50, www.oleviste.ee) - At one time this church had the world's tallest spire at 124 metres. You can climb the stone part of the tower for views of the Old Town, Toompea hill and Tallinn's port.
Tallinn TV Tower (Kloostrimetsa tee 58A, www.teletorn.ee) - This 314 metre is a bit out of the centre, but its 170 metre observation deck will provide wonderful panoramic views. Afterwards, learn more about the achievements of modern Estonia through the tower's interactive exhibitions.
Tower of the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin (Toom-Kooli 6, www.eelk.ee/tallinna.toom) - Wood carvings and a 69 metre-high baroque bell tower, perfect for climbing to look out over the city.
Town Hall Tower (Raekoja plats 1, www.tallinn.ee/raekoda) - If you're up for making the climb along a spiral staircase, you'll be rewarded with views from 64 metres from the top of this Gothic Tower.
Eat and Drink
Estonians only eat the most traditional foods at Christmas time or other very special occasions. Instead, the restaurants in Tallinn serve more modern food that showcases the country's fresh produce. We were delighted to find unique, innovative cuisine at every meal, including our divine experience at Estonia's best gourmet restaurant, Tchaikovsky. Tallinn has many restaurants and wine bars, with inventive menus and attentive service. Tallinn also has delicious local craft beer. These photos are from our wonderful lunch at the trendy Leib Resto ja Aed (Uus tn 31, www.leibresto.ee):
There are a number of interesting day trips within easy driving distance of Tallinn. You can have a day at the beach or visit the Aegna, Naissaar and Prangli islands in summer. Estonia has some beautiful national parks nearby, such as the Matsalu National Park and the Lahemaa National Park, where you can pick mushrooms and berries, and explore beautiful manor houses and ancient villages.
History aficionados will love a tour of the Pakri Peninsula and the former Soviet nuclear base at Paldiski, or a visit to the Open Air Museum (Vabaõhumuuseumi tee 12, www.evm.ee) where the days of old, rural Estonia are recreated. Finally, the Kadriorg Palace and gardens (Weizenbergi 37, www.ekm.ee) offer not only an incredible 18th century baroque palace, but also an excellent collection of foreign art. Another alternative is to take a cruise around the city's coastline.
Soak Up Some Culture
Tallinn's city centre is packed with art and design museums and galleries as you'll quickly notice by perusing the aforementioned Design Map (establishments on the map also have stickers in their windows to signal their inclusion). Check out gems like the Kumu Art Museum (Weizenbergi 34/ Valge 1, www.ekm.ee) and the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design (Lai 17, www.etdm.ee). But you'll also find world-class cultural experiences like performances of live music - everything from symphony and chamber music to contemporary and jazz (www.concert.ee). The Estonian National Opera (www.opera.ee) also holds performances throughout the year.
Like most northern European countries, Estonia is home to many saunas, and treatments like folk-medicine, herbal and natural therapies are also very popular. A trip to Tallinn provides the perfect opportunity to indulge at a spa, with over a dozen facilities on offer to pamper you.
Many thanks to the Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau and the Merchant's House Hotel for their wonderful hospitality during our time in Tallinn.
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