The Baltic States have been steadily climbing as a popular, “untouched” corner of the globe, easily accessible by cruise ship. Tallinn, Estonia, resting just across the strait from Helsinki, is quirky and stunning, with loads of artistic and historical attractions to keep you exploring for days and days.
With a Nordic heritage and distinct culture of all its own, see our top reasons why lovely Tallinn is worth your while:
1. Exquisite Town Square
With a humble, but architecturally stunning Town Square, this is one city center you can explore for days and days. Few capitals are as nostalgic as Tallinn, with its cobblestone streets, medieval merchant houses, and outdoor cafés. Summer isn’t the only time of hustle and bustle—visit in December for the lively Christmas Market and its iconic Christmas tree.
As with most of Europe, Summertime is an eruption of Festivals, Medieval Days, and Open-Air Concerts that any holiday-maker will be sure to enjoy. In August, Pirita monastery is transformed into a lively amphitheater. Look out for the Flower Festival (Aug 19-25) and Midsummer (June 23).
3. Toompea Castle
Dating back to the 13th century, this stronghold remained the center point of the royal house for centuries and now houses the parliament. Unfortunately, visitors aren’t permitted inside, but you can sneak into the Governor’s Garden for some glimpses of the beautiful towers.
4. Dome Church
Another iconic landmark, the Dome Church of St. Mary the Virgin, was first founded in the 13th century, and refurbished over the years.
5. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
The onion-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a relatively new church, designed in Russian Revival style, which explains why it looks like a transplant from Moscow. Though long a symbol of Russian oppression, it’s been since adopted by modern Estonians as architectural heritage.
6. St Catherine’s Passage
Don’t leave Tallinn without stopping by this narrow lane. One of the more unique features of any city, this alleyway is in the midst of 15th-17th-century buildings, and home to artisanal workshops and open studios where you can browse at leisure.
What about Riga? Read our overview of Riga’s Highlights here.
Check out more at Tallinn’s official website.