Tallinn, the capital of the Northern European country Estonia, is a city that dates back to the days of the early medieval period. Over the years, the city has kept pace with changing times, and right now, it has everything you would expect from a modern European metropolis. But that doesn’t mean that it has lost its old-world charm. Overall, the city is a colorful concoction of both old and new, and plenty of iconic places to visit in Tallinn reflect this. Read on to know about the best of them here.
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1. Tallinn TV Tower
The Tallinn TV Tower is the country’s tallest building. The 21st floor of the 314 meters-tall tower houses its observation deck, which offers sweeping views of the city and the Gulf of Finland from the top. There’s a ‘Walk on the Edge’ activity here, too – perfect for satisfying your adrenaline rush cravings.
Some other highlights of the Tallinn TV Tower include its TV studio (1st floor), the TV Tower history exhibition, and the high-speed elevator. Unfortunately, on most days, the ticket counter remains crowded. So, it’s best to get the tickets online.
2. Tallinn Old Town
The city’s Old Town ranks among the places to visit in Tallinn that showcase the city’s rich history and culture. It’s a vibrant area in the city, home to some ancient architecture, atmospheric cafés, and cobblestone streets. When in Tallinn’s Old Town, it’s best to start your explorations by visiting the Town Hall Square. It’s Northern Europe’s oldest town hall and features precious artwork and Gothic arches.
Next up, head to the Viru Gate – a structure from the 14th century that used to be a defensive structure. Its round towers with coned roofs look like they came straight out of a fairy tale. Raeapteek, a pharmacy running in the same building since its establishment in the 15th century, is also worth a visit.
3. Aleksander Nevski Katedraali
The Aleksander Nevski Katedraali is a 120-year-old cathedral built in Tallinn when it was under Russian control. Even though its architecture is nothing short of spectacular, historically, it’s never been liked by the people of Tallinn. This is due to the perception that the cathedral symbolizes Russia’s oppression.
Despite the cathedral’s history, its Russian Orthodox architecture is sure to make you feel like you’ve been transported to St. Petersburg. Its five onion domes with gilded crosses at the top and its 11 bells are the highlights of this cathedral.
4. Estonian Open Air Museum
A 20-minute drive will take you from Tallinn’s city center to Rocca al Mare, a seaside area home to the Estonian Open Air Museum. It’s one of the best educational places to visit in Tallinn, offering an insight into how fishing communities and rural villagers lived in Estonia during the 18th – 20th century period.
The museum covers a whopping 72 hectares, and it’s home to 74 buildings. You’ll find a huge chunk of Estonian history, from windmills to seaside fishing sheds to a conventional schoolhouse. If you get hungry from all the exploring, you should visit the inn for some signature Estonian dishes such as the salt herring salad and the forest mushroom soup.
5. Kadriorg Park
Russian Czar Peter the Great commissioned the Kadriorg Park in the early 18th century. The park, which is also home to a palace, was built in honor of the Czar’s wife, Catherine. It covers 70 hectares and is one of the best places to visit in Tallinn for spending some time in nature.
Some of the park’s highlights include the English landscape park, the Japanese garden, a swan pond, and the geometrically-patterned flower beds. But, of course, you should also visit the Estonian Art Museum housed within the Kadriorg Palace. It has an impressive collection of artwork from the 16th – 20th century period.
6. Lennusadam Seaplane Harbor
To experience Estonia’s maritime culture at its finest, visit the Lennusadam Seaplane Harbor – a museum that houses some of the most iconic marine vessels. The highlights are the Surr Toll icebreaker steamer and the Submarine EML Lembit.
The museum’s structure is fascinating, and it reflects the original intention behind its construction. The structure was meant to serve as a naval fortress for Peter the Great, where seaplanes would be housed.