Estonia is a small country, with a history dating back to the end of the glacial era (around 8500 BC, yeah it’s suuuuper oold). Much of Estonia’s history involves being invaded by neighboring countries until 1991 when the country finally won their independence as the Soviet Union dissolved. It has been its own blue, black, and white 🇪🇪 country ever since! Estonia is slowly becoming a melting pot of youngsters, as well as a cultural hub.
Fun Fact☝🏼: Estonia is the nerve center for most European startup companies. Skype was born here!
Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is straight out of the pages of a medieval fairytale story, filled with potions and castles and odd little dolls. But, Tallinn is tiny; so tiny that most travelers tend to pass it by or just spend a day there. The easiest and most common route of visitation is across the Gulf of Finland, hop aboard one of the ferries in Helsinki, and in a few hours, you’ll be transported through time to this medieval fairytale.
When I chose to visit Tallinn, it was mainly because Estonia is a part of the EU, and my bucket list conquest was to visit all of its countries. Not only that, but traveling to Riga from Tallinn is rather easy, and Latvia is also on my list. But, it wasn’t just a completion of the bucket list that inspired me to go to these countries; if you have ever seen photos of Latvia or Estonia, you will just drool, sloppy wet drool, over how quaint and picturesque these towns are.
Whether you are traveling from Helsinki, continuing onto Riga or just in the country. Tallinn deserves to be on your bucket list. Below is How I spent ONE DAY in Tallinn.
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Arriving in Tallinn:
Most travelers that visit Tallinn arrive from the Gulf of Finland via ferry, I like to be different. (And I actually didn’t know this common route of passage…whoops). We flew via AirBaltic from Madrid. We landed in brisk, cold, and snowing Tallinn at midnight. We jumped in a taxi and arrived at Old Town Munkenhof, asked for some extra blankets and passed out.
DAY ONE AND ONLY
I’ve said it many times, in the numerous countries/cities I have traveled to. There are two ways to see any city: walking tour and getting lost. Tallinn offers a great free walking tour brought to you by the youngster locals, who offer the colorful tales of the city. The tour starts at noon in front of the Tallinn Tourist Information. The tour includes all of this: Tallinn’s Famous Churches – Freedom Square – Kiek in de Kök – Danish King’s Garden – Toompea – Alexander Nevsky Cathedral – Viewpoints – Tallinn Town Hall Square – Old Tallinn City Wall – Harju street
This square is dedicated to the War of Independence, symbolic of pride.
Kiek in de Kö
Which means “Peep into Kitchen” in German, this is an artillery tower built in 1475, now serves as a cafe. It got its name from the fact that standing at the top looking out the window you had the ability to look down into kitchens of nearby houses.
Danish King’s Garden
Allegedly in 1219, the Danish flag fell from the sky (in this garden) which therefore led the Danish forces victory over Estonia. The Danes claimed that their flag originated from the heavens. A lot of myths, legends and stories are associated with this park. If you end up going, ask your guide about a few of them!
Its a hill. With a beautiful view.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Russian Orthodox church completed in 1900 when Estonia was under the reign of the Czarist Empire (Russian). The cathedral was dedicated to Prince of Novgordor: Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky. It was him who left the Battle of the Ice at Lake Peipsi in 1242. This particular battle is what halted the German forces from moving east. It is deliberately placed in front of the Toompea Castle as a reminder of who was in charge.
Old Town/Raekoja Plats
Stepping into this square is like traveling back in time, the architecture, the colors, everything around you will make you feel like you are inside a fairytale. During the wintertime, this square transforms into a Christmas festival with traditions that date all the way back to 1441.
Town Hall Pharmacy:
One of the oldest pharmacy in Europe and operating since the 15th century. This pharmacy deserves a visit, inside your can find medial medications and potions such as unicorn powder, mummy juice, and bat powder.
Tallinn Town Wall
Stroll through the park right alongside the walls to Old Town:
After your tour, I would suggest wandering around the small streets, getting something tasty to eat and climbing to the top of St. Olav’s Church for the most magnificent view of the city.
Climb to the top of St Olav’s Church (cost: €3)
And that is how you see Tallinn in One Day, until next time Tallinn ✌🏽
Have you been to Tallinn before? What did you enjoy most?