Tallinn (map) is Estonia’s capital and largest city. Tallinn is a historic city dating back to medieval times. The first fortress on Toompea was built around 1050 and Tallinn was possibly first recorded on a world map in 1154.
Tallinn’s Vanalinn (“Old town”, map) is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What can arguably be considered to be Tallinn’s main attractions are located in the old town of Tallinn (divided into a “lower town” and Toompea hill) which is easily explored on foot.
The Old Town is best navigated on foot, not that you have much choice. A network of buses, trams and trolleybuses covers the rest of the city.
Toompea – Upper Town. The hill occupies an easily defensible site overlooking the surrounding districts. The major attractions are the medieval Toompea Castle (map), the Lutheran St Mary’s Cathedral (map), and the Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (map).
All-linn – Lower Town. This area is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe and the authorities are continuing its rehabilitation. Major sights include the Town Hall square (Raekoja plats, map), the city wall and towers as well as a number of medieval churches, including St Olaf’s (map) and the Church of the Holy Ghost (map), The Catholic Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul (map).
Tallinn is home to more than 60 museums and galleries. Most of them are located in Kesklinn (map), the central district of the city, and cover Tallinn’s rich history.
Estonia’s capital is also home to many art and design museums. The Estonian Art Museum, the country’s biggest art museum, now consists of four branches – Kumu Art Museum (map), Kadriorg Art Museum (map), Mikkel Museum (map), and Niguliste Museum / St. Nicholas’ Church (map). Kumu Art Museum features the country’s largest collection of contemporary and modern art. It also displays Estonian art starting from the early 18th century.
The most symbolic seafood dish of Tallinn is “Vürtsikilu” – spicy sprats, pickled with a distinctive set of spices including black pepper, allspice and cloves.
It is located 187 kilometres (116 mi) northwest of the country’s second largest city Tartu, however only 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of Helsinki, Finland, 320 kilometres (200 mi) west of Saint Petersburg, Russia, 300 kilometres (190 mi) north of Riga, Latvia, and 380 kilometres (240 mi) east of Stockholm, Sweden.