Interesting facts about Tallinn
Narrow cobbled streets, ancient city walls, breathtaking vantage points, towers and an incredible historical atmosphere; Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia and formerly known as Reval, has a lot to offer those who yearn to feel the magic of history. Though the city is rich in medieval attractions, it also offers a range of modern shopping streets, malls, boutiques, restaurants and cafés. There’s something for every traveller who visits this beautiful city by the Gulf of Finland.
SIGHTS IN TALLINN
- Old Town (Vanalinn) – the oldest part of Tallinn, with narrow cobblestone streets and beautiful medieval buildings. At the Main Square (Raekoja plats) you can find the Town Hall and the tiny Town Hall Pharmacy, established in 1422. Raekoja plats is also famous for its many popular restaurants and cafés, many of which offer outdoor seating nearly all year round. Tallinn city wall, a well-preserved medieval fortress with 20 defence towers, surrounds the Old Town. Tall Hermann is the most famous tower and part of the Toompea Castle.
- Toompea (Cathedral Hill) in the Old Town has medieval castles and buildings, including the Virgin Mary´s Cathedral and Tower, where visitors can climb up a 69-metre high belfry. In Toompea you will also find the vantage points of Kohtuots and Patkul, and the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral with its beautiful onion domes.
- Rotermann Quarter – an old industrial quarter, now rebuilt with an ultra-modern twist and thrilling architecture. The quarter offers various cultural events, trendy shops, restaurants and hotels.
- Tallinn TV Tower – a popular attraction with panoramic views. Kiek in de Kök (peek in the kitchen), a combined tower and museum, also provides magnificent views over the city from the café on the top floor.
- The most interesting museums include the Occupation Museum (Okupatsiooni muuseum) showcasing the city's history, the Estonian National Museum and the Tallinn City Museum. The Estonian Open Air Museum (Rocca al Mare) gives an insight into the lives of the people of Tallinn and their animals in the 1800s. The art museum Kumu is located in the Kadriorg district where you can also find Estonia’s official Presidential Palace. Also, the maritime museum Seaplane Harbour (Lennusadam) is worth a visit.
- Telliskivi Loomelinnak Creative City – a trendy old factory complex with little vintage shops, exquisite Estonian design and stylish cafés.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO NEAR TALLINN
- Lahemaa – a national park with two beautiful mansions, Sagadi and Palmse – an hour away from Tallinn by car.
- Pirita – a large and popular seaside resort a few kilometres northeast of Tallinn.
- Pärnu – a coastal town two hours south of Tallinn by bus or train. Known as a health resort and admired for its long, white, sandy beaches, Pärnu is very popular during the summer.
SHOPPING IN TALLINN
If you’re looking for souvenirs in Tallinn, the best things to buy are hand-knitted clothing or local ceramic, leather and wood crafts. The Old Town is the place to go for these kinds of items.
- Viru is the main shopping street in Tallinn and offers fashion and brand-name products in major shopping centres, including the Viru Center and Tallinna Kaubamaja. Kristiine Center and Stockmann are other popular department stores.
- For more local shopping you can visit Ulemiste shopping centre, just outside the city centre near the airport.
- Catherine's Passage – a narrow alley in the Old Town filled with local crafts and workshops. Müürivahe Street is also known for its outdoor market full of knitted garments.
- Balti Jaama Turg – a market next to the central station where you can find almost anything; a similar range of goods can also be found at Keskturg (Central Market).
ESTONIAN FOOD & DRINK IN TALLINN
Traditional Estonian cuisine is rooted in potatoes, vegetables, rye bread, pork, fish, cabbage soup and dairy products. More recently Estonia has been strongly influenced by foreign cuisine, and you will find a wide selection of international restaurants in Tallinn, including many fantastic Russian restaurants. If you want authentic Estonian cuisine, here are some of the most famous dishes you can try.
- Marineeritud angerjas – marinated eel, served cold
- Keel hernestega – tongue, served cold
- Sült – boiled pork in jelly made from broth; served with mustard, horseradish and vinegar
- Verivorst – blood sausage with grain.
- Mulgikapsas – a sauerkraut stew with pork, served with boiled potatoes
- Silgusoust – Estonian sprats (small oily fish) with bacon and sour cream
- Karask – grain bread – Estonia is known for its dark grain bread
- Kama – a thick dessert beverage made with sour milk and a mix of barley, rye, oat and pea flour
- Kissell – a thick, fruity cream dessert with juice and sweetened quark (similar to cottage cheese)
- Kali (kvass) – a lightly carbonated sweet-tasting non-alcoholic beer
TRANSPORT IN TALLINN
- Tram, trolleybus and regular bus – all easily available and affordable
- Taxi – not too expensive, but be sure to agree the price in advance, even if the car has a meter
- Walking – the Old Town is best experienced by walking.