Tallinn's old town is beautiful. I especially loved the city walls with their rows of tall circular towers. It's great to take a stroll along them and there are many opportunities for beautiful photographs.
There are lots of churches, gateways, a huge town hall and wide open town hall square. The upper old town has beautiful views across the red roofs of Tallinn and a lovely old Russian church.
Lots of good locations to eat and drink,too.
There have been people living in Tallinn for at least 5000 years, but the ancient walled city can trace its roots back to the establishment of a Danish castle here early in the 13th century. The castle and subsequent fortifications were a necessity: Tallinn sits in a strategically important location. The east-west trade routes have meant that Tallinn has been fought over and occupied many times by almost every regional power.
This has left Tallinn with a rich and varied history, and this can be seen walking about the wonderful old town. From the Hanseatic merchant houses that fill the lower town, to the Russian mansions of the upper town.
This divide between rich and poor has existed since medieval times. Even today the upper town is where the president's palace exists, and where you will find the most expensive houses. There are two walls in Tallinn: one that encompasses the entire town, and one that divides the upper town from the lower levels.
The Old Town is a wonderful place to visit. You can walk around the cobblestone streets for hours admiring the view of the medieval town. They are many historical sites to visit, museums, many café, and restaurants to dine or just park your bottom at many of the bench and Trans yourself to the past.
Tallinns Old town is small, medieval and beautiful! A lot of tourists of course, shops and many restaurants. Not too crowdy on a Holiday like the Victory Day (23/6). We enjoyed walking around here. Be aware of that most shops and attractions of Tallinn are located in the Old City area. Lots of restaurants & souviner shops. If you're looking for shopping the best place with many stores is Viru Keskus.
One of my most abiding memories of all the Baltics is the high regard that they place on giving flowers. I am not sure what it is - maybe the result of being in a region which experiences such long and extreme winters? - but bringing flowers to friends and families seems to be a big thing.
In Tallinn, there is a whole row of flower shops just outside the city walls just by the Viru Gate - these stay open until late, and even in the depths of winter when we visited, the selection was gorgeous.
The old town is small enough to enjoy and soak in by just walking about. Beware of thunderstorms, it literally poured and soaked us all while caught out in the storm. There are many shops. Also you will find photo opportunities at almost every step.
Much of our time in Tallinn was spent just walking up and down the streets of the Old Town, stopping occasionally for coffee and cake or looking in the window of an amber shop. St Catherine's Passage is apparently busy in summer with café tables spilling into the street. It was quiet in winter but still very picturesque. Next to St Catherine's Passage off Vene is a small courtyard with a number of small craft shops. Make sure that you pick up a free map of Tallinn from your hotel or the tourist information office.
Tallin's old town belongs to UNESCO's cultural heritage!
Tallinns old town is one of the nicest old towns in eastern Europe.
It's absolutely not typical for soviet cities!
It has a big market square and many nice houses.
This is remained of the times in which Tallinn was a trading center in the east sea.
There are very much nice restaurants and pubs.
In Tallinn you can get really everywhere by foot.
About the only art nouveau architecture in Tallinn's old town can be found in Pikk, not far from the Church of the Holy Spirit and the Historical Museum.
The two houses are located opposite each other and are the setting of a very sad love story. A beautiful girl was living in the house with the dragons. The house on the other side of the street belonged to a rich bachelor who fell in love with the girl. She, however, did not want him even with all his money because she loved someone else. The guy was heartbroken, and he said, all right, you don't want me so I'll be staring into your windows all the time from now on.
Look up the facade, you will indeed see his bust staring at the other house through spectacles on the corner of the gable (photo 4 and 5).
When visiting the Tallinn old town and having children with you or just feeling playful, consider boarding on Toomas the train -- a small tourist train that runs twenty minutes route around the old town. You can see plenty of landmarks while seated.
The train leaves on Kullassepa street, near Raekoja Plats. Cost of the ride is 70 EEK for adults and 30 EEK for children. Please note that there is no commentary on the train, so be prepared with your own map or a friend that knows the old town.
The Red Roofs of Old Town Tallinn are usually what you see in postcards or guidebooks. Walking the streets of Old Town is quite rewarding. An easy morning walk or you can do everything and stop for lunch and make it a full day excursion.
This is a weird tip, but it's true. It's so nice to just walk all around the Old Town, also known as Vanalinn. It's like going back to the 14-15th centuries when you walk along the cobblestone roads, going under arches, marvelling at tall spires and several staircases...just get lost. On top of this, there's several cafes and restaurants and little interesting stores. I got Tallin shirts for my little kids for only $5 each...inexpensive! I even found an Esprit bag for my wife...I guess the Scandinavian neighbors (specially Finland) go here because it is so much more affordable.
But before getting lost, take a look at the 64-meter high Town Hall Tower, imprint it on your mind and use this as your LANDMARK! have fun getting lost!
In one day its possible to pass through most of the streets in old town. Discover the little secret spots, the severel mannor houses (like the house of the brotherhood of the black heads) with their colourful and decorated entrance doors, as well as the shops and the little cafes away from the town hall square, where you can drink a better coffee and pay a third of the price. Also visit the upper part of town (Toompea hill) and get some of the best views not only of old town but also of the modern Tallinn outside the walls and the harbour. Also worth a look is the old headquarters of the KGB, a large grey building.
I took these pictures while walking towards the Town Hall. It was a nice way to spend the little time we had on land. If you know the name of any of them, please let me know.
Edited to add: better late than never, but thanks starship for identifying the 4th picture of this tip, Viru Gate.
As usual on my pages, you find a trip in which I recommend to just walk around. Tallinn's Old Town is the perfect size for walking, not too big, not too small. A walk might start at one of the city gates, for instance at Paks Margarete (Fat Margaret), the biggest city wall tower. Another possibility is to access the town from Vabaduse Väljak, the square on which most of the buses and trams stop.
It is well worth turning into less frequented streets as these provide you with more off-the-beaten-path views of Tallinn. Old houses and interesting history are basically everywhere!
So get lost in Tallinn's cobblestone streets and experience a truly medieval atmosphere!
Remember to bring some sturdy shoes! Walking through cobblestone streets for the whole day must be horrible in pumps...