Last updated: 06:00 AM ET, Fri November 29 2019
Cityscape aerial view on the old town with saint Nicholas church tower and Toompea hill in Tallin, Estonia (photo via RossHelen / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Tallinn

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Cityscape aerial view on the old town with saint Nicholas church tower and Toompea hill in Tallin, Estonia (photo via RossHelen / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Cityscape aerial view on the old town with saint Nicholas church tower and Toompea hill in Tallin, Estonia (photo via RossHelen / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Tallinn, the capital and most populated city in Estonia, was settled on the shores of the Gulf of Finland over 3,500 years ago. Today, Tallinn is a rapidly growing economic base within the Baltic Sea region. This ancient city has developed into a modern metropolis with towering glass and steel skyscrapers, international companies, large shopping malls and an ever-growing tourist population. The Old Town section of Tallinn, however, has remained mostly unchanged throughout the years, with its narrow, cobblestone streets, medieval castles and Northern European monasteries.

When visiting Tallinn, the city offers travelers the option of purchasing the Tallinn card, an all-inclusive key that entitles you to free admission to all of the main sights and museums, sightseeing tours, public transportation, discounts at restaurants and shops, as well as other free offers around town. The Tallinn card costs $5 for six hours or $20 for an entire day. This card grants free admission to many interesting and beautiful attractions around the city. The Estonian Open Air Museum, a forested park filled with 18th to 20th century farm houses, windmills, churches and schools, is complete with a staff to demonstrate the ways of life in Tallinn’s past. The Tallinn Zoo is also a wonderful attraction for the entire family to enjoy. Elephants, wolves, owls, tigers and over 350 other kind of animals can be found here, which boasts one of the largest collections in Northeastern Europe.

Tallinn, Estonia. Famous Landmark Viru Gate In Street Lighting At Evening Or Night Illumination. Christmas, Xmas, New Year Holiday Vacation In Old Town. Popular Touristic Place (photo via bruev / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
PHOTO: Tallinn, Estonia. (photo via bruev / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Tallinn’s culinary scene is finally starting to catch up with its nightlife, which is amazingly disproportionate to the size of this small city. After dark, the city buzzes with countless bars, pubs, clubs, lounges and pool halls. And dinner isn’t just a quick stop to make on the way to bar or club. Old Town is packed with cafes and restaurants ranging from traditional Estonian to Italian and Japanese. For tasty local favorites, Vanaema Juures (Grandma’s Place) is a cozy, old eatery serving dishes like sauerkraut roast pork and wild boar with wine sauce. Restaurant Kadriorg, located within the district of the same name, is known for its gourmet Italian and French fusion with an Estonian twist. For the best place in the city to gorge on raw fish, the Sushi House was winner of the Silverspoon “Best National Cuisine Award.”

Tallinn Airport (TLL) is located five kilometers from the city center and serves many domestic and international carriers. Although the airport is most widely used by international travelers, those coming from Helsinki, Finland, use the ferry into the Tallinn Port. Within the city, public transportation runs the buses, trams and trolleys, and covers the entire network of the city. Traveling by taxi is the most efficient way to get around the city, though Old Town is extremely walkable and even offers several walking tours during the day.

The temperate climate of Tallinn is characterized by moderately warm summers and cold, often severe winters. The average temperature in the summer months is around 70° F (21.1° C), yet can reach into the mid-80s (30° C). Tallinn winters average a temperature of 18° F (-8° C) and can become very dark, only averaging around six hours of daylight at times. Autumn is known to be the rainy season, whereas springtime remains fairly dry and mild. The best time to go to Tallinn is during late spring and summer, when the weather starts to warm up and both locals and tourists flock outside.