It was never our plan to visit Tallinn. We never even thought about it! It is one of those less traveled cities, not a lot would dare to visit. But despite our surmounting hesitations, we are actually very pleased to have visited Tallinn.
A seemingly walk in the past, Tallinn provides an experiential cultural and historical immersion. It allows visitors to re-imagine a city with tempestuous past, having invaded by the Danish, Swedish, German and most recently the Soviets, who have strategically targeted the area for its prime location, being sandwiched between the east and the west, and in the Baltic. Consequently, and inevitably, the influence of these overlords in the daily living of the Estonians left a significant mark, as noticeable in their German-inspired houses, Scandinavian cuisine, and the Russian Orthodox cathedral.
Walking around the city is fulfilling enough, especially when you are at the old town, a UNESCO World Heritage city ready-made for clichéd fairy tales! You will be shuffling down cobblestone paths and narrow streets, interesting squares, and the pastel-painted merchant’s houses and churches. While you are at the old town, do not miss Raekoja Plats, Toompea Hill, and Viru Gate and Raekoda (Town Hall). Try some local foods too! You will not need a map nor a planned itinerary, but make sure you bring with you a pair of comfortable walking shoes and a high doze of energy to stroll around.
From Tallinn, you can easily reach other neighboring countries such as Finland (you can reach Helsinki through Eckero or Linda Lines) and Sweden (you can reach Stockholm through DFDS, Stena Line, or Tallink Silja Lines) via ferry or simply cross the border to St. Petersburg.