Accommodation Near Tallinn Estonia
Estonia is another flourishing eastern European country where tourism is increasing at a rapid rate, especially in
its charming medieval heart, in the old town capital of Tallinn. Accomodation near Tallinn's old town is delightful and affordable.
Estonia was forcefully taken by the Soviet Union in 1940 and finally regained its independence in 1994, thanks to the locals'
"singing revolution"; huge singing rallies for independence. Visit in July and you'll see this joyous event live on national TV with happy Estonians in national dress.
Many European airlines fly to Tallinn, which is just a short ferry ride south from Finland's capital
The intriguing Russian port of
St Petersburg is also nearby.
Tallinn's old town is full of beautiful old buildings, colourful wares and
cobbled streets, a refreshing change from the overcrowded European destinations with too many tourists.
Estonia only has a
population of a little over a million people, yet it has a coastline 3,700 kilometres long, making it a natural paradise outside the
When you fly into Estonia's capital
city, your eye is immediately drawn to Tallinn's old town because of its medieval
architecture on the edge of the modern city. There are good ferry services to and from Helsinki from the ferry terminal that's
brilliantly located near Tallinn's old town.
Tallinn is a glorious place to visit in summer because
of its northern location; the sun sets for only a few hours in the middle of summer.
Tallinn has been conquered many times since
Danish king Valdermaar II invaded in 1219. Tallinn's name is said to be derived from the Danish words Taani and Linn, which mean
WHAT TO DO IN TALLINN
Visit modern Tallinn city but spend most of your time at its edge, transported back centuries in the old town
with its cobbled streets, quaint cafes and waitstaff in traditional national costume.
At the start of the cobbled old town, step to
your right through the limestone archway into the grand lawn area of the "Telegraaf
Hotel", Tallinn's five star best accommodation.
Here you're likely to find a champagne bucket
full of french champagne, pretty colourful flowers in the garden, European music and grand European hospitality, all for a very low
price by European standards.
That's the beauty of Tallinn...all the grandeur of Europe but still a bargain because
eastern Europe is still opening up to tourism.
As you walk up the cobbled streets, there are a number of must-see historic
sights in Tallinn that are fascinating.
Town Hall Square. This picturesque square has been the undisputed hub of Tallinn's Old Town for the
last eight centuries. See the buskers here as you take in all the cafes around its edges.
St Catherine's Passage.
This is Tallinn's famous narrow walkway that runs between
Vene and Müürivahe streets, along the back of what used to be
Church. This is Tallinn Old Town's most picturesque lane and home to the St. Catherine's Guild, where artists use traditional methods to
create and sell glassware, hats, quilts, ceramics, jewellery, hand-painted silk and other wares.
The workshops are housed in
the small, 15th to 17th century rooms on the south side of the lane, and are set up in an open-studio fashion so visitors can watch the
artists at work.
Luscher and Matiesen Cafe. A romantic and historic jazz cafe with laid-back atmosphere at the top
of Toompea Hill. This is a special place to enjoy in summer with its famous Lustid festival including its film festival in the open
air. The owners fled Russia and started this cafe in 1921 while producing 400,000 litres of wine. It was
taken away from them in 1940 and closed for 70 years, only reopened in 2009 when Dmitri Matiesen returned to Tallinn for his 100th
Cathedral of St Mary the Virgin.
This shining medieval church is at the top of the cobbled old town walk at the centre of Toompea hill. The domed church is Lutheran and
built in the 13th century. Historically this was the church of Estonia's elite German nobles, which is evident once you step
through the doors and see the interior filled with elaborate coats of arms.
Toompea Castle. Ever since
the German Knights of the Sword first built a stone fortress here in 1227, every foreign empire that ruled Estonia used the castle as its
base. Today, appropriately, it's home to Estonia's Parliament.
Kadriorg Palace. This magnificent Baroque palace was built by Peter the Great for his wife Catherine in 1718, only a
short trip from their Russian palace in St Petersburg. (See St Petersburg story). Tallinn's Kadriorg Palace is an example of
Tsarist extravagance, but it's also home to the foreign art collection of the Art Museum of Estonia.
There is a beautiful hotel at the start of the cobbled old town called Hotel Telegraaf, a member of the
"Small Luxury Hotels"
group. Built in 1878, its name comes from being a vital telegraph station for the former Soviet Union. The Telegraaf
hotel has been carefully restored into a
unique and luxurious hotel, with rates starting from 139 Euros for beautiful rooms.
The rooms include deeply luxurious beds and
antique telephones that remind you of the Telegraaaf's former history.
The grounds of the Telegraaf are simply beautiful,
especially the grassy courtyard with its sun umbrellas looking onto the old limestone wall that leads to the cobbled Old Town. In this
courtyard, you'll find champagne buckets full of Verve Cliquot
champagne, red camelias in flower pots, gentle European music wafting across on the summer breeze, and wonderfuly friendly waitstaff. The Telegraaf hotel is open to the public and it's a memorable experience sitting here enjoying the Estonian atmosphere.
The restaurant here at the Telegraaf hotel is called Tchaikovsky and
features a big portrait of the famous Russian composer who lived not far away in St Petersburg. The
restaurant food here is a fusion of French and Russian - at the end of the 18th century France's best chefs found their way to Russia and then Estonia.
The menu in the "Tchaikovsky restaurant" is
outstanding and here's a sample of what to expect with brilliant service. This is overseen by friendly hotel manager Anton Jolkin and general manager Irmela Heinsius, who personally attends to hotel guests' needs.
Try the degustation menu for 66 Euros, including lightly smoked salmon with roe, foaming oyster soup with caviar, smoked sturgeon with potato puree, roasted local deer fillet
with parsnip puree and beetroot sauce, suckling Estonian pig, and the famous borsch a la Tchaikovsky, which is a fine beetroot soup encased with a puff pastry cap.
To finish, try the Pavlova a la Tchaikovsky, a superb dry ice creation of meringue topped with raspberry sorbet, blueberries, boysenberries, fresh strawberries and raspberries. Tchaikovsky chef Vladislav Djatšuk is the first in Estonia to be recognised by French legend Paul Bocuse.
Make no mistake, Tchaikovsky is the leading restaurant in Estonia, right there on the edge of Tallinn Old Town and superb value for the dining experience.
If you have to go elsewhere, other Tallinn restaurants worth trying include
Balthasar, Egoist and Oot Oot.
Tallinn is an exciting new World's Best Holiday because of its medieval buildings and cobbled steets, happy
eastern European culture and fascinating history.
While Estonia is a newer member of the European Union, it's still very inexpensive compared with similar fairytale towns in western Europe.
Google Map of Estonia
Most importantly, Tallinn hasn't yet been sullied by mass tourism and like other
World's Best Holidays we've written about.
Tallinn is at the perfect stage for tourism without being overrun.
Go straight to Tallinn's Old Town for a wonderful holiday with elevated views from the hisotric buildings across beautiful
And then take an easy ferry ride from the edge of Tallinn's Old Town to Helsinki in Finland, or St Petersburg in Russia. It's only 90 minutes on the excellent fast ferry Linda Lines from Tallinn to the interesting port city of Helsinki from only 20 Euros. Or you can take the overnight service to St Petersburg in Russia, leaving Tallinn Old Town at 7pm.
Estonia, and particularly Tallinn, is a great travel destination for the 21st century.
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Street Map of Tallin