Last summer was all about fairytale and medieval destinations. I went to the magical Lake Bled and the enchanted Lake Bohinj in Slovenia, to Game of Thrones locations in Dubrovnik and the historic town of Kotor in Montenegro.
When I came to Tallinn, I wasn’t at all prepared for the intense medieval atmosphere. Entering the Old Town was like entering a fairytale; a small kingdom in the Baltics with tall thick city walls, narrow alleyways, and locals in traditional attire. I literally felt like I was back in the 13th century.
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THE GOTHIC TOWN SQUARE
After checking in at my charming Russian hotel, I went for a stroll down the cobblestone streets of the Old Town. Right around the corner from my hotel, I found the town square which is the heart of Tallinn. The tall, Gothic town hall in the middle is surrounded by traditional colorful houses and a number of restaurants, cafés and bars.
TALLINN’S MEDIEVAL RESTAURANTS
The medieval buildings and houses certainly added to the fairytale feel, but so did some of the restaurants. One of the more well-known places is Olde Hansa, located right next to the town hall. The restaurant comes with medieval menu cards and atmosphere, but prices are hefty. Personally, I preferred Kuldse Notsu Kõrts restaurant, which offers traditional Estonian meals, all prepared with fresh products from local farms.
I loved visiting local restaurants where the staff was dressed in traditional clothes and the interior was medieval. It turned my dinner into a whole experience! And even though it came across as touristy, I wasn’t put off by it, because the food was great and people were nice. The dressed-out locals, the themed restaurants and the colorful old houses brought a certain energy and charm to this Baltic city.
FAIRYTALE CITY WALLS AND TOWERS
My favorite thing about Tallinn was the city walls. They reminded me of the walls in Dubrovnik and I liked that you can walk on them and get a view of the town. Aside from the fact that the walls made Tallinn’s Old Town a UNESCO site in 1997, they are almost 800 years old and still in fairly good shape.
A few tips: You’ll get the best view from Viru gate, Kiek in de Kok and Hellemann tower. And another thing, the walls are split into sections so it’s not possible to walk around the entire city. You’ll need to pay an entrance fee of €3 every time you enter a new tower and walking passage.
CHURCHES & CASTLES
Tallinn’s Old Town is divided into two parts: the lower part (the center) and the upper part (Toompea Hill). If you want a panoramic view of the Old Town, its towers, steeples, and picturesque red-tiled roofs without climbing the city walls, you should go to Toompea.
Aside from the viewpoint, the upper part has another stunning feature → the beautiful Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Do you remember I showed you a Russian cathedral in Riga? Both that one and the Alexander Nevsky cathedral was built during the Russian oppression and they stand out from the rest of the city.
STUNNING SUNSETS & HAPPY ENDINGS
Tallinn is one of those cities that are best viewed from above. Aside from Toompea Hill, the walls and St. Olav’s church, I went on a balloon trip to enjoy the view – and the sunset of course. You know me, I can’t visit a place without watching the sunset.
I’m sure it would have been beautiful from one of the other viewpoints too, but really guys… Would you look at the view I had from the air! ↓