This is part four of an eight part trip report from my recent travels to Estonia and Finland. This report includes a tour of Tallinn.

We had a great time exploring Tallinn. While it wasn’t as surprisingly similar to Western Europe as Slovenia, it certainly did not feel like the former Soviet Union. There were great restaurants and bars, not only in Old Town but also along the water and in the newer parts of town (email me for recommendations). We had some amazing meals and met extremely friendly locals. Tallinn is big for stag parties in the spring and summer, but it was mostly locals during our winter trip. Enjoy the picture tour below, but first a quick education from Wikitravel:

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, lies on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, only 70 km (43 mi) south of Helsinki. At the historical and medieval heart of the city is the hill of Toompea, covered in cobbled streets and filled with medieval houses and alleyways. The lower town spreads out from the foot of the hill, still protected by the remnants of a city wall. Around the city wall is a series of well-maintained green parks, great for strolling. The city’s old town has been astonishingly well preserved and was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997, it is now in better shape than ever, with the bigger roads converted into fashionable shopping streets reminiscent of Zurich or Geneva. Especially in summer, the Old Town is packed with tourists, with the traditional daytrippers from sister city Helsinki increasingly supplemented by Europeans taking advantage of cheap flights. Alas, the new town sprawling all around is largely built in typical concrete Soviet style, now joined with glass-and-steel cubes celebrating the post-Soviet economic boom. The new centre of town is Vabaduse valjak (Freedom Square) at the edge of the old town, and nearby is the giant matchbox of Hotel Viru, the former Intourist flagship and notorious den of Cold War intrigue (every room was tapped and monitored by the KGB!).

Yep, that’s a McDs…

View of Old Town to the Baltic Sea

View past Old Town to the few skyscrapers of Tallinn (Swissotel & Radisson Blu inclusive)

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SgFm May 11, 2013 - 6:52 pm

It is wonderful to see what the city looks like covered in snow. I was there last summer for two full days and recognize many of your photo locations. Did you do the KGB tour at the Hotel Viru? Amazing stories of Soviet spying and stories of everyday life under the Soviets were shared by our guide, when I took the tour.

adam May 12, 2013 - 10:59 am

@SgFm – Thanks, it was a great trip. We did visit the KGB tour at Hotel Viru which was incredible, unbelievable suffering under two regimes!

Pamela T May 12, 2013 - 10:41 am

Thank you for posting! Great pictures. Makes want to add it to my list.

adam May 12, 2013 - 11:00 am

@Pamela T – You definitely should! Send me an email if you need any recommendations.

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