Something pretty exciting happened last weekend! I and my friend decided to take Eckerö Line's offer and jump on a ship to Tallinn. We bought day cruise tickets worth 9€ which I find very cheap. It was my first time exploring Tallinn properly, which seem to surprise a lot of Finns. It's so easy to get there (fastest ships are 2 hours), so even people who don't travel have been there at least once in their lifetime. For me, the reason why I never visited it is that I used to live far from the southern coast so whenever I travelled I went somewhere far by flying. Plus I have never been a fan of cruises, which is another story.
We had no plans as we decided to go in the night before. My friend knew Tallinn very well so she was bringing me to her favourite spots around the city. Tallinn is a small capital of 400 000 citizens’ so all the main sites are easily reachable by foot. I had always wanted to visit the Old town of Tallinn (Vana Tallinn) because of my passion for history and culture.
Vana Tallinn was very nice place to wander around and enjoy the medieval vibes on the alleys. It is also UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its’ very preserved likelihood of a Northern European trading medieval town. The old town is usually divided into two parts; uptown and the downtown.
Toompea is over 50 meters high chalkstone hill where the uptown is located. In the old days, this district was a living area for clergy, nobles and lords. There used to be a wooden castle on top of the hill where all the landlords used to live. Unfortunately, most of the buildings in Toompea burned in a fire in the 17th century. However, the nowadays' Parliament of Estonia gathers still in the fortress of Toompea. There are many part of the fortress which are all from several different eras.
Toompea offers some great lookout spots where you can see the old town and the sea. The picture above is taken from outlook place names Patkuli. This outlook requires taking short but steep stairs from the street called Lühige jalg or then taking a longer way with a little more gentle street called Pikk jalg, but the view is worth the climb.
The downtown, on the other hand, used to be the living area for vendors and artisans. This area was protected by a huge wall, which used to be one of the strongest in the whole continent. Tallinn used to be very well protected and attacking the city was made really hard. Though there are only small pieces left from the wall nowadays.
The downtown is full of cafes, terraces, restaurants and cosy little boutiques built in the historical Middle Aged buildings. The heart of the downtown is the Town Hall Square where all the alleys eventually end. Especially in summer time, many interesting events and performances are held there.
After exploring the old town we stopped by in a cafe called Cafe Amour near the Viru gates. It was a little hard to find a café that wasn't stuffed with people. Maybe it was because it was Sunday afternoon. However, it was nice to sit down a little and then continue our tour.
We also visited many other parts of Tallinn but I can say that the Old Town was my favourite. It was easy to navigate and not too wide area to discover in a day. I loved the colour scheme and it wasn't too crowded during this time of the year. However, I think Tallinn isn't a destination for many days as after all it is a pretty small town.