Situated between Germany and Russia (smack dab between Hitler and Stalin…eesh), Estonian’s have a long history of struggling for independence. As a result, they celebrate two independence days, the second is referred to as “restoration of Independence Day.” They had a short period of freedom from 1920 to 1939 and have now been free since 1990.
I’ll admit, I had never heard of Tallinn, Estonia until we booked a cruise itinerary of the Baltic Sea aboard Norwegian Cruise Line. We found it to be an incredibly romantic and charming place to spend the day. It’s experiences like this that I never stop researching places to see in this world to expand my world vision.
Fun Fact The Danes established their flag in Tallinn when, while losing in battle, a white cross fell into a pool of blood motivating them to go on to win.
The Old Town Square in Tallinn is one of the best preserved in Europe and it felt like something out of a fairy tale. (Free WiFi available in the square.)
The city is surrounded by a defensive wall which once had 46 towers, 26 still stand which are key to much of the city’s charm.
The city is well setup for tourism; monuments are clearly marked and described as you wander the winding cobblestone streets. We saw so many elaborate doorways we began snapping photos and created the collage above.
Near the square is Tallinn’s Oldest Café, called Kohvik Maiasmokk. Opened in 1864. Indulge yourself in a bakery item here!
Head to Toompea Hill for the ideal view of the medieval city’s rooftops. There, you’ll want to find the Kohtuotsa View Point.
The Cathedral that dominates the hill is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. It’s Russian Orthodox and was a slap in the face of Estonians when it was built, and bothers some to this day. The Russians were exerting their dominance by putting their church in such a prominent location.
It is an active Cathedral, but visitors are allowed (no photography). I’m glad we went in as it was more decorated than the cathedrals we got to enter in St. Petersburg.
What to Eat
At a local’s recommendation, we had a Smoked Ham and Brie Pancake at Kompressor. The line was intimidating, but it moved fairly quickly. The portion was large for a fair price and the food was delicious. We noticed a lot of college students dined here, so we decided it must have been a good deal.
Find Estonians’ favorite sweet treat, Kohuke, in the refrigerated yogurt section in the grocery store. It’s chocolate covered sweet cream cheese (curd) and was quite delicious. In our opinion, one was plenty decadence to share.
Tallinn with a baby:
This was not a stroller friendly city! We were grateful for our backpack straps on our stroller, as the wheels were not cutting it through the cobblestone streets.