There’s Something about Tallinn

On my way around the Baltic Sea with my family a couple of years ago, we stopped in the capital of EstoniaTallinn.  It was not a picture perfect June day weather-wise but, of course, we wanted to get off the ship and see the town.  Tallinn is an old city in that part of Europe (think 13th century) and was known for most of these centuries as Reval (file under the “I’d never heard that name” category…).  Nowadays is called more the Silicon Valley of the Baltic due to the presence of technology companies (Skype came from here!).

Estonia has a a strong cultural affinity to its northern neighbor, Finland (or is it the reverse?) and after Estonia broke the yoke of Soviet rule, it pulled towards its northern and quite successful neighbor.  Tallinn itself is only 50 miles from Helsinki, Finland’s capital – a ferry ride away if you are ever in that part of the world or if you are lucky enough to fly Finnair to connect and go elsewhere (I flew that airline in 1997 and it is still one of my top 2 flying experiences!).

In any case the best thing for me about Tallinn was its charm.  You truly see that it has been there since medieval times, yet you can tell that it has been through other periods too as its architecture well shows.  From the city walls, to the 15th century Church of St. Olaf, to the 18th century Toompea Palace, to the late 19th century Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, to its very modern district, the city covers many centuries where it was spared destruction, unlike cities like Berlin, Warsaw, and others.

I hope the pictures I share here give you a feel for what I mean that there’s something about Tallinn.  A one day visit clearly not enough to truly enjoy the town (wish I could have hung out at the cafés enjoying a few beers until sunset…) but I never complain about getting to sample a place, especially when it is as charming as Tallinn.  It is no wonder it is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site!  I hope to return and explore ALL that the city has to offer!

Click on the photos to enlarge!



  1. I don’t know too much about Tallinn, other than it was mentioned in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo! What a beautiful city, the photos remind me of a fantasy novel. Like you, I hope I’m able to visit someday and really take in the city.
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  2. I’m looking at your feature pic and realizing I was just there in January , looks a bit more enjoyable when its not subfreezing. Really is an architectural delight.
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  3. Love the pictures! It does look perfectly charming. Need to add this one to my don’t-miss list.

  4. Cindy Johnson says:

    A very intriguing place! You have a marvelous ability to distill the essence of a place into a well-written blog with wonderful photographs. Thanks for sharing. I’ll add it to my list!

  5. Kathleen Kosciusko says:

    This town looks absolutely beautiful and sounds like it may be a secret gem! Thank you for sharing your photos and giving us insight into Tallin. We will add it to our places to see on our next trip!

  6. Raul – I enjoyed reading about Tallinn. The photos are beautiful. I too visited Tallinn and other towns in Estonia. Ankoor’s uncle has lived there for over 50 years. We stayed with him and his cousins on our trip 4 years ago. We also visited Tartu. We plan to go back. It’s a beautiful country with friendly people.

  7. What a lovely city Tallinn is!! Thanks for sharing your experience and these beautiful pictures. I always learn so much through your posts! The hubs & I are in a phase of life where it is extremely challenging for us to travel (let alone to such amazing destinations like you do) so thank you for allowing this humble traveler at heart to enjoy a vacation here and there via your blog! Keep them coming!!

  8. Raul,
    Great photographs…it really paints the picture of this old but very picturesque and unique city.

  9. That looks like such a beautiful and historic place. We are thinking of taking our son to Europe when he is 10 (summer of 2015) and I am adding this to our list of places to visit.

  10. jr schmitt says:

    raul – what would be the best way to get there? i looked at flights and thought to maybe fly in to another city (that delta services) and then take the train. any suggestions? thanks! jr

  11. Your comments and pictures makes one plan to visit the countries you blog about. I’ll put Talinn and Estonia in my list!! Keep up the great blogging!!!

  12. Talinn is a place on my list. Heard so much about it… now actually need to go! Fab photos!
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  13. Oh, I completely agree! Tallinn is such a charming little city. I was lucky enough to be there when it was snowing last winter and it really did feel like a fairytale town. Well worth at least a full weekend visit. Here’s how I’d recommend spending your time there:
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  14. I am so fascinated by that part of the world… Tallinn truly does look to be a charming place. Your photos are gorgeous!
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  15. Perfect description of a beautiful and charming city!

  16. One day is never enough, but it is enough to know that you want to go back and convince me and many others that Tallinn is indeed charming. The pictures definitely prove it.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Running the Chicago Marathon and falling back in love with my hometownMy Profile

    • Thanks, Ted. That’s why I felt I needed to write about it though it was not an exhaustive visit. My “sampler” cruise of the Baltic succeeded in whetting my appetite to see more of this part of the world.

  17. I’ve been to Lithuania and Latvia, but Estonia is still on my list… I hope to make it over there sooner rather than later – that old town looks lovely! Also, the tower and ancient walls remind me of Krakow. :)
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    • I am sure on one of your trips back to Poland, you can squeeze in a few days visit to Estonia, Pola! I have not been to Latvia or Lithuania and would like to go.

  18. beautiful city that i might not have otherwise thought about visiting! thanks for adding yet another city to my never ending bucket list… xo! the wino
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  19. I never really have thought about visiting Estonia, but I’m obviously missing out. It looks like a beautiful place with an interesting history. Once again, Raul, you open my eyes to a new place.
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  20. What a beautiful city! I must get here one day!
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  21. Gorgeous! you have a nice way of describing a place. Your pictures make me want to go now.

  22. Andreas Sothmann says:

    Lovely. now that we are back in good old Europe, we will have to schedule a trip an retrace your travels.
    Un abrazo,


  23. i learned something new today about Skype being from Estonia!! who knew?!
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  24. Great pictures, had no idea it was such a beautifully preserved city.

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