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Things to do in Tallinn


The rich history of Tallinn, Estonia can be explored by visiting one of its many museums. To help narrow down the options we have compiled a list of the top 5 Tallinn Museums.

Tallinn KGB Museum

1. KGB Museum
In Soviet time Hotel Viru was good enough to accommodate foreigners. It also had to be good enough for the KGB … The museum represents a collection of the stories of two worlds. In one of them, mostly existing on paper, happy Soviet people enjoyed a life of plenty and friendship, led by a single wise political party. The other world – the real one – had a nature much more diverse and complicated.

Voted by many as one of the Top Museums to visit…
“Fascinating tour, great slice of soviet history and the guide did a great job of providing insight in a compelling way. Definitely visit it.”

2. The Kumu Art Museum
The museum site is located on four hectares in Tallinn, on the limestone bank of Lasnamägi next to Kadriorg Park. The office of the President of the Republic of Estonia and Kadriorg Palace, which is a part of the Art Museum, lie in the vicinity of the art museum. The building has seven floors, including technical floors, and the total area is 23 900 m². In 2004 the new museum got its name – Kumu – in an open competition.

The Kumu (KUnstiMUuseum) Art Museum is a modern multifunctional art building, which contains exhibition halls, a lecture hall offering diverse facilities, and an educational centre for young visitors and for art lovers.

The Kumu offers various exciting tours. Come to the Kumu to see, hear, think and experiment!
Tour fee is 48 €. Tours can be booked in Russian, English, Finnish and German. Other languages upon agreement.
The museum ticket price is added to the tour fee.

3. Tallinn City Museum
The Museum introduce the visitors into the city life and the relative development. The exhibitions plans are dedicated to twentieth century, the wars, the Soviet occupation and finally the independence. Tallinn City Museum is a collection of 8 different museums. Out of these, the main building is generally preferred as the Tallinn City Museum. It is located at the Vene Street 17 in Tallinn city of Estonia.

The museum holds a permanent exhibition which displays the rich history of Tallinn city. Tourists can see the artifacts belonging to different eras, which range from the medieval times till the date of Tallinn’s independence.

4. Estonian Open Air Museum
Outside the city centre, on the seashore in Rocca al Mare, there’s Estonian Open Air Museum, where you can see Estonian rural architecture and village life from the 18th to the 20th centuries. There is a church, a tavern, a school, some mills, a fire station, etc. The museum’s 12 farms give an overview of how people with different economic conditions lived in the olden times. It’s a great place to pass time and gain some wisdom in every season.

5. Kiek in de Kök
The museum inside this great artillery tower (whose name means “peep into the kitchen” in low German because from the upper floors soldiers could peer into the houses of the lower town) is interesting, but don’t miss a guided tour of its limestone bastion passages, which reopened in March with new video and sound effects. Built to conceal the movement of soldiers, the 500m of passages (half are still being dug out) were used as a bomb shelter during the 1944 Soviet bombings, and inhabited by a large community of homeless people in the 1990s.

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Summer time is the perfect chance to see Tallinn and all it has to offer. Staying in the Old Town region, at our Pikk 49 Apartment Accommodation Tallinn, you are perfectly situated to explore the best of the region. Maybe the best bet during your summer break in Tallinn is to hop on a bicycle and cruise around the sights & attractions of Tallinn.

Bicycle Hire Tallinn

Tallinn Bicycle Rental can be for periods of a couple hours up to a full day. You can ride out towards the beautiful Pirita beach district, cruise along the coast of the Baltic Sea or just tour around Kadriorg to see the park, the picturesque swan lake, the President’s residence and more.

For those wanting a lazier option, you can now even rent scooters to whizz you around the many tourist attractions of Tallinn. Apparently no license is required to rent them and you can take a scooter for only 20€ per day!

There are many great things going on in Tallinn over the summer months, keeping checking our Tallinn Breaks Twitter Feed for up to the minute information on whats going on in Tallinn.

Some summer events that might take your fancy include:
3rd and 4th of August 2012 Leigo Lake Music Festival
Festival offers performances of the best Estonian and well-chosen international artists. On the first day of the festival we traditionally offer popular music and the second day will be reserved for the classical music and the final concerts will be
provided by the Neeme Järvi International Summer Academy for Conductors. Our visitors will also have the possibility to take part in some workshops and other cultural events, e.g painting and photography courses.After the official programme of a festival day our guests are welcome to stay and enjoy the summer night with a glass of wine and good music in the background.

Make sure to book your Tallinn Accommodation early so that you have a great central location from which to explore the region.

10.- 18th of August 2012 Viru Folk Festival
Viru Folk is a music festival which gives the beautiful beach village of Lahemaa a new atmosphere and spirit for three days. A diverse and comprehensive show ensures the enjoyment of everyone that comes to Käsmu during these days to experience all there is to offer. In the Festivals main stage in the Holiday village of Lainela and the forest stage on the Vana-Jüri peninsula you can hear traditional Estonian music during all three days. In many of the concerts there are magnificent artists from the Finland and Sweden besides the elite of Estonia.

Enjoy your summer break in Tallinn!

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When it comes to sightseeing, Tallinn in Estonia has a whole lot to offer its tourists. Activities available to you during your holiday in Tallinn are as varied as a sunset tour of the Tallinn coast, kayaking in the bay of Tallinn, through to a ‘green’ bike tour and even the chance to go on a free tour of Tallinn!

There is so much to do and see during your Tallinn break that we have compiled a list of the Top 5 Things To Do in Tallinn:

1. Art Tour of Tallinn
Tallinn Art Tour
History, exquisite art and beautiful scenery are all on the agenda during this tour of Tallinn’s famed park and museum district. The tour covers the all area’s attractions including the 290-year-old park itself, the stunning Kadriorg Palace built by Peter the Great, and the nation’s premiere art museum, Kumu. The Art Tour of Tallinn.

2. Ice road – the real Nordic experience

Tallinn Ice Road Trip

Tallinn Ice Road Trip

For the once-in-a-lifetime experience of crossing the sea by car, join the Ice-Road tour!

Almost every January and February, parts of the Baltic Sea completely freeze over, allowing authorities open official ice roads between the mainland and western Estonian islands. This day trip takes you by car over the ice to one of the most beautiful of these islands, Hiiumaa. There you’ll get to see the island in the depths of its beautiful winter slumber, a time when it’s admired by all true nature lovers.

Tours are organised from Monday to Friday, when ice-road is officially open (January, February). Tour is in English, starts 9 a.m. and takes about 8 hours. The trip includes: guide service, transport from your hotel to Western Estonia, coffe-break in the city of Haapsalu, driving iceroad by car or bus from mainland to the island of Hiiumaa and back, lunch.

3. The official Tallinn Sightseeing Tour
A 2.5-hour guided bus and walking tour is an excellent way for first-time visitors to get to know Tallinn. Picking up at the passenger port and major hotels, the trip takes visitors through the most interesting sections of the city, past the Kadriorg Park and the Song Festival Grounds to the Pirita district, all the while providing running commentary on Estonian history and contemporary life.

This action packed tour certainly gets you thinking what other things you can do in Tallinn, as you are whisked around both by bus and later by foot…

The walking portion of the tour covers Old Town, proceeding across Toompea Hill, stopping at the Parliament Building, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Dome Church and the scenic viewpoint. It then leads to the narrow, winding streets of the Lower Town, finally ending up on Town Hall Square. Interesting historical tidbits about the town’s development make the tour all the more worthwhile.

4. Sunset tour of Tallinn coast
Tallinn Sunset Tour

Experience Tallinn in a completely different way by travelling along its fabulous coastline on the sunset tour of the Tallinn coastline!

A 15km drive north of Tallinn’s city centre takes you to the Viimsi peninsula, an area highly valued by nature lovers and a worthy destination for those interested in the lives of ancient coastal dwellers. From this side of the bay you’ll get spectacular, picture-postcard views of the Old Town skyline at sunset. You even get lunch served at a seaside restaurant renowned for its architecture and fish dishes.

Certainly one of the most unique things to do in Tallinn and well worth the effort.

5. Tallinn Free Tour
Tallinn Free Tour

This one has to make the top 5 things to do in Tallinn because it is free! A great way for everyone, no matter what their budget is, to fully discover this wonderful city. As a youth project the Tallinn Free Tour operates for tips only. This walking tour, guided buy local young students, is an alternative to normal sightseeing trips and is made specially for true travelers. In addition to the legends and true stories from medieval times to nowdays you can get brief overview on what to do and where to party at night.

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Why not take a trip to Estonia and stay in the Tallinn Old Town to experience this years ‘Tallinn Old Town Days’ festival? These Tallinn events have been running every year since 1982. The idea behind this Tallinn old town festival is to create an atmosphere of celebration for the townsfolk to see in the beginning of the summer. The focal point for these festivities is the much loved Old Town itself. During the event, courtyards, squares, streets, coffee-shops and halls are filled with music, art, theatre and various other events, both big and small.

Tallinn Old Town

XXXI Tallinn Old Town Days

Looking for a place to stay during the event?
Pikk 49, Tallinn apartment accommodation is the perfect choice being Located in the heart of the Medieval Old Town, Pikk 49 consists of 8 spacious, luxury serviced Tallinn apartments. For a similar price to booking a small Tallinn hotel room, you can stay in a beautiful luxury apartment in the best location in Tallinn, just 2 minutes walk from the town square.

One of the main goals of this year’s Old Town Days is to remind everyone that behind any medieval house there was a courtyard hidden from the eyes of a stranger; that the Old Town is much more than just buildings with familiar facades. You will get to see wonderful things that have been hidden in the courtyards, with their long history being revived.

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Useful information if visiting Estland / Estonia

In this blog you will learn the best things to do and see, special events and festivals, reviews of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, Tallinn accommodation, and other useful travel information.

If there is any other information you would like to know, please send us a comment below and we will send you an answer.

Watch this video tour of Estland (Estonia)

The country can be divided into 4 main regions and any destination is just a few hours drive from Tallinn.

North Estland
This is where the capital city, Tallinn is located with a population of 414,000. This is the number 1 place for tourists to visit with its beautiful medieval old town, cultural events and festivals and lively night life.

There are also many picturesque villages along the coast such as Laulasmaa, Kaberneeme, Käsmu, Võsu and Nõva. Lahemaa National Park is only 1 hours drive from Tallinn.

Also see our other blog posts for reviews of the top 5 Tallinn tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, Tallinn accommodation, plus much more…

Tallinn events calendar

Estland map

East Estland
East Estonia is on the border with Russia and if you want to visit, you can get the bus to Saint Petersburg. Narva is the furthest east point of the mainland European Union. Some of Estonia’s best beach resorts are here, such as Narva-Jõesuu and Toila.

South Estland
The main city in the region is Tartu with its popular university. If you go south you will come to Setomaa and south east is Mulgimaa, both with their unique and interesting cultural heritage. In the region there is also Soomaa National Park and Karula National Park. Plus in Otepää there are Estonia’s ski resorts. If staying in Tallinn accommodation you can easily drive to visit these places.

West Estland
In the summer many Estonians head to West Estonia for its resorts in Pärnu and Haapsalu. Also a popular destination is the regions islands, the biggest of which are Hiiumaa and Saaremaa. On Muhu and Kihnu islands you have Vilsandi National Park and Matsalu National Park. Other islands to visit are Vormsi, Ruhnu and Noarootsi which have been inhabited by Swedes.

See all of our Tallinn Travel Guide & Tallinn Reviews, for Estland travel tips, things to do in Tallinn, best Tallinn accommodation, and our general Tallinn guide. Send us your comments or questions below…

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Planning a city break to Tallinn? We have visited Tallinn many, many times and on this page give you the ‘insiders’ guide to the best Tallinn accommodation and hotels, flight information plus things to do and see.

Tallinn city - great place for a breakAbout Tallinn: Tallinn is the capital of Estonia and is in Northern Europe. It is just 80 km across the sea to Helsinki in Finland and a regular ferry allows for an enjoyable day trip. Tallinn old town was built between the 13th and 16th centuries and is the top tourist attraction. It has twisting cobblestone paths, Gothic spires, magnificent cathedrals, medieval markets and an impressive fortified town wall. If you are staying in a city hotel in Tallinn, there are also plenty of great restaurants, bars and nightclubs close by for those who want to mix culture with a lively night life. This is definately a place for your holiday wish list.

Accommodation in the city of Tallinn
Hotel in Tallinn cityThere are a wide variety of city hotels available in Tallinn, from budget to high end luxury. One of the most important decisions when choosing where to stay it to check that you are based in Tallinn city centre (the old town) as this is where most of the attractions are. A lot of the big hotel chains are in Tallinn and offer rooms that are typically quite expensive and fairly small. If you want affordable luxury Tallinn accommodation you should definably have a look at serviced apartments. These are often within beautiful historic building in the old town and give you excellent value for money for fantastic accommodation.

Tallinn Flight info: The three main airlines with direct flights from the UK to Tallinn are, Easyjet, Ryan air and Estonian air. There are also many flight options with other airlines that have 1 stop somewhere, but this does tend to add quite a bit to the flight time and is not great for a short Tallinn city break. From Tallinn airport you can get the bus to the old town, or it is just a cheap 15 minute taxi ride. There are airport hotels, but with good Tallinn city hotels so close by you would only really need these if going straight on to another destination.

Tallinn city is ideally for an interesting breakThings to do and see on a Tallinn city breakTallinn is an exciting, dynamic city with a rich culture and plenty to do and see. One of the big reasons people go on city breaks to Tallinn, is to explore the UNESCO listed old town, with its beautiful historic buildings, spectacular cathedrals and even a medieval castle. In the summer you can also enjoy the long sandy beaches, with the best being Pirita beach, which is just a 15 minute drive from the old town. A highly recommended place to visi, that is a bit further afield is the Kadriorg Palace and Park. This is a resplendent 18th Century summer residence with wonderful landscaped gardens, built by Tsar Peter 1st for his empress. The Art Museum of Estonia has its foreign branch spread across several of the palaces spacious halls and has a great collection of paintings, sculptures and applied art from West Europe and Russia.

Look through the rest of our website for Tallinn Reviews & Tallinn Travel Guide, more great things to do in Tallinn, Tallinn accommodation and ideas for Tallinn travel. Send us any comments or questions below.

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If you are planning to go to Tallinn on holiday or do a short Tallinn city break you will find lots of useful info on this page and in our other blogs. Below, you can also read about the 3 things that we think all good holidays to Tallinn should include.

You can start by watching this video. Enjoy!

What you can see on your Tallinn holiday

Three things to include on your visit to Tallinn, Estonia:

1. Make sure you visit the Old Town and ideally choose Tallinn accommodation that is located here, as this is where most of the sites are. The Old Town has two distinct parts, one is built on a hill called Toompea – where there are breath taking views, and the other part is the Lower Town, at the base of Toompea where the main town square is situated.

2. All Tallinn holidays should include a visit the town square, as this is the centre of activity and often has a traditional and lively market. It is also the place where many of Tallinn’s festivals and music performances happen. So you can often enjoy some great entertainment whilst you sit in one of the many al fresco restaurants and bars around the town square.

3. See the defensive walls that surround the old town of Tallinn. Particularly interesting parts are the section at Viru Gate where you can see the ‘Fat Margaret” tower. Also the section of the wall as you head to the upper town. Here you can walk along the top of the wall and even stop for a glass of hot wine from the wall top bar!

Holidays to Tallinn - a visit to the town square

3 things to make your Tallinn city break even more enjoyable:

1. A city break to Tallinn is a great way to enjoy a long weekend. Try to book your plane tickets as early as possible for the cheapest fares and staying in a serviced apartment in the old town can give you spacious luxury Tallinn accommodation at the price of a small, cramped hotel room.

2. Tallinn is the European city of culture for 2011 and a full calendar of events is available.

3. Holidays to Tallinn are great in the Winter or the summer, but make sure you take the right clothing! In the winter it can get quite cold – often down to minus 10 to 15 C and the in summer it is certainly hot enough to swim in the sea, so remember your swimming things.

A Tallinn city break in the winter

See the rest of our blogs for: Tallinn Reviews & Tallinn Travel Guide, best things to do in Tallinn, Tallinn accommodation / Tallinn apartments and helpful travel information.

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If you want to know about Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, you have come to the right place…

Whether you have already planned a visit to Tallinn or just want to know more about this beautiful city, you will find all the information you need below. On this page you can learn about all of the following: the best things to do and see in Tallinn, travel info, the weather, useful maps of Tallinn and Estonia, the best Tallinn accommodation, the top 5 restaurants, bars and night clubs, plus much more.

You can start by watching this video: Travel Guide to Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia with a population of 413,290. It covers an area of 159.2 km2 (61.5 sq mi) and is located on the northern coast of the country. It is 80 km (50 mi) south of Helsinki (separated by the Gulf of Finland), east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn’s Old Town is listed as one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is one of the top 10 digital cities in the world and is the European Capital of Culture for 2011.

Tallinn Estonia climate table

The main attractions can be found in the two old towns (Lower Town and Toompea) and are both easily explored on foot. It is also worth visiting the Eastern districts around Pirita and Kadriorg. The Estonian Open Air Museum (Eesti Vabaõhumuuseum) in Rocca al Mare, west of the city, takes you back in time to experience Estonian rural culture and see how accommodation and other aspects of life used to be.

For further details and info for when you visit Tallinn, Estonia please look through our other useful blog posts: Things to do in Tallinn, top travel information, Tallinn accommodation and our top 5 guides to restaurants, bars and night clubs.

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Here is our Tallinn by night guide to the best bars and clubbing in Tallinn:

1. Cafe VS bar – (address: Parnu mnt. 28) tel: +372 6272627

Cafe VS is one of top Tallinn barsVS tops most Tallinn bars when it comes to great interior design and the experience starts with the heavy submarine front door. Once inside, the walls are made of gleaming metal, chairs and tables are fashioned from hammered aluminium, space-age lights rotate from hanging girders and TV screens are fixed into the walls like security monitors. The bar has a great range of drinks, the service is good and the waitresses dress with a slight degree of naughty. If you get hungry there is also a very good indian restuarant here which includes a good menu for vegetarians. Interesting interior, good serive and great value make VS a Tallinn night spot well worth visiting. Cafe VS bar website

2. Beer House – (address: Dunkri 5) tel: +372 627-6520

Visit the Beerhouse on your Tallinn night outOur Tallinn by night reviews would not be complete without this raucous and fun German beer hall and micro-brewery. The interior has a country-inn feel and is vast, with German and Estonian schlager music playing in the background. There is a great choice of beers and make sure you try the surprising in-house beer. There is also country food at very good prices. If the weather’s good, you can sit on the giant outdoor terrace. So if you love your beer and want a great place to start your night out, before going clubbing in Tallinn this bar should definately be on your check list. Beer House website

3. Depeche Mode Bar – (address: Nunne 4) tel: +372 6442350

Depeche Mode bar is an interesting place to go clubbing in TallinnIf you want a unique experience on your Tallinn night out make sure you visit this bar. You’d probably be surprised by the popularity of Depeche Mode in Eastern Europe. In the UK Depeche mode are largely ignored and considered by many as synth-poppers who refused to go away long after their shelf-life was up (ie. 1985) – Whereas anywhere East of Berlin, the boys from Basildon are worshipped as rock Gods. This may help Westerners understand why the Depeche Mode Bar exists. Anyway, if you want to go clubbing in Tallinn, get drunk with a bunch of strangers and sing along to ‘Enjoy the Silence’ then this bar / club is a must. This is one of the Tallinn bars you are sure to remember. Depeche Mode Bar website

4. Nimeta Bar / The Pub with no name – (address: Suur-Karja 4) tel: +372 6411515

The Nimeta bar is a great place to enjoy Tallinn by nightWe all know the whole point of going abroad is to experience new cultures, meet new people and to sample something different from your night life… But sometimes you just can’t handle any more local Tallinn bars with their crazy foreigners and their crazy foreign ways! What you want is a good traditional British boozer, with cheap beer, a happy hour, live sports on two big screens and decent bar food – so that you can enjoy the FA Cup whilst your mates traipse round the whole of Tallinn trying to sort out tomorrows sight seeing schedule. When you want a break from exploring Tallinn at night, the nimeta bar is a great place to go for a taste of home. The Nimeta Bar website

5. Hell Hunt – (address: Pikk 39) tel: +372 681-8333

For a great Tallinn night visit the Hell HuntAfter a fairly recent refurbishment, Tallinn’s first real tavern has been charmingly re-born as a more upscale version of the excellent bar it always was. Situated on fashionable Pikk street, Hell Hunt is usually a very lively bar with a great atmosphere. If you are planning to go clubbing in Tallinn and want somewhere for a few drinks to get in the right mood make sure you visit this bar. They also have their own beer, which is a good brew at a good price. And the attentive and helpful staff will even serve you a shepherd’s pie after the kitchen has closed. All in all, a great Tallinn night can be had at the Hell Hunt. Hell hunt website

See our other interesting and useful blogs on Tallinn: Tallinn Reviews & Tallinn Travel Guide, top things to do in Tallinn, Tallinn accommodation and useful Tallinn travel information.

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In our Tallinn guide below, we give you 4 of the top things to see and do in Tallinn along with some useful info on Tallinn accommodation plus more. Enjoy…

Number 1 in our Tallinn guide is the town square1. Town Hall Square

Any guide to Tallinn wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the picturesque Town Hall Square (Raekoja plats). It has been the undisputed hub of the Old Town for the last eight centuries. It is surrounded by beautiful historic buildings. In the summer it is great to sit at one of the many café and watch all the activity happening in the square.

Make sure you find the round stone marked with a compass rose in the middle of the square. From this point, with a little stretching and bending, you can see the tops all five of Old Town’s spires.The square is the social heart of the city, a venue for open-air concerts, craft fairs and Medieval markets. Each winter there is a busy Christmas Market and in spring the Old Town Days festival, a modern version of a Medieval carnival, where traditions from the Middle Ages are kept alive.

If you would like a great place to stay, just 2 minutes walk from the town square and within easy walk of all the main attractions have a look at our Tallinn accommodation.

Number 2 in our guide to Tallinn is capital of culture events2. Go to one of the European Capital of Culture Events

Tallinn is the European Capital of Culture in 2011, so there’s something new and interesting to check out every day. Events include: The tour of Estonian towns, the unique Straw Theatre where performances are given in a structure made of straw, Cinema in the Urban Space: Roof Top Cinema, the Estonian Youth Song and Dance Celebration, the staging of Wagner’s last opera “Parsifal”, a screening of one-minute films called “60 Seconds of Solitude in Year Zero” and the charming Christmas Market. The following Tallinn guide has the full schedule of events:

Number 3 in our Tallinn guide is the history museum3. Time travel and experience the history of Estonia

For your guide to Tallinn’s history and to see what life was like for Estonians over the centuries, go to the Estonian Open Air Museum. This is a huge area of forested land on the outskirts of Tallinn, where old, rural traditions live on. The museum is home to a large collection of farm houses, a school, traditional Tallinn accommodation, a fire house, water mills, windmills and even a working village tavern, all dating from the 18th to early-20th centuries.

You can walk through the museum and look into various buildings, while staff members in costume demonstrate traditional activities like weaving, bread-making, tending to farm animals or clomping past in a horse-drawn cart. There are also guided tours, theatrical performances and other activities to help inform and entertain the guests.

Number 4 in our guide to Tallinn is the toompea castle4. Toompea Castle

Next in our guide to Tallinn is Toompea castle. This is located on top of a limestone cliff and looks out over the rest of the city. Toompea Castle has always been the seat of power in Estonia. Today it houses the Estonia’s Parliament. The castle was built in the 13th and 14th centuries. From the front, you can see a pink, Baroque palace dating to the time of Catherine the Great. The view from the opposite side gives a much more Medieval perspective.

From the Governor’s Garden at the castle’s southern edge, you can see the 46-metre Pikk Hermann tower comes into view. The tower is an important national symbol: tradition dictates that whichever nation flies its flag over Pikk Hermann also rules Estonia. At sunrise each day the Estonian flag is raised above the tower to the tune of the national anthem.

A Tallinn guide can give you a tour in Toompea Castle: Mon-Fri 10-16

Check out the rest of the articles in our blog: Tallinn Reviews & Tallinn Travel Guide, things to do in Tallinn, top Tallinn travel information, Tallinn accommodation and our guides to Tallinn.

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