City Hopping | A taster of Tallinn

Russian-inspired Cathedral with stunning domes

Have you been following my whistle stop tour of the ‘Best of Scandinavia’? In my last post, I shared what we got up to in Helsinki – and now we're in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Again, we had less than 12 hours in port and bought tickets for the Hop-On Hop-Off bus to ensure we saw all* the sights.

*Spoiler alert: most of them, as rain decided to grind things to a halt mid-afternoon. Still, we drove past them all, from the comfort of the bus. And while it was an open-top bus, there was some tarpaulin that sheltered us from the elements.

Tickets were €25 per person, and there were two routes – red and green – which were 50 and 75 minutes, respectively. We took the red route from the cruise terminal to the western side of the Old Town, which was stop number 6. We decided to explore on foot, and most of the places of interests were in close proximity, making it easy to cram a lot in.

Lossi Plats Square was full of beautiful architecture. We braved the queue to get inside the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral – a 19th century Orthodox Cathedral, which has been built in Russian style. You can tell this by the domes. The cathedral was just as impressive inside as it was on the outside. You cannot miss it as the building dominates Toompea Hill.

Virtually opposite is the Parliament of Estonia – a pastel pink (or should that be salmon?) building in Baroque style and then the old post office – still in use today – with its mint green exterior. I loved photographing all the pastel-coloured buildings and have to say I love the baroque style architecture. Both pastel-hues and Baroque style dominate Tallinn – and it’s a truly stunning city.

Brick defensive tower with terracotta roof
From there, we went north to Fat Margaret Tower. These days it houses the Estonian Maritime Museum, but the defensive structure was originally built to defend the city, alongside the great coastal gate. It also looks impressive with its chunky structure and large terracotta roof. And you'd be right to question the name! Rumour has it, the tower was named after a cook who worked there – that, or it was a nickname for one of the larger cannons.

Yellow painted church with large spire, and people in the foreground

Freedom Square was next on the agenda, in the southern end of the Old Town. Here, there were two monuments of note: The Cross of Liberty and the Monument of the War of Independence (also known as Victory Column) – erected in 2009 and commemorating the Estonian War of independence; and St. John's Church, which is Neo-Gothic in style and painted yellow. We then went back to some of the other sights in the west side of the Old Town, around Toompea Hill. These included:

  • Snelli Park
  • St Mary's Cathedral (another Baroque church dated from the 13th century)
  • Kiek in de Kok Museum and tunnels (a 15th century cannon tower… get your minds out of the gutter)

Panoramic view of Tallinn city centre, with cobbled streets and pastel-coloured buildings

We then walked to the city centre – picture perfect with narrow cobbled streets you could easily get lost down. Again, there were all pastel-hued buildings your eyes could desire, plus plenty of shops, bars and restaurants for good measure. There was also the most stunning flower market with bundles of colour. Unfortunately, it was at this point that the heavens decided to open. So, while the stallholders did their best to protect their goods with plastic sheets which resembled cling film, we made a beeline for the bus stop – and thankfully got back on following the green route.

Due to the time constraints as well as the weather, we didn't get off, but we saw plenty of points of interest, including:

  • Kadriorg Park
  • Maarjamäe Palace (now home to the Estonian History Museum)
  • Tallinn TV Tower
  • The Russalka Monument (in remembrance of the Russian warship ‘Russalka’ which sank on the way to Finland) – Russalka, means mermaid

Before heading back to the cruise terminal.

Another overnight at sea before a new day in a new destination. Next stop: Stockholm.

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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