25 photos that will put Tallinn, Estonia on your travel wish list

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, as seen from Toompea hill

The fairytale city of Tallinn, Estonia lives up to the hype, luring travellers from around the globe thanks to the old town’s winding cobblestone streets, a picture-perfect skyline dotted with turrets and steeples, and stone walls dating back centuries. Beyond the old town walls, visitors can explore a deserted monastery, museums and even white sand beaches–really, what more could one ask for?

Tallinn is also very accessible as part of a stop on an eastern Europe road trip, by hopping on the train from St. Petersburg or even a boat ride from Helsinki, Finland. If you haven’t already added the city to your travel wish list, these 25 photos are sure to have you packing your bags in no time.

READ MORE: Fun ways to make the most of your Tallinn Card

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Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

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Cycling near Pirita

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Tallinn, Estonia

Town Hall Square

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Tallinn, Estonia

Exploring the Old Town walls

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Tallinn, Estonia

Cycling toward the TV Tower near Pirita

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25 photos that will make you want to visit Tallinn, Estonia

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21 Responses

  1. Kitty says:

    Please, please take note that Estonia is NOT an eastern European country… it’s a nordic/scandinavian country. It’s NOT a slavic country… the Estonian language is very closely related to Finnish (the Finno-Ugraic languages are: Finnish, Estonian, and Hungarian). Estonia’s only historic association with eastern Europe can be made in reference to the awful years of Soviet occupation from 1941 to 1991. Estonia is pretty indistinguishable from Denmark, Sweden and Finland… light years away from eastern european countries like Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, et al.

    • Hi Kitty, thanks for the comment. Not sure why you’re mentioning the word Slavic, as that’s no where in the article. Also, I understand there can be sensitivities about which countries are considered in Eastern Europe (http://francistapon.com/Books/The-Hidden-Europe/Where-is-Eastern-Europe-and-what-countries-are-in-it), but as you’ll note in this case the phrase “an eastern Europe road trip” refers simply to geography. I would also respectfully disagree with your statement that Estonia is similar to countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Finland- in my experience having travelled to all of them, Estonia has essentially no Viking culture which is what ties the others together.

      • Kalev says:

        While I appreciate your post, I just need to respond to this comment… Estonia is definitely Nordic and the Estonian island of Saaremaa was notorious for its Viking fleets which defeated the Swedes at least twice in famous battles at sea, as recorded by the Swedes themselves. Study of Estonian ship building shows the Viking connection. Saaremaa Estonians share Swedish DNA. On the island of Hiiumaa you can find Swedish influence as well. We’re known more for agriculture and ship-building than conquering and pillaging as the larger Viking cultures did, but we share genetics with ancient Swedes and Danes as well as Finns. As far as geography, please note we’re farther North than Denmark and Tallinn is a bit further North than Stockholm as well. I wonder, do you consider Turkey to be Eastern Europe based on map coordinates? Estonia’s inclusion in the terms “Eastern” and “Baltic” are rather lazy geopolitical classifications started back when good information was harder to come by. We’re surely past that now.

        It’s great that you’re well travelled and please come spend more time with us! But take it from Estonians themselves instead of just inferring from your travels or from articles written by French blog writer who doesn’t actually recognize the common cultural and geographic terms “Nordic” or “Northern Europe” : More Viking culture and genes here in Estonia than any link to what most think of as “Eastern” (and not Slavic at all). Terrific photos (nice they were captured on a sunny day. This summer has been pretty gloomy) 🙂

      • Margit says:

        You should visit the islands also! Here’s some information on Estonian Vikings: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oeselians

      • Jeklyr says:

        Thank you for the pictures Tamara! Don’t worry about the haters – I also come from a former Communist country that never wants to be associated with anything Eastern and it’s kind of ridiculous. All of these countries want to emphasize just how much their capitals are like Paris (and definitely nothing like Moscow). Listen Estonians, Yes, your language is like Finnish and your history includes lots of contact with Swedish and German speakers, but incorporation into the Russian Empire and Soviet occupation also profoundly affected Estonian society. So you’re both Western and Eastern, and it’s unique and wonderful. Be proud of who you are!

        • Jeklyr says:

          Sorry for the cranky post. Yes, Central European countries, and especially Estonia, are now firmly part of Europe, and Soviet/Russian domination of that area of the world in the twentieth century was not legitimate. I just get frustrated sometimes by how all those countries want to emphasize that their real identity lies much to the west. If nothing else, former Communist countries have a shared recent history and they are all trying to develop together, or they should be trying to develop together.

          One more thing – talking about genetic history is an extremely Eastern European way of approaching the idea of ethnicity, and it’s 100 years out of date. There is no such thing as genetic purity. Roots of a language can be traced, but genetic mixing inevitably happens between peoples living close to each other literally for millennia. That’s why Finns and Russians look so much alike, even though their languages are totally unrelated, when compared to, say, Japanese or Nigerians.

    • Lilian Kadak says:

      Finno-Ugric languages – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finno-Ugric_languages

      Finno-Ugric Finno-Ugrian or Fenno-Ugric is a traditional grouping of all languages in the Uralic language family except the Samoyedic languages. Its commonly …
      Linguistic classification‎: ‎Uralic‎: Finno-Ugric

    • Nikita Koselev says:

      Estonia is an interesting country, but making false statements is not always justified and might not bring that many tourists to Estonia.
      The last time I checked the map, Estonia was in the east of Europe. According to Wiki, Estonia is not a Scandinavian country (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scandinavia), but it is rather a Baltic country. I know that some Estonians consider themselves Scandinavians, but on the other hand some people consider themselves Martians, which does not yet make them Martians.

      Estonian language is related to Finnish, but not “very closely”. It is much harder for Finnish to understand Estonian than for Ukranians to understand Russians or Byelorussians.

      It is true there is a legend regarding Estonia’s being part of Soviet union, and it’s OK to believe in it. Some people believe in St. Claus, some people believe in Soviet occupation of Estonia. Estonian citizens of USSR benefited and suffered from being in USSR same way as other nations in USSR did. I wonder if 50 years later Estonians will state that they were occupied by Nato and EU. However the legend of occupation is quite popular and supported by Estonian top (and quite a few countries), which probably explains why there used to be so many “former” communists, including prime ministers and army chiefs 🙂

      Estonia is very different from Denmark, Sweden and Finland. The architecture is similar to all three of them (not indistinguishable), language is different (Finnish is one of the closest languages, but still quite different).

      1 light year is aprox 9.4607 × 1012 km, and with all respect I have to notice that Estonia is much closer to any country on Earth. And forgetting to compare to Lithuania and Latvia (which are clearly not Scandinavian countries, not even in Estonian mythology) is very handy while making false statements.

      Most probably it won’t change Kitty’s opinion, which will make her life in democratic Estonia much more comfortable. On the other hand now readers have an alternative opinion to check. I suggest to start checking with getting a map of Europe, and checking definitions of “occupation” at the beginning of 1940 🙂

      Estonia is a nice country, everybody is welcome to visit. Some people are like Kitty, but you always can google up some history and use your brains. False statements will not make Estonia less beautiful 🙂

      • Karl says:

        It is true, that some russian imperialists or just (ignorant?) peope who had their education in soviet countries esp. education about “soviet history”, believe in the myth or legend of Estonia joining USSR by free will, and that there was no occupation.

        Unfortunately legend that there were no occupation in Baltics is very strong in Russia still, its about time to get rid of the massively falsified “soviet history” and embrace the facts. 😉

        For example court decision by European Court of Human Rights, that Estonia was de facto and de jure occupied by sovietRussia.
        http://self.gutenberg.org/articles/european_court_of_human_rights_cases_on_occupation_of_baltic_states

        To estonian a finnish language is mostly understandable without prior learning of it.

        http://data.un.org/CountryProfile.aspx?crName=estonia
        Region 2015 Northern Europe

        PS. Because the other nations suffered also in USSR does not make the occupation of Estonia (or other countires) nonexistent! 😀

        PPS. I suggest also for Nikita to check the definition and legal aspects of Estonian occupation, educating itself is always good 😉

      • Mr T says:

        Well said !!!
        Kitty reminds me a little of the white trash of the 2005 to 2007 area in EST 🙂

    • Mark says:

      You should better learn geography if you think that Estonia is Scandinavia. And yes, Estonia is eastern Europe, resign with it.

      • Mr T says:

        yeah you so right Mark and somehow Estonia had as well the nick name Baltic tiger and not Scandinavian
        Ppl tend to forget their recent history in the likelihood to hoover over the older one with the intend to keep Russia as the bad wolf. Funny why we in Germany do not have this hate in our heart as the DDR was actually just another form of russian occupation and the result of the 2 Word war. Its time to admit that EST made the wrong alliance in first place in this part of history
        However we have 2016 and I believe its about time to move forward as well with the enlightening knowledge that EST is a part of East Europe 🙂

        • Kuul says:

          Estonia did not make any alliances then, it was neutral country before occupation from the soviets, so can’t admit making wrong alliance 😉

          UN labels and considers Estonia as Northern Europe.

  2. Leo Allas says:

    According to my school studies, I remember that Estonia had a lot of Etonian Viking Culture The Scandinavian vikings usually lost their battles in Estonia.

    • Kalev says:

      Yes, we have a shared history of Viking culture with Swedes and Danes and our ancient nature worship, ship building, ancient building techniques, stone-working, clothes-making, foods, all still show traces of Viking influence. We were more sedentary, not so much conquerers (except for Estonians living on the islands. They were warriors.). Later influence from Teutonic knights and the Hanseatic League lead Estonia to drift apart from Viking connections. But historically, yes there are many links.

  3. Kalli says:

    Hi Leo,

    I just read this week that the second largest collection of viking treasures was found in Saaremaa, Estonia. Here’s an interesting read: http://www.nordicestonia.com/

  4. Tallinn has been on my wish list for a while, absolutely stunning photos Tamara!

  5. Annika says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful glimpse from Tallinn. If I’m not mistaken, Estonia is in Northern Europe. Anyways, I don’t care about it, yet, I can see this is my kind of visit.

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