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On a Scandinavian cruise, Tallinn offers the perfect introduction to Estonia. After decades of occupation by the Soviet Union in the late 20th century, Tallinn is a little like a teenager in rebellion. The thriving nightlife and dance hall scene breathe life into the city, while colorful new districts like Creative City give residents and visitors alike a contemporary perspective of Tallinn. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Town is a visitor favorite, with its quaintly cobblestoned streets teeming with history.
Tallinn is a laidback city with an adventurous heart. On an Estonia cruise, you’ll be surprised by the versatile, chameleon nature of the city, whether you’re strolling the grounds at Kadriorg Park or capturing that ideal Instagrammable shot from the lookout point at Kohtuotsa. Preserved towers and baroque churches offer a visual mix of cultures and aesthetics. Animal lovers will find plenty to see at the Tallinn Zoo, and art enthusiasts will enjoy an afternoon at the Kumu Art Museum.
On a Tallinn cruise, don’t miss the chance to tour Creative City, a revitalized stretch of cultural attractions, restaurants, cafes, shops, and art studios. Spend an afternoon exploring this industrial park turned artsy neighborhood and leave feeling inspired.
What used to be an 18th-century palace is now a stunning, well-kept garden with nearly 200 acres of grounds that any nature and history buff will appreciate during their adventures in Tallinn.
You can’t come to Tallinn and not see the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Town, with its tunnels and buildings that date back to the 17th century. A walk through Old Town is an essential thing to do during your visit to Tallinn.
Head to Kumu Art Museum, one of the largest museums in Europe, for a comprehensive look at Estonian art. It’s open from 10am to 6pm every day except Monday. Art lovers can’t miss the chance to see Kumu in person.
St. Olaf’s Church is one of Tallinn’s most recognizable and enduring sights. This site of deep religious significance has been built and rebuilt several times over the centuries. Enjoy a guided tour or walk the church grounds.
The best view of the Tallinn skyline and Old Town is from the top of Toompea Hill. You’ll see the port and the glittering water in the background. Don’t forget to snap a photo.
The Estonian Open Air Museum is your solution to learning about all things Estonia. Tour the 14 preserved and recreated farms that depict what life was like for local farmers and citizens across the centuries. You’ll learn about the social classes and how people from all walks of life lived, worked, and enjoyed Tallinn.
Estonian food is unique, and there are plenty of rituals surrounding food here. Bread recipes are passed down over generations, making it a sentimental and culturally important practice. Be sure to try locally made rye bread while you’re here. Estonian cuisine is very fish-centered, and smoked fish is a staple on all summertime menus. If you have a sweet tooth, tour a chocolate-making facility like Kalev. Microbreweries and local beer are a big part of the culture, and Estonians pride themselves on having a wide selection of locally brewed beers and liqueurs.
Tallinn is one of the oldest cities in the region and has a storied and rich history. Throughout the last 500 years, Tallinn has changed hands many times and been occupied by Germans, Russians, Swedish, and Danish forces. Before it was called Tallinn, Danish settlers called the city Revel until around the time of World War I. Estonia didn’t gain independence from the Soviet Union until 1991, so the country we know now as Estonia is a relatively young one. Today, the city is in the midst of a renaissance of sorts, as new bars, restaurants, and cultural institutions come together to make the city young, approachable, and fun.
The Tallinn cruise port is a key connector of the Baltic Sea with the rest of Europe. Your Tallinn cruise ship will dock in the Old City Harbor, which is a short walk or shuttle bus from the city center. It’ll take you about 20 minutes to walk to the center of town.
Walking around the center of the city is a fairly easy way to see the major sights in Tallinn. Bicycling is a popular mode of transportation in this part of Estonia, and it’s easy to find your way around via car, too. Buses and shuttles run frequently.
The quaint Old Harbor is home to a market, several local artisan shops selling Estonian items and handmade goods, and gifts to commemorate your time in Tallinn. There’s also a food court where you can grab a quick bite and try some traditional Estonian dishes as soon as you arrive. Walk 15 minutes into the city for more shopping.
During an Estonia cruise, you’ll use the euro as the official currency like other destinations in Europe. Many restaurants will include a service charge in your bill, in which case tipping isn’t necessary. However, if there isn’t a service charge, leaving behind 10% to 15% is customary. When taking a taxi, round up the fare. Credit cards are generally accepted in Estonia, but it’s recommended you carry extra euros with you just in case you need to make small purchases here and there.