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Report 1983: Tallinn, a Beautiful City With So Much History
By Eleanor from UK, Spring 2007
Trip Description: Trip report of a week’s visit to Tallinn in May 2007. We visited before Estonia joined the European Union. There was a feeling of anticipation and excitement about this.
Destinations: Countries - Estonia
Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Day Tours; Garden Visits; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 2 People
Page 1 of 8: Planning and Getting Started
View across the Lower Town to the Baltic sea
Michael has always been intrigued by the three Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia and they had been on his ‘wish list’ for years. We decided it was about time we did something about it, so bought the guide books, sent off for literature and began to read. We looked at booked tours but quickly discounted them as most seem to scamper through all three countries in a week. This wasn’t what we wanted.
As we only had a week available, we decided to concentrate on one country and chose Estonia as the quality and amount of information they sent out was way ahead of the others.
City Breaks by Regent Travel had sent us a brochure, so we decided to use them and book a week in Tallinn in May. Initially we wanted to stop in one of the hotels in the Old Town, however all were fully booked for the week we wanted so Regent suggested we use l'Ermitage on Toompuistee instead. This is immediately below Toompea and is a great location being close to the Old Town, convenient for city transport, modern and quiet. Meals were good and we would happily stop there again.
We flew Air Estonia from Gatwick and arranged for a car to pick us up at the airport and take us to our hotel. Going back we used a taxi booked through the hotel, having checked with reception as to what was a reasonable fare. There are reports of taxi drivers overcharging tourists.
Apart from a day trip to Lahemaa National Park booked through the Tourist Office, we spent our time in and around Tallinn. We bought two Tallinn cards, each valid for three days and excellent value. They give free admission to all the museums, free public transport and free travel on the circular, tourist bus routes which run hourly and have a commentary in different languages.
Tallinn old town is made up of two parts: Toompea at the top of the hill where the aristocracy lived and the Lower Town where the merchants lived and traded. Relations between the two were not always friendly. The only access between them was through a strong fortified gateway which was locked at night.
The Old Town is compact and easily walkable but you do need flat shoes as there are many cobbled streets. It is surrounded by the urban sprawl of the new town with high rise buildings.
We were lucky with the weather. We left Gatwick with grey skies and rain and arrived in Tallinn to brilliant blue skies and sunshine. Even though it was mid May, spring was only just arriving and the trees were just coming into leaf. By the end of the week it was like early summer. The trees were in full leaf and all the blossom was out.
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