A fairytale city of new and old, Tallinn boasts one of the best-preserved UNESCO listed old towns in Northern Europe, and balances the traditional and contemporary astutely. A beautiful Baltic capital of storied culture and history, Tallinn is riding the wave of a burgeoning reputation as Europe's hidden gem, and it boasts a picturesque allure that few cities can rival.
Having endured countless occupations in its history, Estonia finally gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and has been hell-bent on progressive, forward-thinking policies ever since. The European City of Culture award in 2011 was a symbol of the country's increasing integration with the European Union, and offered Tallinn a chance to showcase and upgrade its cultural marvels. Walk into the old town through Viru Gates, past flower vendors and the smells of roasting nuts. Town Hall Square is the heart and soul of Tallinn, and when you walk the narrow cobbled streets that open out into it, you’re walking the same pathways that Tallinn's people have walked since the 13th century. Surrounded by practically complete medieval walls, lose yourself in deep museums, and visit pretty churches like St. Olaf church - one of the city's most famous, with its sharp green spire puncturing the sky.
Head to Kohtuotsa platform in the upper town for views of the city's sea of red roofs, interrupted by church towers and rounded turrets. From here, climb Toompea Castle's central hill, before visiting the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral - easily recognisable by its bold colours and trio of black onion domes.