Tallinn, Estonia was one of our port cities on our Baltic cruise. Although shore excursions were available, we chose to explore this city on our own on foot. It is a perfect way to explore this city, if one is willing to do a fair bit of walking. Also be prepared for the steep streets as the city is built on a hill.
The area to explore is the Old Town, a UNESCO world heritage site. Old Town is a short walk from the cruise ship terminal. A good way to enter the Old Town is through the Great Coastal Gate by Fat Margaret's Tower.
The city dates back to the 13th century and was a major centre of the Hanseatic League. Many of the buildings date back to the 13th and 14th centuries. The Old Town has the feel of a fairy tale place. The streets are narrow and winding and offer many shops, restaurants, and churches to explore.
A must is the walk up Toompea Hill to Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. It is a Russian Orthodox cathedral which features the classic onion dome design. Go inside if the cathdral is open to see the ornate interior.
There are other churches worthly of a visit, including the Church of St. Olav (Oleviste kirik) and the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin (Toomkirik).
There is plenty of activity at and near Town Hall Square, at which Town Hall is located, along with many shops and restaurants, most of which have outdoor patios in the summertime. This is a perfect area to take a break, have a beer and a snack and people watch.
The merchants are friendly and there are many shops selling local wares, such as linens, amber jewelry, and Russian nesting dolls. There is a large selection of items to choose from and the prices are reasonable.
Although Estonia has its own currency, the Estonian Kroon, most merchants accept the Euro.
As in many European cities, the public toilets charge a nominal fee for use.