WEEKEND TALLINN “ALL IN”
4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS
DAY 1 / TALLINN (ARRIVAL)
Arrival to Tallin.
Transfer to the hotel.
Depending on the arrival time (only if arrival is before 14h00) :
First orientation walking tour. Tallinn is situated on the northern coast of Estonia, across from Helsinki, on the Gulf of Finland. Although there are remains of human settlements from the fifth millennium B.C., and the city’s fortress already existed in 1050, Tallinn is officially considered to have been founded in 1219 by Danish crusaders. This explains the origin of its name, which in Estonian means “Danish City.” The city was rapidly fortified and developed, and in 1285 it became the northernmost member of the Hanseatic League. The Danish were followed by Teutonic knights, whose descendants made up the majority of the population until the 19th century and called the city by its German name: Reval. Even though it was part of Sweden beginning in 1561 and a part of Russia beginning in 1710, the majority of the population remained Germanic, something that greatly influenced the city’s historical architecture. After Estonia gained independence in 1991, Tallinn’s centre was carefully restored, and today it is one of the most beautiful European capitals. The city fascinates with its old houses, narrow cobblestone streets, and bell towers and spires reaching for the sky. Tallinn is a member of UNESCO’s World Heritage List and was declared European Cultural Capital in 2011.
Optional: Lunch in a local restaurant
Optional : Dinner at the hotel
DAY 2 / TALLINN
Breakfast at the hotel.
Panoramic bus tour of Tallinn, Pirita and Kadriorg neighborhoods. As part of a bus panoramic tour, we will visit the coastal neighborhood of Pirita and the Russalka Memorial that is situated on the seafront. We will also catch a glimpse of the front of the ruins of St. Bridget’s (Birgitta) Convent, after which we will enjoy views of Kadriorg Park, enjoying the sharp contrast between the baroque buildings of Kadriorg Palace and the ultramodern KUMU Museum of Modern Art.
Visit to the Kadriorg District. Located not far from Tallinn’s centre, the area features a beautiful park and several buildings of interest: The imposing Kadriorg Palace (18th century), the old summer residence of Peter the Great; Weizenberg Palace; the current Estonian Presidential Palace; and numerous villas and mansions inhabited by the local middle class and constructed for the most part in the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. Kadriorg Park offers footpaths and splendid gardens decorated with numerous statues and furrowed by streams and canals. Here we will also find some of the most important museums in Estonia, such as the Kumu Museum of Modern Art and the Mikkel Museum, with its collections of Russian icons and Chinese porcelains.
Visit of Kadriorg Park and exterior view of Kadriorg Palace. After Peter the Great’s victory over Sweden, Russia annexed Estonia in 1710. In 1718, the Tsar ordered Italian architect Nicola Michetti to construct this gorgeous palace. It was built in the baroque style in the centre of a French-inspired park and intended as a sumptuous summer residence far from the agitation of St. Petersburg. The palace was named Catherinethal, or Kadriorg in Estonian, which means “Valley of Catherine,” in honour of his wife, Catherine I. We will admire its lavish outer architecture and the harmony of its gardens. It is also possible to see the house from which the Tsar kept an eye on the construction.
Short walk through Kalamaja quartier. Next to the Old Town, but closer to the sea, Kalamaja has always been the traditional opening of Tallinn to the Baltic Sea. This neighborhood along the Bay of Tallinn always housed fishermen, fish-sellers, and boat-builders. Its name, meaning “House of Fish” is a witness of its marine past, along with its streets’ names, such as “Koie” (Rope) or “Kalaranna” (Fish Beach). Kalamaja’s houses are mostly made of wood, preserving a village-like ambiance. Within this district we can find the old fortress and soviet prison of Patarei, the Maritime Museum -formerly a hangar for Seaplanes- and the Noblessner port -that hosted a submarine factory- forming the “Kultuurikilomeeter”, or “Kilometre of Culture”. We will walk along its calm, village-feeling, cobbled streets, seeing the colourful facades of its wooden houses. At the end of Kalamaja lies the ancient industrial complex of Telliskivi, that has become the trendiest, main creative spot of Tallinn, and the renovated Balti Jaama Market.
Short walk through trendy Telliskivi quarter. This Tallinn neighbourhood is located next to the charming Kalamaja’s wooden houses, separated from the Old Town by the railway tracks. Telliskivi was the Kalinin Factory during the Soviet times, an industrial plant producing locomotives and mechanics for the whole Soviet Union. After Estonia’s independence in 1991, the area became derelict and half-abandoned. In 2009 a group of young Estonian creators opened there “Telliskivi Loomelinnak” or Creative City, slowly attracting many designers and artists to this alternative community. Today, its still industrial-like territory hosts dozens of artists’ galleries, vintage shops and hipster cafés, start-ups offices and co-working spaces, innovative theatres, a modern museum of photography, and even a popular flea market on Saturdays.
Stop at the Balti Jaama Market. The history of this market is closely linked to the adjacent train station. The station was inaugurated in 1870, when Tallin was part of the Russian Empire, along the new railway to St. Petersburg, the imperial capital. Several industrial buildings were erected in the area, among them those that house the market today. Their limestone bricks and metal beams imported from the United Kingdom are original from that time. The vicinity of the halls suffered bombings during World War II, but they survived it and, at the end of the Soviet times, started housing dubious sellers and vendors of all kinds of produce. It became known as the “Russian Market” and in 2017, after a successful reconstruction, the Balti Jaama Turg (Baltic Station Market) reopened. It is an amazing place, housing more than 300 merchants and shops in 3 different levels. There are also open-air sellers, along with a street-food area with more than 20 eateries. We can admire the farmers’ fresh produce of fish, meat, groceries, pickles, bakery, and dairy and also have a look at local handcraft and second-hand clothes in the upper level.
Walking tour of the historical centre of Tallinn, High Town. We will have a walking tour through the charming medieval streets of the historical centre. Tallinn’s old town is divided into two main parts: Toompea, or “Cathedral Hill,” and All Linn, or the “Lower Town.” Estonia has always been ruled from Toompea, where we will appreciate Toompea Castle, where the Estonian Parliament meets, and the Stenbock House, the official seat of the Estonian government. This spot also features the Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral and St. Mary’s Lutheran Cathedral, and we will also visit the belvedere to enjoy stunning views of the city.
Visit to the Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral. This large, richly decorated temple is the most important Orthodox church in Tallinn. Built on Toompea Hill in 1900 when Estonia was part of the Russian Empire, the church is dedicated to Alexander Nevsky, Prince of Novgorod, and was erected by the Russians in place of a statue of Martin Luther. It boasts Tallinn’s most powerful church bell ensemble, consisting of eleven bells made in St. Petersburg, including one that weighs 15 tons and is the largest in Tallinn. You can hear the entire bell ensemble playing before church services. The interior features several icons and beautiful decorative mosaics, along with a massive central cupola.
Visit to St. Mary’s Lutheran Cathedral. This cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in Tallinn. It was built shortly after the arrival of the Danish crusaders in Tallinn in the early 13th century, while the original wooden church was soon replaced by a gothic stone cathedral. It had to be rebuilt several times, which is why its architecture is a menagerie of styles, the most obvious being gothic and baroque. The cathedral was the burial place for local nobility over the centuries: The Cathedral’s floor is paved with tombstones and its walls are covered with heraldic reliefs of the German Baltic community. There is a magnificent carved wooden pulpit, and the cathedral is also famous for its unique 1914 organ.
Stop at Tallinn Belvedere, to admire the panoramic view of the city and its bay.
Lunch in a local restaurant.
Walking tour of the historical centre of Tallinn, Lower Town. We will head to All Line, or Tallinn’s lower town, where renaissance and baroque facades alternate with world-renowned hanseatic architecture, also called the Brick Gothic Style. The oldest cobblestone streets and buildings here were built in the 13th century, while along Muurivahe Street we will see several bastions and towers from the old city walls, the most remarkable being the Powder Tower, also called Kiek in de Kok. We will then walk past the Dominican Monastery of St. Catherine and the Cistercian Nunnery of St. Michael. The most notable landmarks of the Lower Town are the House of the Brotherhood of the Blackheads—a guild of young and single merchants—the Church of the Holy Ghost, St. Nicholas’ Church, and St. Olaf’s Church, whose spire was the highest building in the world from 1549 to 1625. We will finish our tour at impressive Raekoja Plats (Town Hall Square), where we will find the town hall building that was built in 1404, and the Great Guild, built in 1410, whose gothic hall used to be the meeting place for the city’s merchants. On the opposite side of the square sits Raeapteek (Town Hall Pharmacy), the oldest working pharmacy in Europe, which has been open since the early 15th century.
Visit to the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum “Rocca al Mare”. This beautiful museum is a splendid reconstruction of an Estonian village made with authentic wooden buildings brought here from all over Estonia. It is located four kilometres west of Tallinn, in a forest on the shore of the Baltic Sea. The open-air museum features 72 buildings, including private houses, barns, a chapel, a school, and traditional wind and water mills. It allows the visitor to discover what country life in Estonia was like during the 18th and the 19th centuries.
Folk dinner in a restaurant.
DAY 3 / TALLINN – LAHEMAA – TALLINN
Breakfast at the hotel.
Visit to the Jagala waterfall. Situated 30 kilometres east of Tallinn, it is 50 meters wide and eight meters high, making it the widest waterfall in the country. Before the Christianization of Estonia, this was the site of numerous pagan ceremonies.
Lahemaa National Park. Located 80 kilometres east of Tallinn on four peninsulas that jut out into the Baltic Sea, Lahemaa means “Land of Bays” and is a place of exceptional beauty, even becoming the first national park declared in the Soviet Union in 1971. With the independence of Estonia in 1991, efforts intensified to preserve this splendid example of coastal Baltic Sea landscape. The dense forests of firs and birches alternate with high grass and salt marshes, interspersed with beautiful rocky and sandy beaches and pink granite formations, all of which can be explored via a comprehensive system of hiking trails. In the park’s coastal zone there are many typical fishermen towns, while further inland we will admire the sumptuous villas and mansions built by the Tallinn and St. Petersburg aristocracies.
After a drive from Tallinn that lasts a bit more than an hour, we will arrive at the park’s gates. We will then head for the coast to discover the old fishing villages: Kasmu, the smugglers’ village, also known as Captain’s Village; Altja and its fishing net sheds; and Vosu, a former resort town for the elites of the Russian Empire, with its long sandy beach. We will then plunge into the fabulous inland environment, walking along one of its hiking trails, such as Beaver Trail, which is next to the beautiful Altja River and is rife with beaver dams and burrows. We can then admire the old manors that the local aristocracy built in the area.
Walk in the Swamp Trail.
Climb on the small observation tower of the marshes.
Visit of the old fishing village.
Lunch at a local restaurant.
Short walking tour in the Beaver Trail.
Visit to Sagadi Manor. Located in the exceptional natural environment of Lahemaa National Park, from 1687 to 1919 Sagadi Manor belonged to the Von Focks, a family of German origin like most of the Estonian nobility. In 1749, Johann Ernest Von Fock initiated the construction of this baroque-styled and rococo-decorated palace that has been expanded and enhanced throughout the centuries. Today it includes the Forest Museum and the RMK Sagadi Nature School. We can still admire much of its original furniture, and the place is also used as a venue for events and receptions.
Visit of the Forest Museum.
Return to Tallinn.
Dinner at the hotel.
DAY 4 / TALLINN (DEPARTURE)
Breakfast at the hotel.
Transfer to the airport.
Optional, depending on departure time: Visit of the Tallinn Art Museum (Kumu).
The order of visits is subject to change at any time due to operational reasons and museums schedules.
3* Sup.: Go Shnelli, Tallink Express, Susi, or similar
4* Sup.: Park Inn Central, Tallink, Ulemiste, or similar