Enjoy the magic of a fairy tale city: Tallinn

Enjoy the magic of a fairy tale city: Tallinn

As you are getting ready for the EAIE Academy in Tallinn you are probably browsing travel websites or planning a visit to the book store to get ideas for how to make the most of this enchanting city before or after your training. Not to worry, we’ve done the research for you. Here are some tips for your stay in Tallinn so that you’ll have a whale of a time!

The ‘medieval pearl of Europe’

Start your visit in the Medieval Old Town, also called the ‘medieval pearl of Europe’, a charming historic area built from the 13th to 16th centuries and famous for its well-preserved Hanseatic architecture. Take a stroll and immerse yourself in the mystic, fairy tale atmosphere: iron street lamps that light up the winding cobblestone streets, imposing churches, Gothic spires, multi-coloured rustic houses, lively cafes and restaurants, beautiful galleries – everything enclosed by city walls and towers that have remained almost intact along the years. Not surprisingly, the Old Town is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Don’t miss Katariina Käik (St. Catherine’s Passage) – the most picturesque of all lanes in the Old Town – with the remains of St. Catherine’s Church and the artisan souvenir workshops where you can also watch the artists at work (glass-blowing, weaving, pottery making, etc). To get a sneak peek into the old town before going to the Academy, use this 3D app that allows you to explore the area online. And when at the Academy join us for the guided tour we have organised for you to hear the tales and legends of Tallinn, see haunted houses and wrap up with a delicious dinner at Tallinn Teachers’ House.

Saint Olav’s Church

Built in the 12th century, this church is considered one of the most beautiful in Tallinn and it can be found at the end of Pikk street. St. Olav’s Church has quite a sad history: it has been hit by lightening at least eight times, and burned down three times. Make sure you don’t miss the mesmerising city views from its 124 m high observation deck. The church was once the tallest building in the world with a spire of 159 m.

Kiek in de Kök (‘Peek into the kitchen’)

‘Peek into the kitchens’ of the city’s houses from this 38 m high artillery tower. Its name stems from the jokes of the guards that the tower was so high that they could see into people’s kitchens. The tower will offer you a deep insight into the town’s system of defence. Kiek in de Kök was built in the 1470s and rapidly expanded to become 4 m thick. You will see four cannon balls in the wall as a memory of the fact that the tower withstood the Livonian war in the late 1500s when Ivan the Terrible’s forces made a huge hole in the wall. From the tower you can also go on an exciting tour around the system of tunnels (Bastion tunnels) underneath the old bastions of Toompea hill. Initially built for soldiers to hide, the 500 m of passages were used as a bomb shelter during the 1944 Soviet bombings, and inhabited by homeless people in the 1990s.

Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin

The Cathedral, also referred to as Dome Church, is located on Toompea Hill and was built around 1233, being the oldest church in Tallinn and mainland Estonia. Get up to the hill platform by walking along Pikk Jalg (Long Leg), a very picturesque. Once at the church, make sure you climb up the 69 m Baroque bell-tower for a bird’s eye view of the city with its red-roofed houses and the Baltic sea on the horizon.

Kadriorg Palace

Be stunned by the magnificence of this Baroque palace, built by Peter the Great for his wife, Catherine I, in 1718, a masterpiece surrounded by idyllic woodlands, nowadays also home to the foreign art collection of the Art Museum of Estonia. The palace and its gardens are a genuine example of Tsarist extravagance. Have a relaxing walk in the park around the palace, an estate that has a natural look with heavy rocks, forest groves, meadows and tall trees to suit Estonia’s coldest climate.

Seaplane Harbour Museum

Learn about Estonian maritime and military history with the help of modern multimedia at the Seaplane Harbour in the wooden architecture suburb Kalamaja. It is one of the most unique maritime museums in Europe, with a display comprising of over 200 large exhibits. The highlight of the museum is 600-tone submarine Lembit. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, the submarine was operated by the Soviet Union in World War II. Until 2011 it was the oldest submarine still in use. We have organised an exciting networking event right at this museum, so make sure you sign up soon. After the tour you will experience exquisite seasonal Nordic cuisine in an incomparable restaurant setting, located inside the historic seaplane hangars.

Also, don’t forget to join us on 20 November for the Welcome Reception at The House of the Brotherhood of the Blackheads, the only surviving Renaissance building in Tallinn.

These are just a few of the amazing places that you can visit in Tallinn. You can also go to Balti Jaama Turg, the Russian market with antiques and local food or you can choose to go to the Open Air Museum, a rural village in a forest park on Kopli Bay, to gain an insight into old Estonian life.

And as you are going in November, expect cold weather but a truly magic town as Tallinn is at its most enchanting in winter. Check out how the city gets brightened up in this season. We look forward to enjoying this amazing atmosphere with you and we wish you a very productive training!

Sources: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau, Official tourist information website of Estonia & The Guardian Travel