If there’s one thing you need to know about the World Words team, it’s this – we love to travel. There is absolutely nothing we enjoy more than exploring the world. In fact, as we speak, our team members are venturing across the globe, discovering new sights and gaining insider knowledge so we can provide real travel insight for our clients.
Occasionally, we like to share some of our recent travel experiences with the readers of our World Words blog, in a series that we call Our Travels. If you are new to World Words, don’t worry – you can delve into the Our Travels archives here. You’ll find plenty of individual destinations to discover, from Canada to India, Guatemala to Iceland.
This month, it’s the turn of our editor-in-chief Joe to recount a recent trip to sunny Estonia. Earlier this summer, he decided to take a mini-break to capital Tallinn, but was surprised to find himself venturing outside the city as well…
Why I went to Tallinn
Back in 2005, as a teenager, I backpacked in Estonia with a couple of friends. We’d caught the train up from Riga in Latvia, and spent some time exploring Tartu and the south of the country. However, it had always niggled at me that I hadn’t visited the capital, Tallinn – especially when I met people who would wax lyrical about its beauty and history. So when I was looking for a short city break this August, it seemed like an apt time to return to the Baltics.
My highlight of the trip
Everything I had heard was true: Tallinn is a beautiful city. The Old Town is the headline draw – a maze of winding cobbled streets, soaring church spires, quaint medieval courtyards, colourful merchant houses and sweeping city panoramas. But it’s also overrun with cruise ship tourists during the day, so I was keen to venture out of the centre into some of Tallinn’s lesser-visited districts. And there’s more than enough to see, from the concrete Communist architecture of Kalamaja to the shady chestnut trees of Kadroaig Park to the busy volleyball courts of Pirita Beach.
I also loved that you can walk from Tallinn airport into the Old Town within an hour; a rarity for a European capital.
What else I love about Estonia
When I had planned the trip, I had expected to spend all three days exploring Tallinn and its suburbs. But with the extremely hot August weather, as well as a natural inclination to cram in as much sightseeing as possible, I opted to include a day trip to Pärnu, a popular summer beach resort two hours south of the capital. In the end, it was a great decision. Not only does Pärnu offer a long, wide beach, it also has some wonderfully shaded gardens and a small Old Town with some lovely architecture, including ramshackle wooden houses and a 17th-century city gate.
As it turns out, I also ended up taking a half-day trip from Tallinn to Viru Bog nature trail, part of Lahemaa National Park. This five-kilometre path through the reserve was a great opportunity to see a more natural side to Estonia.
Why you should go
Tallinn is a perfect city break destination. It has a beautiful old centre, some fascinating suburbs and lots of great restaurants and bars. The city also has a number of other tourist attractions I didn’t get to explore, including the Estonian Open-Air Museum and Tallinn Zoo. Plus, if you do want to add on a day trip, there are plenty to choose from, including the seaside resort of Haapsalu and even the Finnish capital Helsinki – just a two-hour ferry away.
How you can visit
Tallinn Airport is served by a number of budget airlines, including Ryanair, Easyjet and Wizzair, as well as several national carriers. If direct flights aren’t an option, it’s also possible to fly into Helsinki then take a 30-minute flight connection to Tallinn. Once you have arrived, it’s easy to get around the city by tram and around Estonia by bus.
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