Tallinn Old Town: The Best Preserved Medieval City In Northern Europe

Tallinn Old Town: The Best Preserved Medieval City In Northern Europe

We had expectations of traveling to the Baltic States to find it about 50 years behind the rest of Europe after receiving its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The modern city of Tallinn now could be any city in Europe and has become extremely high-tech with virtually everything online. With free wi-fi everywhere, the city is one big hot-spot.

Tallinn is the best preserved medieval city in northern Europe, dating back to the 13th century. This was quite a change from the very modern feel of Helsinki. It was a drizzling day when we arrived which just enhanced our experience. The Old Town has managed to preserve its medieval structures and feels like you are stepping back in time. Even during offseason in the rain, the streets mid-day were filled with tourists and tour groups so we could only imagine what August in the middle of the high season would be like.

Tips for visiting:

  1. If coming from Helsinki the ferry basically a mini cruise ship is easy and only a 2 1/2 trip.
  2. The ferries run from two ports in Helsinki so know which port and ferry line you booked.
  3. We stayed at the Adelle Apartments across the street from the entrance to Old Town. Very roomy and comfortable studio apartment (with a kitchen & washing machine) on the 9th floor.  Attached to the building around the corner are a shopping mall and large supermarket with an excellent deli and food precooked and ready to be heated. So if you want a change from restaurants, this is an excellent option.
  4. Walk the streets, get lost and enjoy the beautiful town.
  5. Try the hot wine….on a cold day, it’s warm and refreshing, a bit sweet.


Old Town Walls


Old Town Hall & Square


III Draakon Tavern

Touristy, but a great experience with cheap prices and delicious soup. So step back in time and enjoy the medieval ambiance in the Tavern III Draakon. The tavern is dimly lit by candles and no electric lights. The main items on the menu are Elk broth soup, meat pies, and beer.  You order and pickup at the counter. The soup and beer are served in terracotta bowls & cups with no utensils or napkins, and you bus your own dishes when finished. 


Streets of Old Town


Old Town Roof Tops

You can walk along the old town wall and enjoy the spires and rooftops.


Old Dominican Monastery

Beautiful courtyard at the entrance to the monastery which dates back to the 12th century.

The monastery is now a museum that is interesting and worth the 3 euro fee.


Enjoying Old Town Square

Taking a break in the square under the heaters and people watching. Don is trying the hot wine.



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