My wife and I will be in Tallinn for a day (on a Baltic Cruise stop) in late May on a Thursday. We arrive at 8:00 hr and depart 16:00 hr. We planned to walk to the Old Town, stopping briefly at the Linnahall, then into the Old Town to visit several churches, museums and climbing up several of the towers of the Old Town. We'll have lunch in the Old Town and continue walking, eventually exiting the Old Town near the Soprus Theatre. We thought we'd then take the tram to Freedom Square and walk to the Estonian National Library (to experience an example of Soviet Architecture), then take the tram to the Kompassi/Maakri districts to see some of the contemporary development of Tallinn. We would then head back on the tram to the Rotermann Quarter, walking through the Quarter and hopefully picking up a bottle or two of a couple varieties of Vana Tallinn before boarding the ship. Is this reasonable in 8 hours (probably more like 7 to not cut things too close)? Would a Tallinn Card be a good value (I believe most of the stops in the Old Town have an admission fee and we'll be on the tram 3 or 4 times and maybe a bus on the final leg back to the ship if our feet are complaining).
Seems like a lot to me. The Old Town is pretty rich, there is a good museum about the communist occupation and a communist era hotel complete with "listening rooms." Several good churches and museums near the square as well as in the Toompea Hill. One of the medieval towers has a nice armament museum inside but I forget which one it is. Freedom Square, if memory serves, is pretty close to the old town and if you did a loop tour of the old town you wouldn't need a tram to see it. If you add lunch to the equation that by itself will take a big chunk of your time. It is a very fun place.
I'd leave out the Kompassi/Maakri part of it for sure, once you get to Old Town you'll be completely overwhelmed by how fabulous it is and will want to spend your time exploring all the twisty little lanes and courtyards, it's one of the most perfectly preserved medieval walled cities. I spent a solid week in Tallinn a few years ago--I have Estonian heritage--and never tired of wandering the old town, and did day trips to other towns as well as visiting Helsinki by ferry. The Soviet era architecture is not worth wasting time on, though it makes for an interesting comparison between the old and new. I did not get a Tallinn card and just paid for any tram trips as I went, and you can easily get a taxi back to the ship if need be. Museum costs were not excessive and you may get caught up and not get to as many as planned. It's really quite a magical place and I do hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
My wife and I will be visiting Tallin for (sadly) only one day as part of a 9-day Baltic Cruise. Our usual strategy for visiting any city for the first time is to find the highest promontory in order to get a bird's eye view.
Our research to date indicates that would be best accomplished in Tallin by visiting Toompea Hill in the Upper Old Town.
My question is: what mode of transportation is best to arrive at Toompea for someone who has trouble with walking uphill ?
After seeing the sights, we're planning on walking down to the Lower Old Town.
Thanks for your insights.
I also saw Tallinn as a cruise stop - for only 6 hours - and it was wonderful (though too short). It was an easy walk to Old Town and delightful to be there first thing in the morning when the streets were nearly deserted. That's all I had time for, so I can't help with planning your day, but I can offer a couple of tips.
Line up early to disembark on docking. Make sandwiches at breakfast, or get a boxed lunch, to take with you. You won't have time for a leisurely lunch break. . . . remember, most of your fellow cruisers are going to be restaurant patrons as well.
Trochte--If you want to save your legs and energy you can always take a taxi, it's a very short trip from the docks and is thus walkable, too. Getting up to Toompea isn't one steep climb, more of a series of inclinations and stairways in some parts. Definitely worth it no matter how you arrive, the view is quite stunning. You can easily explore old town in a day, plenty of great restaurants and if you're interested in Estonian handcrafts I recommend walking St Catherine's Passage, also keep an eye out for their traditional handknit mittens--Estonians have a wonderful knitting tradition.