As Stockholm lies at the shore of the Baltic Sea, plenty destinations are reachable by cruises, among them the capital cities Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Riga – and Tallinn. With two nights on the ship for a very affordable price, we had the possibility to spend the day in the charming capital city of Estonia. After Höga Kusten, the old town was the second UNESCO World Heritage, I visited during my time in Sweden.

Tallinn Group Picture

Tallinn Group Picture
Photo by Sunay Gupta

As we only had 7 hours on land, we really had to experience the city “in a nutshell”. It turned out, that a very good way to do this, is to attend one of the 2 hour long free guided tours. They are led by young Estonians who tell interesting stories about the city’s history and the country’s culture while walking past the most important buildings of the old town.

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is, as in many towns in eastern Europe, a symbol for the Russification of the countries. Today’s Estonia is independent only since 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed. Less than 30% of the population confess to a religion and for a long time the cathedral was seen as a symbol for the suppression by the Russians. On the other hand, one of four Estonians belongs to the Russian minority, a situation not without conflicts.

After a long walk through the old town and a good lunch in a restaurant, I can conclude that Tallinn is definitely worth a visit longer than 7 hours. Especially the Christmas market, that was under construction when we were in the city, is supposed to be very beautiful. It is not only located within a medieval venue, but also features the worlds oldest history of a public Christmas tree, dating back to 1441.