Tallinn is a historic city dating back to the medieval times that was first recorded on a world map in 1154, although the first fortress was built on Toompea in 1050.
Later the city became a pawn in the geopolitical games of its big neighbors, passing into Swedish hands in 1561 and then to Russia under Peter the Great in 1710.
Today, Tallinn is a bustling, gleaming metropolis of over 430,000 people. However, among the tall glassy buildings and corporate headquarters, Tallinn retains an inner charm seldom found anywhere else. Estonians consider themselves to be living in a Northern European/Scandinavian or an eastern European country depending on who you ask, with very close ties to Finland (ethnic, linguistic, and cultural).
Visiting Tallinn you will find a mixture of at least three styles of architecture in this very visual city - old Europe (the city walls with rustic buildings and charming living areas with well-preserved and colourful wooden houses of bourgeois taste of 1920s), Soviet brutalist (concrete apartment blocks), and modern Europe (including McDonald's next to the city walls!).
Start off your journey of the capital of Estonia at the hill of Toompea and descending down to explore classic European fashion cobblestone streets through medieval houses and alleyways. Continue on past the foot of the hill into the city wall of the lower town or explore Tallinn's wonderful greenery in the handful of surrounding parks. You will certainly stop at the zoo and explore the copious live exhibits of mountain goats and sheep or elephants and crocodiles or the lake-sized ponds housing birds of all types.
Past the zoo, just 15 minutes, is the Open Air Museum hosting 72 buildings of Estonian vernacular architecture and the dark mysterious forest of Tsarist-ruled village life. Get there before 11am and you might be lucky enough to catch one of the free Estonian dance performances each Saturday and Sunday.
Fill your fancy of museum exploration at the National Art Museum next. You can either go inside or simply stand in awe of it's exterior. The architecture of this museum alone is, in and of itself, a worthy sight including a cyclopic house that is partly cut out of limestone.
Finish your exploration of Estonia's capital with the Culture Kilometre enjoying every step of the free 2.2km walk on an old railroad that passes the fish market, the looming Patarei Prison and the tranquil greenery of Kalamaja park.