19 September, 2016
The capital of Estonia is the country's cultural hub, blending medieval history of burnt sienna-coloured rooftops, intricate gothic churches and winding cobblestone streets with a contemporary edge in the form of skyscrapers, shopping malls and good restaurants. Located on the Baltic coast, this formerly Soviet city came close joining the list of cheap European destinations popular for stag dos, but has largely swerved that bullet while gaining a reputation as an easy place to travel thanks to English-speaking locals; in short, it's the next Eastern European city to tick off your list. Marvel at the Russian-revivalist Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and wonder at the concoctions exhibited in the Town Hall Pharmacy (powdered unicorn horn anyone?). Outside the old town, a 20-minute cab ride will get you to Tallinn Bay where you can take a kayak tour or boat over to the island of Naissaar. Adrenaline junkies can zip-line over the Jägala Waterfall, which is a glittering icicle spectacle during winter.
When to go?
Go in September when you'll miss peak season but the days are still long. It's also magical at Christmas, when festive markets and snowcapped rooftops make the city look like a scene from a snow globe.
Most likely to bump into…
Bundled up locals.
Who to take with you?
A friend who'll appreciate low-key adventures and fairytale architecture.
The Light Walks in Kadriorg, where thousands of candles are lit in Kadriorg Park to celebrate the transition from summer to autumn. If you're lucky, you might just spot the Northern Lights which are sometimes visible in Tallinn.
An essential to bring with you?
A warm coat, hat and gloves.
How to get there
Fly directly into Tallinn Airport or take a train ride into Baltic Station.