Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Tallinn Spotting; the Historic Capital of Estonia, Is Well Worth a Visit, Finds SIMON MURFITT

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Tallinn Spotting; the Historic Capital of Estonia, Is Well Worth a Visit, Finds SIMON MURFITT

Article excerpt

OR many people looking for a low-cost weekend of culture, Tallinn will not be the first destination to spring to mind.

FBut the historic Estonian capital has a fine balance of being mostly undiscovered by travelling Brits, but also highly accessible and welcoming to tourists.

GETTING THERE AND GETTING ABOUT DESPITE sharing a border with Russia, Tallinn is just over two hours away from the UK, depending on where you fly from.

If you're happy to sit in the confines of a Ryanair flight from Stansted for that period of time you can make it to Tallinn and back for around PS100.

On arrival, getting around couldn't be easier.

Public transport is free, taxis are cheap and the airport is just a 10-minute drive from the city centre.

Once there the majority of things to do are all within easy walking distance.

WHERE TO STAY THERE are a number of good hotels in the city centre, many that are tall enough to give you a great view out across the architecture of the city and out to the Baltic Sea.

You can get that, plus access to the top floor gym and swimming pool at the Radisson Blu Hotel Olympia, which is a short walk to city centre shops and the old town.

A 'superior' room costs around PS100 a night.

WHAT TO DO TALLINN is a really compact city, meaning most of the things to do are within walking distance or a short taxi, bus or tram ride of each other.

Having been occupied by Germany and Russia for large parts of its life, the city is steeped in history.

There is no end of museums to attend, from the open air reconstruction of Estonian village life on Kopli Bay, to the KGB museum.

Set in a former KGB office in the basement of the Viru Hotel, the museum gives a great insight into the Soviet occupation, which lasted until 1988, and the hardships that it placed on the people of Tallinn.

If you fancy that make sure you book in advance, as it can get booked up quite early.

It's also worth spending a day wandering through the cobbled streets of the old town and visiting St Olaf's Church and St Alexander Nevsky and St Mary's cathedrals.

For those of you not into your history there are plenty of upmarket shops, but don't expect prices to be much cheaper than they are in the UK. …

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