Tallin

An enchanting city centre
The cobbled market square
The late-medieval Town Hall

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Tallin

An ancient Hanseatic port

Tallinn, Estonia’s compact, buzzing capital, with its enchanting heart surrounded by medieval walls, has been shaped by nearly a millennium of outside influence.
A cruise of the Baltic Sea with MSC Cruises can take you to visit the heart of Tallinn, its Old Town, still largely enclosed by the city’s medieval walls. At its centre is the Raekoja plats, the historic marketplace, above which looms Toompea, the hilltop stronghold of the German knights who controlled the city during the Middle Ages.

Raekoja plats, the cobbled market square at the heart of the Old Town, is as old as the city itself. On its southern side stands the fifteenth-century Town Hall (Raekoda), boasting elegant Gothic arches at ground level, and a delicate steeple at its northern end.

Near the summit of the steeple, Vana Toomas, a sixteenth-century weather vane depicting a medieval town guard, is Tallinn’s city emblem. The well-labelled and informative museum inside the cellar hall depicts Tallinn town life through the ages, and there is a good view from the belfry. For an even better view of the town square, climb the spiral staircase of the Town Hall Tower.

The fourteenth-century Church of the Holy Ghost (Puhä Vaimu kirik) on Pühavaimu is the city’s oldest church, a small Gothic building with stuccoed limestone walls, stepped gables, a carved wooden interior, a tall, verdigris-coated spire and an ornate clock from 1680 – the oldest in Tallinn.

Contrasting sharply is the late Gothic St Nicholas’s Church (Niguliste kirik), south-west of Raekoja plats. It now serves as a museum of church art, including medieval burial stones and the haunting Danse Macabre (“Dance With Death”) by Bernt Notke.

Must see places in Tallin

  • Old Town and Oleviste Church

    Old Town and Oleviste Church

  • Local woodland

    Local woodland

  • The open air museum

    The open air museum

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    Estonia

    Between spas and the Middle Ages
    Between spas and the Middle Ages

    An MSC Northern Europe cruise to Estonia is a mix of urbanity and wilderness, of the medieval and the contemporary, with crumbling castles and colourful design permeating urban landscapes.


    An efficient transport system makes it easy to get around, and the tech-savvy, dynamic residents welcome visitors with open arms. Friction between older generations of Russians and Estonians is a throwback to the Soviet era, while younger people mix freely. Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, has a magnificent medieval centre and lively city life, rivalled only by that of Tartu, an exuberant university town. Pärnu, a popular seaside resort, boasts fantastic sandy beaches. For inexpensive spa treatments, a fine castle and unspoilt countryside head for the island of Saaremaa, while Lahemaa National Park, outside Tallinn, offers a taste of pristine wilderness.

    In the summertime, Estonia becomes a haven for water sports: windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing or simply hitting the beach. Hiking, biking and horse riding are popular both on the Estonian mainland and on the islands off its coast, such as Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. Almost twenty percent of Estonia is protected land, divided between four national parks and numerous nature reserves, which are home to many species of wild animals and birds.