Tallinn’s Old Town may be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it’s also a city that has moved with the times. Rated by Lonely Planet as the Best Value Destination of 2018, it is estimated that foreign tourists spent around €960 million in the Estonian capital during 2017. Tallinn is keen to showcase its vibrant and trendy neighbourhoods, while the abundance of parks and forests — 40km2 in all — as well as the two-kilometre stretch of sandy beaches, means there is plenty to explore.
Around two-thirds of Tallinn’s foreign visitors arrive by boat, while a further fifth land at the city’s award-winning airport. Once there, tourists can take advantage of an easily accessible public transport system, which includes buses, trams, and trolleys — all free with a Tallinn Card. The city is also keen to increase bicycle use in the capital, hoping it will account for 11% of all travel by 2027. With a bike-sharing app in high-season and plentiful parking for two wheels, there is little reason why tourists cannot venture along Tallinn’s 263km of cycle paths.
Measures are also in place to preserve Tallinn’s popular Old Town and promote the unique and varied neighbourhoods nearby. More than 100,000 maps have been produced in three languages to give tourists an idea of what lays beyond Vanalinn. To reduce seasonal fluctuation, Tallinn, which joined the Green Key quality system in 2001, has been promoted as a Christmas and New Year’s Eve destination.
Digital solutions for smart tourism
Tallinn is ranked in the top 10 cities in the world in terms of public WiFi coverage, which comes in handy for visitors using the Tallinn Card. Originally only a physical ticket, it is now available completely online and offers customers free entry to 40 of the city’s best museums and attractions, as well free travel on public transport, a free city tour and more than 30 offers and discounts.
After a day touring Tallinn’s fashionable neighbourhoods or exploring its bike paths, you can experience the Old Town via an interactive 3D model, available in three languages. See it in person too – St Nicholas’ Church, the Old Town’s creative clusters, and the Tallinn Seaplane Harbour are all vying for your attention. Should you be lucky enough to visit during the Estonian Song Festival, you’ll catch a glimpse of a UNESCO Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage, and a cornerstone of Tallinn life.