Tallinn See And Do
34 Weizenbergi/1 Valge
Tel: 372 602 6001
When Old Town starts to seem too quaint, this is the perfect antidote. The museum's collection is the largest in the country and includes many works by Adamson-Eric, a renowned Estonian artist. After 75 years of abortive attempts to construct a new home for the museum, Estonia completed Kunstimuuseum (KUMU), a modern, sculptural space with galleries, an education center, an auditorium, and a library. Permanent exhibits cover Estonian art from the beginning of the 18th century to re-independence in 1991. The AME has four other branches in the city: Adamson-Eric Museum (3 Lühike Jalg; 372-644-5838), Kadriorg Art Museum and Mikkel Museum (37 and 28 Weizenbergi; 372-606-6400), and Niguliste Museum (3 Niguliste; 372-631-4330).
Open Tuesdays through Sundays 11 am to 6 pm, May through September; and Wednesdays through Sundays 11 am to 6 pm, October through April.
4 Rävala Puiestee
Tel: 372 640 0200
Since opening in 2007, City Spa has been helping Tallinn locals escape the city. The spa's design incorporates natural materials (slate floors, limestone walls) and the range of treatments for both men and women include aromatherapy massages, chocolate-infused body treatments, and pedicures. Visitors can purchase day memberships for about $44, although it costs nothing to go to the lounge for a healthy lunch or dinner (perhaps a chicken pasta salad with pumpkin seeds). City Spa is located in the same building as Vertigo, opposite the Radisson SAS Hotel.
Treatments: Mondays through Fridays 9 am to 9 pm; Saturdays and Sundays 10 am to 8 pm. Lounge: Mondays through Fridays 11 am to 8 pm, Saturdays and Sundays noon to 8 pm.
The park at Kadriorg, just over a mile east of Old Town, is pleasant and wooded, with oak, lilac, and horse chestnut trees. Long a favorite strolling ground of city residents, this green oasis is busy with cyclists and sunbathers on weekends. Italian architect Nicolo Michetti designed these gardens as well as the Baroque Kadriorg Palace for Russia's Peter the Great soon after the czar's conquest of Estonia in the Great Northern War.
Open Tuesdays through Sundays 10 am to 5 pm, May through September; Wednesdays through Sundays 10 am to 5 pm, October through April.
Perhaps the greatest pleasure of a visit to Tallinn is wandering through the beautiful Old Town (or Vanalinn). The Upper Town, sitting on Toompea Hill, the site of the Parliament buildings, enjoys great views and is generally quieter than the larger Lower Town, where most businesses and restaurants are located. In the main square, the Town Hall, built in 1322 and reconstructed in 1404, looks heavy and brooding under its upright spire. The Raeapteek, or Town Council Pharmacy, on the north side of the square, is another ancient Tallinn institution—there has been a pharmacy or apothecary shop here since at least 1422, though the present facade is 17th-century.
Tel: 372 644 1487
Situated in Town Hall Square, the Holy Spirit Church is a striking 14th-century Gothic house of worship that's still used by Lutherans today. Look up at the elaborate outdoor clock, the oldest in Tallinn, with carvings dating from 1684—it's one of the most photographed landmarks in town. Inside, intricate wood carvings decorate Baroque pews and a Renaissance-era pulpit. The first Estonian sermons were preached here after the Reformation.
Call ahead for hours.
1A Lossi Plats
Tel: 372 631 6331
Estonia's parliament, the Riigikogu, meets at the western end of Lossi Plats in a pink Art Nouveau edifice built on the solid limestone foundation where the Toompea Castle once stood. The seat of the government is in the same building. Nothing remains of the original 1219 Danish castle here, though visitors can still see three of the four corner towers of its successor, founded by the Knights of the Sword from 1227 to 1238. Thirty-minute tours (available in English) are held from 10 am to 4 pm when parliament is in session. Individuals can visit without a prior appointment; groups should call ahead (372-631-6357 or 372-631-6345). All visitors must have photo ID.