Welcome to Tallinn
Separated from Helsinki by only a thin strip of Baltic Sea, Tallinn stands proudly on the south coast of the Gulf of Finland. As the capital of Estonia, it plays a major role as a political and economic power that has been the breeding ground for countless startups, giving it the nickname ""The Silicon Valley of Europe."" However, the historic past of the city is a major draw: Founded in 1248, Tallinn Old Town is a UNESCO-listed wonder, surrounded by a sprawling Soviet new town. Walking tours take visitors around the stunning medieval buildings, such as Toompea Castle and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral; through Kadriorg Park; and to the imperial Russian palace at its heart. Enjoy an evening by walking on the cobbled streets and joining a beer tasting in Olde Hansa for a taste of the Hanseatic times, a flavor of old Estonia. The Pirita district's botanic gardens, marina, and beach are also worthy of attention, as well as the Pirita Convent ruins. Those going further than just a shore excursion can go 31 miles (50 kilometers) east to Lahemaa National Park, a fascinating mix of forest and swamp. Only a four-hour drive away, the Latvian capital of Riga also awaits with its mass of fine Art Nouveau buildings.