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Tourist information about Tallinn

Tallinn is Estonia's capital city and has a chocolate box charm that tourist firms dream of.

The explosion in recent years of nightclubs, drinking dens and stag party venues seems incongruous against the medieval castles and baroque architecture in the cobbled streets of the old town.

Founded in 1154, the Baltic Sea resort has switched dramatically in recent years from dead communism to raw capitalism. It emerged from Soviet occupation in 1991 and is now packed with new hotels and offices and boasts a raucously frenzied nightlife scene.

The core of Tallinn - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - is compact and easily walked, the old town circled by the remnants of medieval walls and awash with pretty cobbled streets and vaulting church spires.

Above the city centre the Toompea district is full of castles and churches with viewing platforms over the whole city.

Tastefully renovated

Key attractions are the old quarter - dubbed a 'mini Prague' - with many ancient buildings tastefully renovated. The Raekoda town hall rises above the central square and Nevsky Cathedral dominates the Toompea hillside with its memorable black domes.

Tallinn is well known as a stag party destination with Scottish football supporters credited with kick starting the city's nightlife reputation in the 1990s. The centre is now packed with bars and clubs, from noisy Irish theme pubs to chic lounge-style bars.

Booze cruises

The city is also a major destination for Finnish booze cruises with the city directly across the Baltic Sea from Helsinki. Other nearby Tallinn attractions include the former Soviet naval base at Paldkiski and the Kadroig Palace with its art gallery and beautiful gardens.

There is a comprehensive network of trams, buses and trolley buses in the city, which is so compact you hardly need to hire a car. The renovated Tallinn Railway Station has services to domestic destinations such as Narva, Parnu and Tartu, but only one international route, across the border to Moscow.

Good roads are also few in Estonia. The main E67 route south to Latvia is single lane and the E20 goes east to the Russian border. Tallinn Airport is 4km from the city centre with flights to most major European cities.