Off the typical travel grid waits Tallinn, the capital and largest city of Estonia. It's Old Town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with many unique attractions and festivals held year round.
It was also ranked a European Capital of Culture for 2011. Since its return to independence, improving transport links and Estonia's accession to the EU, it has become a hot spot for tourists.
As a recent article in the NYTimes put it,
"ESTONIA may be one of the smallest countries in Europe, but right now its 1.3 million citizens are among the continent’s most cheerful people. Last year the country celebrated 20 years of independence from Russia and dropped the kroon in favor of the euro, and its capital, Tallinn, was celebrated as a European Capital of Culture. Unlike many other places in Europe, unemployment is down, and there’s a sense of optimism in the air, helped by companies like Skype that have their main offices here. And there’s a full schedule of cultural highlights for 2012. The list includes many music festivals — this is, after all, the country that paved the way to independence with a Singing Revolution — and the premiere in May of a ballet at the Estonian National Opera, “Modigliani, the Cursed Artist.” Throughout Tallinn, remnants of the Soviet era are being repackaged as tourist attractions, while many of the city’s chefs, inspired by the “new Nordic” movement, are busily creating a Baltic cuisine that takes traditional ingredients — from beet root to wild boar — and uses them in inventive ways. The Old Town still trades heavily on its medieval past but, throughout the city, a 21st-century vibe is becoming increasingly apparent." ("36 Hours: Tallinn, Estonia" - Stephen Whitlock)
(Image: Kadriorg Palace)
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