A winter’s Day in Tallinn’s Old Town

A winter's Day in Tallinn's Old Town

Over the years I have visited Tallinn many times thanks to it being only a short ferry ride from Helsinki. Each time visiting new places and getting to know the city that little bit more. Whatever my plans they always include a trip to its Old Town.

A winter's Day in Tallinn's Old Town

Tallinn’s Old Town refers to its medieval region that dates back to the 13th century in the heart of the city. Its cobbled streets, gothic architecture and well preserved city walls make it a must to people visiting the Baltic region.

A winter's Day in Tallinn's Old TownA winter's Day in Tallinn's Old Town

There are plenty of small laneways to walk and discover. You don’t need to worry about get lost because, more often than not, you end up at the Town Hall Square, home to one of the best Christmas markets, and surrounded by authentic restaurants, bars and cafes.

A winter's Day in Tallinn's Old Town

There are two great view points over Tallinn’s Old Town. They can be difficult to find but after a climb up hill and winding through the small cobbled streets you will be rewarded with uninterrupted views, even on a snowy winter’s day.

A winter's Day in Tallinn's Old Town

A winter's Day in Tallinn's Old Town

Exploring Tallinn’s Old Town can easily take a day but make sure you spare some time to travel further afield. Telliskivi, Kadriorg park and the beautiful neighbourhood of Kalamaja are all worth a visit.

A winter's Day in Tallinn's Old Town

Further Reading:

For more photos from Tallinn visit my Instagram.

Take a look at one of my other visits to the city in Doors of Tallinn.

The Many Faces of Tallinn

I was in Tallinn for the day, as many of you may already know, photographing the city for Day With A Local. I have been in Tallinn many times but this time was different. Firstly, I was alone and could explore at my leisure, secondly, I was able to see the city in a completely different way.

It started with Linnahall, an area I have always wanted to visit but never got around to, even though I have passed by it many times when leaving and returning to the port. Then as I walked through the neighbourhood of Kalamaja, pretty much by accident, I started to see a city of colour. Each building and door different from the last.

Once seeing these details there was no stopping my eyes from seeing more. As I begun walking the streets of the medieval Old Town I started to see faces hidden in the buildings themselves. Maybe it was just me, after looking for so long you can start to trick yourself, so I want to hear what you think.

Here are my best buildings with faces from Tallinn. If you enjoy them I would like to hear from you in the comments below, tell me what your favourite is or share with me a building you have photographed that has its own expression.

The Many Faces of Tallinn

The strange expression of St Nicholas Church.

The Many Faces of Tallinn

Timed this one perfectly when a passer-by appeared down the alleyway, or should I say open mouth.

The Many Faces of Tallinn

This one could be a little bit of a reach but those half circular windows in the roof definitely resemble eyes.

The Many Faces of Tallinn

Looking out of the old town. Many tourists and visitors to Tallinn’s old town come through this way. Doesn’t this entrance look surprised?

Tell me your favourite below.

Further reading:

More from Tallinn HERE, my favourite would be my visit to Linnahall.

I am a team member of Day With A Local and these photographs were taken in cooperation with them.

Another great city I recently visited was Copenhagen.

Vanhankaupunki, Helsinki Old Town

Vanhankaupunki or Helsinki Old Town is 5km from where the center of town is now situated. The town was established in 1550 by the Swedish King Gustav Vasa, as Finland was under Swedish rule at the time. By 1570 it is thought that there were around 500 inhabitants. By 1640 the town was moved from this location to its current one, for better harbour conditions in order to boost the city commerce.

Now nothing is left of the Vanhankaupunki but in its place there is a beautiful wooded park. Though, there has been construction in the surrounding area the buildings are still very impressive, old brick buildings and wooden houses, some of which date back to the 19th century but nothing anywhere near as old as 1600 and nature is still a key element here.

Vanhakaupunki, Helsinki Old Town

Monuments of the Old Town

There are two entrances to the site of Helsinki Old Town. One on Vanhankaupungintie where, in the over grown bushes, you can find an sign of how the town had looked and what was there now to mark important sites. The other entrance is between two newly built houses and seems more like the access to the rear of one of the houses.

Vanhakaupunki, Helsinki Old Town

Stairs to Gustavus II Adolphus Memorial

Either way takes you to an excellent rocky lockout and a short walk through the natural surroundings where there are a number of monuments with historical significance.


There are three monuments in the Vanhankaupunki dedicated to the Old Town and its history, the 400th anniversary of the founded of Helsinki erected in 1950, the first church and graveyard, and the memorial to Gustavus II Adolphus.

The most interesting part was the site of the old church, now marked with a replica of a gravestone of a merchant named Hans van Sanden had been found here in 1866. The stone was carved just like the original and placed in the same spot in 1890.

From here it is a short walk up hill to the top of a rocky outcrop where you can view the surrounding area. To your west the city, to your east nature. You can see the water that was once a harbour and its not hard to imagine the ships sailing in many years ago when there was little else here.

© Our Shadows Will Remain

From the site of the Vanhankaupunki It’s a short walk to the red brick Power Station and turbine from 1890. The water levels were high and it rushed over the fall crashing at the bottom and sending a spray through the air. The roaring water was loud but 50m further the sound had gone and was replaced by tranquility as the Vanta River entered Vanhankaupunki bay.

Vanhankaupunki, Helsinki Old Town

From the Power Station buildings there is a beautiful walk around Vanhankaupunki bay, where great views of the buildings can be found. From here you can also find your way to Lammassaari Nature Reserve or take the bridge across to Verkatehtaan park and back to Arabia.

Don’t forget to sit and enjoy the view with the Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg statue.

Vanhakaupunki, Helsinki Old Town

Vanhakaupunki bay and Power Station Buildings