Tallin

An enchanting city centre
The cobbled market square
The late-medieval Town Hall

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Tallin

An ancient Hanseatic port

Tallinn, Estonia’s compact, buzzing capital, with its enchanting heart surrounded by medieval walls, has been shaped by nearly a millennium of outside influence.
A cruise of the Baltic Sea with MSC Cruises can take you to visit the heart of Tallinn, its Old Town, still largely enclosed by the city’s medieval walls. At its centre is the Raekoja plats, the historic marketplace, above which looms Toompea, the hilltop stronghold of the German knights who controlled the city during the Middle Ages.

Raekoja plats, the cobbled market square at the heart of the Old Town, is as old as the city itself. On its southern side stands the fifteenth-century Town Hall (Raekoda), boasting elegant Gothic arches at ground level, and a delicate steeple at its northern end.

Near the summit of the steeple, Vana Toomas, a sixteenth-century weather vane depicting a medieval town guard, is Tallinn’s city emblem. The well-labelled and informative museum inside the cellar hall depicts Tallinn town life through the ages, and there is a good view from the belfry. For an even better view of the town square, climb the spiral staircase of the Town Hall Tower.

The fourteenth-century Church of the Holy Ghost (Puhä Vaimu kirik) on Pühavaimu is the city’s oldest church, a small Gothic building with stuccoed limestone walls, stepped gables, a carved wooden interior, a tall, verdigris-coated spire and an ornate clock from 1680 – the oldest in Tallinn.

Contrasting sharply is the late Gothic St Nicholas’s Church (Niguliste kirik), south-west of Raekoja plats. It now serves as a museum of church art, including medieval burial stones and the haunting Danse Macabre (“Dance With Death”) by Bernt Notke.

Must see places in Tallin

  • Old Town and Oleviste Church

    Old Town and Oleviste Church

  • Local woodland

    Local woodland

  • The open air museum

    The open air museum

Discover our excursions

5 results found

  • CYCLING IN ROCCA AL MARE MUSEUM

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

    TAL05

    This entertaining and leisurely biking tour through the Estonian Open Air Museum, located in Rocca al Mare a short distance to the west of Tallinn city centre, offers visitors a fascinating glimpse at life in a rural-cum-fishing village in 18th-century Estonia. After putting on your safety helmet and mounting your bike, you will follow your guide around the museum complex, which recreates how village life was back in the day with a collection of 72 buildings – 12 farmyards, a church, an inn, a schoolhouse, several mills, a fire station and a net shed – over an area of 79 hectares. Your cycling tour then continues through the lovely Estonian coastal countryside, characterised by its verdant pine trees. Following your cycling tour, you will also have some time to shop prior to your return coach transfer to the port. Please note: tour guide available in English only. As this tour involves approx. 2.5 hours of cycling, it is not suitable for guests with mobility or health problems. Guests will visit the Kadriog-Pirita region at the place of Rocca al Mare on 24.06.2015 (MSC Sinfonia).
    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      3 h

    • Adults$59.00Price per person

    • Children$45.00Price per person

  • TALLINN HIGHLIGHT

    CITY TOUR

    TAL02

    Start with a drive through the cultural centre of Tallinn and then along the medieval city wall that encompasses the Old Town. Walk up to the Nevsky Cathedral to admire the panorama of the Kiek in de Kök Tower, Neitsitorn before walking downtown. Enjoy a free time shopping for souvenirs or relaxing in the Town Hall square. Then you will board a bus and drive along the main thoroughfare to the central park of Kadriog. We will stop to take photographs at the Song Festival Grounds and continue with a drive through a beautiful residential area to reach the “Pirita Marina” which hosts splendid international regattas every year and was the site for the yachting Olympics. External visit of St. Birgit’s Convent before heading back to the port. Please note: conservative attire recommended for visiting sites of religious importance. Wheelchair users can take part as all sites are wheelchair-accessible with the exception of Nevsky Cathedral (about 12 steps). A helper to get on/off the coach must accompany wheelchair guests. Wheelchairs must be foldable, as the coach has no ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.
    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      3:30 h

    • Adults$72.00Price per person

    • Children$52.00Price per person

  • TALLIN & OPEN AIR MUSEUM

    CULTURE AND HISTORY

    TAL01

    Join us on a fun day out of sightseeing by coach and on foot. Begin with a walking tour around Tallinn old town. Starting in the Upper town you can note the impressive Toompea Castle, presently the seat of the Parliament; visit the Russian Orthodox Church of Alexander Nevsky and the Gothic Dome Church. Enjoy magnificent views of the Lower town with its gabled roofs. Descend to the Lower town where you will continue your tour passing by highlights such as the Town hall, the XV century pharmacy, the Great Guild, the Blackheads Brotherhood House and many homes of medieval merchants. After a typical Estonian lunch, enjoy free time for shopping in an Estonian arts and crafts store. Continue to “Rocca al Mare”, the Open Air Museum for a scenic hike through the forest and to see authentic examples of the local XVIII and XIX century rural architecture. Return to the ship. Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair as long walking on uneven ground is involved; there are some 12 steps and no ramp at the Orthodox Cathedral. Only 1 drink of choice included in the lunch. Conservative attire recommended for visiting sites of religious importance. Only cameras without a flash allowed inside Dome Church. Guests will visit Viimsi Open Air Museum at the place of Rocca al Mare on 24.06.2015 (MSC Sinfonia).
    • Lunch or dinner included

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      6 h

    • Adults$125.00Price per person

    • Children$89.00Price per person

  • THE ART AND ARCHITECTURE OF TALLINN

    CULTURE AND HISTORY

    TAL03

    Leave the port and drive through the cultural centre of Tallinn. Proceed to the old town to admire the skyline of the Cathedral Hill before walking up to the Palace Square to view Toompea Castle, now home to the Estonian Parliament, and visit Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, inaugurated in 1900 and filled with an array of superb religious icons. You can enjoy a panoramic view of Tallinn Lower town from the viewing terrace. Back on the ground we will board the coaches and drive to the exquisite Kadriog Palace for an interesting visit. Continue to the Song Festival Grounds and on to the Olympic Pirita Marina where splendid international regattas are hosted each year. On your way back to the port you will pass the famous Estonian mermaid monument, Russalka, and the summer residence of Count Orlov. Please note: conservative attire recommended for visiting sites of religious importance. All sites are wheelchair-accessible with the exception of Nevsky Cathedral (about 12 steps) and of the third floor of Kadriog Palace. A helper to get on/off the coach must accompany wheelchair guests. Wheelchairs must be foldable, as the coach has no ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.
    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      3:30 h

    • Adults$72.00Price per person

    • Children$52.00Price per person

  • RETRACING TALLINN’S HISTORY: SEAPLANE HARBOUR & CITY
    SIGHTS

    SOMETHING SPECIAL

    TAL08

    A short coach drive from the port will take you to the Seaplane Harbour, a treasure trove of maritime history made up of the sort of incredible stories that only life can tell. The fascinating museum includes rare examples of Estonian navigational history such as the Lembit submarine. Constructed in 1937, the Lembit sub was the world’s oldest submarine still afloat until 2011. You will also have a chance to see the icebreaker Suur Tõll, which dates back to 1914, and the Maasilinn shipwreck which dates back to the mid-16th century. After another coach transfer to the Upper Town, a walk will take you to Nevsky Cathedral for an internal visit of the late 15th-century Kiek in de Kök artillery tower. Then it’s on to the Lower Town on a route that includes highlights such as the town hall, the 15th-century pharmacy and elegant Great Guild building, the Renaissance-style Blackheads’ Brotherhood House and many former homes of medieval merchants. You will then have some time to explore the St. Catherine’s Arts and Crafts Centre before you return you to your ship. Please note: conservative attire recommended for visiting sites of religious importance. All sites are wheelchair-accessible with the exception of Nevsky Cathedral (about 12 steps) A helper to get on/off the coach must accompany wheelchair guests. Wheelchairs must be foldable, as the coach has no ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.
    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults$72.00Price per person

    • Children$52.00Price per person

The excursions in the program above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this program is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise.
Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.

 

Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

Estonia

Between spas and the Middle Ages
Between spas and the Middle Ages

An MSC Northern Europe cruise to Estonia is a mix of urbanity and wilderness, of the medieval and the contemporary, with crumbling castles and colourful design permeating urban landscapes.


An efficient transport system makes it easy to get around, and the tech-savvy, dynamic residents welcome visitors with open arms. Friction between older generations of Russians and Estonians is a throwback to the Soviet era, while younger people mix freely. Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, has a magnificent medieval centre and lively city life, rivalled only by that of Tartu, an exuberant university town. Pärnu, a popular seaside resort, boasts fantastic sandy beaches. For inexpensive spa treatments, a fine castle and unspoilt countryside head for the island of Saaremaa, while Lahemaa National Park, outside Tallinn, offers a taste of pristine wilderness.

In the summertime, Estonia becomes a haven for water sports: windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing or simply hitting the beach. Hiking, biking and horse riding are popular both on the Estonian mainland and on the islands off its coast, such as Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. Almost twenty percent of Estonia is protected land, divided between four national parks and numerous nature reserves, which are home to many species of wild animals and birds.  

 
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