With so many destinations touted as ‘the next food capital’, Estonia's Tallinn has flown under the gourmet radar, overshadowed by its Michelin-starred New Nordic neighbours. Or possibly by misconceptions about its cuisine: isn’t it just stodgy dumplings and vodka?
It’s Friday at 8pm and, somewhere in the Baltic Sea, a ferry is sailing through icy waters. There is a party aboard: pints of beer are being slung in an on-board pub where people are frolicking to a two-man band playing a selection of contemporary hits. Adults are popping open cans of something boozy and then getting behind the wheel of an arcade game, or simply sipping a few in the Arctic wind on an open-air deck.
Tallinn’s impossibly picturesque Old Town is understandably one of the city’s main attractions. Churches with pinnacles that pierce the skyline, bustling squares, coiling laneways and lavish merchant houses vie for attention within the medieval city walls. Highlights such as the Town Hall Square, Toompea Castle (now home to Estonia’s parliament), and the Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral shouldn't be missed, but step outside the confines of the well-trodden Old Town and there's plenty more of Tallinn to be explored.