Image by Walter Bibikow Getty Images

Raekoja plats has been the pulsing heart of Tallinn since markets began here in the 11th century. One side is taken is taken up by the Gothic town hall, while the rest is ringed by pretty pastel-coloured buildings dating from the 15th to 17th centuries. Whether bathed in sunlight or sprinkled with snow, it's always a photogenic spot.

All through summer, outdoor cafes implore you to sit and people-watch. Come Christmas, a huge pine tree stands in the middle of the square just as it did in 1441 when local guild the Brotherhood of the Blackheads erected the world’s first publicly displayed Christmas tree (a claim hotly contested by Rīga).