Raekoja Plats, Town Hall Square

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Town Hall Square

Old Town

In Tallinn all roads lead to Raekoja plats, the city's pulsing heart since markets began setting up here in the 11th century. One side is dominated 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. Many places sling pizzas, or you can still find decent (if overpriced) Estonian food. 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).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Old Town attractions

1. Tallinn Town Hall

0.02 MILES

Completed in 1404, this is the only surviving Gothic town hall in northern Europe. Inside, you can visit the Trade Hall (whose visitor book drips with…

2. Town Hall Tower

0.03 MILES

Old Thomas (Vana Toomas), Tallinn’s symbol and guardian, has been keeping watch from his perch on the town hall's weathervane since 1530, although his…

3. Photo Museum

0.03 MILES

Only enthusiasts are likely to find much of interest in this little museum housed in the former town prison. Exhibits include selections of the wider…

4. Town Council Pharmacy

0.04 MILES

Nobody's too sure of the exact date it opened, but by 1422 this pharmacy was already onto its third owner, making it the oldest continually operating…

5. Holy Spirit Lutheran Church

0.05 MILES

The blue-and-gold clock on the facade of this striking 13th-century Gothic church is the oldest in Tallinn, dating from 1684. Inside are exquisite…

6. Great Guild Hall

0.06 MILES

The Great Guild Hall (1410) is a wonderfully complete testament to the power of Tallinn's medieval trade guilds. Now a branch of the Estonian History…

7. Tallinn Museum of Orders of Knighthood

0.07 MILES

You'd have to be really devoted to phaleristics (the study of medals and military insignia) not to resent the steep admission at this niche museum, but it…

8. Draakoni Gallery

0.09 MILES

In among the guilds, beneath a fabulous sculpted art nouveau facade, this commercial gallery hosts small, often stimulating exhibitions of contemporary…