No two trips to Europe are alike. This intriguing continent boasts endless possibilities, from places to visit and notable attractions to explore! Its epic history, picturesque natural landscapes and fascinating cultures can attest to Europe being home to some of the most remarkable destinations in the world. Although holiday-goers flock to some parts more than others, the less tourist-laden areas are no less enchanting. In fact, they are even more worthy of exploring!
Regions such as The Balkans, as well as countries such as Russia, house a myriad of monuments and landmarks that will give you opportune chances to walk amidst living history. Within this area, you can find both charismatic medieval cities amidst stunning natural hidden gems that will certainly leave you awestruck. The seamless blend of the old world versus the modern city centre is one that is exceptionally captivating.
Without further ado, here are ten incredible experiences in Europe that you must check off your bucket list.
You’re in a strange emotional place at the beginning of the year.
You’re sad about going back to work after the Christmas break but you’re hopeful for the changes a clean slate promises. You also feel kinda guilty for overindulging during the holidays so you try to be healthy, but then you’re bored because you’re trying to avoid tasty food and booze!
It’s a struggle, but there is a way to make yourself feel better — book your next holiday immediately.
However, your funds are probably pretty low this side of payday so you need to find someplace cheap, which is why we’ve put together this handy little list.
To make your holiday even cheaper we’ve teamed up with Circle to give a lucky member of our audience free flights and transfers for two to one of the destinations we’ve listed.
From the reinvented to the relatively unknown, it’s time to plan your next getaway.
With each new year, people all over the world optimistically set their resolutions for the twelve months ahead. From establishing fitness routines to setting money-saving objectives, most tend to boil down to becoming better versions of ourselves. For some of us, one of those goals is to travel more, and with a bank of replenished vacation days, now is the perfect time to start narrowing down where to go in 2018.
While hot spots like Iceland and Thailand may have blown up your Instagram feed in 2017, this year will be all about discovering the world’s newest up-and-coming destinations—and trust us, there are plenty of incredible contenders. From reinvented capitals to secluded island getaways, here are the top under-the-radar destinations for 2018.
I last visited Tallinn in 2000 on a whirlwind tour of Scandinavia. Seeing that Tallinn was a short ferry trip from Helsinki I couldn’t resist paying a visit. I didn’t get to visit the rest of the Baltic nations on that trip, so I returned to Tallinn to start my Baltic tour.
This time I arrived in Tallinn by air. Tallinn airport is 5km from the city, and if flights are landing from the west then you will fly past the old city and the harbour (sit in an A-seat for the view).
The airport is small, and I waited 2 minutes to get my passport stamped. After recently passing through the circus that is Heathrow, this small and friendly airport was a welcome change.
Estonia’s capital city is the perfect holiday hub for music lovers.
From the latest indie rock bands and avant garde composers to the once-banned folk songs that sparked a revolution, Tallinn is the perfect port for music lovers looking to expand the annual festival route or capture their love of music with kids in tow. With a rich history and picturesque views of sea and city, the Estonian capital has long been one of the gems of the Baltic region.
Celebrating their 100-year anniversary of independence in 2018, now is the perfect time to explore the country so musical that it has quite literally shaken off an occupation with a Singing Revolution. HELLO! couldn’t wait to explore the wealth of festivals, fine dining and fascinating history with a harmonious weekend away earlier this year.
Once a Soviet territory, the old town of Tallinn, a vibrant, bustling hub of history and culture, is just perfect for a day trip.
History does not tell us whether the Margaret whose name identifies the artillery tower in old Tallinn was indeed obese, but the structure itself has sufficient girth to have acquired this appellation on its own merit. Fat Margaret was built about 500 years ago at the entrance to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, one of the best preserved old cities of Europe, with the intention of scaring wannabe invaders away. That did not seem to have helped much, because after centuries of foreign domination, by one country or the other, only in 1991 did Estonia finally become free.
When I thought to visit Estonia, I came up short for guidebooks. I found collections on all three Baltic states, or else Estonia was lumped in with guides for Scandinavia.
It seemed to me, however, that this country deserved more, in part to recognize some intriguing contradictions. Estonia, I knew, was the birthplace of Skype technology. Tallinn, however, had last year been honored for its elegance and heritage, as a European Capital of Culture.
Then there were the stag parties I’d heard about, of Brits and Finns prowling Tallinn’s cheap bars, much like what one sees in Prague. Yet I’d also read that when you visit, you somehow feel the distress of Tallinn’s occupations, the triumph and thrill of its liberations. It’s on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and rightly so: Only one street of the Old Town was razed during German air raids in World War II, so much of what you see is what has been around since the 13th century, with careful restoration, obviously.
Tallinn is a medieval wonderland. The capital of Estonia isn’t on a lot of people’s bucket list but anyone at all interested in history, architecture or art will love this place.
The central attraction is Old Town, a medieval walled city filled with old buildings and fortifications. The sheltered bay and the easily defended Toompea Hill made it a natural place to settle. Sometime about 1050 A.D. a fortress was built atop the hill, the first of many. In 1219 the Danes showed up as part of the Northern Crusade to subjugate the Baltics and convert the local pagans to Christianity whether they wanted to or not.
The Danes improved the fortifications and expanded the town, which became part of the Hanseatic League, a trading organization of a hundred northern cities. The Danes sold Tallinn to the Livonan Order, a branch of the Teutonic Knights, in 1346. The Swedes came next in 1561. Tallinn weathered plague and the Great Northern War and became part of Russia in 1710. In 1918, Estonia declared independence from Russia and fought a bitter war against Bolshevik Russia.
It may not be a prominent place in a global traveller’s map but Estonia is certainly one of the youngest and most vibrant countries with its capital Tallinn being the centrepiece. With its mesmerizing blend of old world charm and modern day glitter and glitz, the Estonian capital comes as an elaborate and extensive platter for any travel connoisseur.
Old Town, eternal charm
A thousand year-old-settlement still standing tall even after numerous attacks, bombardments and having undergone several leadership changes with the Danes, Germans and the Russians taking over the fortified old town, the capital city is strategically positioned at the crossroads of trade between Western and Northern Europe and Russia. An UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Town, fortified with city walls and 66 defence towers, is Tallinn’s biggest draw. Time stands still when you walk down the twisting cobblestone lanes, surrounded by Gothic spires and colourful, gabled medieval buildings, half-hidden courtyards, towering, grandiose churches and Brobdingnagian walls, dotted with stone guard towers.
Readers offer their most useful advice and tips for stays in Tallinn, the Estonian capital.
Tallinn is a gem of a city and has been luring me back repeatedly since my first visit in 2005. The picture-perfect medieval Old Town is a Unesco World Heritage Site and deservedly so. Explore its narrow streets and alleyways and discover art galleries, craft and vintage shops and indulge in a coffee and cake en route at the gorgeous Café Josephine (Vene 16).
Visit the splendid Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, built during the Russian empire, or the Kadriorg Palace, the former palace of Peter the Great) and now a renovated art museum, to get a real flavour of Estonian history.
There’s a wide variety of good-value and stylish hotels at decent prices. My favourites include the contemporary Nordic Forum (Viru Väljak 3; nordichotels.eu) and Baltic Hotel Vana Wiru (Viru Street 11; vanawiru.ee), in the heart of the Old Town. There are plenty of restaurants: the Olde Hansa (Vana Turg 1; oldehansa.ee), complete with waitresses in medieval dress, though touristy, is none the less great fun.