Just a 90-minute hi-speed ferry ride from Helsinki across the Gulf of Finland, Tallinn Estonia is an engaging blend of high-tech conveniences and medieval charm. While most visitors are drawn to Tallinn’s astonishingly well-preserved (and UNESCO World Heritage-listed) Old Town, what may surprise you is that Tallinn is one of the most high-tech cities on the planet. It’s the birthplace of one of my favorite technologies, Skype, and leads the world in free public wi-fi. Tallinn is also home to the best developed e-government system anywhere. Tech-savvy locals enjoy a multitude of services from banking to parking at the touch of their mobile phones. Visitors can also take advantage of these services with hotel, restaurant and sight-seeing information available right from their mobile phones. My visit to Tallinn was a mix of luxurious high-tech amenities at the Swissôtel Tallinn Estonia and hours spent exploring the cobbled streets of Old Town. A climb up the never-ending spiral staircase to the top of St. Olaf’s Church for panoramic views of the town was the highlight of my two-day visit. Tallinn is a city that will surprise you and a worthwhile side trip on any visit to Scandinavia.Read More
My 90 minute high-speed (hydrofoil) ferry ride from Helsinki across the Gulf of Finland was smooth and very pleasant. As we neared the coastline of Estonia, I could easily make out the cathedral spires of Old Town.
Situated just 50 miles south of Helsinki, Tallinn seems a world away. A former member of the Soviet Eastern Block, Estonians regained their independence in 1991. Since becoming a member of the European Union in 2004, the capital city of Tallinn has boomed. In fact, for the 3rd straight year, Tallinn has been ranked as one of the Top 7 most intelligent communities in the world.
Dubbed the “Silicon Valley of the Baltic Sea” by the New York Times, Tallinn boasts free WiFi throughout its city streets, paid parking via SMS and numerous other technological innovations. The country is also home to the founders of SKYPE.
What would seem to be a stark contrast – an authentic medieval Old Town surrounded by gleaming skyscrapers and high-end shopping – seems to blend easily in Tallinn adding to its character and lending it diversity as a unique travel destination.Read More