Estonia's ancient seacoast capital exudes a sense of romantic history, being one of the most completely preserved medieval cities in Europe, a gem on the UNESCO World Heritage List that is only beginning to be discovered by delighted visitors of all ages. A spirit of mystery still pervades the cobbled courtyards of the picturesque Old Town, the winding alleys overhung with original 12th and 13th century merchant's houses, barns, warehouses and a profusion of perfectly preserved medieval church and state buildings.
Tallinn, released just over a decade ago from the Soviet yoke, is certainly not stuck in the Dark Ages, however. While preserving its past the city is as forward-looking and thinking as any other modern European capital. This is probably best reflected in the interactive exhibits at the Tallinn Science and Technology Centre, the city's showcase for the arts and sciences. Public transport is modern and efficient; the nightlife is pumping from cigar bars and pool halls to nightclubs; and dining out is a tasty choice from take-away pizza and Chinese to formal French and traditional Estonian.