People come to Tallinn expecting a quaint medieval town sleepily emerging from its Soviet past, and instead they get a Baltic tiger with enough charm and chutzpah to make it one of the new Europe's hottest city destinations.
The old town alone makes Tallinn worth a visit. One of Europe's best-preserved medieval centres it is irresistibly photogenic. Toompea Hill is at its very heart; it was here that knights of the 12th century founded the city. This is also the highest point in the city, and the ramparts of the old walls afford magnificent views over Tallinn.
Although the city authorities quite rightly emphasise Tallinn's medieval heritage, there is much more to Tallinn than well-preserved history. Local inhabitants appear much more interested in the future and have wasted little time in catching up with the rest of Europe. The bars and cafes would fit into any modern world capital, while the classical entertainment is of the highest quality.
The Soviet occupation denied Tallinn the prosperity and modernity so successfully acquired by its Scandinavian neighbours, but at the same time inadvertently preserved much of the city's charm. But things are changing, and changing fast. Tallinn has become the ideal European city break destination - it combines all the charm and visual appeal of an historic centre with the infrastructure and conveniences of a 21st century city.