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Baltic States

Tallinn

Tallinn is situated on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, in north central Estonia. The largest lake in Tallinn is Lake Ülemiste (covers 9,6 km²). It is the main source of the city's drinking water. Lake Harku is the second lake within the borders of Tallinn and its area is 1,6 km². Unlike many of the large towns, the only significant river in Tallinn is located in Pirita (city district counted as a suburb). The river valley is a protected area because of its natural beauty. A limestone cliff runs through the city. It is exposed, for instance, at Toompea and Lasnamäe. However, Toompea is not a part of the cliff, but a separate hill. The highest point of Tallinn, at 64 meters above the sea level, is situated in the district of Nõmme, in the south-west of the city. The length of the coastline is 46 kilometres. It comprises 3 bigger peninsulas: Kopli peninsula, Paljassaare peninsula and Kakumäe peninsula.

Since independence, improving air and sea transport links with Western Europe and Estonia's accession to the European Union have made Tallinn easily accessible to tourists. The picturesque old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the current novelty of the destination attract many tourists and facilities (hotels, restaurants) have developed to meet their needs. English is widely spoken within the tourist areas. The local transport system is good Note that Estonia has made rapid economic progress since independence and that this is reflected in local prices. Although not extortionate, neither are prices as cheap as in other former Eastern Bloc countries.The local tourist office sells the "Tallinn Card" which gives the holder free local public transport and entry to most attractions. Although the economics of this may be marginal, it is convenient to use. Local walking tours offer short-cuts to understanding the city. The main attractions are in the two old towns (Lower Town and Toompea) which are both easily explored on foot. Eastern districts around Pirita and Kadriorg are also worth visiting and the Estonian Open Air Museum (Eesti Vabaõhumuuseum) near Rocca al Mare, west of the city, preserves aspects of Estonian rural culture and architecture. Lower Town area is one of the best preserved old towns in Europe and the authorities are continuing its rehabilitation after years of neglect. The "must see" sights include Raekoja plats (Town Hall square), the town walls and towers (notably "Fat Margaret" and "Kiek in de Kök") and St Olaf church tower (124 metres).