Travel: Tallinn, Estonia
Arvamus 01 Feb 2010  EWR
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Paul Tierney,
I'd been told that Tallinn was beautiful but it's hard to get the measure of a place when you touch down at midnight and there's little to see but empty streets and worn-out shop fronts. "Why you come here?" snorts the taxi driver. "Tallinn not good."

Oh dear. I'm in the Estonian capital on a recommendation and was led to believe all would be charming. I sit back and sigh, watching my breath almost freeze. It feels like no-man's land. Then, out of nowhere, the outline of medieval turrets rises above the city's old quarters as arterial roads give way to 13th-century cobbles – the reason people come here becomes obvious.

Only 15 minutes from the airport and you're in a Baltic fairytale. In fact, Tallinn's Disney-like old town, thought to be the best preserved in the world, was rightly declared a Unesco world heritage site in 1997.

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