CNN Travel’s 20 Best Places to Visit in 2020

(CNN) — Whether you want to relax on a remote island off the coast of Africa, ride Germany’s coolest trains or spot howling monkeys in South America, there is much to explore heading into a new decade in 2020.
Japan will be hosting the Summer Olympics, Jamaica will be marking the late Bob Marley’s 75th birthday, and Washington will be on pins and needles for much of the year preparing for the US presidential election.
But the world is clearly in upheaval. As CNN Travel editors gathered to nominate some of their favorite places for their annual list, AND 2 of our favorite destinations at the Baltic Sea are included in their top picks!

Come and see us in Tallinn, Estonia and Copenhagen, Denmark in 2020 with Nordic Experience

A safe way and enjoyable way to tour, is with a local guide full of passion, spark, knowledge and enthusiasm, and oh boy do we have the fantastic guides for you at Nordic Experience. We have built an incredibly close network of brilliant people, who are ready to take on the world, once it´s back on it´s feet.

Estonia, book your private tour in Tallinn, Estonia here: Tallinn Tours

Don't be surprised if you hear more about Northern European country's bustling food scene in the new year.


Don’t be surprised if you hear more about Northern European country’s bustling food scene in the new year. Courtesy of Visit Estonia

While Estonia may not yet be synonymous worldwide with haute cuisine, this Nordic-like country in Northern Europe can hold its own.

Don’t be surprised if you hear more about its bustling food scene in 2020. Most notable is the Bocuse d’Or Europe, a live cooking contest that pays homage to the late French chef Paul Bocuse, happening in late May. Estonia has participated in the culinary show for a decade, but this is the first time the country will play host to it.

With more than 100 restaurants on the White Nordic Guide (a restaurant guide featuring the best of the best in Nordic and Baltic countries), Estonia’s allegiance to homegrown and homemade is evident in such Tallinn restaurants as O, a fine dining spot with a Nordic-nature inspired menu.


20 beautiful European cities with hardly any tourists

In spite of a thriving and growing food and drink scene, Estonia is, perhaps, better known for its beauty and natural, wide-open spaces. Outdoor enthusiasts could plan an entire trip around Estonia’s comprehensive bog network. Since the country is relatively small (about the size of New York state) with a small population, it makes for seamless, uncrowded and affordable explorations. All camping facilities, for example, are free!

Add a smattering of spas, a bevy of castles and ancient, silent forests, and it’s not hard to see why Estonia is on the rise.


Don’t miss: No matter which part of town visitors stay in, Tallinn’s Old Town is worth a wander. –– Stacey Lastoe

To see the best of old town book our Tallinn Old Town Walking Tour.


Book your private tour in Copenhagen, Denmark here: Copenhagen Tours

Best Ideas on How to Spend Three Days in Tallinn?

A three-day city guide to Tallinn is all you need for your discoveries to the best of the Estonian capital

We have put together a list of some of the must-see sights, museums, trendy neighborhoods and must-visit cafes for  your next visit to Tallinn. We are here pleased to answer any questions you might have to give your Estonian experience a memorable twist. If a local expert is what you are looking for, book one of our charming and entertaining tour guides to show you around here: Tallinn Tours 
A top tip: If you plan to use public transport and visit several museums, consider purchasing a Tallinn Card, a sightseeing pass that includes free entry to Tallinn’s top museums and free use of public transport. Plus, you don’t have to wait in line to buy the tickets! 

Day one: Tallinn’s Old Town and Kalamaja

Tallinn’s unique medieval Old Town is the perfect place to start your trip. Divided into the Lower Town and Upper Town (the hill of Toompea), the area is quite big yet still compact enough to explore on foot.
You can easily spend an entire day discovering the Old Town, but recommend getting the best of local legends, intriguing ghost stories, architectural marvels and stunning views reviewed on a 2-hour Tallinn Old Town Walking Tour, which would leave you an afternoon of exploring on your own through the colorful wooden houses, bohemian cafés, trendy shops and the impressive Seaplane Harbour museum at Kalamaja.
Image result for seaplane harbor
Did you know? The most exciting maritime museum in Europe is located in the Seaplane Harbor!
About 200 authentic items are on display at the historical seaplane hangar: a submarine called Lembit, a century-old icebreaker Suur Tõll, a seaplane called Short 184, remains of the oldest ship found in Estonia, and much more. There is also cafe MARU and a museum shop. Globe-trotting in a submarine, having your picture taken in a navy uniform, an aquarium, simulators, throwing paper airplanes, a children’s corner with drawing tools, building blocks, an authentic sailboat, and an outdoor playground – programmes and materials meant for independent visits are playful and broaden the horizon of children and adults alike.
Tour the stunning coast of north Tallinn, walk the streets of Kalamaja and visit the unique concrete dome hangars on our Bohemian Kalamaja & Seaplane Harbor Museum Tour.

TOP three things to do in the Old Town

1. Wander around the ancient cobblestone streets. In addition to the impressive medieval defense system, the area’s top sights include the only intact Gothic town hall in Northern Europe, the oldest continuously operating pharmacy in Europe (since 1422), numerous churches, viewing platforms and much more. You can just walk around aimlessly, sit in one of the many cute cafés and take in the fairy-tale-like surroundings, or go for a more structured approach and try to check these top sites off your to-see list:

Tallinna Raekoda & Raekoja Plats (Town Hall & Town Hall Square )
Raeapteek (Town Hall Pharmacy)
Katariina käik (St. Catherine’s Passage)
Masters’ Courtyard
Niguliste Muuseum (St. Nicholas’ Church)
Oleviste kirik ja torn (St. Olav’s Church and Tower)
Holy Spirit Church
Toompea Castle
Kohtuotsa viewing platform
Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin (Dome Church)
St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

2. Enjoy the views. Visit one of the numerous viewing platforms on Toompea hill, climb a Gothic church tower, or for a complete medieval immersion, visit some of the ancient defence towers – for example, at the Kiek in de Kök Fortifications Museum, you can not only walk on the town wall from one tower to another, but also explore the fascinating, hidden underground passages. For a guided visit we recommend our Bastion Underground Passages & Tallinn Lower Old Town Private Tour.

Patkuli &  Kohtuotsa viewing platforms
Piiskopi viewing platform
Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin (Dome Church’s) Tower
Kiek in de Kök Fortifications Museum
Oleviste kirik ja torn (St. Olav’s Church and Tower)
Tallinna Raekoja torn (Town Hall Tower)
Tallinn Town Wall: Nunna, Sauna and Kuldjala towers

3. Visit a museum. Tallinn’s Old Town is dotted with fascinating museums, such as the Tallinn City Museum, the Great Guild Hall of the Estonian History Museum, the Estonian Museum of Applied Arts and Design, and the KGB prison cells. If you are interested in recent history, go to the Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom on the edge of the Old Town.’

Estonian History Museum – Great Guild Hall
KGB Prison Cells
Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom
Niguliste Muuseum (St. Nicholas’ Church)
Kiek in de Kök Fortifications Museum
Estonian Museum of Natural History
Estonian Health Care Museum


How to get to the Old Town?

  • From the airport: Tram number 4 and bus number 2 take you directly to the city centre, just a five-minute walk from the Old Town.
  • From the port: The Old Town is located walking distance (15-20 minutes) from the main terminals.


Located just outside the Old Town, Kalamaja is sure to charm you with its bohemian atmosphere, local vibe and unique ability to make the most out of its industrial heritage.
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TOP three things to do in Kalamaja

1. Take a stroll around the streets of Kalamaja to see the area’s trademark colorful wooden houses. Head to the streets of Valgevase, Kalju, Kungla, Köie, and Niine for the most charming examples. For a break, stop at one of the cafés dotted around the area or stop by the Balti Jaam railway market`s street food court.

2. Enjoy a meal or do a bit of design shopping in the uber cool Telliskivi Creative City. In addition to a large choice of shops, restaurants and street food, Telliskivi is home to some of the trendiest event venues and galleries in town, including the Tallinn branch of the renowned Fotografiska, the Swedish Museum of Photography.

3. Or stop by the Noblessner seafront quarter, the up-and-coming district on the other side of Kalamaja, which counts amongst its residents a restaurant with a Michelin-starred chef, a top-level local craft brewery, an art café, and a beloved Estonian-Norwegian home design brand.

Balti Jaam (Baltic Station) Market

Kalamaja Park

Patarei Prison exhibition area

Telliskivi Creative City

Fotografiska Tallinn

Telliskivi Indie Shops


Põhjala Tap Room


In addition to the Tap Room, you can visit Põhjala’s beer and merchandise shop or join one of the regular tours to the brewery. Tours must be booked in advance and are given in English and Estonian, with Finnish and Russian available upon request.


Founded by four Estonian beer enthusiasts in 2011, the Põhjala Brewery exports its craft beers to more than 30 different countries and has been named among the world’s top 100 breweries by the international online beer guide


Image result for põhjala tap room


Shishi’s impressive flagship store in the historical Port Noblessner will get you inspired to decorate. Shishi is an Estonian-Norwegian home decor brand offering vases, artificial flowers and trees, candelabras, candles and a wide variety of Christmas products.

Navitrolla Gallery

Navitrolla’s art career began in the early 1990s. He used elements of both the naivist and surreal style in his early work and he still considers his works to be a combination of these styles, which he calls naviism. As an artist, Navitrolla is extremely versatile: he does oil painting, graphic arts, sculptures, and gigantic murals.
The gallery, which was opened in 2000 and only exhibits the work of Navitrolla, is located at Peetri 5 in the Noblessner Quarter.

How to get to Kalamaja?

  • Kalamaja and the Telliskivi Creative City are located at a walking distance (15-30 min) from the Old Town, just across the tracks of the Balti Jaam railway station. You can also take trams number 1 or 2 from the city centre to the stop Telliskivi.
  • For the Seaplane Harbour and the Noblessner seaside district, opt for bus number 73 (stop Lennusadam for the museum and Noblessneri for the district).

Day two: Kadriorg and Pirita


Kadriorg is a green, upscale residential area located just a short tram ride away from the center. Named after the wife of Peter the Great, Catherine I, the neighborhood is home to a baroque palace established by the emperor himself, the city’s favorite park and Estonia’s best art museums. Book a local private guide for a tour of Kadriorg here: Tallinn Private Old Town Walking Tour and Kadriorg Park & Pirita.

TOP three things to do in Kadriorg

1. Do as the locals and enjoy the scenery at the Kadriorg park. In addition to a swan pond, fountains, canals and several different styles of gardens, the 300-year-old park hides many historic buildings. Among them is the 18th-century summer palace established by Peter the Great, now home to an art museum, and the Estonian presidential palace. If you wander a bit further, you will arrive at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds, home to the Estonian Song and Dance Celebration, which brings together up to 34,000 performers and 200,000 spectators every five years.

2. Visit a museum. In addition to Kadriorg palace, the park is also home to the headquarters of the Art Museum of Estonia – KUMU – which serves both as a national gallery and a center for contemporary arts. The nearby Mikkel Museum displays an interesting array of foreign art and porcelain donated by a private collector, Johannes Mikkel.

3. Discover the neighborhood around Kadriorg park. The surrounding streets are lined with ornate wooden villas – not surprising for an area that was once the first seaside resort of the Russian Empire. If you wish to get a sense of how people used to live in Kadriorg, stop by one of the area’s museums of Estonian writers: Anton Hansen-Tammsaare’s house from the 1930s or Eduard Vilde’s residence in an 1850s villa.

How to get to Kadriorg?

  • Take tram number 1 or 3 from the city centre to the stop Kadriorg.
A tip: After a long day by the seaside, return to the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a nice meal or a drink at the sleek and trendy Rotermann Quarter in the city center. We recommend restaurant Nomad located at Roseni 9.

Day three: Day Trip from Tallinn to Saaremaa & Muhumaa islands or a day at the Lahemaa National Park

Hiking or walking – whatever your activity of choice, Estonia’s nature will take you through beautiful national parks, forests, bogs and along the sea. Breathe some of the purest air in the world and follow in the tracks of fox, rabbits and moose as well as some of the most striking manor complexes and local folklore in Estonia. The following tours are ideal for a day trip from Tallinn.
Tour includes
6h Private tour guide
6h Lahemaa sightseeing tour by car/bus
2- course lunch
Photo stop at Jägala waterfall
Entrance’s to Palmse Manor and Käsmu Maritime Museum
This is a perfect alternative of a shorter day trip to discover Lahemaa National Park pearls of Palmse Manor and Käsmu captain´s village with the romantic charm of North Estonian countryside.

2. Day Trip to Muhu & Saaremaa Islands

Tour includes
12h private tour guide
12h private vehicle
Sightseeing tour to Muhu and Saaremaa islands
Entrances to Angle Windmill Park, Kuressaare Castle and Pädaste manor park
Visit to St Katherine´s Church of Muhu
Visit to Kaali Meteorite Crater
Ferry tickets
2-course lunch and beer, local ham, cheese and bread tasting at Angla Windmill Park
Visit to Pädaste Manor Park

3. Our Finnish neighbors in Helsinki are just a short boat ride away. The ferry connections run almost every hour (depending on the season) and take you from coast to coast in 2-2.5 hours. For more information about ferry booking your Tallinn to Helsinki Day Trip, see here: Tallinn to Helsinki Day Trip and Walking Tour

Tour includes
3h private tour guide services
Transfer from hotel to port & port to hotel in Tallinn
Round-trip ferry tickets
3h Walking tour & tram ride in Helsinki
Entrance to Rock church
1 h transportation pass of Helsinki

Tallinn’s Raeapteek: One of the oldest pharmacies in Europe turns 597!

Tallinn Town Hall Pharmacy celebrates its 597th birthday

Town Hall Pharmacy opened in 1422. This curious little shop on Town Hall Square is, in fact, the oldest continuously running pharmacy in Europe.

Want to hear about the health and medicine in medieval Tallinn and try claret, book your tour with us here: Health and Medicine in Medieval Tallinn Private Excursion.

Ten generations of the same family, the Burcharts, operated it from 1581 to 1911. It was so famous in its day that the Russian czar used to order medicines from the pharmacy. Remedies sold at the pharmacy during medieval days included snakeskin potion, mummy juice and powdered unicorn horn (for male potency). But this was also a place to buy everyday items like jam, tea, claret, gunpowder and, most importantly, marzipan. Marzipan was one of the pharmacy’s best sellers, one that local legend insists was actually invented as a curative here in the 15th century. Marzipan was also known to cure broken hearts. Brave ones can try it out even today as the historic site still operates as a pharmacy, selling modern products. Its side room houses an interesting display of 17th- to 20th-century medicinal bric-a-brac. Everyone can step in for free to see the exhibition and admire a medieval house from inside.

The pharmacy (the Estonian name, Raeapteek, literally means “municipal pharmacy”) has been continuously operating in the same premises in Tallinn Old Town since 1422 – it was first mentioned on 8 April that year. In a town council’s notebook, there is an entry by a chemist named Nuclawes who stated that the owners of the pharmacy are ten honorable men, the majority of whom are aldermen.

For over 300 years, from 1582-1911, spanning ten generations, the business was a run by the Burchart family. The association started when a Hungarian immigrant, Johann Burchart Both Belavary de Sykava, moved to Tallinn from the present-day Bratislava and obtained a lease from the town council to run the pharmacy.

The Burcharts were well educated and often were not only pharmacists but also doctors, hence playing a significant role in the city life. Their fame became so great that in 1725, the Russian czar, Peter the Great, reportedly called for Johann Burchart V to attend to him on his deathbed – however, the czar died before Burchart reached St Petersburg.

Due to the pharmacy’s location just on the opposite of the Town Hall, some important decisions were also taken here.

Food was also on display – such as candies, cookies, preserves, marzipan and jellied peel. When tobacco was brought to Europe and eventually to Estonia, the pharmacy was the first to sell it. One could even find a glass of Klaret – a locally sugared and spiced Rhine wine.

Wolf guts and burnt hedgehogs
Today, Raeapteek also has a museum where the visitors can see the necessary tools of the pharmacist, as well as examine some strange ingredients that were used for making drugs hundreds of years ago: prepared wolf guts, rabbit ears, earthworms in oil, burnt bees, viper fat, dried toads, swallow nests, dog feces, billy goat blood, spirit with rough woodlouse, frogspawn band aids, stallion hooves, burnt hedgehogs and fresh chicken egg shells.

In the basement of the pharmacy is a historical warehouse, where interesting workshops are organised for both school kids and adults. There is a possibility to mix together different infusions, try making marzipan and do other interesting things.

Apart from being the oldest still-active pharmacy in Europe that has been continuously operating in the same premises, Raeapteek is also the oldest company in Estonia that has worked continuously in the same premises.


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