Tallinn City Museum
If you’re looking for a quick download of Tallinn’s history before exploring the sights, go immediately to the the City Museum (Linnamuuseum), the town’s best laid-out and annotated guide to its rich past. Small enough to cover in half an hour if you are rushing, the museum is built inside a 14th-century merchant’s house across several floors – providing a perfect background for artefacts, costumes and pictures that date from Estonia’s earliest history up until the present day.
Attractions include examples of the extraordinary crafts and treasures that made the Tallinn guilds great – while clear and informative labels in English give potted histories and explanations about Hanseatic life through the ages. Upstairs there is a comfy café, and rooms dedicated to the 20th century – its wars and troubles – as well as videos that evocatively conjure up the Soviet period in Estonia.