Tallinn … great romantic walks, great romantic scenery and Peter the Great’s romantic palace of love in Estonia’s tranquil Kadriorg Park

For those wishing to escape the throng of tourists in Tallinn’s beautiful medieval Old Town, or indeed the occasional “p*ssed up in Pikk” hen/stag party touring the Estonian capital, a quick trip on a tram to the classy district of Kadriorg, less than 2km east of the Old Town is the perfect place to escape to.

The tranquil park of Kadriorg (long, contented sigh)

The tranquil park of Kadriorg (long, contented sigh)

With its vast green spaces, its recently landscaped Japanese garden, its ponds and fountains and some rather nice modern museums, Kadriorg Park is a popular spot for strolling couples and picnickers. The biggest draw of the park however, is undoubtedly Kadriorg Palace:

The beautiful baroque Kadriorg Palace ... with plenty of parking space at the front for delivery vans

The beautiful baroque Kadriorg Palace … with plenty of parking space at the front for delivery vans

Tallinn Kadriorg Palace side close up

The notorious and rather extravagant Russian Tsar ‘Peter the Great’ built the palace and its stunning French gardens for his beloved wife Catherine I after conquering Estonia in the early eighteenth century. He named the area in honour of Catherine, ‘Kadriorg’ meaning ‘Catherine’s Valley’ in Estonian. Today, the baroque and delightfully over-the-top palace is a public art museum housing Estonia’s largest collection of 16th – 20th century Russian and West European art.

Contrary to this nineteenth century copy of the Venus de Milo by its entrance, visitors are welcome with (metaphorical) open arms inside Kadriorg Palace

Contrary to this nineteenth century copy of the Venus de Milo by its entrance, visitors are welcome with (metaphorical) open arms inside Kadriorg Palace

Kadriorg Palace's grandiose Main Hall. All that's missing is Liberace

Kadriorg Palace’s grandiose Main Hall. All that’s missing is Liberace

...

I stared at the Main Hall's  ceiling for ages as it was so lovely. Eventually, I was asked by the palace staff to get up from lying on the floor

I stared at the Main Hall’s ceiling for ages as it was so lovely. Eventually, I was asked by the palace staff to get up from lying on the floor

One of the palace corridors with examples of Russian art, pottery  and furniture on display

One of the palace corridors with examples of Russian art, pottery and furniture on display

A rather delightful early nineteenth century Russian Master Armchair. I particularly like the black swan armrests

A rather delightful early nineteenth century Russian Master Armchair. I particularly like the black swan armrests

As well as its permanent collections, the palace also presents temporary art exhibitions where the artist and/or the art on display have strong links with Estonia. In May 2014, the palace displayed works by the silhouette portrait artist Eveline von Maydell who had lived and studied art in Estonia until 1918.

One of her favourite subjects: silhouette portraits of children by Eveline von Maydell

One of her favourite subjects: silhouette portraits of children by Eveline von Maydell

...

He looks like an uncle of mine

He looks like an uncle of mine

Just beyond the palace, a short walk further into the park is the Estonian Presidential Palace, the official home of the country’s president. Understandably, the Presidential Palace is not open to the public, but the changing of the honour guards on the steps of the palace can be watched daily at noon.

The Presidential Palace. More 'Pink House' than White House

The Presidential Palace. More ‘Pink House’ than White House

Preparing for the daily noon 'changing of the honour guards' at the Presidential Palace

Preparing for the daily noon ‘changing of the honour guards’ at the Presidential Palace

Tallinn Kadriorg Presidential Palace changing of the guard three guards

Well done men. Now, if anyone calling themselves 'Putin' comes a-knocking any time soon, don't let them in

Well done men. Now, if anyone calling themselves ‘Putin’ comes a-knocking any time soon, don’t let them in

If a stroll along the shore is more desirable than a stroll in the park, then the Baltic sea is only a stone’s throw away from Kadriorg. Arguably, it is not the prettiest stretch of coastline in Estonia but it is a good place for, amongst other things, ferry-spotting.

Some might say it's a blot on the landscape, and one certainly can't miss it. But I think the Tallinn-Helsinki Tallink Shuttle ferry is a rather lovely sight with its very pleasant pepper-green and orange colour-scheme, breaking up an otherwise dull, grey Baltic horizon

Some might say it’s a blot on the landscape, and one certainly can’t miss it. But I think the Tallinn-Helsinki Tallink Shuttle ferry is a rather lovely sight with its very pleasant pepper-green and orange colour-scheme, breaking up an otherwise dull, grey Baltic horizon

Ferry nice indeed

Ferry nice indeed

Trams 1 and 3 going east along Narva maantee (there’s a tram stop close to the Hotel Viru) terminate at the gates of Kadriorg Park.

Kadriorg Palace, Gardens and Museum are open daily to the public. Details of opening times, ticket prices and exhibitions can be found here (in English).

There are other places of interest within the park also, including the Kumu (Kunstimuuseum), the House of Peter the Great and the Mikkel Museum, details of which can be found at the official Visit Estonia website here.

TLT x


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