The legend says: Tallinn is a city that is constantly being built, and if the builders forget about their duties, then the elderly man from Lake Ülemiste will flood it. Nowadays, residents of the capital of Estonia, remembering the old legend, construct new buildings and improve the city’s ecological environment every year. Recently Tallinn has received the title of European Green Capital 2023. According to the Air Quality Index (AQI), Tallinn is one of the cleanest cities in the world. Public green areas make up approximately 25% of the city’s total area. There are about 50 parks and historic gardens, many of which are located near the center and the Old Town. Tallinn is an ideal place for sustainable travelling, sports and relaxation. With the help of an experienced guide, Julia Konyeva, we have prepared five interesting routes for running and exploring the Estonian capital.
Route 1. Old town
The Old Town of Tallinn is surrounded by a circle of green areas and parks, which were created in the second half of the 19th century, when Tallinn (back then – Reval) was excluded from the list of military fortresses, and the moat that had surrounded the entire city since the Middle Ages was covered with soil. You may start your sports day anywhere in the Old Town, depending on the location of the hotel where you are staying.
We will start jogging in the Baltic railway station area (blue line on the map), from the Tower Square, which got its name from the medieval defensive towers of the city wall. In summer, Tower Square hosts the International Flower Festival and various cultural events.
We continue running along the medieval wall and turn onto Lai (Wide) street, which leads to Pikk (Long) street. On the way you will see the Church of St. Olaf – Oleviste (123.7 m high): according to some sources, in the 16th-17th centuries it was the tallest building in the world!
For more effective training, we suggest running to Toompea (Upper Town). Here you will have to overcome the ascent along Pikk-Jalg (Long Leg) street, 291 m long. The street is convenient for running: it has a good, flat, sloping surface.
Upper Town is located on Toompea Hill, which is 20–30 meters higher than the surrounding area. Having run along Piiskopi (Episcopal) street to the Patkuli viewing point and taking a short “drinking” pause, admire the magnificent view of the medieval wall, towers and harbor that open up to you.
By the way, if you need some drinking water while jogging, there is one of the public points recently installed by Tallinna Vesi company in Harjumägi Park. All points are marked on an interactive map, where you can find the nearest one on your route. A total of ten public drinking water taps have been installed throughout Tallinn. (They may be closed during the winter time.)
Going down the Patkuli stairs (157 steps), you will find yourself in Toompark, near the Shnelli pond. There is a complex of outdoor fitness equipment, which we have already written about here, where you can add muscle-strengthening exercises to your workout.
You can extend the running route (red line on the map) along Nunne (Monastic) Street past the Town Hall Square, where the oldest and most well-preserved Town Hall from the beginning of the 15th century is located. So you will run to Freedom Square.
If you wish to increase the training load and see some more sights of Tallinn, for example, the Kiek in de Kök tower, you will have to climb the steps of the Mayer stairs to Upper Town. Having run around the Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, you will see the building of the Government of Estonia. You can go down to Freedom Square along the Commandant’s road.
Having passed the Freedom Monument and moving along Harju Street towards the Town Hall Square, turn onto Kuninga Street and keep running towards the Viru Gate. On Aia Street, you will see the oldest Kalev SPA sports pool. There is a stunning fitness-friendly hotel and water centre Kalev Spa Hotel & Water Park.
Along Pikk (Long) Street, running past the Fat Margaret Tower (this is a significant landmark of Tallinn and an architectural monument of the 16th century), you can return to the starting point.
Get other Tallinn running routes here:
We are grateful to the Tallinn guide Julia Konyeva for her help in preparing the text of this article!
For interesting excursions around Tallinn and Estonia contact Julia by phone: +372 55518691, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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