Travel News: White nights in Estonia's capital

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The Independent Travel

Now that England's relieved football team and fans are home from Estonia, the capital is returning to normal. Tallinn is further north than John O'Groats and Alaska's state capital, Juneau, which means that at this time of year it gets almost continuous daylight – ideal for exploring the old town.

Furthermore, this summer Tallinn (right) is augmented by two welcome new additions. In the heart of the city, an impressive 19th-century building has been handsomely resurrected as the Hotel Telegraaf. The property, at Vene 9 (00 372 600 0600; www.telegraaf-hotel.com) was the site of the first post and telegraph centre for the newly proclaimed Republic of Estonia in 1918. Part of it was destroyed in the Second World War, but the damage was repaired during the conversion to a luxury hotel. Bookings are heavy, though rooms are available on most nights at €215 (£153) double, including breakfast. The hotel's features include a spa, 10m swimming pool, sauna and Wi-Fi. Unusually, given the tensions between Estonia and Russia, the restaurant offers Russian cuisine and is named the Tchaikovsky.

In addition, the city's first synagogue since the Second World War has opened on Karu Street just east of the city centre. The dramatic new £1m structure replaces one destroyed by Soviet bombers in 1944. Tirana and Podgorica are now the only European capitals without a synagogue.

Air fares to Tallinn vary as much as beer prices in the city's Old Town. Book six months in advance and you can find plenty of fares at around £70. Buy a couple of weeks before departure and it will often be hard to pay less than £300 return for direct flights on Estonian Air or easyJet – and that does not include the coffee on board.

Indirect routings via other Continental or Scandinavian cities may save cash. Travelling via Prague, it is often possible to spend the day there en route, taking a morning flight from Britain and an evening one onwards.

A final option: get a cheap flight to Helsinki, and take the two-hour boat trip from the Finnish capital to Tallinn. The ideal time to make this approach is in the evening as the sun sets over the Old Town.

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