What to visit in Tallinn
Tallinn is a hidden European gem, so go before it gets crowded with tourists. There are numerous beautiful attractions, so everyone from history buffs to sports fans and artists will find something to love in Estonia's capital.
Discover with us:
What not to miss?
Tallinn’s Old Town & Raekoja Plats (Town Hall Square)
Tallinn's top attraction is, without a doubt, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town, with its medieval atmosphere and exceptionally well-preserved street network and city walls. Take your time strolling through the narrow cobblestone streets, admiring the centuries-old architecture and climbing towers, and peering into mysterious courtyards and archways, some of which conceal romantic cafés, cute shops, or secret gardens.
The Town Hall Square, once a market square and the seat of the city government, is located in the heart of the Old Town. Today, it serves as a central meeting place for the community and a venue for various events, ranging from the Old Town Days in the summer to the fairy-tale Christmas Market. In 1441, the world's first public Christmas tree was erected here.
The centerpiece of Kadriorg is Estonia's only Baroque Palace and park ensemble, which was built on the orders of Russian Tsar Peter the Great more than 300 years ago. Stroll the green promenades, gaze out at the swan pond, relax in the rose garden, or admire the Japanese garden's landscaping. The Estonian Art Museum's foreign art collection can be viewed in the majestic halls of Kadriorg Palace.
In addition to the Tsar's castle, Kadriorg is home to several museums, including Kumu (the main building of the Estonian Art Museum), the Mikkel Museum, the Miiamilla Children's Museum, and Peter the Great, Eduard Vilde, and Anton Hansen Tammsaare's house museums.
Tallinn's Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour is a marine museum with many old exhibits, including a 1930s submarine, two cinemas, and a seaplane Short Type 184. If you are interested in military equipment and Estonian history, you should visit Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour!
Kumu Art Museum
The Kumu Art Museum is one of the largest in Northern Europe and a must-see in Tallinn. All the most important works by local artists can be found here, so if you want to learn about Estonian art, this is the place to go.
Telliskivi Creative City is a popular hangout for the locals. The former factory site now houses a plethora of design stores, restaurants, and cultural institutions. Telliskivi also houses Fotografiska Tallinn, a photographic art center and satellite gallery of Stockholm's internationally renowned photography museum.
Kalamaja is located across the tramway from Telliskivi. This is one of the city's oldest neighborhoods, known for its colorful wooden houses. Stroll through the streets and soak in the bohemian atmosphere!
What else to visit?
Tallinn TV Tower
Tallinn hosted a sailing regatta during the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, and the 314-meter TV tower, Estonia's tallest building, was completed for the occasion. Today, the tower houses an experience center where you can enjoy breathtaking views, eat a light meal, visit an interactive exhibition, and even walk suspended on the tower's edge.
If you are afraid of heights, you can keep your feet firmly on the ground in the enchanting Tallinn Botanic Gardens located right next to the tower.
Toompea Hill, which towers above the rest of the Old Town, has always been a power source. The Estonian Parliament is housed in Toompea Castle. Pikk Hermann, the castle's tallest tower, is a leading symbol of Estonian statehood; the blue-black-white Estonian flag is raised from the building every day at sunrise to the tune of the national anthem.
Toompea also has several romantic observation platforms and two imposing churches: Tallinn St. Mary's Cathedral and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
St Olaf's church
Tallinn's largest medieval structure, St Olaf's Church, was named after the sainted Norwegian king Olav II Haraldsson. The church was mentioned for the first time in 1267. It became one of the leading churches in the Lower Town. It established its congregation, which was made up mostly of Scandinavian merchants and artisans, with a few Estonians thrown in for good measure.
The evangelical preachings of the church's then-chaplain, Zacharias Hasse, sparked the Reformation in Tallinn in 1523.
Tallinn's Freedom Square is an important historical site. During the Soviet era, this plaza was known as Victory Square, and it hosted all military parades commemorating holidays such as Victory Day and the October Revolution.
Estonian Open Air Museum
After learning more about Estonian history and culture, please visit the Estonian Open Air Museum and immerse yourself in it. There is no better place in Estonia to witness villagers' daily lives from the 18th to the 20th centuries. You can try traditional Estonian dishes from local cooks in an old village tavern.
How to travel there?
You can travel to Tallinn by car, bus, train, plane, or ferry. Primarily by bus, some international coaches travel through Estonia from Central Europe, Russia, and the Baltic states. Some of the essential commercial operators are Ecolines, LuxExpress, and Eurolines.
By train, while the more extensive cross-Baltic rail line is still under construction, you can take a train from Latvia or Russia. Estonian trains are spacious, comfortable, and clean, with most local operators providing free wifi.
Flights from Oslo and Stockholm to Tallinn take less than two hours. Flying from Helsinki to Tallinn takes 20 minutes, and flying from Helsinki to Tartu takes slightly less than an hour. Tallinn Airport's website has more information on flight schedules. Tallinn airport is about a 20-minute tram ride from the city center. Tram 4 and bus two run between the airport and the city center. In addition to Tallinn, domestic flights are available to Kuressaare (the capital of Saaremaa island), Tartu, and Kärdla.
Taking the ferry, The ferry ride from Helsinki will last approximately 2-2.5 hours. The ferry ride from Stockholm to Tallinn takes 12 hours. The lines are serviced by the ferry companies listed below. Tallinn's port is 15 minutes walk from the city center.
When to travel there?
While Tallinn is a popular year-round destination, May-June is the best time to visit due to various factors such as the weather, the cost of travel and accommodation, and avoiding peak holiday periods.
Tallinn's summer temperatures can reach as high as 27°C (80°F). Tallinn's average winter temperature is around -15° C (5° F).
The longest days between sunrise and sunset in Tallinn are usually in July, so plan your visit around this time if you want to make the most of your daytime activities. Tallinn's wet season typically occurs in the months preceding August each year. It's not unusual to get some decent rain or light showers during this time of year, but on some days, the weather is acceptable for most of the day, with only a few drops of rain falling from a passing shower.
How much money will you need for your Tallinn trip? You should budget around €74 per day for your vacation in Tallinn, which is the average daily price based on other visitors' expenses. Previous visitors spent an average of €25 on one day's meals and €9.68 on local transportation. In Tallinn, the average hotel price for a couple is €79. So, on average, a one-week trip to Tallinn for two people costs €1,038. All of these average travel prices were gathered from other travelers to assist you in planning your travel budget.
Where to eat?
The stylish and trendy Restoran Pull, located in the historic Rotermann Quarter, has been open since 2016. The perfectionist owners, led by three well-known grill masters, strive to serve high-quality steaks and other grilled dishes by cooking meats in their open kitchen over the fire and hot charcoal. The "Dirty Steak," one of their signature dishes, is cooked directly in charcoal.
F-Hoone is one of those incredible places everyone raves about, and judging by its comfortable shabby chic decor, it could just as quickly be in Berlin. The hip and popular café, located in a former industrial warehouse, is equally suitable for a leisurely brunch as it is for dinner in the evening.
Sveta Baar is not a restaurant in Tallinn, but it is a fun place for a quick drink during the day or a more extended session in the evening. Sveta Bar hosts various events showcasing new and upcoming artists and exhibitions and is one of the city's only LGBTQ-friendly establishments.
Nomad Resto is the final stop on this list of places to eat in Tallinn, Estonia. Their modern cuisine is unusually innovative, as Nomad constantly experiments with new and unique dishes. They take pride in offering only local and fresh ingredients.
Tallinn Music Week: 4-8 May
Tallinn Music Week (TMW) is the Nordic and Baltic region's largest indoor music festival, showcasing nearly 200 Estonian and international artists from various musical genres.
The festival in Tallinn will draw approximately 25,000 people from Estonia and abroad. Tallinn Music Week, in addition to the main events, which take place in the city's most influential clubs and concert venues, introduces the city's lesser-known sides. Tallinn will host stage concerts, the TMW Stories series, the TMW Tastes restaurant festival, and the TMW Art contemporary art program.
WRC Rally Estonia: 14–17 July
The WRC Rally, which spans almost the entire length of Southern Estonia, is undoubtedly the most extreme summer event. This is a World Rally Championship stage, which Estonia only recently won the right to organize. These high-level competitions bring the world's best racers and a large number of foreign tourists to Estonia - through TV and the Internet, Estonia's beautiful nature reaches millions of people worldwide. The event will be held in July.
Viljandi Folk Music Festival: 28–31 July
Viljandi Folk is more than just a fun festival; it also has a purpose. It brings people ancestral creations and instrumental and musical styles that would otherwise be lost in modern society in a concentrated, renewed, or authentic form. Every summer, it is an artistic medium that brings together tens of thousands of people. The high castle hills, the lake, the coziness of a small town, and the festival's energy all make for a pleasant weekend in Viljandi.
We've reached the end of the article about Tallinn. This city has an amazing atmosphere and we believe you will love it as much as we did! In the meantime, you can read other articles on our blog. How about Riga or Kaunas. Do not forget to follow us @thewalkingparrot to be always updated on the new releases. We will be back soon with a new article!