Searching for the best things to do in Tallinn, Estonia for the ultimate Baltic holiday? Keep reading!
Tallinn, Estonia’s capital, is an absolute gem on the Baltic Sea that totally took me by surprise in the best way possible. Let me tell you, it’s like stepping into a time machine! The cobblestone streets, the buildings, the restaurants, and hey, you might even spot some locals in medieval get-ups.
Tallinn’s got this unique vibe, mixing Eastern European charm with a dash of that cool Scandinavian style. It’s seriously a must-visit place if you’re into soaking up history and feeling like you’ve landed in a fairytale land.
Discover the top 10 things to do in Tallinn and prepare to fall in love with this magical city.
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10 Best Things to Do in Tallinn, Estonia
Explore Tallinn Old Town (Vanalinn)
Exploring Tallinn’s Old Town (Vanalinn) is one of the best things to do in Tallinn for every visitor. This well-preserved medieval gem is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and there is typically no entrance fee to enjoy its enchanting streets.
Tallinn Old Town is a step back in time, with its winding cobblestone streets, centuries-old buildings, and iconic landmarks. It’s a captivating fusion of history and modernity, where you can explore medieval fortifications, visit quaint shops and cafes, and admire well-preserved Gothic and Baroque architecture.
The area’s unique atmosphere is perfect for leisurely strolls, cultural exploration, and enjoying traditional Estonian cuisine. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a culture buff, or simply seeking a picturesque and atmospheric setting, Tallinn Old Town offers a truly immersive experience in the heart of the city.
Visit Toompea Castle
- Open Hours: 8:30 AM – 5:15 PM Monday – Friday. Closed on weekends.
- Entrance: Free
Toompea Castle, located atop Toompea Hill in Tallinn, Estonia, is a historic and beautiful building well worth a visit. The foundations of this castle were established in the 13th and 14th centuries and it now houses the Parliament of Estonia.
Toompea Castle offers a glimpse into Estonia’s political heart, where its government functions. The castle’s significance in Estonian history and the chance to appreciate its stunning architecture and scenic overlooks make it a must-visit. The viewing platforms provide an excellent vantage point for capturing memorable photos of Tallinn’s enchanting skyline and are especially beautiful during sunrise or sunset.
Entrance to the castle itself is generally not open to the public as it houses the Estonian Parliament. However, the surrounding area, including the viewing platforms, are accessible free of charge. Guided tours are also offered to visitors free of charge and can be taken in Estonian, Russian or English. Visiting this castle is one of the top things to do in Tallinn!
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
- Open Hours: Entrance to the cathedral is generally free of charge, and its opening hours may vary. It’s advisable to check the latest schedule before planning your visit.
- Entrance: Free
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tallinn, Estonia, is a remarkable architectural and cultural landmark that should not be missed. Located in the heart of Tallinn’s Old Town, it is easily accessible on foot and visiting is one of the best things to do in Tallinn.
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a pure example of Russian Orthodox architecture, featuring striking onion domes and intricate interior decorations. Visitors are welcomed to admire the ornate beauty and soak in the spiritual atmosphere. The cathedral’s historical significance adds depth to your exploration of Tallinn’s diverse cultural heritage.
Go On a Day Trip to Helsinki
Going on a day trip to Helsinki from Tallinn is an exciting opportunity to explore another vibrant capital city. Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is just a two-hour ferry ride away from Tallinn, making it an easily accessible and captivating destination.
The cost of the ferry ride from Tallinn to Helsinki can vary depending on the ferry company, class of travel, and time of booking. It’s advisable to check with the ferry operators for current prices and schedules. Ferries typically operate throughout the day, providing flexibility for day-trippers. My ferry was €35 round trip booked on Direct Ferries.
Helsinki offers a unique contrast to Tallinn with its modern architecture, bustling markets, and Scandinavian charm. You can explore iconic landmarks like the Helsinki Cathedral, visit renowned museums such as the Ateneum Art Museum, or enjoy a leisurely stroll along the waterfront.
Savoring Finnish cuisine and experiencing the Finnish way of life are additional highlights. A day trip to Helsinki allows you to discover two captivating Baltic capitals in a single adventure, making it an enriching and memorable experience for travelers.
Visit the KGB Museum
- Open Hours: 10 AM – 4 PM Monday – Friday
- Entrance: 0-9 years old: Free, 10-15 years old: €6.50, 16+: €13.00
The KGB Museum, also known as the “Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights,” is a must-visit for those interested in Estonia’s complex history during Soviet occupation. It is situated in Tallinn’s Old Town and visiting is one of the top things to do in Tallinn.
The museum offers valuable insights into Estonia’s struggle for independence during Soviet rule. It houses exhibits and artifacts related to the KGB’s activities in Estonia, shedding light on the period of occupation.
Visiting this museum provides a deeper understanding of the resilience and determination of the Estonian people to regain their freedom, making it an essential stop for history enthusiasts and anyone interested in the nation’s past.
Admire the City Walls
Admiring Tallinn’s City Walls is a captivating experience that allows you to step back in time and are one of the best things to do in Tallinn. The City Walls encircle Tallinn’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and there’s no entrance fee to enjoy their presence.
The City Walls themselves are always visible and can be explored at any time of day or night. However, if you wish to access the wall’s towers and walk along the defense walls, you should check the opening hours at the specific tower you plan to visit.
Tallinn’s City Walls are not only well-preserved but also offer picturesque views of the Old Town and the surrounding areas. Walking along the walls and through the towers provides a unique perspective on the city’s history and layout. It’s a fantastic opportunity for history enthusiasts, photographers, and anyone seeking a glimpse into Tallinn’s past.
Immerse Yourself in the Medieval Culture
Immersing yourself in Tallinn’s medieval culture is a captivating journey back in time that you can’t miss. You can visit museums like the Tallinn City Museum and the Estonian History Museum to delve deeper into the city’s past.
Walk around the old town and soak in the well-preserved medieval ambiance, savor traditional Estonian cuisine, and absorb the rich heritage that defines this enchanting city. One of the best places to visit to really soak in the medieval culture is Restoran Olde Hansa. Here you can experience an authentic medieval meal by immersive music costumes and dishes cooked according to 700-year-old recipes.
Venture to Kadriorg Park
- Open Hours: 24 hours
- Entrance: Free
Venturing to Kadriorg Park is a serene and enriching experience in Tallinn, Estonia. Located in the eastern part of the city, it is easily one of the top things to do in Tallinn.
Kadriorg Park is a peaceful oasis boasting meticulously landscaped gardens, fountains, and picturesque pathways. It’s home to the impressive Kadriorg Palace, commissioned by Peter the Great, which now houses the Kadriorg Art Museum.
The park provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, making it ideal for leisurely walks, picnics, and enjoying the beauty of nature. Visitors can also explore the Kumu Art Museum, showcasing Estonian art, within the park’s vicinity. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply seeking relaxation, Kadriorg Park offers a delightful blend of culture and natural beauty.
Sample Local Food
Sampling local food in Tallinn is a delightful way to savor the flavors of Estonian cuisine and immerse yourself in the city’s culinary culture. You can experience traditional Estonian dishes and international cuisine at various restaurants, cafes, and street food stalls scattered throughout the city.
Estonian cuisine is a fusion of local flavors and international influences, featuring dishes like herring, black bread, marinated eel, and hearty stews. Be sure to try the local specialty, kama, a sweet porridge-like dessert.
Dining in Tallinn allows you to taste the country’s unique food traditions and appreciate the farm-to-table approach that many restaurants take. Plus, it’s an excellent opportunity to engage with locals and enjoy the city’s vibrant food scene, which offers something for every palate and budget.
Have a Drink in Town Hall Square
Having a drink in Town Hall Square is a quintessential Tallinn experience. Located in the heart of the Old Town, this historic square offers a vibrant atmosphere, and there’s no entrance fee to enjoy its charm.
Town Hall Square is the epicenter of Tallinn’s Old Town, surrounded by colorful medieval buildings, including the iconic Tallinn Town Hall. It’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the city’s ambiance. Enjoying a drink at one of the cafes or bars that line the square allows you to people-watch, admire the architecture, and experience the lively spirit of Tallinn.
During the summer months, the square often hosts outdoor concerts, festivals, and cultural events, making it a hub of activity and a wonderful place to unwind while savoring the city’s unique atmosphere.
Where to Stay in Tallinn
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