Tallinn, the administrative centre of Estonia, is a medieval city nestled against the Baltic Sea. Using its picturesque historic Old Town that goes back to the 13th century, it’s been drawing in tourists because the fall of the Soviet Union.
Cheap flights, cheap prices, and the wonder of Prague without the crowds have made Tallinn an attractive weekend getaway for Europeans.
I visited the town on a journey from Finland – there’s a frequent ferry service between your two cities – and was enamored because of it. It was a mixture of Nordic and Baltic culture with a lot of what to see and do.
On top of that, it had been super affordable!
Although city has turned into a little more crowded and expensive within the last year or two, it’s still among my favorite places in your community. It’s peaceful and wonderful: the folks are open and relaxed and the united states is super tech-forward (they provide e-residency services designed for digital nomads).
That will help you maximize out of your trip, listed below are the best what to see and do in Tallinn – from the super touristy to off the beaten trail!
1. Have a Free Walking Tour
Among the best actions you can take when you get to a fresh city is to have a free walking tour. They’re the best way to find out about a destination and its own history while consuming the primary sights.
Not merely will it provide you with a solid introduction to the town but you’ll access an area guide who can answer every questions you may have.
EstAdventures includes a few different free tour options, including general walking tours, tours centered on the city’s communist past, and street art tours. Just be sure to tip your guide!
2. Estonian Maritime Museum
Founded in 1935 and located in the historic 500-year-old building, this museum highlights the annals of Estonia’s maritime culture. The primary attraction may be the interactive Seaplane Harbour exhibition, with a Short 184 seaplane and also the steam-powered icebreaker Suur Toll.
And don’t skip the 1936 submarine Lembit, the only surviving Baltic warship from before WWII (and among only two submarines in Estonian naval history). There’s also an aquarium, ship miniatures, and a flight simulator. It’s a great and educational place for adults and kids alike.
Vesilennuki tee 6, +372 6200 550, meremuuseum.ee. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm; closed Monday. Admission: 15 EUR.
3. Glehn Park & Castle
Glehn Park, on the Nomme hillside, houses medieval-style Glehn Castle. Built-in 1886, both park and castle were created by Nikolai von Glehn, a rich and eclectic man known for his unusual taste in decoration (such as for example tables and chairs carved like figurines, large statues, and an obelisk before his house marking the grave of his favorite horse).
Unfortunately, the majority of the castle was looted during World War I, so none of the initial furniture pieces he created remain. However, you’ll still reach start to see the statues he built due to the park. There’s also an observatory tower and palm house, that includes a gorgeous mosaic rooftop. It’s an excellent place to relax, get a walk, or go skiing during wintertime.
Vana-Mustamäe 48, +372 652 5076, ttu.ee/organisatsioonid/glehni-loss. The building isn’t available to the public since it is currently used for events (weddings, conferences, receptions, etc.).
4. Tallinn Town Hall & Square
Tallinn’s Gothic town hall may be the oldest in the Baltics. Completed in 1404, it has a 64m spire topped with a weather vane of a vintage warrior (named Old Thomas), a Tallinn city guard and hero from the 16th century who fought in the Livonian War.
You can climb the spire to 34 meters (111 feet) from May through September. The inside of the city Hall is available to visitors as a museum only during July and August; inside, you’ll reach see colorful designs on the walls, intricate wood carvings, and stunning arched ceilings as you find out about the town and its own history.
The encompassing plaza is a good spot to people-watch and it hosts plenty of activities and markets over summer and winter.
Don’t skip the annual five-day Tallinn Old Town Days festival held in-may. It’s focused on the cultural heritage of Tallinn and includes themed days such as for example Medieval Day and Children’s Day, along with numerous workshops, music, and theatre performances.
Raekoja plats, Kesklinna linnaosa (City Center), +372 645 7906, raekoda.tallinn.ee/. Open weekdays from 10am-4pm. Advance reservations required. Admission is 5 EUR.
5. Tallinn Museum of Photography
Hidden amidst the cobblestone streets of Tallinn, this small museum is saved in the 14th-century prison. It targets Estonia’s history of photography with a permanent exhibition including antique photos and cameras from 1840 – when photography first made its way to Tallinn – to 1940.
You can even have a look at contemporary photography from modern-day artists in lots of of the museum’s rotating exhibits. It’s an extremely small museum, but super interesting even if you’re not really a huge photography buff.
Raekoja 4/6, +372 644 8767, linnamuuseum.ee/fotomuuseum. Open Saturday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10am-5pm, Thursdays from 12-8pm, and Sunday from 11am-4pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
6. Estonian Open-Air Museum
Located quarter-hour from the town center by car, this open-air ethnographic museum recreates what life was like in Estonia’s rural countryside. It’s a life-sized rural village made up of farms, a wooden chapel, a school, fire station, shop, and an inn that highlights how families from different social classes lived through the 18th and 19th centuries.
There’s plenty to accomplish, from eating a normal Estonian meal to riding a horse to going for a workshop. It’s open throughout the year, but you should go through the summertime when it’s warm! It’s also among the best things you can do in Tallinn with kids. Download the mobile app Numu for a free of charge audio guide while you’re at the museum.
Vabaõhumuuseumi tee 12, +372 654 9100, evm.ee/est/avaleht.Open daily from 10am-5pm. Admission is 8 EUR. Free entrance with a Tallinn Card.
7. Ichthus MEMORIAL
That is among Tallinn’s best-kept secrets. It’s saved in the depths of St. Catherine’s Dominican Monastery, which goes back to 1246. On arrival, turn right toward steep steps that take you in to the cellar. The confined space used to contain three wings, called the Claustrum, that housed monks in the 13th century.
Today, the area can be used by artist Aleksandr Savchenkov, who sells his original artwork from the cellar. As you wander about you’ll also start to see the ‘Energy Pillar’, which is situated in the ancient monastic chambers and is reported to be a way to obtain spiritual well-being.
Müürivahe Tänav 33, +372 5559 5920. Admission is free; however, donations are accepted.
8. Epitaphs of the Cathedral of Saint Mary
The lands of the church date back again to the 13th century, although current building itself is from the 17th. Why is it unlike almost every other churches is that coats-of-arms epitaphs hold on the walls of the church rather than more traditional religious artwork or decorations.
Historically, they were used as headstones for folks of importance, such as for example nobles and knights. They reflect the folks of status who were buried on the lands.
Actually, the first man who ever led a Russian voyage all over the world, Admiral Adam Johan von Krusenstern, is buried here. Climb the 69-meter (226-foot) bell tower to have a beautiful view of the town.
Toom-Koolitänav 6, +372 644 4140. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-3:30pm, closed Mondays. Admission is 5 EUR for adults and 3 EUR for children. Dress respectfully as that is a location of worship.
9. Estonian Architecture Museum
The Estonian Architecture Museum was established in 1991 through the fight for Estonian independence. The museum is situated in the Rotermann Salt Storage building, that was built-in 1908 (and reconstructed in 1995 with multiple additional floors for the museum).
Its galleries now feature drawings from the 1920s, together with over 11,500 archived items (such as for example drawings and sketches) plus some 18,000 items within their photo collection. There are always some interesting rotating exhibits here too.
Ahtri tänav 2, +372 625 7000, arhitektuurimuuseum.ee. Open Tuesday-Sunday 11am-6pm, closed Mondays. Admission is 6 EUR.
10. TV Tower
Adrenaline junkies will receive a kick out of visiting it Tower. Not only do you want to have an unbelievable bird’s-eye view of Tallinn from the very best, which stands 314 meters (1,030 feet) tall, nevertheless, you may also try the Walk on the Edge experience. Hop right into a harness and step beyond the tower onto the exposed deck. It’s the best open deck in Northern Europe and will be offering both an incredible view and an enormous rush!
IT Tower was constructed when Tallinn was chosen as a bunch city for sailing through the 1980 Moscow Olympics. It closed in 2007 for renovations and reopened in 2012. It has floor-to-ceiling windows (not ideal if you’re afraid of heights) to help you really soak in the view in addition to touch-screen information panels to help you find out about the tower and the town.
The tower hosts many events, such as for example music concerts and the annual Stair Set you back mark the anniversary of its reopening.
Kloostrimetsa tee 58 A, +372 686 3005, teletorn.ee. Admission is 13 EUR and the Walk on the Edge costs 30 EUR.
11. Telliskivi Creative City
The Telliskivi Creative City is a workplace for over one thousand people, with artist’s studios, a radio station, rehearsal spaces, and NGO offices, all situated throughout ten repurposed factory buildings. Telleskivi hosts a flea market every Saturday, and there are over 600 cultural events over summer and winter, including dance performances, music concerts, and improv theatre.
There are colorful murals on a lot of the buildings and you’ll also find restaurants and bars filled with locals and tourists alike. Ensure you eat at Peatus (“Stop” in Estonian) for an extremely unique experience: it’s located inside two old Soviet railcars (and the meals is fantastic too!).
Telliskivi tänav 60a, Pohja, Tallinna linnaosa.
12. Bastion Tunnels
These tunnels were initially built-in the 17th century as an addition to the Kiek in de Kök (Peek in your kitchen) tower, and were designed for storage. They later held prisoners and were used as shelters against air raids during World War II.
In newer history, thieves and rebels used them for shelter because the police usually avoided the tunnels. These were cleaned out and exposed to the general public in 2004. If you’re brave enough, you can explore the winding maze of the dark, damp tunnels on a guided tour when you go to the tower.
Komandandi tee 2, +372 644 6686, linnamuuseum.ee/kiek-de-kok. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm (Thursday until 8pm), closed Monday. Admission is 14 EUR.
13. Toompea Castle & Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Toompea Castle dates completely back again to the 9th century and happens to be utilized by Riigikogu, Estonia’s Parliament. The east wing includes a brightly colored white and pink exterior in baroque style, as ordered by Empress Catherine the fantastic in 1773. The opposing side still has its medieval stone exterior. The Estonian flag is raised above the tower at sunrise each day.
You may also go to the nearby Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. It opened in 1900 through the Czarist Empire and houses Tallinn’s largest bell (it weighs 15 tons). The impressive exterior showcases Russian Revival architecture using its onion-shaped dome. The inside is decorated with colorful mosaics and stained-glass windows and has three ornate altars.
Toompea Castle: Lossi plats 1a, +372 631 633, riigikogu.ee. On Thursdays at 11am, there’s a 45-minute English-language tour of the castle. Admissions is free if you have to reserve your spot beforehand.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral: Lossi plats 10, +372 644 3484, cathedral.bg/en/home. Open daily from 7am-7pm. Admission is free. Dress respectfully since it is a location of worship.
14. Soviet Statue Graveyard
The Soviet Statue Graveyard, located near Maarjamäe Castle, contains a assortment of discarded statues, such as for example those of Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, and Mikhail Kalinin. Following the Soviets left Tallinn, these were dumped here and ignored.
You’ll find large statues of heads (a classic Soviet statue trend) and others that tower over three meters (ten feet) tall. It’s a surreal spot to visit – particularly when you understand it hasn’t even been 30 years since Estonia achieved independence and these statues were left to fade into history.
Pirita tee 56, 10127, ajaloomuuseum.ee/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/noukogude-aegsete-monumentide-valinaitus. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm, closed Monday.
15. KGB Museum
Rooms used by spies through the Soviet era take a seat on the most notable floor of the trendy Hotel Viru, situated on Viru Square. They house listening and recording equipment (some cleverly disguised), dial telephones, uniforms, and a typewriter.
Few people ever knew these rooms existed, plus they were only exposed in the 1990s when the KGB fled the town. They reveal precisely how controlling and subversive the Soviet government was through the occupation.
Viru väljak 4, +372 680 9300, viru.ee/en. Open daily from 10am-5pm. The guided tour begins in the hotel lobby.
16. Ingest the View
To find the best view in the town, check out Kohtuotsa viewing platform. It’s on Toompea Hill and will be offering the very best view of the town and harbor. You’ll also often find buskers here, rendering it a nice spot to end your day watching the sunset.
Tallinn remains among the best destinations in Europe. It’s a great and lively city home to quirky museums, hidden art exhibits, and beautiful architecture.
Go enjoy all of the wonderful things you can do here.
Book Your Visit to Estonia: Logistical Guidelines
Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s because they search websites and airlines around the world and that means you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you need to remain elsewhere, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. The best hostel in the town is:
- Tallinn Backpackers – That is a lively, social hostel that means it is easy to meet up people given that they have a pub crawl every evening. The staff are excellent too!
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Photo credit : 3 – Vladimir Varfolomeev, 4 – Holger Vaga, 5 – Pudelek, 6 , 7 – Sander Säde, 8, 9 – Zairon, 10 – Nosser, 11 – Sheila Dee, 12 – Relkmsaiia, 13 – Narva69, 14 -Diego Delso, 15