My most recent trip was a wonderful trip to Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia. The city really does feel like you’re walking around a fairytale, with towers in the mediaeval wall. Tallinn makes a perfect city break and the old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
How long should I spend in Tallin?
If you are visiting Tallinn, I recommend at least four days or more. There are lots of things to do in Tallinn and the main attractions are walkable or accessible by public transport. Take a good pair of comfortable trainers or walking boots. Most of the streets in the old town are cobbled – and in my experience difficult to walk through in high heels!
When to Visit Tallinn
Do think about the weather as this will impact on when to go. Tallinn is to the West of Moscow and St. Petersburg (Russia) and on the Baltic sea, so Tallin has a continental climate. In April, it was quite cold – around 6-10°C. Jeans and jumpers are fine at this time of year. You can check the weather in Tallinn here.
The good thing about visiting Tallinn during Easter is that there are less crowds. If you go in summer months, it will be warmer, but the old town can get very busy. However, I was disappointed to be too late in the year for the Husky Dog rides and the Ice Road. If you want to see these winter delights, make sure that you visit Tallinn between December and March.
You can find out more through Prangli Travel.
Think about the activities that you would like to do in Tallinn, and think about the weather. Do you like to shop or dog-sled? Do you like it busy or quiet? These factors will influence the time of year that you travel to Tallinn.
Get the Tallinn Card!
If you stay in Tallin, I highly recommend that you purchase the Tallinn Card – Click Here. This card can be purchased at visitor information centre within the old town. The Tallinn card gives you access to most attractions including museums, the zoo, the botanical Gardens and discounts in many restaurants. It also gives you access to all public transport and the sightseeing bus.
I paid €49 for a 72 hour Tallinn card (2018). If you buy the 72 hour Tallinn card in the afternoon and use it for a couple of small museums, you can actually get four days out of it. We definitely made our money back by purchasing this.
You can get a Tallinn Card for 24 hours, 48 hours or 72 hours.
5 Reasons why you should get a Tallinn Card
- When you purchase this at the Visitor centre, you will be given free maps and an explanation of what you can do in the time you have got.
- Excellent Value for Money.
- Most Tallinn attractions are free with a Tallinn Card.
- Includes public transport and sight seeing buses.
- Gives you discounts in some restaurants and the odd freebie glass of wine!
Things to do in Tallinn
Some of the most popular things to do in Tallinn include a tour of the Old Town, visiting the museums in Tallinn and a visit to Kadriorg Palace.
Tallinn Old Town
The old town of Tallinn is a great place to visit and the most famous sites include Alexander Nevski Cathedral and the Town Hall.
Raekoja Plats (Town Hall Square)
The first thing you should do is to head over to Raekoja Plats (Town Hall Square), the center of old town, where locals gather to meet their friends for a cup of coffee or a glass of beer on a nice day. On summer evenings join in with people dancing Salsa or take part in open air concerts, organized during weekends by neighbouring pubs and restaurants.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
The Tallinn cathedral, called Alexander Nevski (not to be confused with Alexander Nevski in Sofia, Bulgaria) is situated at the back of the Toompea Castle. It was built as a memorial for those who died during World War II and was opened in 1938.
Toompea Hill and Toompea Castle
Soak in Estonian history by visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites located around Tallinn (such as Toompea Castle). From Toompea Hill you will also get excellent views over the city.
Kiek in de Kok
Kiek in de Kök is a restored cannon tower from the 15th century, now museum with exhibits & tours of secret tunnels.
Mueums in Tallinn
There are about 14 museums in all, spread around the city – great for history buffs.
Viru Gate Museum
This museum gives you a great insight into Estonia’s history and tells you more about the horrible years during World War II, when things were run by Stalin.
Kumu (Museum of Contemporary Art)
Don’t miss this museum if you are interested in modern art. It was opened in 2006 as a result of a merger between several museums, including the Tallinn City Gallery and the Estonian National Museum’s contemporary art collection.
Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour
This is a Maritime Museum with a 1560’s sunken ship and a World War 2 Submarine that you can actually go inside!It’s walkable from the old town or you can jump in a taxi if you prefer.
The Estonian Open Air Museum
For those who like exploring history, then check out this open air museum which was opened in 1974 to celebrate Estonia’s 1000th anniversary. You will encounter an ancient culture from present day Estonia while walking through the museum grounds which showcases buildings that were relocated from different parts of Estonia such as Lääne County, Hiiumaa, Tartu County and Võru County.
Entertainment in Tallinn
Tallinna Lauluväljak (Singing Grounds)
If you enjoy live music, then you can include going to these grounds, which has the largest open air stage in Europe and hosts things like rock and folk festivals.
These grounds have been used for hosting outdoor events like concerts since 1869 when they were built by order of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. They were at one point used as a prisoner of war camp during World War 2, before being turned over to the Estonian SSR Council of Ministers in 1944 after Estonia regained its independence but was occupied once again by Soviet Union forces until 1991 when it became fully independent once more.
The Estonian Opera is an excellent option if you would like to experience some culture. It can be excellent value as it’s possible to pick up tickets for less than 20 euros (for 2 persons) as it is very popular with locals and tourists alike. You can get standing tickets for only 10 euros or even better, go backstage to see where all the action happens for just 15 Euros per person.
Outside of the Old Town
Spend some time visiting Kadriorg Park, where the palace stands. The palace has been built by one of Estonia’s most famous monarchs King Friedrich II of Saxony. It was designed by architect Johann Schultz.
Tallinna Teletorn (Tallinna TV Tower)
Tallinna Teletorn is another landmark that cannot be missed when planning. You will need an entrance ticket to go inside and climb 455 spiral steps but trust me, it is worth paying the ticket fee just to enjoy the view from up there.
Lahemaa National Park
This park covers an area of 559 square kilometres in Tallinn and there are some relaxing things to do such as canoeing or cycling here. It’s best not to leave Tallinn without getting a chance to see the sea cliffs and rock formations that form part of this national park.
Tallinn Night Cruise
A Tallin tour with a night cruise is offered by Tallink Silja Cruise Lines. These cruises offer great views of Tallinn at night, while many other tourists are asleep after a long day sightseeing.
Shopping in Tallinn
Shopping here is also very good, with more than 200 shopping centres and malls dotted all over Tallinn. The best things to shop for are amber jewellery and textiles. The main shopping mall is Mother Teresa Square, where you can find anythings to buy like books, antiques and clothes. Other Tallinn shopping centres include Lennart Meri Shopping Centre, Solaris Centre Tallinn, Viru Keskus Mall and Rotermann Quarter Shopping Centre.
Eating out in Tallinn
Perhaps some of the most popular eating places amongst travellers are found on and near the Town Hall square. You need to try a Medieval banquet where you can try some local delicacies including Wild Boar!
If you are looking for Asian food then Maku is said to be one of the best in Tallinn. You can get anythings to eat here, from Sushi and Peking duck to sea urchins.
A popular Tallinn restaurant that you should check out is Linnahall, which is known for its seafood and also serves meat dishes as well. It has two levels but the main dining hall can serve more than 2,000 meals at a time on both floors.
Have you visited Tallinn? Do leave your comments on my blog below. If you are looking for a hotel in Tallinn, check out the best hotels in Tallinn on TripAdvisor.