Located along the coast, Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia in Northern Europe and has one of Estonia’s largest seaports. Although it’s one of Europe’s newest capitals, it surprisingly has over 1,000 years of history ready to be explored. With both a beach and the chance of a winter break, candlelit restaurants and museums to visit, Tallinn has something for all kinds of vacationers.
When visiting, getting around to see the sights has been made easy by the number of trams and buses Tallinn now has. You may also be surprised to know that they have free Wi-Fi pretty much across the city, even with so much of the Old Town untouched by war and still standing as it was.
So, with both history and culture to discover, you may struggle to fit everything Tallinn has to offer, but here are some of our favourite things you can see and do.
When visiting, it can be challenging to work out where to go first, but we’ve made it simple. Below are some fun things to do for couples and families.
If you can plan it right, visiting when the Song Festival is on is a once-in-a-lifetime memory you’ll never forget. Every five years, the festival grounds fill with people turn up to see the 30,000-odd singers who belt out anthems to the white, blue and black flag-waving masses. Initially started in 1869, it’s one not to miss.
If you’re not afraid of ghosts, consider taking the Tallinn Private Ghost Tour, where your guide will inform you of all the myths, legends and eerie stories. All the while, being given a chance to brush shoulders with spirits in the legendary Virgin Tower, a medieval prison and haunted streets of once peasant lower town.
Consider getting the tram out away from the Old Town and visiting the Levier Cakery, where you can take a seat outside and sample some of the exquisite treats and drinks. The macarons are a nod to France and are known to melt-in-your-mouth.
If you’re wanting to take some uninterrupted Instagram photos, visiting Kohtuotsa Viewing Platform is your perfect bet. Located on Toompea Hill, you can rest assured you’ll get unobstructed views of the harbour, bell towers, and the coloured roof tiles.
Like most cities, Tallinn offers horseback riding, festivals and many more outdoor activities. But, if you want something unique, here are our recommendations.
Perfect for getting younger ones excited about history, the Old Town is often the first place visitors want to see in Tallinn. Almost entirely untouched by war, it features stunning architecture, and even the locals dress in medieval clothing.
Incorporating light and sound, the Seaplane Harbour Museum is like no museum you’ll ever visit. With sound and light design creating a feeling as if you’re underwater, and the exhibits include the oldest shipwrecks found in Estonia, there is plenty to find entertaining and explore for all the family.
If you plan to tire out the children, consider visiting the zoo. Tallinn Zoo has a vast collection of animals with giant elephants, rhinos, monkeys, and even polar bears. There are also many exotic species and mountain sheep in the world.
In the Old Town, take a walk to see the Viru Gate. Once part of the city’s 14th-century extensive defence system, the gate towers remain to this day. Now, you’ll find the area around is also home to market stalls selling a range of things such as roasted nuts, clothes, and you’ll even find restaurants closeby.
If the weather or cold temperatures stop you from exploring, rest assured there is still plenty Tallinn has to offer inside.
Built to a design by Mikhail Preobrazhensky between 1894 and 1900 Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, a Russian Orthodox church has a distinct appearance with the black domes and red and white exterior. You can visit inside, but be sure to check service times.
Estonian’s are well known for their beer, and while in Tallinn, take the chance to sample some of their world-famous craft beers. One of the best craft breweries is Põhjala Brewery and Porgu Beer Cellar, both in Tallinn. While visiting, be on the lookout for speciality craft beer events.
While you may need to wrap up warm, the Telliskivi Creative City is worth a visit regardless of the weather. For anyone interested in seeing the creative side of Tallinn, Telliskivi transformed the former warehouses into a series of boutiques, restaurants, and cafés, and all are beautifully decorated with artistic street art.
What was once a medieval prison is now Estonia’s rich photographic history. With several permanent displays documenting the history of photography in Estonia, and a room with preserved antique cameras, you’ll have much to explore. Be on the lookout for the Minox subminiature spy camera invented in Tallinn while you’re there.
While visiting Tallinn, visiting the KGB Museum will open your eyes to history. With Estonia only gaining its freedom from Soviet occupation in 1991, this headquarters turned museum displays uniforms, spy equipment and many other things from the Soviet times. To visit, you must book in advance.
Regardless of how long you’re staying in Tallinn, a visit to Toompea Castle is a necessity. While it has been countlessly renovated, the structure is the same as it originally was. Standing atop Toompea hill, this 14th-century building is open to the public throughout the week, with even the chance of viewing a parliament session from the public gallery.
If you’re visiting from mid-November to early January, ensure you stop off at the Tallinn Christmas Market. Snow is an expected fixture of the Estonian calendar, making this quaint market in the Town Hall Square all the more unique and beautiful.
There is plenty to see and do while visiting Estonia’s capital, Tallinn. Whether that’s walking through the Port of Tallinn, feasting on their local delicacies or wandering through Old Town. Whatever you choose to do, Tallinn will leave a lasting mark on you and those with you, just be sure to try their roasted almonds, they are renowned as the best.