Tallinn, Estonia is a charming and underrated European destination that should be on every traveler’s radar.
This city is steeped in history and culture, with a well-preserved medieval Old Tow and STUNNING surrounding nature.
I spent 3 amazing months there (thanks to covid) so I got to explore in depth this beautiful city. Today I’m sharing with you a very detailed travel guide/ list of things to do so you can also create epic memories in this baltic gem.
Usually tourists visit Tallinn very briefly, which is why you’ll see articles titled “24/48 hours itinerary for Tallinn” when doing your research prior to your trip. After you see this detailed list, you’ll realize that you’ll definitely want more time not to miss on the real beauty of this incredible destination.
Even if you have very limited time you’ll have the chance to choose what experiences you want to prioritize. So let’s dive in!
EXPLORE TALLINN’S OLD TOWN
Exploring Tallinn’s Old Town is like stepping into a fairytale world. The medieval charm is off the charts, with cobblestone streets, Gothic spires, and old merchant houses. I loved strolling through the winding alleys and stumbling upon hidden courtyards and ancient churches. Tallinn’s old town is a mix of history and modern vibes, making it an unforgettable adventure back in time.
Some must-see sights include the Town Hall Square (right in the middle), the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, St. Olaf’s Church, St Mary’s Cathedral, St. Catherine’s Passage, Viru Gate and Viru Street, Craftsmen’s Courtyard, Freedom Square (short walk away from the old town).
Kohtuotsa (“The times we had”) Viewing Platform and toompea HILL
This is another must-see spot that offers an amazing panoramic view of the city. You can see the Old Town and the sea from above, it’s absolutely breathtaking! It’s located on Toompea Hill and it’s a great spot for taking pictures. It’s also a nice place to relax and take in the fairy tale like view.
Toompea Castle in Tallinn is a historic fortress located atop Toompea Hill, overlooking the Old Town.
Today, it houses the Estonian Parliament and the office of the Prime Minister. As a prominent landmark, Toompea Castle attracts visitors with its medieval architecture, imposing towers, and stunning panoramic views of the city and the Baltic Sea. It’s great to admire the aesthetic of such beautiful place and learn about its history at the same time. You can even join a free tour inside the castle. Learn about it here.
Check out Kiek in de Kok
This is a cool medieval tower (1st photo above) that gives you an amazing view of the city. It’s located in the old town, and it’s like a trip back in time. Inside the tower, you can see old artifacts and learn about the history of Tallinn.
Kadriorg is a beautiful and historic neighborhood. It is home to the Kadriorg Palace, a grand baroque palace that houses the Kadriorg Art Museum, surrounded by lush gardens that are perfect for a leisurely stroll (especially during the Autumn). The area is also home to the Estonian Presidential Palace, and several other museums such as the Mikkel Museum, and the Kadriorg Park, with its picturesque lake, is a popular spot for picnics, outdoor activities and photo location.
VISIT KUMU MUSEUM
From traditional artworks to cutting-edge contemporary pieces, the diverse and carefully curated exhibits cater to all art enthusiasts. The modern and striking architecture of the building, nestled in the picturesque Kadriorg Park, adds to the overall experience. Whether you’re an art lover or simply curious about Estonia’s cultural scene, KUMU Museum promises an unforgettable and enriching adventure.
SPEND TIME IN Telliskivi, Creative City
Telliskivi used to be Tallinn’s industrial complex, but it was transformed into a vibrant hub now brimming with galleries, boutique shops, other local businesses (including the Baltic Station Market), and an array of cool bars and delicious restaurants.
Telliskivi basically serves as a platform for the Estonian creative community. It’s a very lively area, especially at night where you’re guaranteed to find something fun to do. There’s always something going on, apparently there’s over 800 events each year! Every Saturday there’s an awesome flea market in the center (from 10 am to 3 pm) which I really enjoyed and would 100% recommend.
This area is also known for the stunning street art so you might want to just stroll around appreciating it and even taking photos along the way.
Explore Rummu Quarry
This is a very unique destination located an hour away from Tallinn. It is a former soviet prison that has been flooded and abandoned since the 1980s. Today, the quarry is a popular spot for swimming, diving, and exploring the abandoned buildings and machinery. The clear blue water and the picturesque ruins create a unique and visually stunning setting. Rummu Quarry is a perfect spot if you’re looking for a unique adventure and a chance to capture some amazing photos.
You can scuba dive in this place. That is something I will definitely do next time I visit! For more details about scuba diving in Rummy Quary click here.
Check out Keila- Joa Waterfall
This is a must-see attraction for any nature lover. The waterfall is located in a picturesque valley, surrounded by lush forests and pretty countryside. The waterfall is about 15-20 meter high, the whole scene looks like out of a story book! The foliage during the Autumn is incredible.
Adventure to Männiku Karjäär
Apparently this is a hidden gem! Located just outside Tallinn, Lake Männiku (Männiku järv) is a brilliant way for explorers to experience the natural beauty of Estonia. The area features picturesque lakes, rolling sand dunes and beautiful pine forests (during the fall it’s an absolute spectacle!). This location is a perfect spot for hiking, swimming, picnicking and enjoying the great outdoors.
Notes: -Do not wear white sneakers/trainers as they’ll get stained (even if they’re leather) by the red-ish dust… trust me!
-You can get there using Uber, like most places on this list.
Go to Jagala Waterfall
This is a pretty sweet spot, and only about 30 minutes away from Tallinn. The waterfall is around 8 meters high and it’s surrounded by beautiful nature, perfect for a picnic or a hike. It’s a great place to take some cool photos too. Believe me, it’s definitely worth the trip!
VISIT The Maritime Museum’s Seaplane Harbour – Lennusadam
This is a very interesting experience, worth doing if you’re interested in learning about the history of the country you’re currently visiting. Housed within an impressive seaplane hangar dating back to the early 20th century, the museum offers a VERY immersive journey into Estonia’s history and naval heritage. You can explore a vast collection of exhibits that showcase historical vessels, maritime artifacts, interactive displays, and engaging multimedia presentations.
One of the main highlights is the exhibition of the historic Lembit submarine, which you can explore from the inside.
Additionally, you can marvel at various seaplanes and boats, both vintage and modern, displayed within the hangar. The museum’s interactive displays provide an opportunity to experience maritime activities, such as steering a ship or trying out nautical equipment.
Hang out at Noblessner seafront quarter
Noblessner is one of the most popular, coolest and most desired districts of Tallinn. It is located next to the Seaplane Harbour, just a short stroll away from both the Kalamaja district and the Old Town.
In this vibrant area, you’ll discover charming historical industrial buildings boasting stately architecture, the scenic Noblessner Marina, a variety of art galleries, top-notch city restaurants, the Iglupark, and a dynamic hub of cultural events. Amidst it all, you’ll also find new real estate developments featuring modern residential and office buildings.
I’d say spending the afternoon checking the galleries, then sitting down at the pier having some drinks and appreciating the sunset is the ideal plan! So check out Noblessner, it is very cool!
EXPLORE PIRITA DISTRICT AND BEACH
Needless to say the best time to visit Tallinn’s biggest beach is during the Summer days, nevertheless you can still visit any other time of the year. It’s a great walk along the Baltic sea but you can get there by car (Uber), electric scooter (Bolt) or bus. There’s so much to appreciate in this area, one of them being Maarjamäe History Centre / Victims of Communism Memorial.
Hang out at Rotermann Quarter
The Rotermann Quarter has become a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike, offering a wide range of experiences. You can enjoy shopping in stylish boutiques, savoring delicious meals at trendy restaurants, exploring contemporary art galleries, or simply soaking in the vibrant atmosphere of this cool urban space.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a unique European destination, Tallinn should definitely be on your bucket list! This charming city in Estonia is a perfect blend of old and new, with a well-preserved medieval Old Town that will transport you back in time. Don’t forget to indulge in the local cuisine and check out the city’s nightlife. Trust me, Tallinn is a hidden gem that you won’t regret visiting!
As you can tell, Tallinn has SO MUCH to offer and although I put together a list of my favorite things to do you can find more at Visit Tallinn’s website where they break it down even more, so if you don’t have limited time to explore this awesome city, you’ll find there an endless guide to keep you busy!
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