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An aerial panorama of the old town in Tallinn, Estonia in the summer

Things to do in  Estonia

Land of forests, castles, and islands

Estonia straddles northern, eastern, and central Europe, yet the country has its own strong cultural identity. The coastal city of Tallinn serves as an introduction to what the Baltic nation has to offer, with scenic beauty, an Old Town seemingly straight from a fairytale, and diverse historic attractions—Toompea Castle and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, to name just two. Smaller cities like Tartu and Narva also offer cultural depth, and traveling beyond Tallinn rewards visitors with unique landscapes, from the bogs of Lahemaa National Park to the Jägala and Keila Joa waterfalls.

Top 15 attractions in Estonia

Tallinn Old Town (Vanalinn)

With its largely-intact 13th-century city plan, original cobblestone streets, gothic-spired buildings, and vibrant dining and nightlife, Old Town (also known as Vanallin) is arguably the heart of Tallinn. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, visitors from around the world come to Tallinn to experience the best-preserved medieval city in all of Northern Europe.More

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

This large and ornately-decorated Russian Orthodox cathedral is a well-known and picturesque building in Tallinn’s Old Town (Vanalinn). Perched atop Toompea hill, across from Estonian parliament buildings, the onion-domed church is popular amongst visitors and those practicing the Orthodox faith. The church is dedicated to St. Alexander Nevsky—the Prince of Novgorod and Russian hero who drove away German invaders in the 13th century.More

Toompea Castle (Toompea Loss)

Built on a hill on the edge of Tallinn’s Old Town, Toompea Castle was originally built over the remains of a 9th-century fortress by Danish invaders in 1219. Since it’s 13th-century founding, the castle has been the seat of succession across many centuries (and for many different ruling foreign powers), but now is Riigikogu—Estonia’s parliament building.More

Kadriorg Park

Kadriorg Park is a 173-acre area that was built in 1718 under the orders of Russian tsar Peter I, with additional sections having been designed and created over the past few centuries. Within the park you will find Kadriorg Palace, which was originally built as a summer home for the tsar and his family and now serves as the presidential palace and a branch of the Art Museum of Estonia. While the palace was being built, Peter I, also known as Peter the Great, lived in a cottage on the property, which is now a museum. The rooms are furnished with items from that era, and some of his personal belongings are on display as well.The area near the flower beds surrounding Swan Pond, as well as the promenade leading from the pond to the palace, are popular routes for a stroll through the park. There is also a newly added Japanese garden designed with plants that were chosen to fit with Estonia's colder climate.Within the park, there are also a number of museums, including KUMU (the Estonian Art Museum), Kadriorg Art Museum, the Mikkel Museum and the Eduard Vilde Museum. You will find several monuments as well, each dedicated to cultural figures such as sculptor Amandus Adamson, author F. R. Kreutzwald and artist Jaan Koort.More

Kadriorg Palace

In 1718, Peter the Great, the Russian tsar at the time, ordered a palace to be built in the then-newly designed Kadriorg Park. The palace, designed by Italian architect Niccolo Michetti, was originally built to be the summer home for Peter I, Catherine I and their family. The baroque palace is surrounded by manicured gardens, houses a branch of the Art Museum of Estonia called the Kadriorg Art Museum and today serves as the presidential palace. The museum has hundreds of 16th- to 20th-century paintings by Western and Russian artists on display.Several interesting side buildings surround the palace, including a restored kitchen building that is now the Mikkel Museum. Peter the Great's cottage is also on the property and is now a museum where visitors can see some of his belongings and what the rooms might have looked like at the time. The palace governor’s house is now home to the Kastellaanimaja Gallery and the Eduard Vilde House Museum.More

Tallinn Song Festival Grounds (Lauluvӓljak)

With an official capacity of around 100,000 people, the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds (Tallinna Lauluv?ljak) is an outdoor concert venue that plays host to multiple entertainment and music festivals every year. It is best known as the site for the Estonian Song Festival (which is held every five years) and as the birthplace of the Singing Revolution.More

Tallinn Cruise Port (Tallinna Sadam)

Located along the Baltic Sea coast, the Estonian capital of Tallinn is a popular stop on Baltic cruises, welcoming more than 300 cruise ships each season. The Tallinn Cruise Port (Tallinna Sadam) also receives regular ferries from Helsinki, Stockholm, and St. Petersburg, making it a convenient choice for a day trip or weekend getaway.More

Seaplane Harbour (Lennusadam)

The Seaplane Harbor (or Lennusadam in Estonian), Tallinn's maritime and seaplane museum, features exhibitions in seaplane hangars that illustrate Estonia's maritime and military history. The exhibits represent three different areas: below sea, on the sea and in the air.One of the main highlights is the 600-ton, British-built submarine Lembit. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, the submarine served in World War II under the Soviets and remained in service for 75 years until it was brought ashore in 2011. Lembit is still in excellent condition and offers a look at 1930s technology.Also featured at the museum is a full-scale replica of Short Type 184, a British pre-World War II seaplane that was also used by Estonian armed forces and was the first aircraft ever to attack an enemy’s ship with an air-launched torpedo. The replica in Seaplane Harbor is the only full-size representation of the aircraft in the world. Other attractions include historical ships, including Europe largest steam-powered icebreaker.More

Tallinn City Wall

Built around 15-feet high, five-feet thick, and a mile and a half long, the defensive wall of Estonia’s capital city was first constructed in 1265. Though the original wall was altered and strengthened in the 14th century, only a few sections of the masonry ramparts, and 26 of its defense towers, exist today. Travelers can walk along the base, through passageways, and on top of some of the sections of the wall.More

KGB Museum

In 1972 the Hotel Viru opened its doors welcoming guests into the modern high-rise, but concealed within the new hotel’s walls was a secret communist radio center used to spy on guests. While the Communist party may have fled the country once Estonia claimed its independence in 1991, the radio center, now known as the KGB Museum, remained on the top floor of the hotel.More

Tallinn Town Hall (Tallinna Raekoda)

Built between 1402 and 1404, Tallinn's GothicTallinn Town Hall (Tallinna Raekoda) building is the only Gothic town hall building in northern Europe that remains intact, sitting as the centerpiece of Tallinn's main square. The structure was originally a meeting place for rulers, though today it is mostly used for hosting visiting presidents or kings, as well as for concerts. The impressive interior features colorful meeting halls, vaulted ceilings, intricate wood carvings and some of the city's most prized artwork, including the famous Tristan and Isolde carved bench. At the top of the Town Hall's spire sits a weather vane called Old Thomas, which is a symbol of the city and has been there since 1530.Town Hall Square is filled with outdoor cafes and hosts open-air concerts and festivals, such as the summer medieval Old Town Days celebration. In July and August, Tallinn Town Hall opens up to visitors as a museum with exhibitions in the cellars. From late June through August, visitors can climb the 64-meter (210-foot) tower for gorgeous views of the city. In the winter, this is where you'll find the Christmas markets.More

Tallinn TV Tower (Tallinna Teletorn)

At 1,030 feet (314 meters), the Tallinn TV Tower (Tallinna Teletorn)is the tallest building in Estonia. Construction began in September 1975 and took five years to complete; the official opening was on July 11, 1980, and it's been a city landmark since.Visitors can get a panoramic view of the city from 175 meters up after taking a 49-second elevator ride. Before heading up, visitors are shown a 3D film about the tower, and there's also an interactive Estonian Hall of Fame exhibition on the greatest achievements of Estonians through the ages and a fascinating overview of the history of the tower itself. At the viewing level, a special panorama program magnifies the view by a factor of 10. The floor even has glass panels that allow visitors to see down to the ground. A cafe sits on the 22nd floor and serves fine cuisine at night and hosts live music on the weekends.Especially daring visitors can participate in the tower's Walk on the Edge feature, in which participants can walk on the outdoor ledge of the viewing platform while safely attached to a harness. There's even a repelling option where visitors can repel from the ledge of the tower.More

Kumu Art Museum (Kumu Kunstimuuseum)

The Kumu Art Museum (Kumu Kunstimuuseum) is the main branch of the Art Museum of Estonia and is also the largest and most impressive exhibition venue in the country. The museum opened in February 2006 and in 2008 received the European Museum of the Year Award.On both the third and fourth floors are collections of Estonian art starting from the early 18th century. Art from before World War II is also exhibited on the third floor, and on the fourth, an exhibition of works from the Soviet occupation period is on display. On the museum's fifth floor, find a modern art gallery and exhibitions of contemporary art from Estonia as well as other countries.Each year, 11 or 12 rotating exhibits are displayed, half of which come from Estonia, while the other half is made up of international pieces. The museum also has a 250-seat auditorium for film programs, performances, concerts, seminars and conferences; an educational center with programs and courses for different age groups; and a library with the widest collection of art literature in Estonia.More

Dome Church

Founded in 1233, the Dome Church (Toomkirik) was historically used as burial grounds for Estonia’s elite and noble families. The church, which was continuously rebuilt over the centuries, is a unique blend of architectural styles with its main frame built in the 15th century while the baroque tower was added later in the 18th century.More

Olde Hansa

Partake in a meticulously researched and crafted medieval meal at this restaurant in Tallinn, Estonia. The chefs at Olde Hansa have scoured old texts in order to recreate dishes, using indegenous ingredients, from Hanseatic traditions. Not only is the food authentic Middle Ages-era cuisine, but the atmosphere, including roving troubadours, wall murals, and server outfits, all reflect this bygone era.More
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Top activities in Estonia

Lahemaa National Park Day Trip

Lahemaa National Park Day Trip

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All about Estonia

When to visit

The brief, mild summer weather from June to August make it the best, if busiest, time to visit Estonia for sightseeing and exploring nature. Many festivals also are held in summer, including the huge Viljandi Folk Music Festival and Estonian Song Festival. Winter brings snow and extremely cold weather. During January and February the city of Tallinn experiences an average temperature of just 25°F (-4°C). But, Christmas markets can make it a special time to visit.

Getting around

Estonia’s train network has limited usefulness, as it only extends to certain parts of the country. Elron train lines center on Tallinn and extend east to Narva, southwest to Tartu and Valga, south to Viljandi, and west to Paldiski. However, the robust Tpilet network of buses features modern vehicles and extensive routes covering the country. Ferries are also vital, with regular crossings to the larger islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa and to popular smaller islands such as Naissaar and Prangli.

Traveler tips

Tallinn is a wonderful starting point to explore the country, but there’s so much more to Estonia, including some really special and unique places. Visit the small island of Kihnu, and you’ll find a society steeped in tradition that also happens to be almost exclusively run by women. Head to Rummu, not too far from Tallinn, and you can paddle to and dive into an old prison submerged in the flooded quarry there.

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People Also Ask

Is Estonia worth visiting?

Yes, Estonia is worth visiting, as the country has much to offer travelers. Cities like Tallinn and Tartu are full of history, but also benefit from a modern, lively nightlife scene. Across Estonia you’ll find forests, beaches, bogs, and even meteorite craters, not to mention islands with enduring traditional heritage.

Is Estonia cheap to visit?

No, not really. Compared to the rest of Europe in terms of travel cost, Estonia falls in the middle and is more expensive than its Baltic neighbors. However, its similarities and favorable costs to Nordic countries like Finland and Sweden make it a more budget-friendly alternative to traveling in Scandinavia.

What do people do for fun in Estonia?

Fun things to do in Estonia often relate to the outdoors and the country’s traditions. Activities such as hiking and cycling make use of Estonia’s extensive forest, while water sports like windsurfing and kayaking are popular by the coast. Sauna is an important cultural activity where people relax and socialize.

How many days should I spend in Estonia?

Five days in Estonia is the minimum length of time recommended. Spend two days in Tallinn visiting its Old Town and attractions like Kadriorg Palace, followed by a day trip to Lahemaa National Park. Finish your trip with two days in another Estonian city, such as Tartu or Pärnu.

What food is Estonia known for?

Traditionally, Estonia’s cuisine has revolved around meat, fish, and potatoes, with similarities to other Baltic and Nordic cuisines. Common Estonian foods include black rye bread, soups (combining red meat, vegetables, and barley), and pastries, such as pirukas and kringel. Dairy products—like kohuke, a chocolate-coated cheese curd snack—are also popular.

What is the most visited place in Estonia?

There’s little doubt that the Old Town of Tallinn is the most visited place in Estonia. With ferry connections to Helsinki and the country’s main airport, the city of Tallinn is the main gateway to the country. The walled and well-preserved historic center is the standout highlight of Tallinn’s attractions.


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