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Things to do in Tallinn

Things to do in  Tallinn

Welcome to Tallinn

Separated from Helsinki by only a thin strip of Baltic Sea, Tallinn stands proudly on the south coast of the Gulf of Finland. As the capital of Estonia, it plays a major role as a political and economic power that has been the breeding ground for countless startups, giving it the nickname ""The Silicon Valley of Europe."" However, the historic past of the city is a major draw: Founded in 1248, Tallinn Old Town is a UNESCO-listed wonder, surrounded by a sprawling Soviet new town. Walking tours take visitors around the stunning medieval buildings, such as Toompea Castle and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral; through Kadriorg Park; and to the imperial Russian palace at its heart. Enjoy an evening by walking on the cobbled streets and joining a beer tasting in Olde Hansa for a taste of the Hanseatic times, a flavor of old Estonia. The Pirita district's botanic gardens, marina, and beach are also worthy of attention, as well as the Pirita Convent ruins. Those going further than just a shore excursion can go 31 miles (50 kilometers) east to Lahemaa National Park, a fascinating mix of forest and swamp. Only a four-hour drive away, the Latvian capital of Riga also awaits with its mass of fine Art Nouveau buildings.

Top 15 attractions in Tallinn

#1
Tallinn Old Town (Vanalinn)

Tallinn Old Town (Vanalinn)

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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
#2
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

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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
#3
Pirita

Pirita

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Pirita is a section of Tallinn located just a few miles west of Old Town and city center. Dating back to at least the 15th century when a convent was founded here, the area hugs the coastline, where many people enjoy spending time on the beaches. Pirita Beach is the largest and most popular stretch of sand, running for 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) and including a good view of Old Town and the ships in the Gulf of Finland. There are ball courts, playgrounds, lockers, chaise lounges and water sport equipment rentals here, and during summer, up to 30,000 people visit the beach each day.There are forested parks a little farther in from the coast, the Tallinn Botanical Gardens on both sides of the Pirita River and the entire Pirita River Valley. Also nearby is the Forest Cemetery and the Tallinn TV Tower. The Pirita Promenade paves the way for pedestrians, cyclists and skaters while connecting Kadriorg to Pirita. Visitors can also enjoy Pirita Adventure Park, complete with six different tracks involving rope bridges, nets and more. Throughout the area, you'll find trails for cycling, jogging or walking and even cross-country skiing in the winter.More
#4
Kadriorg Park

Kadriorg Park

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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
#5
Toompea Castle (Toompea Loss)

Toompea Castle (Toompea Loss)

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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
#6
Kadriorg Palace

Kadriorg Palace

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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
#7
Tallinn TV Tower (Tallinna Teletorn)

Tallinn TV Tower (Tallinna Teletorn)

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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
#8
Tallinn Song Festival Grounds (Lauluvӓljak)

Tallinn Song Festival Grounds (Lauluvӓljak)

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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
#9
Seaplane Harbour (Lennusadam)

Seaplane Harbour (Lennusadam)

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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
#10
Tallinn Town Hall (Tallinna Raekoda)

Tallinn Town Hall (Tallinna Raekoda)

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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
#11
KGB Museum

KGB Museum

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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
#12
Dome Church

Dome Church

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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
#13
Tallinn City Wall

Tallinn City Wall

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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
#14
Kumu Art Museum (Kumu Kunstimuuseum)

Kumu Art Museum (Kumu Kunstimuuseum)

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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
#15
Freedom Square (Vabaduse väljak)

Freedom Square (Vabaduse väljak)

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Freedom Square (or Vabaduse väljak in Estonian) is at the southern end of Tallinn's Old Town. Throughout history, the square has been called the Straw Market, Peter's Square and Victory Square. Construction and redesigns of the historic area began in 2008, and a year later on Victory Day (June 23) the new Freedom Square was opened. As part of the new features, the Victory Column monument was unveiled as a memorial to the 1918-1920 War of Independence.Today the square is lined with benches, cafes and two art galleries. It's a popular gathering place and is also a good place to see evidence of the city's 1930s-era building boom. You'll see art-deco and functionalist buildings on two sides of the square.Tallinn's older history can be seen here as well. There is a glass panel in the street on the northwest corner where you can look down and see the foundation and stairs of the Harju Gate tower that stood here in Medieval times.More

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Top activities in Tallinn

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Recent reviews from experiences in Tallinn

star-5
Great way to learn the history and see sites in Tallinn
Dale_A, Aug. 2022
Tallinn Shore Excursions: Old Town Walking Tour
He is friendly and his English was excellent.
star-4
Great service and best...
Sue_S, Jul. 2022
City Sightseeing Tallinn Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Great service and best way to see ALL of this city.
star-5
A beautiful city, excellent bikes, and delicious meal!
Daniel_H, Jul. 2022
Tallinn Bike Tour, Market Visit and Food Tasting
Tallinn is a rapidly developing city so we were able to see the differences in the old and the new.
star-5
10/5 Stars!
Ashley_L, May 2022
Tallinn Old Town Tour
Miss Heivi was so super sweet and gave us lots of tips on where the best places to visit/eat at.
star-5
Amazing tour!
YOLANDA_C, Jul. 2021
2-Hour Guided Walking Tour of Tallinn
Tallinn is definitely a must to see through this 2-hour walking tour.
star-4
Great overview of Estonian life
Julia_B, Oct. 2019
Tallinn Bike Tour from Tallinn Cruise Port
This was a great way to see Tallinn and hear about current life and some recent history.
star-5
Best of Tallin
JEAN_K, Jul. 2018
Tallinn with Kadriorg and Pirita Join-in Shore Excursion
It was a holiday and some things were closed but we still managed to see many things and enjoy our visit very much.
star-5
The bike tour was a lot of fun. We got...
Nancy J L, Sep. 2017
Tallinn Bike Tour from Tallinn Cruise Port
We got to see a lot of Tallinn that we probably would not have seen had we not participated in the bike tour.
star-5
This small group tour of Tallinn was...
Nancy C, Sep. 2017
Tallinn Walking Tour with Free Time and Port Transfers
Our tour guide spoke perfect English and was very pleasant and extremely knowledgable of the history and facts of Estonia.
star-5
We had a great time! Both guides...
mgradice, Aug. 2017
Tallinn Bicycle Sightseeing Tour
A wonderful way to see a lot of Tallinn in a very short period of time.
star-4
A good afternoon seeing the sights...
IAN B, Jun. 2017
Tallinn Highlights Shore Excursion With Port Return Transfer
Our guide was very informative and spoke good English.
star-5
Excellent way to see Tallinn, easy...
blubberwon, May 2017
City Sightseeing Tallinn Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Excellent way to see Tallinn, easy to hop-on and off the bus to catch the sights of your interest, or just stay on the bus to get a quick overview of this ancient town.
star-5
This was a great experience and...
David C, May 2017
Tallinn Bicycle Sightseeing Tour
Our tour was led by great English speaking lady who led us from stop to stop and saw old and new Tallinn.
star-4
The shore excursion to Tallinn was...
E Lynn G, Sep. 2017
Tallinn Shore Excursion: Tallinn Sightseeing Tour by Coach and Foot
We were able to see the Singing Grounds and the beaches.
star-5
What a fabulous informative day and...
MERLYNA_I, Sep. 2016
3-Hour Private Tour of Tallinn
We had plenty of time to see all that was needed to get an understanding of tallinn.
star-4
Promptly picked up. Covered exactly...
Oscar K, May 2015
Tallinn Shore Excursion: Tallinn Sightseeing Tour by Coach and Foot
Very good guide whose knowledge was good and spoke English well.
star-5
excellent and experience tour guide
ELIZABETH_E, Dec. 2019
Tallinn Highlights Shore Excursion With Port Return Transfer
Mr Sergei is very knowledgeable and we are impressed with his command in English and his knowledge on the world history.
star-5
A Great Food and Bike Tour of Tallinn
CHERI_D, Jun. 2019
Tallinn Bike Tour, Market Visit and Food Tasting
The ride was a 4-hour ride and this made us VERY nervous, soooo, we got to the bike shop early to see if they could accommodate us with an earlier ride.
star-5
This was the best tour of our trip...
jillntodd, May 2017
Shore Excursion: Old Town Tallinn and Kadriorg-Pirita Seaside
We booked this as a cruise excursion - the driver and guide made sure that we were kept on time - to see everything possible and have plenty of time to board.
star-5
Tallinn is a beautiful place to...
Jenny, Aug. 2017
3-Hour Private Tour of Tallinn
Tallinn is a beautiful place to visit.
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All about Tallinn

Currency
Euro (€)
Time Zone
EEST (UTC +3)
Country Code
+372
Language(s)
Estonian

People Also Ask

what is Tallinn famous for?

Tallinn is known for its UNESCO-protected Old Town, with its paved squares, onion-domed churches, and merchants’ houses girded by fairy-tale-like walls and watchtowers. Visitors focus on this medieval gem, but also, increasingly, on wider Tallinn, which delivers everything from the gardens of Kadriorg to Nordic-style cuisine, urban art, and nightlife.

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How many days do you need in Tallinn?

Aim for a 2-day visit. Explore the Old Town to see its Instagrammable Town Hall Square, multi-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Toompea Castle, and watchtower-studded walls. The next day, cast your eyes wider to Kadriorg Park, the edgy café-filled Rotermann Quarter, and the reconstructed wooden villages at the nearby Estonia Open-Air Museum.

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What is there to do in Tallinn?

Aside from sightseeing in the Old Town and modern city, Tallinn is replete with restaurants, nightspots, and lesser-known museums and neighborhoods to enjoy. Try both hearty and modern Estonian cuisine; slurp on glögg (mulled wine), party at a rammed nightclub, and roam the arty Kalamaja district and fascinating Seaplane Harbour Museum.

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What is there to do in Tallinn for free?

Grab a complimentary Old Town map to see its lovely Town Hall Square, medieval mansions, and city walls; and finish by exploring the free-to-enter Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Tallinn’s Balti Jaam Market, with its food and trinket stalls costs nothing to visit, as do the picnic-perfect gardens and meadows of Kadriorg Park.

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Is Tallinn worth visiting?

Yes. Tallinn welcomes approximately 3.8 million tourists a year, most of them lured by its picturebook Old Town, with its colorfully painted townhouses, squares, churches, and relaxed, small-city vibe. Other draws include wider Tallinn’s top-notch museums, graceful Kadriorg Palace and gardens; hip modern districts, world-class cuisine, and electric nightlife.

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Is Tallinn safe for tourists?

Yes, Tallinn is considered very safe to visit. Crime rates are low and you’re unlikely to encounter problems during the day or night. That said, as in all capital cities, it’s wise to keep your valuables safe at Old Town hotels, bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, as pick-pocketers just might target them.

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