20 Things To Do In Tallinn

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Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, has a history dating back 800 years. Once ruled by Denmark and then by the USSR, it has been an independent country since 1991. Because of this, both Eastern and Western European cultures have influenced the country, and this can be seen in the buildings, food, and attitude to life.

Tallinn is the ideal destination for those searching for museums, churches, and historical sites. The heart of the city is the Old Town. It was built between the 13th and 14th centuries and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you plan to do a lot of sightseeing, get the Tallinn card which includes public transportation as well as entry to more than 40 attractions. You can get a card for 24, 48, or 72 hours and the ticket price starts at 26 euros.

The climate in Estonia is temperate with warm summers and cold winters. Because it is close to the Baltic Sea, it can be humid. The warmest months are June, July, and August but it can be crowded. Spring and autumn are mild so are a good time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds. To help you decide what to do in Tallinn, I will give you my top 20 things to do in the city.

Tallinn, Estonia

Things To Do In Tallinn

1- Explore The Old Town

View Of A Street In The Old Town Of Tallinn
Exploring the Old Town is one of the top 10 things to do in Tallinn.

The Old Town was built in the Middle Ages and many of the original buildings are still standing.

You can wander along the narrow, cobbled streets, have a glass of mead, popular in Mediaeval times, in one of the many bars, and explore the museums and churches.

You may even see locals dressed in Mediaeval clothes entertaining the crowds.


Surrounding the Old Town are the City Walls, built in the Middle Ages.

You can climb the steps and have a wonderful view of the city.

One of the best ways to discover the Old Town is to take a guided walking tour where you will learn more about the city from a local guide.

Recommended tour: Medieval Tallinn 2-Hour Old Town Walking Tour.

2- Discover The Bastion Passages

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You will find the Bastion Passages in the Old Town underneath an old fort.

These tunnels were used as protective defences and can be explored on a one-hour tour.

It can get cold in the tunnels, getting as low as 7 – 10C, so be prepared and dress warmly.

You will find The Carved Stone Museum in the Bastion Passages.

It showcases stone fragments such as pieces from portals and pillars.

There are also coats of arms and tombstones from the 16th to 19th centuries.

In total, there are over 200 artefacts on show.

3- Visit St. Olaf’s Church

St. Olaf's Church In Tallinn
Visiting St. Olaf’s Church is one of the best things to do in Tallinn Estonia to absorb the medieval vibe.

St. Olaf’s Church has been called indestructible because it has been struck by lightning many times and has come off unscathed.

The church is in the Old Town and is one of the oldest and largest medieval structures in the city.

It is thought that it was built in the 12th century.

Over the years it has housed different religions, and since 1950 it has been Baptist.

It is said that between 1944 and 1991, the Soviet KGB used the spire as a radio tower and surveillance point.

The church is open to the public from April until October when you can climb the tower.

There are 232 steps, but the beautiful views of Tallinn Old Town make the climb worthwhile.

St. Olaf’s Church is at Lai 50, 10133, Tallinn.

4- Enjoy The Estonian Open Air Museum

Thatched House At Rocca Al Mare Open Air Museum
Visiting the Estonian Open Air Museum is one of the things to do in Tallinn Estonia to learn about history

The Estonian Open Air Museum depicts the lives of villagers during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

Here you will find 14 farms, a church, a windmill, a school, a station, and some shops.

There is even a tavern where you can sample traditional Estonian dishes prepared by local chefs.

In addition, you can take a horse-drawn carriage ride and buy handmade goods.

Take a walk through the wooded grounds which lead to a beach.

If it is warm enough, you can even take a swim.

In the summer, you can enjoy musical shows and there is a Midsummer Eve celebration as well.

Don’t feel left out if you are visiting in the winter as sleigh rides are on offer.

The Estonian Open Air Museum is at Vabaohumuuseumi tee 12, 13521, Tallinn.

5- Explore Toompea Castle

Toompea Castle, Tallinn, Estonia
Explore Toompea Castle fun things to do in Tallinn Estonia.

Toompea Castle was built on the foundations of a 15th-century fort in the 17th century.

It is now home to the Estonian Parliament, the Riigikogu.

It is an imposing building with a pink exterior adorned with the national flag and crest.

The castle can be visited on weekdays, but you must book in advance.

There is an art space in the castle where you can view Estonian artwork.

Next to the castle is a large park where you can take a leisurely stroll.

Toompea Castle is at Lossi plats 1a, 10137, Tallinn.

6- Learn About The KGB At The KGB Museum In The Vini Hotel

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The Vini Hotel hosted foreign guests during the Cold War when Estonia was under Soviet rule.

They were eavesdropped on and photographed, and the KGB collected all this information on the 23rd floor.

Now you can tour this floor and learn how the KGB operated, see documents and equipment, and view the officers’ clothing.

It is an eye-opener into how the KGB worked.

The museum is open from Tuesday until Sunday and you must book in advance.

The KGB Museum is at Vini Valjak 4, 10111, Tallinn.

7- See The City From The Top of The Television Tower

Tallinn Tv Tower
Enjoying a view of the city from the Television Tower is one of the things to do in Tallinn in one day.

For the best views of the city, visit the Television Tower.

It is the tallest building in the city at 313 metres (1030.2 feet) high.

It was built in 1980 for the Summer Olympics.

The viewing platform is on the 21st floor at a height of 170 metres (567 feet).

Don’t worry, you don’t have to walk all the way up as there is a lift.

You will have 360-degree views of the city from the platform.

The Television Tower has a permanent exhibition about its history as well as an exhibition of Dolores Hoffman’s stained-glass pieces.

It also hosts temporary exhibitions.

There is a restaurant in the building so you could enjoy lunch here.

The Television Tower is at Kloostrimetsa tee 58a, 11913, Tallinn.

8- Enjoy The Art At The Kumu Art Museum

Museum KUMU
Admiring the collections at the Kumu Art Museum is one of the best things to do in Tallinn if you love art.

The Kumu Art Museum is the biggest art museum in the Baltic States.

It was opened in 2006 and earned The European Museum of the Year award two years later.

The permanent exhibition showcases Estonian artwork from the 18th century onwards.

Temporary exhibitions feature modern art from all over the world.

The building housing the museum is spectacular and well worth taking a photo of.

It is an impressive seven-story circular glass building.

The Kumu Art Museum is at Valge 1, 10127, Tallinn.

9- Visit Freedom Square

St John's Church, Tallinn
People-watching in Freedom Square is one of the things to do in Tallinn Estonia.

Freedom Square is an important part of Estonia’s history.

During Soviet rule, it was known as Victory Square and it hosted many military parades.

Now it is pedestrianised and is a popular meeting place for locals.

On the west side of the square, you will see the Victory Column which was completed in 2009.

It is surrounded by plates of glass with the Cross of Liberty on top.

It is a memorial for all those who died in the War of Independence.

On the east side of the square is a church which you can visit, St. John’s.

10- Visit The Estonian Maritime Museum

The Estonian Maritime Museum is located in a seaplane hangar in Seaplane Harbour.

It is one of the best maritime museums in Europe.

It showcases over 200 artefacts including a submarine called Lembit, an icebreaker, Suur Toll, which is over 100 years old, and a seaplane called Short.

There are plenty of interactive attractions at the museum such as having your picture taken in naval uniform and throwing paper aeroplanes.

Children have their own area with drawing tools and building blocks.

The museum has a cafe, MARU, and a shop where you can buy souvenirs.

The Estonian Maritime Museum is at Vesilennuki 6. 10145, Tallinn.

11- Spend The Day At Lahemaa National Park

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Just 46.6 km (28.95 miles) from Tallinn is the Lahemaa National Park.

It is filled with native forests, wetlands, and beaches.

It covers a space of 725 km2 (279.9 miles2) and has received a quality label from the European Union of Protected Areas.

You can take an organised tour of the park which will teach you about the flora and fauna of the country as well as about Estonian culture and traditions.

Follow the Beaver Trail, visit Altia Village with its Soviet architecture and beach, and have typical Estonian food at a tavern.

12- Take A Food And Drinks Tour

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Estonian food is based on rye bread, pork, potatoes, and dairy products, with beer and vodka being popular drinks.

It has some influences from the Soviet Union due to the occupation.

If you would like to learn more about what Estonians eat today, take a guided food and drink tour.

You will find out more about the food and drink of the country through stories told by a local guide.

The tour includes three dishes, a dessert, and three drinks.

You will be taken off the tourist track and visit authentic Estonian cafes and taverns.

13- Explore Kadriorg Palace

Kadriorg Palace, Tallinn, Estonia
Exploring Kadriorg Palace is one of the top things to do in Tallinn.

Kadriorg Palace was founded by the Russian Tsar, Peter I and dedicated to his wife wife.

It was designed by Nicola Michetti, a famous architect of the time.

It has a spectacular main hall and the whole building is a perfect example of Baroque architecture.

The palace houses the Estonian Art Museum where you can see a large collection of Western European and Russian art from the 16th to the 20th centuries.
The garden is well worth exploring. Much of it is modelled on the gardens of Versailles in France.

There is also a Japanese garden, a children’s park, and a concert area.

Kadriorg Palace is at A Weizenbergi 37, 0127, Tallinn.

14- Discover The Niguliste Museum

St Nicholas Church
Visiting the Nigutiste Museum is one of the interesting things to do in Estonia Tallinn.

This is an unusual museum in that it is housed in a place of worship, the Niguliste Church, built in the 13th century.

Here you will find historic altars, tombs from the Middle Ages, and a piece of a painting by Bernt Nothke, the Danse Macabre (The Dance of Death).

The painting is 500 years old and shows life in the Middle Ages.

There are also many silver pieces on show in the Silver Chamber.

They have come from churches, guilds, and the Brotherhood of Blackheads.

A highlight of the museum is the glass lift which takes you to the church tower.

From here you get a 360-degree view of Tallinn.

The Niguliste Museum is at Niguliste 3, 10146, Tallinn.

15- Have A Drink At Whisper Sister

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During the Prohibition era in the United States whisper sisters were brave women who opened up illegal, underground bars.

Whisper Sister is based on these bars and keeps up the mystery.

It doesn’t have a sign up and the door seems closed to the public.

However, once you get their number, you will be warmly welcomed.

The bar opened in 2016 and is owned by a group of friends with a mutual interest in food, drinks, and travel.

It is based on some of the best bars in the world.

It has a list of innovative cocktails such as She’s Fizzy, which is vodka, champagne, grapefruit, and lemon, and Gin and Tea, which is gin, creme de cacao blanc, matcha & white chocolate, and lime.

Whisper Sister is at Rarna Maantee 12, 10148, Tallinn.

16- Visit The Estonian Health Museum

This museum has been set up to help you to get to know your body better and to learn about health and wellness.

It is situated in two medieval buildings in the Old Town and offers 15 interesting, themed rooms.

The main permanent exhibition is ‘A Heart To Heart About Your Body’ which teaches you about health and anatomy.

There are also rotating annual exhibitions, museum lessons for both children and adults and guided tours.

The Estonian Health Museum is at Lai tri 30, Kesklinna Linnaosa, Tallinn.

17- Admire The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral In Tallinn
Admiring the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is one of the things to do in Tallinn.

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is in the centre of the city and is an Eastern Orthodox church built between 1894 and 1900 when Estonia was part of the Russian Empire.

The church is the city’s largest cupola church.

In the tower, are Tallinn’s biggest collection of bells, including the city’s largest bell, weighing 15 tonnes.

The bells are played before each service.

The interior of the church is well worth seeing as it is decorated with beautiful mosaics and icons.

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral os at Lossi plats 10, 10130, Tallinn.

18- Take A Stroll Along Pikk Street

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One of the oldest and longest streets in Tallinn is Pikk Street.

Taking a stroll along this street is like taking a step back in time.

The buildings date back to the 15th century, the paths are cobblestoned, and you may come across local guides dressed in mediaeval attire, ready to tell you stories about the old days.

The street has a wide variety of cafes, restaurants, museums, and shops.

Stop by the Marzipan Gallery for a delicious marzipan sweet.

You can even make your own marzipan treat.

The oldest pub in Tallinn, Hell Hunt, is located on Pikk Street as is the oldest cafe, Maiasmokk which has been operating since 1864.

Why not try an elk sausage or a Viking-inspired craft beer?

Visit The Oldest Building In Tallinn, St. Catherine Church.

In the Old Town, you will find the oldest building in Tallinn in a district full of merchants’ houses and warehouses.

It was originally a monastery founded by Dominican monks in 1246.

In its heyday, it even had a hospital and a brewery.

However, it was torched by Lutherans in 1524.

Nothing was done to it until it was partially restored in 1954 into a church.

It is now often used as a venue for recitals.

You can enter the church to see a beautiful cloister lined with tombstones and a collection of carved stones.

St. Catherine’s Church is at Vene 14a. 10123, Tallinn.

20- Visit The Vabamu Museum Of Occupations And Freedom

Panoramic View Of Old Town Tallinn
Exploring the Old Town is one of the charming things to do in Tallinn.

Vabamu has two museums, the Vabamu Museum of Occupations & Freedom and the KGB Prison Cells.

Both museums will enlighten you about Estonia’s recent history by telling you people’s personal stories.

It tells you the history of Estonia during and after the Soviet occupation, ending with the restoration of independence.

The KGB Prison Cells are on Pikk Street.

The building was used as the headquarters of the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs of the USSR which later became the KGB.

You can visit the basement which was where the prison cells were.

There is an exhibition, ‘The History of the KGB House’ which will shock you by presenting the crimes committed in the building.

The Museum of Occupations and Freedom is at Toompea 8b, 10130, Tallinn.
The KGB Prison Cells are at Pagari 1, Pikk 59. 10133, Tallinn.

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Irena Nieslony
Irena Nieslony was born in Windsor, England but now lives on the island of Crete, Greece, in a small village called Modi near the city of Chania. She has visited 32 countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa. Her favourite country is Tanzania as she loves wildlife and was lucky enough to see ‘The Big Five”. She also loves Egypt, as ancient history intrigues her, the southern states of the US and the cities of Memphis, Nashville, and New Orleans for music. She has a B.A. Honours degree in English and Drama from Westfield College, University of London. She has been writing for over 13 years and has 13 novels, 7 short stories and thousands of articles published.