15 Things To Do In Tallinn, Estonia
Visiting the capital of Estonia is a once in a lifetime experience. Although it still isn’t a popular tourist destination, Tallinn is a great multicultural city with many significant monuments of historical value.
Throughout history, Estonia was mainly under the influence of Russia, so don’t be surprised if some parts of Tallinn remind you of St. Petersburg. The friendly locals will make your visit even better and you will feel like you are at home. This picturesque city is full of surprises and places to explore. Here are some of the best things that you can do while in Tallinn.
This majestic park in the city centre is a sight you wouldn’t want to miss when you are in Tallinn. It was Peter I who ordered the creation of this magnificent park in 1718 as a homage to his second wife Catherine I.
This is the most prestigious neighbourhood in Estonia as some of the country’s most famous artists and celebrities live here. The green oasis is perfect for those who like nature and taking a walk in numerous pathways.
Admission to the park is free for everyone. Since most people don’t know about this park, this is an ideal place for you if you are not a fan of huge crowds.
Kadriorg park is home to the Kadriog Palace, an astonishing building that is now a Presidential Palace. In one part of the palace, lies a branch of the Art Museum of Estonia. Visit this magnificent baroque building that was once a family retreat of Peter the Great, and admire the masterpieces of Italian, Dutch, German and Russian masters.
Estonian Art Museum is open from 10 am to 6 pm on Tuesdays and from Thursdays to Sundays. On Wednesdays, it opens from 10 am to 8 pm. The palace closes on Mondays. Admission for adults is 6.5€ and is 13€ for families.
Placed on 89 acres of land, the Tallinn Zoo is one of the best Zoos in the Baltic. It’s located just 15 minutes from the city centre. Here you can find more than 11,000 animals of 600 species from around the world.
This zoo is famous for its vast collection of wild goats, and an impressive number of vultures. It is also home to the Amur leopards which are on the list of endangered species, and they are a must-see while there.
Tallinn Zoo is open every day for visitors. During the winter season (November to February), it is open from 9 am to 5 pm. During autumn and spring (September to October and March to April), it is open from 9 am to 7 pm. Lastly, during the summer (May to August), from 9 am to 8 pm. The admission for adults is 6€ from October to April and 9€ from May to September. Admission is free for children under 6 years.
Tallinn Old Town
This part of the town is ideal for those who love Medieval Estonia and its iconic architecture and culture. The Old Town was built between the 13th and 16th centuries when Tallinn was a trading centre.
This mystical part of Tallinn has very significant cultural and historical value and it offers various things to do and see. You can have a very romantic meal in some of the best restaurants in Estonia You can also take a walk on the original cobblestone streets and visit medieval churches, barns and merchant houses.
If you are a museum and art enthusiast, there are many different museums and galleries for you to explore. In the heart of Old Town is the Town Hall in the Town Hall Square, the attraction that is the most visited by tourists.
This magnificent monument constructed in the 13th and completed in the 16th century was one of the tallest buildings during the Middle Ages. A symbol and a national treasure of Estonia, Oleviste Church and its Tower are just located 600 meters north from the Old Town.
The view of the picturesque city of Tallinn from the Tower is marvellous and is something that you must do when in Estonia. This is possible due to the observation platform which is available for tourists during summer. Admission to the Oleviste Church is free and admission for the Tower is 3€ for adults and 1€ for children. It is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm.
Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour
During your trip to Estonia, you might want to visit the Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour. It is a modern maritime museum placed in a hangar which was built at the beginning of the 20th century. Here, you can find about 200 authentic items such as a submarine called Lembit and a seaplane called Short 184. There is an outdoor part which houses some historic ships including a century-old steam-powered icebreaker called Suur Tõll.
Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour is a very interactive museum. Whether you decide to visit an aquarium, take a picture in a navy uniform or spend time on the playground, you’ll have fun no matter what. The main attraction among tourists, however, are the simulators where you can experience what it’s like to be in the submarine or fly above Tallinn.
The museum is open for visitors every day from 10 am to 7 pm during the summer from May to September. From October to April, it’s open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm. Admission for adults is 15€, 8€ for students and children ages 9 to 18 and it is free for children under the age of 9.
St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
The main landmark of Toompea is the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. This spectacular, onion-domed cathedral, was built in the 19th century and it is the main Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Estonia.
The cathedral contains 11 church bells, among of which is the largest bell in Tallinn which weights more than 16 tons. It is richly decorated with mosaics, icons, and frescoes. The cathedral has 2 services per day, which are in Russian. It is open for visitors every day from 8 am to 6 pm with no admission fee.
Tallinn Town Wall
With 26 towers and two gates, this 1.85km wall was built in the 13th century and was the best defence system in the whole of Northern Europe for the next 3 centuries. Many towers are open for visitors, and you can walk into one small section of the wall that connects the Nunne, Sauna and Kuldjala towers. The Patkuli viewing platform is the best place to see the wall from the outside.
The wall is open for visitors the whole year and from September to October, the opening hours are from 11 am to 5 pm every day except on Thursdays. The ticket price is 2€ for adults, 1.5€ for university students and 1€ for school students.
Kumu Art Museum
Kunstimuuseum or simply Kumu Museum is one of the largest museums in the whole of Estonia and Northern Europe. It was established in 2006 and since then it was the home of many permanent and temporary exhibitions.
Estonian art from the 18th century onwards represent one of the main collections in this museum. Here you can learn about art from different periods and see some stunning masterpieces. The museum also contains a library is open for all visitors as well as an educational centre.
Opening hours are from 10 am to 6 pm on Tuesdays to Wednesdays and on Fridays to Sundays. On Thursdays, it opens from 10 am to 8 pm. The sponsor ticket and the concessions ticket cost 10€ and 6€ respectively. Admission ticket is 8€ for adults and is 16€ for families.
Estonian Open Air Museum
The Estonian Open Air Museum is one of a kind. It’s inspired by open-air museums in Scandinavia and Finland, and it was established in 1957. Located on 72 hectares os land, the museum has more than 80 different buildings. The museum looks like a real village where you can find a church, a school, a fire station and fishing sheds.
It also contains 14 farms from which you can see how families from different social classes lived from 18th to 20th century. You can even try many different things here, such as horse riding or sample many Estonian national dishes.
Opening hours are from 10 am to 6 pm every day in the summer season (23 April – 28 September). Ticket price is 10€ for adults and is 20€ for families. Admission is free for children.
On the Toompea hill, sitting on a beautiful limestone cliff, you can find the imposing Tompea Castle. It was built by the German Knights of the Sword in the early 13th century, but it got its baroque façade in the 18th century. Toompea Castle went through many remodelling efforts to suit the taste of many rulers and conquerors, but it still retains its original shape and design. Three towers remained intact, and the finest of them is the Pikk Herman tower, built in the 14th century.
Today the Toompea castle is home to the Estonian Parliament. Guided tours are available from Mondays to Fridays, but you need to book in advance. You can also take a tour and visit several rooms with art exhibits. Additionally, you can also watch the sessions of the parliament from the public gallery.
St. Nicholas’ Church and Museum
This church was founded in the 13th century and was dedicated to St. Nichola, the patron of sailors and fishermen. It was destroyed during the World War II, but restored and made into the Niguliste Museum, a branch of the Art Museum of Estonia. In this museum, you can see ecclesiastical art from medieval times onward. The museum’s concert hall was formally the main church building.
The most famous painting in this museum is Bernt Notke’s Danse Macabre (Dance of Death) which caused a mixture of feelings to those who view it. The Silver Chamber is a place that will take your breath away, and you will be amazed by dancing skeletons.
Opening hours are from 10 am to 6 pm every day from May to September and from 10 am to 5 pm on Wednesdays to Sundays from October to April. The ticket prices for a sponsor ticket and a concessions ticket is 8€ and 5€ respectively. Admission tickets cost 6€ for adults and 12€ for families.
Estonian History Museum
Established in 1864, the Estonian History Museum is something that you must visit if you are interested in the history of Estonia. In this museum, also known as Eesti Ajaloomuuseum in Estonian, you will find the Great Guild Hall, the Maarjamäe Palace and the Film Museum. You can travel through different periods of history by using different interactive time capsules. The Museum is home to many exhibits, and it has various collections on display.
Opening hours are from 10 am to 6 pm every day from 2 May to 30 September and the museum closes on public holidays. The ticket price is from 6€ to 15€ depending on what you want to see. There are many discounts and admission is free for children under 8 years, disabled people and journalists. You can visit the museum for free on 18 May and 19 Feb and for 1€ on the last Sunday in March, June, September, and December.
Just 20 minutes east of Tallinn lies Jägala Waterfall, a sight that you will remember for the rest of your life. This waterfall is placed in a lower course of the Jägala River, just a few kilometres before it reaches the Gulf of Finland.
The best time to visit this 8 meters high and more than 50 meters wide waterfall is during winter when the water freezes and the waterfall becomes a gorgeous jagged ice wall. If you are a cycling enthusiast, there is a Baltic Sea Cycle Route that connects the Jägala Waterfall with the centre of Tallinn. The Jägala river is known for its large salmons and trout resources, which is perfect for those who love fishing.
In the centre of Tallinn, you can find the oldest pharmacy in Europe. It was opened in 1422 and has never closed its doors. It was operated by ten generations of Burchart family from 1581 to 1911.
In medieval times you could buy unicorn horn powder, mummy juice or snakeskin potions, but today it is the regular pharmacy with the latest products. Fun fact, in medieval times you could buy even gunpowder or marzipan in this pharmacy. It was so famous that the Russian tsar was a regular customer. In the backroom, you can see the exhibition of medical products from the 17th to 20th centuries as well as herbs. In the basement, you can try different herbal teas made of local herbs.
Opening hours are from 10 am to 6 pm on Mondays to Saturdays and the pharmacy closes on Sundays.