With more than 5,000 years long history, Tallinn is one of the oldest capital cities of Northern Europe. Its Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, Tallinn is placed among the top 10 digital cities in the world, and has the highest number of startups per person in Europe.
Situated on the northern coast of Estonia, Tallinn is a relatively small town and the most important sights can be seen in one day. The best time to visit Tallinn, and the rest of Estonia and the Baltic, is during the summer when the daylight lasts for more than 18 hours.
To make the best of your time in Tallinn, check our suggestions for a one day city visit!
09:00 Start your day at the suburban area called Pirita. Take a walk along the most famous sandy beach and have a coffee at the beach bar. Waking up is always prettier with a great view. Near the beach you will find the ruins of Pirita Convent. This 15th century convent was part of the Bridgettine Order founded in 1344 by Saint Bridget of Sweden.
10:30 A short ride from the convent (from Pirita bus stop to J.Poska bus stop, 6 minutes ride, buses go every 5 minutes), you will reach Kadriorg park with Kadriorg Palace Art Museum – the only museum in Estonia dedicated to foreign art, and the KUMU Art Museum – containing modern and contemporary Estonian art.
13:00 It is now time to visit the famous medieval Old Town. The main entrance is through Viru Gate, where you can see two towers still remaining from the medieval fortification. Take a short walk to Hellemann Tower, nowadays hosting an art gallery, and climb up the top to reach one part of the medieval city walls, from where you can see the rooftops of old churches on one side and modern skyscrapers on the other.
13:30 Next to Hellemann Tower, you will see a few stands with traditional Estonian woollen, hand knitted, products, where local women sell their handmade garments to tourists. Apart from wool, traditional souvenirs include linen garments, juniper wood crafts, old items from Soviet era, and Vana Tallinn with 40% to 50% of alcohol or a lighter cream liqueur version. The best shopping can be done in Viru street.
14:00 At the end of Viru street, you will find a medieval-style restaurant called Olde Hansa. There you can try some of the local medieval specialties, like e.g. pork in beer, or elk and wild boar sausages. The interior of the restaurant is medieval, and that includes the pottery and the lack of electricity. It can be really romantic to eat your food with fingers under candlelight, but if you prefer something more modern, you can try some of the nearby restaurants. A lot of them are located on Town Square, just around the corner from Olde Hansa. There you can also see the Town Hall, with two dragon gargoyles and a high tower with a wind vane on top. If you look closer you will see that this wind vane has the form of a soldier, commonly known as Vana Toomas (old Thomas). Opposite the Town Hall, at number 11, you can see the oldest continuously running pharmacy in Europe, the Raeapteek (Town Hall Pharmacy), dating back to 15th century.
15:30 Just around the corner from the Town Square, you will see the medieval Lutheran church of the Holy Spirit, with a 17th century carved clock on the exterior. Take a walk through the narrow cobbled streets of the old town, and check the three main churches: St. Mary’s Cathedral, Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral and St. Nicholas Church.
You can start from the Church of the Holy Spirit and take the Pikk jalg street up to the area called Toompea (Dome Hill), surrounded by a huge park, Toompark. On this hill you will find St. Mary’s Cathedral and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, next to which is the Parliament of Estonia and the remains of western part of Tallinn fortification. You can also visit the Kiek in de kök tower or take a short walk on the western part of the city walls.
Take the picturesque Lühike jalg street to reach St. Nicholas Church, but make a short break at the very beginning of the street, and enter the Danish King’s Garden, a small yard surrounded by medieval city walls and statues of three monks.
18:00 When you reach the Town Square again, take the Vene street to the famous Chocolaterie Pierre. Located in a charming courtyard, it is the perfect place to relax after a long day of sightseeing. Tallinn is famous for chocolate truffles and marzipan, so you could try something typical, and at Chocolaterie Pierre they also have handmade chocolate pralines.
19:30 Take a walk around the town to Viru Gate, and across the Tammsaare park to reach Radisson Blu Sky Hotel. Take the elevator straight to the top (24th floor) and have a drink at the hotel bar, Lounge 24, for the best view of the city and the Old Town.
21:30 One of the most popular places to have dinner is the Clazz restaurant with jazz music, located near Town Hall. On your way from the Radisson to the old town, you will pass next to the Estonian National Opera.
23:30 If you want to check out the clubs and Tallinn nightlife, you can choose from Club Hollywood, Club Privé and Lekker bar. All three of them are located near St. Nicholas Church, so you can even party in all of them.
If you want to visit Tallinn or do a tour of the Baltic countries, or even hop over to Russia, you can check the bus travel options at getbybus.com, or see some of the most popular routes like e.g. Warsaw to Tallinn, Tallinn to Riga, Tallinn to St.Petersburg, Tallinn to Vilnius, Tallinn to Kaunas, Tallinn to Kaliningrad.