When is the best time to visit Tallinn?
Like many other places in Europe, we found that autumn was a wonderful time to visit Tallinn.
It’s still quite busy following the summer tourists, but the autumn colours are in full bloom and Estonia in autumn is an amazing scene. With what resemble Indian spices in orange, red and yellows, it’s the perfect backdrop to the city attractions.
However, I’ve heard great things about Tallinn during winter and the Christmas season, so I think it would be a great time to visit too.
What is the best way to get to Tallinn?
Since Tallinn is the capital city, it’s super easy to fly here! You can get cheap flights across mainland Europe, and you can visit from international destinations too. I suggest you use Skyscanner to find the best deals on flights to Tallinn.
Or, you can do what Bradley and I did and road trip to Tallinn. Estonia is a small but mighty country with beautiful sights to see.
How long should you spend in Tallinn?
Tallinn is the perfect place for a European city break and I suggest you spend at least 3 nights there! You could spend more, but no less or you’ll miss out on all the best things to do in Tallinn.
If you fancy exploring more of what Estonia has to offer in general, then it’s a great idea to rent a car for a couple of days after you’re done exploring all the best tourist attractions Tallinn has to offer and head out and explore the country!
Tartu is another great Estonian city that is worth visiting.
The top things to do in Tallinn
1. Check out Jagala Waterfall
If you decide to rent a car and explore the surrounding areas of Tallinn, then I recommend you check out Jagala Waterfall.
It’s Estonia's highest natural waterfall and it actually looks pretty cool. It’s only about 30 minutes outside the city centre of Tallinn, but it’s worth it to drive on the Estonian roads lined with beautiful Autumn colours. This waterfall can also freeze and a frozen waterfall looks super cool (if you haven’t seen one before).
One of the more unique things to do in Estonia, but worth it if you’re there for a few days.
2. Visit the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
This is one of my favourite spots in all of Tallinn because this cathedral is a work of art, both inside and out! It’s easy to find and it’s free entrance.
You can get a good shot of this cathedral from every angle, but really stand and appreciate the beautiful architecture on show.
3. Explore the Kadriorg Art Museum
This Art Museum is just as famous for its outside as well as inside! This spot is a real treat in the summer when the gardens are in full bloom with beautiful colours. It’s a restored palace that houses some brilliant art, and it was built when Estonia was part of Russia.
You can easily access the area by walking from the Old Town (which will take about 35 minutes), or you can opt for public transport to get you there.
4. Visit Toompea Castle
Toompea Castle is worth visiting and it’s very beautiful. But it’s no longer a castle as such, as it’s used as the Estonia Parliament (pretty cool spot for government).
Free tours can be arranged in advance, and you can watch sessions of parliament from the public gallery is you’re interested to see how the government insides work!
5. Dine in the Old Town
The Old Town of Tallinn is bursting with amazing places to eat and dine. When we were walking around, we were spoilt for choice and couldn’t decide on where to eat. There are lots of options of authentic Estonian food, which is actually a blend of different foods into one!
We ended up eating in a restaurant that was located in a cellar. It was calld Munga Kelder and it was awesome. The vibe was amazing, the food was reasonably priced and tasted great!
Another popular place to eat in Estonia is Olde Hansa which is quite expensive, but you’re paying for the experience too, so if you want medieval dining, then I suggest you head there!
TOUR: Feeling really hungry? Then indulge in a Tallinn food tour! Book yours here.
6. Visit the Danish King’s Garden
The Danish King's Garden is one of the weird, yet wonderful sights in Tallinn. The area is the birthplace of the danish flag. The garden remains an area where locals honour the role Denmark played in Estonia's history.
There are spooky looking monks dotted over the place too, and if you’ve seen Harry Potter, you’ll see a resemble to dementors.
It’s a totally free area to explore too, so again, a great spot for those looking for the best places to visit in Tallinn on a budget!
7. Check out St Catherine's Passage
This has to be one of the most picturesque spots in all of Tallinn! This winding road is half hidden walkway that leads to what was once St Catherine's church.
There is a collection of workshops located in the area, but the ambience of the passage is what you really seek. You’ll feel it as you walk through, trust me!
If you’re looking for an awesome “Instagram Worthy” spot, then this is one of the best places to visit in Tallinn.
8. Visit the Tallinn town hall
The Tallinn Town Hall stands proud as the oldest city call in Northern Europe and the only one that’s preserved in Gothic style (my favourite style!) During August and July the Town Hall is open for visitors who can visit the whole area, including the attic and basement.
Prices start at 5 euro entrance, and you can visit at other times but with prior request I believe.
9. Get your picture at Viru Gate
Viru Gate feels like the grand entrance into the Old Town and it’s a really cute spot because it’s lined the florists. Brad bought me a red rose and that made my day! I don’t think it’s very expensive, so you can delight your partner with a rose too by the gate if you wish :P
Which is a good time to mention that Tallinn is a great spot for couples, there is a very romantic vibe about the place.
10. Visit St Olaf's Church
Considered one of the symbols of Tallinn, this iconic church is very beautiful and a great picture spot. You can actually check out the amazing view from the top via 232 steps to the observation platform. The viewing platform is only open in the summer months, not winter.
TOUR: You can take a walking tour of the Old Town if you’d like to learn more about the history of the sights you’re seeing. Check this one out.
11. Explore the KGB Prison Cells
This was a super unique experience and something I was looking forward to seeing. I’ve studied the KGB extensively in my history lessons in high school and in university and I was intrigued to learn more about the tragic ongoings of the KGB prison cells.
These are the actual prison cells, which is a harrowing, harsh reality as you walk through.
It’s not a very big museum as such, but it’s more than enough to show you what it was like to be a prisoner during those times- horrific. Each exhibition is in an old cell and it was a truly insightful experience I think you should visit!
One of the top things to do in Tallinn for sure!
It’s a 5 euro entrance fee for adults and you can pay card.
12. Explore the city’s defensive walls
The oldest parts of the walls of Tallinn were actually built in the 13th century, which means they have a long history! For just a couple of euro, you can climb up the walls and walk along them in one section.
It’s a short tour, but it does give some beautiful views and with learning a little bit about the history of the walls.
13. Check out the KGB museum located in a hotel
So this was one of the first things Brad and I checked out when we got to Tallinn, but we didn’t get past the door. Basically, we didn’t realise you can only access via guided tour, and when we visited, the next guided tour in English wasn’t until 3 hours away. We had our day planned meticulously, so we couldn't fit it in.
But, I think this is an excellent spot. It’s located in the Hotel Viru and I believe it’s the only hotel that holds a museum. You’ll get an insight into the KGB history, and of course the role that this hotel played in all that.
Just book your tickets in advance, it was super busy when we arrived!
Definitely one of the more unique Tallinn tourist attractions on offer!
14. Check out Tallinn TV tower
Tallinn TV tower is located outside the main area of the city, so it’s not really walking distance. It’s northern Europe's highest viewing tower and on a clear day, you’ll be treated to some awesome views!
You can actually “walk on the edge” of this TV tower if you’re feeling brave for only 30 euro, and looking for something truly unique to do in Tallinn. Or, you can dine at their restaurant which boasts amazing views (I’m not surprised!)
It’s 13 euro to enter the tower for adults.
15. Pop into the Tallinn Creative City
This is one of the spots Brad and I didn’t go to, but I think is worth mentioning. This is the largest creative hub in all of Estonia, consisting of creative companies, studios and offices of NGOs.
Basically it’s a buzzing place and it hosts over 600 events that take place. There is lots of street art, unique eating spots and photo galleries, it's a great place to spend an afternoon.
16. Wander the cute streets of the Old town
The Old Town of Tallinn is filled with cobbled streets and corners that you’ll find cute cafes, delicious eateries and cute souvenir shops. I suggest you just wander around without a map and just see what you discover.
I ended up going into a cute shop located underground and wanted to buy everything in there! In the end I just got a shot glass for my collection, but there are lots of gifts you could bring back to family and friends.
Is Tallinn expensive?
Not overly, for a capital city, I think it’s quite well priced, however in comparison to the rest of Estonia, the prices in Tallinn are higher. But it’s far cheaper than most European capital cities and it’s great value for money.
But, if you're looking for ways to visit Tallinn on a budget, then I suggest you eat outside of the Old Town. You’ll find better deals.
Getting around Tallinn
Like I mentioned before, one of the great things about Tallinn, Estonia, is the fact that most of the best sites in Tallinn are within walking distance from any accommodation located in/near the Old Town.
However, another option is to use the classic sightseeing Hop on Hop off bus, it’ll take you to the best things to do in Tallinn and you can hop on and off as you need too.
CityBee is also an electric scooter rental company and you can download the app and pick up a scooter and take it for as long as you need, then simply leave it within the Old Town for the next person to pick up. We used them in Lithuania, and it’s a brilliant way to sightsee, so using it in Tallinn, is a great idea too.
So there you have it! My guide to the top things to do in Tallinn. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and I hope it’s inspired you to do all these amazing things in Tallinn! If you’ve got any other suggestions to add to the list of Tallinn attractions, then simply drop a comment below.
A big thank you to VisitEstonia for hosting us for our stay in Tallinn at their StoryTellers Nest!
For more help planning your trip in Estonia, check out our other guides: