Traveling in Tallinn, Estonia, is an under-the-radar yet awesome place to go for a trip. During our entire stay in Tallinn, we felt like we were surprised at every corner.

What we love about Tallinn is the mix of old (very old) and new (very new)! It’s like one minute we were standing next to a 9th Century medieval stone tower and the next, sitting in a trendy cafe that opened a few months before.

With so much to do in Tallinn, how did we decide what to see and do? I put together this list of the things we did that we recommend, along with a few ideas that will please any traveler!

Check out the best things to do when you visit Tallinn, Estonia here.

Things to do and see in Tallinn, Estonia

There’s a lot of different things to see in Tallinn, and something for everyone, too. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a family vacation with a cruise ship stop in Tallinn’s port, or a backpacker traveling through Europe: you will love Tallinn like we did!

Start your trip at Town Hall Square

Tallinn’s Town Hall Square is called “Raekoja plats” in Estonian, so you may see signs for that! It’s the perfect place to begin your trip in Old Town Tallinn. It’s from the 13th Century, so you’re literally stepping into history!

You’ll see that it’s the central point for the entire Old Town. In good weather, it’s filled with outdoor dining at restaurants and pubs, and in holiday season, it’s the spot for a big tree and a Christmas market. With its pastel buildings and architecture, it’s hard not to be taking a million photos!

Admire Tallinn Town Hall

Tallinn’s Town Hall building is a piece of history in itself, and it’s not hard to find, with its soaring tower and simple design. Inside, there are Gothic elements and paintings. Visitors are welcome, and admission is not expensive. Check out more at VisitEstonia.com.

Get lost in Tallinn’s Old Town

Tallinn’s Old Town is one of the most beautifully-preserved Northern European towns, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s no wonder so many people travel from far away to experience it!

The Old Town was planned in the 13th Century, and its unique character had us charmed immediately. We liked walking around in any direction from the Town Hall Square, through small alleys and stone streets, happy to see all the shops, museums, cafes and historic reenactments.

Eat at Rataskaevu

This “restaurant street” should be at the top of your list if you like food! It’s also where the vegan restaurant (Vegan Restoran) is located.

Walk down Pikk jalg medieval lane

This small stone lane is a walking path between two big medieval stone walls, with a red-roofed tower at the end. Great photo op!

Nunnatorn ja linnamüüri platvorm (observation deck)

This spot for a photo is within the town wall, inside a tower. From elevated wooden platforms, you can have a glimpse of the town.

Check out all the cool coffee shops

Whether you are a coffee fanatic or you’re figuring out how to work remotely and travel, stop by one of Tallinn’s nice cafes.

We made this list of the best cafes in Tallinn.

Catch a view at any of the “viewing platforms”

No trip to Tallinn is complete without going up to a viewing platform! Just like we’ve enjoyed doing in other European cities, we ventured up hills and stairs to get these great views. Check out these two popular locations.

Patkuli vaateplatvorm

The Patkuli Platform is open 24 hours and involves 157 steps, so get ready!

Kohtuotsa viewing platform

This viewing platform is a great spot for a photo, and many town walking tours will stop here. Check out the photos we took.

Escape the bustle in the Master’s Courtyard

We happened on this quaint alleyway and pretty courtyard that reminded me of a movie set. This one’s my secret! There’s a cafe, craftsman shops and one guesthouse.

It’s a dead end, so it’s especially charming.

Go for a sunset at Pirita Beach

One of the most memorable things we did on our trip to Tallinn was go for a perfect Midsummer sunset at Pirita Beach, which is a stone’s throw from downtown Tallinn. I don’t remember how I found out about it, but I’m so glad we made the little trip by public bus to get there.

Upon walking past the parking lot for Pirita Beach, we walked on one of the prettiest wooded walkways of our whole Eastern Europe trip. See our photos for yourself!

Going to the beach itself was not a tropical experience in late June, but you may have better luck if you’re traveling during the end of July or the first half of August. By the time we left, I was freezing! What I am grateful for, though, was a 10pm sunset that left us with a gorgeous Baltic glow across the water.

Go for a stroll in Kadriorg Park

Kadriorg Park is on the edge of Tallinn City, and if you’re looking for an escape from the winding Old Town Streets, hop on a public bus to this green oasis. According to the park’s official website, the park was founded by Peter the Great in 1718 and is the most spectacular Baroque park in all of Estonia.

While you could probably spend hours walking on the paths within the park itself, our most memorable moment was finding our way to Kadriorg Palace. It’s now the Kadriorg Art Museum, and it is a gorgeous building fit for royalty. Check out the Flower Garden that faces it (located here) and then head to the Peter the Great Museum.

Go back in time to Tallinna Linnahall

I can’t remember how I found out about Tallinna Linnahall (maybe Instagram?). I insisted that we go, because it was a relic of Estonia’s Soviet past, and struck such a vastly different chord than the quaint medieval Old Town.

Linnahall is so weird that it was listed in Atlas Obscura as a bizarre place to go in Tallinn. Atlas Obscura calls it, “An empty relic of the Moscow Olympics crumbles away in Estonia’s capital.” And the description remains correct: Linnahall is really just a crumbling expanse of concrete visited only by tourists and graffiti artists.

VisitEstonia.com suggests “visiting from a distance,” and most visitors on TripAdvisor say the views are worth going for, but watch out for a lot of steps and some areas being closed off.

Take photos at Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

I’ve always wanted to visit more of the former Soviet Republics, and it turned out that I didn’t have to go into Russia to have perfect photos of a Russian Orthodox cathedral against a perfect blue sky.

If you’re doing a lot of walking in Tallinn’s Old Town, you may just find yourself at this church without trying — we did (twice)! If you think it looks newer than everything surrounding it, that’s because it is: it was finished in 1900, when Estonia was part of the (former) Russian Empire.

According to info on VisitEstonia.com, it can be visited (to go inside) during most of the year, from January to September, currently. (We just admired the exterior of it.)

Take a break in Freedom Square

As our accommodation was right across from Freedom Square, we spent most mornings walking through it and past it.

Freedom Square is worth a visit because it’s a monument to Estonia’s War of Independence. It’s a pedestrian square that’ll be an integral stop on most official city walking tours.

Head out to Telliskivi Creative City

If you’re not already staying in Kalamaja, Tallinn’s “hipster” neighborhood, take some time to check out “Telliskivi Creative City” during your trip. Telliskivi is walkable (about 1 mile) from most points in central Old Town.

What is Telliskivi Creative City? It’s a collection of former factories in a developing industrial neighborhood that are now home to indie shops, outdoor dining, food and drink options, design studios, startups, events and an art festival.

That’s a lot!

We liked Telliskivi Creative City a lot. You can feel the power of Tallinn’s new generation coming to life, and for several years now, Telliskivi is the center of it all. Check out the cool website that calls Telliskivi “Creative pulse, industrial bones.” It’s a can’t-miss destination.

Eat and dine at Balti Jaama Turg Market

This awesome market is everything a hungry traveler can dream of, and we were so glad that a recommendation came to us for visiting it. There are vendors selling fresh produce, coffee, sandwiches, packaged food items, baked goods, international street foods and snacks.

Overall, the market has 300 vendors! If you’d like to get inspired before you go, follow the market’s Instagram to see what’s happening there lately. It’s incredible how this market has become a magnet for locals, expats, tourists and anyone who wants a bite of the new flavors of Tallinn.

Here’s a directory of all the food.

Hang out in Kalamaja

Voted “one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world” by Time Out magazine, Tallinn’s most alternative neighborhood is attracting visitors from all over! The meaning of Kalamaja in Estonian is “Fish House,” and the neighborhood borders the sea.

For a complete list of everything you can do in the Kalamaja district, check out this guide from our friends at Traveller Tours.

Go shopping at Solaris Mall

One of the highlights for us was finding sushi at Solaris Mall at a restaurant called Tokumaru! We had been traveling long-term already for quite some time, and sushi hit the spot.

Solaris Mall has a wide range of sit-down restaurant options all under one roof, as well as cafes and some takeaway fast food.

Would you have ever guessed? The shopping center also has two cinemas and a concert hall! There’s also retail stores for shopping, and our favorite thing to do was to frequent the grocery store in the basement level (floor 0) to see what Estonians like to eat! We bought potatoes, dill, apples and cucumbers, among other fresh foods.

Catch a live show at Sveta Bar

Our most memorable night in Tallinn (aside from seeing a 10pm sunset in June) was to see a fun live music show at Sveta Bar in Telliskivi. Check the Instagram for the most up-to-date show lists and updates.

Sveta Bar is open til 2am even on weeknights, so check out the website if you’d like to learn more.

Head onward to Riga, Latvia, on a tour through Estonia

One of the BEST things we did in our Baltics trip was to take the Tallinn-Riga Sightseeing Bus with Traveller Tours. We spent so long in Tallinn, and hadn’t seen any other parts of Estonia, to our dismay. We also planned to get to Riga. How could we reach both of these goals, at the same time? We found out about the Tallinn-Riga Sightseeing Tour Bus from the owner of the hostel we had stayed at. The tour is not what it sounds like! It’s an intimate group of about 8-12 travelers from all around the world, and we spent 12 hours making the journey from Tallinn to Riga, with fun and interesting stops along the way.

It’s 100% the best way to get to Riga from Tallinn, and I recommend reading our Tallinn-Riga Traveller Tours Bus Trip review before booking!

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