Tallinn: 10 things to do and see

tallinn hanseatic house

Tallinn is, in my opinion, the most beautiful city in the Baltic states: I have been there  twice in three years and I can tell you that the old town is simply breathtaking: the old merchant houses are colorful and magnificent, the medieval aspect of the city is great  and the local people play the game (see later in the article).

In this article I will write about the best things to do and to see in Tallinn, the best spots where you can make great pictures with your camera.  I will also tell you about my experience I made during my road trip from Sweden then Tallinn and the rest of the Baltic States.

1- Tallinn: useful informations

How to go to Tallinn and to get around ?

There are quite a few options to come to Tallinn. If you choose to stay in the old town (the best place), you will not need transportation because the city is small.

By boat: the most beautiful

During my road trip between Sweden and the Baltic States, I chose to come to Tallinn by ferry (from Stockholm). I paid the ticket (with a cabin but no meals) a little expensive: 170 euros but I took it at the last moment. By booking in advance I could easily pay 120 euros. I took the company Tallink (see the link). The port of Tallinn is  5 minutes of walk away from the old town so you don’t need to take a bus or a taxi. The experience of the ferry is great especially in summer with long days and the sun that remains low in the sky:

By plane: the most direct

If you are coming to Tallinn by plane, the airport is only 10/15 minutes away from the city center. There is a cheap bus that connects with the city center.

By bus: the cheapest

In the Baltic States, getting around by bus is very common and popular. I know people who have settled there and who have sold their cars to opt for the bus … The bus is simply the best way to move from town to town! For example, a Tallinn – Riga (Latvia) route will only cost you 25 Euros on a luxury bus with higher standards than I have seen in the Scandinavian countries … The best company and my favorite is LuxExpress 

Tallinn Central Station is a 5-minute walk from the Old Town. His address: Lastekodu 46, 10144 Tallinn, Estonia

When to get to Tallinn?

Summer is of course the best time to visit Tallinn. I advise the month of July because from August … it is already the end of summer in this northern country…

The other option is to visit Tallinn in winter: there are fewer people, snow everywhere and the light is great for photos! Hey yes, with the very cold climate that comes from Russia (from January only) there are some beautiful sunny days!

How long does it take to visit Tallinn?

Two days are enough to visit Tallinn because the sites of interest are concentrated in the old city.

2- What to do and to see in Tallinn ? Top photo spots!!

1- See the Hanseatic houses of Tallinn

Tallinn is an old trading city because it belonged to the Hanseatic League. It can be seen on the facades of the houses of the old town which have a particular shape: narrow and high. The ground floor was reserved for the reception of customers, the first floor to the living rooms and the attic was used to store the goods, hoisted by a system of pulleys (still visible):

2 – See and visit the fortifications of Tallinn

Tallinn is an ancient medieval city very well preserved! There are many fortifications and towers to visit all around the old town. They will give you unique views to admire the city and make great photos!

3 – See the town hall

The central place of the old town is dominated by the town hall and its 64-meters high tower (you can visit it). Admire the houses of merchants built in the Middle Ages! At number 11 of the place  there is the oldest pharmacy in Europe!

I recommend you to stop there to make the market which is a sort of medieval fair: merchants sell there all kinds of old products (animal skins, leather bracelets etc …) and are disguised !!

4 – Visit the Nevsky Cathedral of Tallinn

Nevsky Cathedral of Tallinn was built at the end of the 19th century. Its Russian style contrasts with the medieval style of the old town of Tallinn.

5 – See the top city of Tallinn

It is the historical district of Tallinn (Toompea) and the seat of power. It dominates the city from the top of a hill. The atmosphere is peaceful and contrasts with the atmosphere of the lower town:

6 – Visit the city museum

The city museum traces the history of the city and by extension of Estonia over a long period of time. Although a modest in size, it has an interesting collection of objects of all kinds including a collection of coins and banknotes:

7 – See the city from above with the belvederes

In Tallinn raise your head! Do not hesitate to enter the churches that have high towers (belvederes) because their view is … how to say … breathtaking  !! I highly recommend visiting the Kohtu belvedere or the one from the Town Hall

Cost: prices vary but are around 2/3 euros per visit / people. This is very affordable!

8 – The prison of Patarei

Patarei is the former prison of Tallinn closed on request of the European Union because of antiquated. Used as a place of celebration by the youth of Tallinn it remains an open-air museum of Nazi and Soviet occupation. It is still possible to visit it. 

This is a visit for intrepid and curious people of all kinds. If you want to know more about this article, click here

9 – Walking in the old town of Tallinn

The most beautiful churches of Tallinn

The Holy Spirit’s church of Tallinn

The church of the Holy Spirit of Tallin was built in the Middle Ages (1316). this is the oldest of the city:

St. John’s church of Tallinn

9 – Lennusadam: the maritime museum of Tallinn

Lennusadam is the most visited museum in Estonia. It is right next to the Patarei prison (north of the old town). If you are in the area do not hesitate to visit it because its collection is rich and the activities numerous: disguise in sailor, visit of a submarine and an icebreaker for example:

(on the other hand the price is 14 euros per person for a 3-4 hour visit).

I was impressed by the machineries of the icebreaker.

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