23+ Best Things to Do in Tallinn, Estonia for First Time Visitors

If you're planning a visit to Tallinn soon, look no further! These are the best things to do in Tallinn Estonia for first time visitors!

Disclosure: I was a complimentary guest of Visit Estonia during my time here. All opinions and recommendations are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.

I still remember the day I’d first heard of Estonia. I was studying abroad in Ireland and a friend of mine booked an insanely cheap flight to Tallinn. Not only did I have to Google where Tallinn was, but I also asked him why he wanted to visit such a “random” destination. When he returned, he told me that there were tons of amazing things to do in Tallinn, Estonia and that I had to visit one day. I never thought I would, but life’s full of thrilling surprises.

A few years ago, I moved to Madrid for a few months and met Chantell from Adoration 4 Adventure. She was on a mission to visit every country in Europe and suggested we travel to Tallinn, Riga, and Sigulda together. That’s precisely how I ended up visiting The Baltics for the first time and falling in love with Estonia.

When the first thing our Uber driver asked us on the way from the airport was “What are you doing here in Estonia? What are you going to see?” I knew my suspicions were correct: Estonia doesn’t get a lot of tourists. But I have a feeling that’s going to change, and soon. If you’re reading this post, then it’s likely that Estonia has already sparked your interest. So without further ado: these are the 23 best things to do in Tallinn, Estonia.

Best Things to Do in Tallinn, Estonia

If you only have one day in Tallinn, go on a free walking tour

If you're planning a visit to Tallinn soon, look no further! These are the best things to do in Tallinn Estonia for first time visitors!
Charming Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn Free Tour is the most popular tour in Tallinn and for good reason – it’s super fun! This two-hour long guided walking tour is an excellent introduction to the city and country. I don’t know about you, but Estonia is a country I knew virtually nothing about before arriving. I never learned about it in history class, and we certainly don’t hear much about it in the news. The walking tour will offer you a bit of history (and sense of direction) about the city you’re visiting. Plus, the guides are low-key hilarious, making learning history quite the enjoyable experience. It’s seriously one of the best things to do in Tallinn and my #1 recommendation for those who only have one day in Tallinn. Book it here and read reviews here.


Wander through Old Town Tallinn on your own

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A snowy Tallinn

Despite the fact that Old Town Tallinn isn’t large by any stretch of the imagination, if your sense of direction is as good as mine (read: terrible), you’ll actually end up getting lost more than once. But this is the funnest way to explore any city in my opinion, especially if you have extra time to spend in a city and don’t want to feel like you’re checking a giant to-do list. However, if you do want a list of the best things in to do and see in Old Town Tallinn, don’t miss the below places.


Get the best Old Town views from Kohtuotsa viewing platform

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Kohtuosta viewing point

One of my favorite things about Tallinn is that there are lots of places around the city where you can access some seriously beautiful panoramic views. Kohtuosta viewing platform is probably the most well-known amongst tourists and for good reason: the views from here are spectacular. It’s where I captured the featured photo of this blog post plus there’s an Instagrammable wall that says “the times we had,” evoking a sense of nostalgia. I’m high-key obsessed with this viewing platform – there’s a reason it’s ranked as one of the best things to do in Tallinn!


Walking along the city wall at Hellemann Tower 

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View from Helleman Tower

Built in 1410, Helleman Tower has served a multitude of purposes, including a café, prison, and now, a museum that’s built into the Town Wall. For just €4 (or free with the Tallinn Card), you’ll get access to the longest part of the original medieval city wall (that’s still accessible).

Besides the gorgeous views of the city and a dose of history, Helleman Tower also houses an art gallery.

  • Hours: Daily, 10 AM – 5 PM
  • Entrance: €4 or free with the Tallinn Card


Explore every inch of the Tallinn Town Wall

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Tallinn Town Wall

With nearly 2 kilometers of its original city walls and twenty defensive towers still standing, Tallinn is home to one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval walls. That’s where the fairytale vibes come from, I suppose. Anyway, one of the cool things to do in Tallinn is to visit various sections of the wall for different viewpoints. Some of the more popular ones include the Patkuli viewing platform and Towers’ Square Park. You can get awesome shots and pretend you’re in a Disney movie for awhile. Where you at, Prince Charming?


Tour the inside of the pink Toompea Castle

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Toompea Castle

Although Toompea Castle was originally a Danish castle built in 1219, it’s gone through many iterations and owners since then. It was destroyed and rebuilt again in the 14th century, where it served as the seat of the Knights of the Sword for several hundred years.

The current Baroque-style castle was built in the late 1700s on the foundations of the 14th century version. It’s now home to the Riigikogu (the Estonian parliament), proudly displaying the Estonian flag. Visitors can actually tour Toompea for free if they book ahead of time, something that Chantell and I did not have the foresight to research…oops. So, don’t make the same mistake we did! I mean, when else do you get a chance to visit a pink government building? It’s definitely one of the more unique things to do in Tallinn! The entrance fee is free but you need to book ahead.

  • Hours: Monday – Thursday 10 AM – 4 PM, Friday at 10 AM – 3 PM
  • Entrance: Free – must book ahead


Marvel at the architecture at Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

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Nevsky Cathedral

Before arriving to Estonia, we were told that we had to visit this grand Russian Orthodox Church and I completely understand why. Located across from Toompea, the Nevsky Catherdral has quite the unique architectural style with round domes, a colorful facade and 11 powerful church bells. Inside, you’ll find an impressive plethora of mosaics and statues. I do find the grand size to be a bit ironic, given that Estonia is the least religious country in the world. Their words, not mine. Entrance is free.


People watch at Freedom Square

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Freedom Square

Freedom Square is Tallinn’s main town square. It’s also home to the War of Independence monument. You see, Estonia has been occupied a LOT over the last 100 years, although the square’s Monument of Independence commemorates the brief two year period between 1918 – 1920 that Estonia was free from foreign rule. Today, it serves as a picturesque meeting spot/people watching square, located just on the edges of the Old Town although you can still see the remains of the defense tower through a glass screen on Harju Street.


Be charmed by the picturesque Tallinn Town Hall and Square

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Town Hall

The Town Hall has been the center and heartbeat of the Old Town of Tallinn since the Middle Ages, and you can definitely tell. I visited Tallinn in May and while the rest of the Old Town is tranquil, the Town Hall Square was bustling with restaurants and people. In the winter, it’s home to a truly Christmas market, complete with a giant tree (legend says that the first Christmas was put up in Tallinn). In the summer, this area is a venue for open markets, summer fairs, and outdoor concerts. The architecture here is reminiscent of medieval times and the square even boasts an outdoor market selling all kinds of trinkets year-round. It’s incredibly picturesque and can’t be missed on a visit to Tallinn.

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Look for St. Catherine’s Passage

Running behind what was once St. Catherine’s Church, this ancient alleyway is lined with stone walls and a cobblestone path. St. Catherine’s Passage is now home to an exquisite collection of artisan and craft shops, selling everything from wood carvings to knit goods.

One of the coolest things about this area is that it still retains the majority of the original 15th-century architecture and if you close your eyes, you can easily imagine knights and horses making their way through this picturesque passage. This seriously one of the top places to visit in Tallinn and it’s easy to miss if you don’t know to look for it!


Visit the Museum of Occupations and Freedom

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Spotted inside the museum

I’m really, really not a big museum person. In fact, I’ve set myself a “one museum per city” policy, unless the museum is particularly fascinating. Monuments? Yes. Museums? Nah. But if you go to ONE museum in Tallinn, the Museum of Occupations is the one to visit. I could have easily spent hours in here, soaking up Estonia’s history from the last century. It was fascinating to see remnants from Soviet times (which was less than 20 years ago – crazy!) and contrast that with how much Estonia has changed since then. In the United States, we get a very one-sided view of the Cold War (well, all the wars, really) in history class, so I particularly enjoyed gaining a different perspective. It was genuinely amazing and is one of the coolest things to do in Tallinn! The entrance fee is €11 or free for Tallinn Card holders. Get your ticket ahead of time here

  • Hours: Oct 1 – April 30 – Tues – Sun, 11 AM – 6 PM | May 1 – Sept 30 – Daily, 10 AM – 6 PM
  • Entrance: €11 or free with the Tallinn Card | Purchase your ticket ahead here.


Check out the KGB Museum

If you’re interested in learning more about Soviet censorship and spying in Estonia, consider a visit to the KGB Museum, which is located in Hotel Viru.

Estonia was occupied by the Soviets for fifty years, and during that time, this hotel was the only hotel where tourists could stay. The entire 23rd floor was run by the KGB (Soviet secret police). The KGB Museum houses a variety of artifacts from this dark period in history including uniforms, propaganda, surveillance devices, and more. It’s fascinating to witness in real life. Admission is €11 and includes a private tour.

Note: You can also visit the KGB prison cells, which are separate from the museum. I didn’t do this myself but if you’re particularly curious about the conditions war prisoners lived in, check it out for yourself. 

  • Hours: Closed Mondays. Check website for updated opening hours.
  • Entrance: €11


Channel your inner hipster at Telliskivi

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Hamster? Rat? I’ll never know

There’s a whole other world that lies outside of the Old Town of Tallinn and it’s ultra modern and ultra hip. Located past the rail tracks of “modern” Tallinn lies Telliskivi Loomelinnak aka Telliskivi Creative City. Essentially, it’s a large area filled with unique cafes, street food stalls, boutique shops, and street art. Apparently, it was once an industrial warehouse center that has since been transformed and is a hub for startups, small businesses, and NGOs. It’s easily one of the most hipster parts of Tallinn, and I loved it. If you’re at all into street art or boutique shops, this is one of the coolest things to do outside Old Town Tallinn!


Climb the Tallinn TV Tower

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If you want a view over the entire city of Tallinn (not just the Old Town), don’t miss the Tallinn TV Tower, Northern Europe’s highest open viewing platform. From here, you’ll see for miles and miles, stretching to the Baltic Sea and even Helsinki on a clear day. The second highest floor has an exhibit with a bunch of cool, random facts about Estonian accomplishments, but if you go to the very top, you can actually go outside (there’s a fence) and experience the elements (it was freezing). What’s more, you can also pay to walk alongside the edge while attached to the 22nd floor of the building…just your casual dose of adrenaline. The entrance fee is €13 or free for Tallinn Card holders. Get your ticket ahead of time here.

Note: The TV Tower is around 15 minutes or so by bus from the Old Town. I was on a hop-on, hop-off tour but you can also take city buses 34A, 38 and 49 to the “Teletorn” stop. 

  • Hours: Oct 1 – April 30 – Daily, 10 AM – 7 PM | May 1 – Sept 30 – Daily, 10 AM – 6 PM
  • Entrance: €13 or free with the Tallinn Card | Purchase your ticket ahead here.


Soak up art at Kadriorg Palace

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Founded by Russian Tsar Peter 1 in 1718, this palace was named in honor of his wife, Catherine I. As a lover of architecture, I could basically hang out at Kadriorg Palace all day. Designed by Italian architect Nicola Michetti, the Baroque façade of the palace both bright and detailed, and the building itself is surrounded by a beautiful park with fountains and a small lake. It used to be the imperial summer residence for obvious reasons, but now it’s home to the Kadriorg Art Musuem, displaying an array of 16th – 20th century foreign art.

Note: Kadriorg is easily accessible from the Old Town by a short tram ride. Public transportation is included for free if you have a Tallinn Card, but if not, it’s €2. The palace is closed on Mondays. The entrance fee is €8 or free for Tallinn Card holders. 

  • Hours: Tues, Thurs – Sun, 10 AM – 6 PM, Weds, 10 AM – 8 PM, Closed Mondays
  • Entrance: €8 or free with the Tallinn Card


Be one with nature (kind of) at the Tallinn Botanic Garden

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Aerial views of the gardens

If you’re headed to the TV Tower and also want to visit the Botanic Garden, you’re in luck: they’re basically next door to each other. It has several collections of greenhouses with a variety of plants, with changing exhibits based on monthly themes. However, one of my favorite spots is this cool area called “Garden of the Senses.” It was created so that people with special needs could experience the gardens with different senses (touching, smelling, etc), but it’s open to anyone who wants a more interactive experience. I love how inclusive and thoughtful that is! The entrance fee is €5.5 or free for Tallinn Card holders.

Note: Like the TV Tower, the Botanic Garden can be reached either by a hop-on, hop-off tour bus or city buses 34A, 38 and 49 to the “Teletorn” stop.

  • Hours: Oct 1 – April 30 – Daily, 10 AM – 5 PM | May 1 – Sept 30 – Daily, 10 AM – 7 PM
  • Entrance: €5.5 or free with the Tallinn Card


Get your tan on at Pirita Beach

Pirita is actually Tallinn’s largest beach and located just a quick bus ride from the city center. It’s super clean, with changing rooms, lockers, and even a bowling club in the summer! I was visiting in May and it was really cold for some reason (I was told that summer in Tallinn is strictly July and August). However, Pirita has a ton of fun beach activities in the summer, so if you’re headed to Tallinn in the summer months, be sure to check it out.

Note: Pirita can be reached by the 34A or or 38 bus to the “Kloostrimetsa” stop.


Unleash your inner nerd at the Seaplane Harbour Museum

There’s a reason the Seaplane Harbour Museum is ranked as the #2 best thing to do in Tallinn on TripAdvisor: it’s considered to be one of the best maritime museums in Europe! Located inside a historic seaplane hangar, it’s home to several interactive exhibits and simulators, making it a really fun place to nerd out – it has something for everyone! One of my favorite parts was the submarine from the mid-1930s, but it also houses a seaplane called Short 184, remains of the oldest ship found in Estonia, and so much more. Basically, this museum is a must-visit place in Tallinn and is conveniently located just 15 minutes from the Old Town by bus. The entrance fee is €15 or free for Tallinn Card holders. Get your ticket ahead of time here.

Note: The Seaplane Harbour Museum can be reached by foot or via the 73 bus to the “Lennusadam” stop. 

  • Hours: Oct 1 – April 30 – Tues – Sun, 10 AM – 6 PM | May 1 – Sept 30 – Daily, 10 AM – 7 PM
  • Entrance: €15 or free with the Tallinn Card | Purchase your ticket ahead here.


Get a taste of village life at the Estonian Open Air Museum

Located 30 minutes outside of Tallinn city center by bus, this outdoor “museum” showcases Estonia’s rural architecture and the way of life of villagers living outside big cities in the 18th-20th centuries. This museum is almost entirely outdoors and has every aspect of a real village you can imagine: everything from a school to a church to a village shop. Currently the museum has over 70 buildings, but new additions are frequently being made. Despite it being outdoors, the museum is open year-round and offers a variety of events and workshops. It’s definitely one of the more unique things to do in Tallinn! Entrance fee is €8 or free for Tallinn Card holders. Get your ticket ahead of time here. Get your ticket ahead of time here.

Note: The Open Air Museum can be reached by the 21 bus to the “Rocca al Mare” stop.

  • Hours: Sept 29 – April 22 – Daily, 10 AM – 5 PM | April 23 – Sept 28 – Daily, 10 AM – 8 PM
  • Entrance: €8 or free with the Tallinn Card | Purchase your ticket ahead here.


Sample some Estonia’s traditional food

I’ve listed several of my favorite restaurants in Tallinn in the “where to eat in Tallinn” section below but here’s the deal: if you only have one day in Tallinn, there’s only one restaurant you should try – Olde Hansa. Admittedly, Olde Hansa seems like it will be a touristy trap with its medieval decor, servers wearing traditional costumes and lively music. But rest assured: Olde Hansa is delicious and probably one of the fewplaces you can sample truly traditional Estonian food in Tallinn. So although Olde Hansa seems a bit touristy, it’s actually popular amongst locals and tourists so definitely give it a try when you’re in town. It’s quite the unique experience!

Alternatively, If you have more time to spend in Tallinn, consider booking the awesome food tour I’ve linked below!

Tallinn Food Tour


Caffeinate at some of the city’s best coffee shops

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Café Maiasmokk

Coffee is Tallinn is weirdly pricey: anywhere between 3 – 5 euros per cup. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s expensive relative to the cost of food. Maybe I’m spoiled by the inexpensive cost of coffee in Madrid? Anyway, this point is worth keeping in mind if you have a bit of a caffeine addiction like me.

The good news, though, is that coffee in Tallinn is really good and you’ll never find yourself short of cute coffee shops to get your caffeine fix. The below are a few of the coffee shops in Tallinn that I particularly enjoyed.

  • Reval Café: This is actually a chain in Tallinn, offering a large variety of good quality coffee, teas, and pastries. The one in the Old Town is spacious and quiet – the perfect venue for a lazy afternoon with friends or a productive one with a laptop.
  • Dannebrog Café: While the coffee and pastry I had at Dannebrog Café were good, it was way overpriced. I do recommend climbing the steep staircase to access the viewing platform because there are some fascinating, contrasting views of Tallinn. However, skip the coffee break here and go somewhere else.
  • Café Maiasmokk: The oldest operating café in Estonia (since 1864) is one of the most beautiful and spacious cafes I’ve ever been to in my life. We ended up here by chance since they offer a free coffee to Tallinn Card holders, but wow, was I impressed. This large building includes a marzipan museum, a restaurant and a café and bakery. Come here for the extensive menu and stay for the views, the ambiance, and the friendly service.


Do a day trip to Lahemaa National Park

Guys, there’s more to Estonia than Tallinn and Tartu, something I wish I’d better planned for before my trip there. While many people opt for a day trip to Tartu, Estonia’s second largest city, I actually recommend getting out into nature instead. Chantell and I did the Lahemaa National Park tour and it was so much fun. Our guide was hilarious and offered lots of insight into life in Estonia (we, admittedly, peppered him with questions). He even shared some “secret” Estonian medicinal remedies…most notably, one called “vodka socks.” According to him, sleeping with vodka-soaked socks overnight helps get rid of a cold. I just about died laughing but hey, every country has its secret remedies right? Anyway, on our trip, we visited: Jagala Waterfall, an abandoned manor house, a renovated manor house, a former Soviet submarine base, a maritime museum, a large bog, and more. It was an incredibly fun nature-packed day that I highly recommend. Book it here.


Spend the day (or a night) in Tartu

Tartu is Estonia’s second largest city, but unfortunately, doesn’t get as much love as Tallinn. However, as the oldest town in the Baltic states and one of Northern Europe’s oldest universities, it definitely warrants a visit, especially if you have some extra time to spend in Estonia. Here you’ll find plenty of things to do including (but not limited to) the ultra-cool art museum located in a leaning house, a quirky upside-down house, and plenty of street art.

The cool part about Tartu is that you can easily see most of the attractions in a single day. It takes a little less than 3 hours to get here from Tallinn by train or bus, so plan on an early start.


Should I get a Tallinn Card? 

Depending on which attractions you want to visit in Tallinn, I strongly recommend getting a Tallinn Card to save money on entrance fees.

In a nutshell, this sightseeing pass includes free travel on public transportation as well as free admission to over 40 museums and sights. You can purchase it for several different time periods: 24, 48 and 72 hours. Chantell and I used it when we were in Tallinn, and it was a great way for us to experience the best things to do in Tallinn without having to fork over entrance fees every time we went somewhere.

The majority of the places I listed in this post are included in the Tallinn Card and it’s really easy to save money using it. I actually had the Tallinn Card PLUS but I think the regular Tallinn Card will suffice – the additional hop-on, hop-off tour isn’t great and you can easily use public transportation to get anywhere outside of the city center. Read all the FAQs here and purchase it here. (Note: I make a small amount if you purchase it from the Tiquets link at no additional cost to you! I really appreciate your support).


Tallinn Accommodation: Where to Stay in Tallinn

Chantell and I were guests of the Estonian Tourism Board and received complimentary accommodation in a beautiful apartment just outside of the Old Town (similar to this one). Because Tallinn is so well-connected both on foot and by tram / bus, it was easy for us to get around.

If it’s your first time in Tallinn, I recommend staying in or just outside Old Town Tallinn. A large majority of places you’ll be visiting are in this area and are easily accessible by foot. I stayed in an apartment and loved it I specifically recommend this similar Airbnb. This place is perfect for those that want to be walking distance from most places without actually staying in the Old Town. Plus, the Airbnb is incredibly budget-friendly and spacious, offering all the amenities you’d need for a comfortable stay. It definitely gets my stamp of approval.

Alternatively, my other recommendations are below:

Old Town Backpackers (Backpack)

As the oldest hostel in town, Old Town Backpackers certainly knows how to make travelers feel at home. It’s not your typical hostel experience whatsoever: with just six beds, this hostel has an ultra-cozy vibe that makes it easy for travelers to get to know their fellow backpackers. You’ll feel like you’re staying at a family member’s place, with easy access to tea and coffee, a washing machine, and hot showers. If you’re looking for a place to make friends in a low-key setting, this is the hostel for you!

Read Tripadvisor reviews | Book a Stay

Rija Old Town Hotel (Budget-Friendly)

For accommodation that’s central and doesn’t break the bank, stay at the Rija Old Town Hotel. What truly makes this hotel stand out is the fact that it’s built into the original city wall, combining modern amenities with medieval architecture. Plus, with warm decor, clean rooms, and generous breakfast options, this is a great choice for those looking for the most bang for their buck.

Read Tripadvisor reviews | Book a Stay

Hestia Hotel Europa (Mid-Range)

Located just outside the Port of Tallinn and a short walk from the Old Town, Hestia Hotel is the perfect choice fo those looking for an upgrade from “standard” accommodation. This 4-star hotel offers bright and spacious rooms, with ultra-comfortable beds and minimalist decor. You’ll find both a a restaurant and fitness center on-site and a modern lounge to boot. There’s a reason it’s one of the best sellers in Tallinn!

Read Tripadvisor reviews | Book a Stay

St. Petersbourg Hotel (Splurge)

Nestled in the heart of Old Town Tallinn, the St. Petersbourg Hotel is the top choice for luxury travelers. Housed in the beautifully renovated 15th-century building, this 5-start hotel is the oldest in the city and features stylish decor, a spectacular breakfast buffet, and an on-site spa. The rooms are just as lovely, boasting comfortable beds, ultra-soft robes, and beautiful views. It’s the true boutique experience.

Read Tripadvisor reviews | Book a Stay


Bright, airy, and spacious, this beautiful Airbnb is perfect for a small group of travelers who are after both comfort and style. It’s sparkling clean, with all the amenities you could possibly need and some like a coffee maker and washing machine. Plus, it’s just a 15-minute walk from the center of the Old Town, while still accessible to the ferry port and Rottermani shopping district. Honestly, this Airbnb has everything you’d need for a short or long stay in Tallinn!

Read reviews and book a stay


Where to Eat in Tallinn, Estonia: Tallinn’s Must-Try Restaurants

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I didn’t eat a single bad meal in Tallinn. Not one. You can easily eat well here on a budget, as gourmet meals are large and relatively inexpensive. The cuisine is hearty and although “pork and potatoes” is the quintessential Estonian dish, there are plenty of non-pork (and vegetarian) options out there. It’s always a good idea to make reservations ahead in Tallinn, especially at nicer restaurants.

  • Food trucks in Telliskivi: Telliskivi offers an abundance of cool food trucks and cafes. We chose to eat at Peatus, a café built out of the remnants of an old train car. So cool! The food itself was just okay (they were out of most of the dishes, unfortunately), but the ambiance was pretty amazing.
  • Olde Hansa: This medieval restaurant is popular amongst locals and tourists alike, and with good reason. While Estonian food is a mix of influences from neighboring countries, their dishes can be best described as hearty, with distinct spices. At Olde Hansa, you can sample a variety of traditional Estonian dishes and even try some rare meats (like bear) if you’re feeling particularly adventurous. They also offer some themed grand feasts. With lively music and staff dressed in medieval wear, Olde Hansa offers the perfect combination of entertainment and good food.
  • Vaike: If you’re planning on coming here, make a reservation. We actually tried to go to their sister restaurant, Rataskaevu 16, without a reservation (rookie mistake) and were lucky enough that there was an available table at Vaike. The service here was fantastic, as was the food. We knew we were in for an excellent meal when we received complimentary fresh rye bread and seasoned Estonian butter. The elk roast I ordered was tender and flavorful, mixing a variety of spices and ingredients that had me wishing I had room for more.
  • Leib Resto ja Aed: I knew I was in for a good meal when I arrived at a restaurant called Leib, the Estonian word for bread. They focus on fresh farm-to-table ingredients, a relaxed atmosphere, and prices that won’t leave you feeling guilty. Plus, their fresh homemade bread with herbed butter that was so good, we requested a second serving. Chantell and I both opted for the Estonian beef fillet, seared to a perfect medium and accompanied by creamy Jerusalem artichoke and a bone marrow sauce. Drool-worthy. Leib’s seasonal and modern cuisine does not disappoint, and the beautiful outdoor garden seating area is perfect for a warm summer’s night.

For an even more detailed food guide to Tallinn, check out this guide by 2 Food Trippers.


Estonia Travel Tips: Know Before You Go

  • Get a Tallinn Card: Depending on how often you’ll be using public transport and going to museums, I recommend purchasing a Tallinn Card. It offers unlimited free use of public transport, free or discounted entrances to a lot of the main museums, plus some other discounts and bonuses. It can be purchased for 24, 48 or 72 hours, and can save you money depending on where you want to go in Tallinn.
  • Consider a long walk: If it’s a nice day and you’re up for a bit of a walk, consider doing the Tallinn introduction walking route for a thorough overview of the city.
  • English is widely spoken: Although Estonian is the official language of Estonia, English is widely spoken in Tallinn and we had no issues communicating with locals.
  • Wi-Fi in Estonia is amazing! Wi-Fi normally isn’t something I mention in my destination guides but the Wi-Fi in Estonia is amazingly fast. It’s WAY faster than the internet in the U.S. and most of Western Europe. Always a blessing if you work online!
  •  Make sure you get a VPN subscription, which helps make public Wi-Fi secure by securely routing your internet through a server so nobody can steal your information. I’m a huge fan of NordVPN – it’s highly secure and really affordable. Yay for internet security!
  • Prepare for the cold: I visited in May and it was still chilly enough to wear my winter coat. Make sure you pack layers!
  • Don’t forget travel Insurance: Yes, you need travel insurance for if things (hopefully don’t but often do) go wrong. I’ve been sick, needed stitches, crashed a rental car, had cash stolen and have dealt with luggage delays. Let’s just say I’ve learned my lesson about travel insurance the hard way. My go-to insurance is World Nomads cause they’re awesome and easy to deal with. Be sure to check out the different plan options to pick one that’s right for you!


Do I need a visa to visit Estonia?

Like other Schengen countries in EU, North Americans can travel to Estonia visa-free for up to 90 days within a 6 months period. However, starting in 2021, U.S. citizens will need to obtain a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) visa, which is valid for 3 years. Be sure to check your embassy’s website for the most up-to-date information.


Best time to visit Tallinn

I imagine Tallinn would be beautiful in the winter. It’s a picturesque town and they’re supposed to have an enchanting Chrismas Market. However, I hate the cold and was already too cold for my liking when I went in early May. I know I’m a spoiled Southern California girl but in my defense, it was 30s and 40s Fahrenheit in May. Because so much of the city (and the country, really) is meant to be enjoyed outdoors, I recommend visiting in summer so you can take advantage of the long walks and the beach. According to one of our tour guides, it starts to get warm in late June through the end of August.

Currency in Estonia

Estonia is part of the EU, so Euros (€) are the official currency. At the time of updating this post (April 2020), the rate was about USD $1 to €0.92. Credit cards are widely accepted and there are plenty of ATM machines for withdrawing cash. If you’d like to exchange money, there are a few places in central Tallinn.


Transportation in Tallinn

If you're planning a visit to Tallinn soon, look no further! These are the best things to do in Tallinn Estonia for first time visitors!
Walking is the way to go! Photo by Chantell Collins, Adoration 4 Adventure

Tallinn is actually quite walkable, for the most part. However, if you’re feeling lazy or are trying to get to one of the places outside of the city center, you can use the tram system to get everywhere. We had a Tallinn Card, which included a hop-on, hop-off tour and unlimited usage of the public transport system, which we used to get to sites outside of the center.

To get to Tallinn from the airport, you can easily take an Uber or Taxi. It’s really affordable since it’s only a 15 minute drive. Alternatively, you can book a transfer ahead of time here.

So there you have it: 23 of the best things to do in Tallinn. If you’re looking for a fairy-tale destination with history, nature, folklore, you need to consider Estonia. It’s proximity to both Northern and Eastern Europe has resulted in a unique Soviet-Scandinavian culture you can’t find anywhere else, and its impressive architecture and views will leave you wondering what took so long to visit.


Tell me: Is Estonia on your bucket list? Which site would you most like to visit? Share in the comments below!


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36 thoughts on “23+ Best Things to Do in Tallinn, Estonia for First Time Visitors

  1. Hallie Bradley says:

    Yes, I definitely think Estonia is off most people’s radar but that’s why this post is so awesome. There seems to be so much to do and it’s so picturesque too! It’s a wonder it’s so low key. Your five day trip really does seem like just not enough time with all of that!

  2. Genie Patra says:

    I can’t believe it’s not a more popular destination! it’s such a beautiful place. but i love that you have the goal of visiting lesser known places. I feel like those always feel a little more cosy

  3. Vyjay Rao says:

    Tallinn looks straight out of a fairytale. It is surprising that it does not receive many tourists. Maybe this in itself adds to the charm of the place.

    • Sally E says:

      I know right! It reminds me of what Beauty and the Beast would have taken place or something. Less tourists definitely makes it more charming!

  4. sophie says:

    As said by many travelers, Tallinn is certainly looks straight out of a fairytale. Tourist comparatively travel very less there but I have seen so many diginomads there. It is like a perfect spot for them to travel.

    • Sally E says:

      I had no idea it was a big nomad hub it makes sense – it’s certainly well-equipped to be! And less tourists is always good in my book haha

  5. Anne Slater-Brooks says:

    I went to Tallinn at Christmas so it looked totally different but equally fairytale. It’s stunning in summer too as your photos clearly show.

  6. Nina says:

    I like your remark about wifi. It is often times a stereotype from Western travellers that Eastern and Central European countries are underdeveloped specially when it come to Wifi.

    • Sally E says:

      It totally is! I’ve been home in Los Angeles for a month and we’re having serious internet issues…I miss the amazing Estonian wifi haha

  7. Suze says:

    I’ve been to nearby Latvia but never to Estonia, it certainly looks well worth a visit. I like your anecdote about the vodka-soaked sleeping socks to get rid of a cold! Kadriorg Palace looks beautiful and I’d love to explore Telliskivi too.

    • Sally E says:

      Ooh yes I also went to Latvia on this trip! HAHA my tour guide was hilarious – people have the funniest traditions sometimes! I definitely recommend a visit sometime 🙂

  8. Blonde the Road ✈️ says:

    Really good post! Estonia is such an unknown country and is so beautiful! Worth a visit for sure.

  9. Candy says:

    I love reading about places that are lesser known. I am a huge foodie and would to visit Olde Hansa. I love dishes with lots of spices and it sounds like their food is just that. I also find that cultures that have a mix of influences produce the best foods!

    • Sally E says:

      Yeah! I was very impressed by the food quality. I didn’t have a single bad meal there. You would LOVE Olde Hansa!

  10. Paige Brown says:

    I’m SO excited to get to Eastern Europe next year. I keep hearing the best stuff about Estonia. It definitely looks like it definitely does have it all! Loads of history and nature – my two favs.

    • Sally E says:

      I’m so glad you’re going! You definitely need to include Estonia in your itinerary! It’s an amazing and underrated place.

  11. Teresa Gomez says:

    This has really made me visit Estonia sooner. I have wanted to travel to the Baltic countries for a while now but this article may just give me that little push to get there 🙂

    • Sally E says:

      Do itttttt. Honestly, I missed Lithuania but Latvia and Estonia were both awesome! More people need to visit the Baltics.

  12. Kelly Ann Duhigg says:

    Thank you so much for a great share!! I love finding somewhat hidden destinations. I hate tourists and like to feel a more authentic experience. So this sounds right up my alley.

    • Sally E says:

      You’re welcome! Haha if you don’t like tourists, this is definitely the right place for you! There were hardly any. I hope you get a chance to visit soon 🙂

  13. Lisa Martin says:

    Well, now I want to go to Estonia. Telliskivi sounds like its absolute heaven for me, so unique! Glad to hear it is easy to get around by foot or by transit. Hearing about the Cold War from the other side must be totally fascinating!

  14. Ambuj Saxena says:

    Old city looks like a great place to explore. Specially on foot. Would love to do a walking tour of the old city.

  15. Kathleen says:

    We lived in Estonia for a year back in 2001 and then again in 2005-06 and it is absolutely one of our two favorite places that we’ve ever been. I want to go back so, so much and hope to soon, although we don’t have a plan for it yet. The Christmas Market is enchanting and wonderful. If you ever have the opportunity, go back in the winter. So beautiful.

    • Sally E says:

      That’s awesome, lucky you! It seems like an amazing place to live to be honest. Our tour guide told us so many great things. I’ll definitely have to return in the winter with MUCH warmer clothing – I was freezing when I went in the spring haha.

      • Kathleen says:

        When we first moved there, in April, they had already turned off the building’s heat. I had tiny kids and we were so cold. I ended up baking some bread and cookies to bribe the building manager to turn it back on. He did it too! Extra clothes are a must for sure.

        • Sally E says:

          OMG poor you! Smart to bribe the building manager haha. I’m such a baby about the cold so I wouldnt be able to handle that weather! Otherwise I loved Estonia!

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