TALLINN – a small city with a great spirit

Estonia’s capital Tallinn cannot be described with a handful of corny attributes and some stock catchphrases.

Tallinn - Estonia: St. Michaels Church
Besides many lovely and alluring things, there is also a bit of creepy to see in Tallinn – which makes the city even more intriguing.

Overall, by the standard categories, this city is far too diverse, its past too changeful, its faith too inconsistent, its present too dynamic, and its future definitely too promising. In conclusion, a hub between the poles of history and creativity.

Estonia is the northernmost of the three Baltic States. Hence, culturally and language-wise, there are close relations with Finland, historically there are multiple cultural ties to Germany through the German Baltic states.

Tallinn - Estonia: Street at the old historic center
One of many cobblestone streets in the historic walled center.

Just like its southern neighbors Latvia and Lithuania, Estonia made it through an everchanging history during which the eras of freedom and independence were shockingly short, namely from 1918 to 1940 and now again since 1991.

Estonia’s Past

Like the other two Baltics, Estonia was occupied by the German knights in the 13th century.
However, over the centuries, Estonians were under Danish, Swedish, and Russian supremacy.

From the Middle Ages until well into the 19th century, there was a hegemony of German merchants and Estonian culture and architecture were under strong German influence, especially since Tallinn – then under its old name Reval – was an important and active member of the Hanseatic League.

Note: If you want to learn more about this powerful predecessor of the European community, read my post on Lübeck, the North German queen of the Hanseatic League.

Only after the end of WWI in 1918, Estonia gained independence. This lasted only a couple of years till 1940 when Nazi-Germany and the Soviet Union agreed in their Hitler-Stalin-Pact the Baltic should henceforth exist under the Soviet hegemony.

Historic Old Town Tallinn, Estonia
There’s lots of history in Tallinn – also reflected in the architecture from various epochs.

This era lasted till 1990 as the European iron curtain was lifted.

Estonia’s Present

Only in 1991, as the country got tied up with the Perestroika, the wind of change also blew through Estonia towards further independence; this time, hopefully, for good.

It seems as if Estonia tries to make up for the decades of forced deep slumber as fast as it can – going casually beyond all other European countries: Since the year 2000, the Estonian state has by law guaranteed its citizens access to the internet.

Therefore, there are Wi-Fi access points covering the country’s inhabited areas.  Estonians who still do not have their own computer are entitled to access the net for free at one of 700 public terminals in post offices, libraries, or village shops. Also, all schools are online.
In brief: Estonia has the most Internet connections per capita worldwide.

Tallinn - Estonia: Street outside the old historic center
Beauty is to be found also outside the walled historic center.

Becoming an e-Resident

Sounds intriguing and you wanna be in with the in-crowd?
Since the beginning of 2015, Estonia has offered citizens of many countries a so-called e-residency. However, e-residents do not become citizens or residents of Estonia and thus do not receive a residence permit, EU visa or the right to vote, but only a digital identity.

For an e-residency, you can apply online, obviously. After a processing time of a few weeks, an examination by the Estonian Border Guard and the payment of a processing fee of 100 €uro, finally, a card with chip and reader can be picked up in Estonia or in many Estonian embassies.
However, the e-residency entitles you mainly to some commercial transactions; by the way, one of your e-compatriot would be Pope Francis!

Which is even funnier since the majority of Estonians do not belong to any denomination.

However, even today, it’s not all peaches and cream in this land of milk and honey: Despite numerous state programs, it has not been possible to fully integrate the Russian residents who mostly settled in Estonia during the Soviet era. For example, about half of Estonia’s Russian-speaking population doesn’t even have an Estonian passport.

Welcome to Tallinn

It’s somehow symbolic: As you arrive at Tallinn’s Balti Jaam, the main train station, you are – like the entire country – at the brink of choosing between history and modernity.

Old city wall of Tallinn
The old city wall – one of Tallinn’s most prominent features.

Hence, you can either dive head over heels into the dreamy historic old town, surrounded by an almost intact city wall. Or you turn west and plunge into the Telliskivi Creative City. Here, with all startups, creative centers, but also restaurants and bars, Tallinn’s hipsters work hard and play even harder.

But it’s early in the morning, so let’s just explore the traditional, historic part of Tallinn in the morning and meet up with the in-crowd later on.

Historic Old Town

Tallinn’s Old Town is surrounded by an almost intact city wall with guard towers and barbicans and everything else a classic medieval fairytale town needs.

Although the historic center can be very easily explored walking, if you’re not a regular at the local gym, you might break a sweat since it’s divided into two areas – a lower and an upper town. Since the lower town is one of the best-preserved European medieval towns, it has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.

Tallinn - Estonia: Town square at the old historic center
The center of attention: The medieval Raekoja Plats, Tallinn’s town hall square.

Peeping in Kitchens

The first major landmark you’ll spot is actually the city wall. It’s not only beautiful and stately, but it is also possible to walk on a short part that connects the three towers Nunne, Sauna, and Kuldjala on the northern side. Also, some of the towers are open to the public, the Kiek in de Kök being the most important and interesting one: This former cannon tower houses a fascinating museum. The funny name, by the way, stems from the German times and translates to peek in the kitchen – until this day, the view from the top is grand.

Tallinn - Estonia: City view from an observatory
City with a view: Straight ahead, St. Olaf’s from where you could easily look back at me.

However, coming from the main station, you cross the Šnelli Park and walk almost straight to the main square and one of Tallinn’s biggest tourist attraction Raekoja Plats,  the town hall square where you are surrounded by the most amazing buildings of which the Town Hall is only the largest one. Each of the buildings encircling the square is an architectural masterpiece and tell the most amazing stories; like for instance the Revali Raeapteek, Europe’s oldest, since 1422 continuously operating pharmacy. Just take a peek since today it is also a museum.

Tallinn - Estonia: Town square at the old historic center
In the very middle of these two rows of houses, a bit hidden, is the Revali Raeapteek, Europe’s oldest pharmacy.

It is a good idea walking south to the next corner where you’ll find the Tallinn Tourist Information Center so that you can get recommendations, maps’n’flyers, book tickets or join a free walking tour – of course, based on tips.

St. NIcholas church
Waiting for your tour to start, you can already admire the St. Nicholas’ church and museum.

Churches in an Ungodly Place

No wonder St. Nicholas’ church is also a museum – considering that approximately 70 percent of Estonia’s population does not belong to any denomination, there is clearly an oversupply of houses of worship. However, also in the variety of confessions, Tallinn’s transitional eras are reflected.

Easter Procession at the old historic center of Tallinn
These are not the 70 percent: A procession at Easter.

St. John’s

Starting our walking tour, we firstly admired the facade of the protestant Saint John’s church on the Freedom Square. According to religion in Northern Germany, following the time of the Reformation, Estonia turned to Lutheranism, and this beautiful yellow church was built from 1862 to 1967 in neo-Gothic style.

St. John's church at Tallinn's Freedom Square
St. John’s church on Tallinn’s Freedom Square.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

As you walk up the Komandandi tee to the upper part of town, you cannot miss the iconic Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Built in typical Russian revival style between 1894 and 1900 while the country was part of the Russian Empire, to this date, it is not only an important house of worship to the local Russian community, but one of Tallinn’s most important touristic landmarks.

Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
As seen on thousand pictures of Tallinn: Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

St. Michael’s

Once you’ve made it up here, make sure to take a glimpse at the Swedish St. Michael’s church from the Danish King’s Garden nestled behind the city wall close to the Kiek in de Kök tower. Actually, the sight is even more impressive with the spooky monk-statues, the faceless clergymen Ambrosius, Bartholomeus, and Claudius.

Estonia - Tallinn: Faceless Clergyman and St. MIchael's
A faceless clergyman in front of St. Michael’s.

St. Mary’s Cathedral

Two blocks north you’ll get to the medieval Catholic St. Mary’s Cathedral from the 13th century.

Saint Mary's Church in Tallinn
Good mix of styles: A Gothic building under a Baroque bell tower.

St. Nicholas

In the lower part of town, there is – besides many others – the Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas, the first church built in a Classicist style in the early 19th century. Not to be missed are the church’s valuable iconostases.

Saint Nicholas Church in Tallinn
St. Nicholas – a church building with two towers outside….
Sacral Treasures at the Saint Nicholas Church in Tallinn
….and a fantastic collection of sacral treasures inside.

Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord

Another house of God that owns a treasure of iconostases would be the Orthodox Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, built in the 13th century.
Initially an abbey, it was reconstructed as the Transfiguration Church in 1732.

Orthodox Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in Tallinn
This majestic complex houses not only the grave monument of the holy martyr Bishop St. Platon, but rings also the oldest church bell in Tallinn.
Orthodox Cross
The top of every Orthodox Church.

St. Olaf’s

Last but definitely not least, I’d like to introduce St. Olaf’s church, a Baptist church built in 12th century. It is named after King Olaf II of Norway, also known as Saint Olaf and used to be the center of the Scandinavian community.
All this is fine and good, however, St. Olaf’s is mainly popular among tourists for its observation platform on the 405-foot tower.

Historic Old Town Tallinn
You can see everywhere around Tallinn from the top of St. Olaf’s; and St. Olaf’s can be seen from anywhere, too.

Hard to believe that there is space for some amazing worldly structures between all these houses of God.

City With a View

Although Saint Olaf’s is a very popular outlook, it’s by far not the only opportunity to see the enchanting city of Tallinn from above.

View of Tallinn
The city of Tallinn – here dominated by the Swedish St. Michael Church.

Like I said, there are the Lower Old Town and the Upper Town, built on the limestone mountain called Domberg. Actually, till 1877, the Lower and the Upper Towns were separate cities.

At the Upper Town, you’ll find many governmental and administrative buildings as well as some embassies such as the German and the Dutch one. But you’ll find also spots that grant a grand view of the city and its outskirts.

View of Tallinn
It’s all about the views.

The two parts of the city are connected by only a few streets and stairs.

Courtyard in Tallinn
One of the charming old courtyards where you can relax – or find a truly original souvenir.
Courtyard in Tallinn
Cozy corners everywhere.

Anyway, breathtaking views don’t have to be necessarily from above: The lower part of Tallinn is full of charming alleys and mesmerizing courtyards. In the past, craftsmen were working at their tiny workshops, and craftsmen are still crafting here, albeit mainly artisan craftwork.

Souvenirs: Made by Hand, Made with Love

Handicraft is big in Tallinn: While in Riga it’s all about woolen gloves, here you’ll be amazed by the number and variety of artfully knitted sweaters and vests. Prime quality at reasonable prices.

Stand with woolen sweaters in Tallinn
Sweaters with this nordic pattern are a beautiful yet very practical souvenir.
Stand with woolen sweaters in Tallinn
A gift like this does not only warm the heart.

But also embroidery, broderie anglaise, and ceramics are great.

Ceramic making at Tallinn
Truly handmade.

If you prefer to shop for edible souvenirs, you’ll find a variety of artisan pralines, truffles, and chocolates.

Chocolate store in Tallinn
Chocolate is a great, however not very lasting gift from Tallinn.

Sampling Sweet…

The famous café Maiasmokk is known for the best marzipan; Estonia’s best marzipan – since Tallinn’s big Hanseatic sister Lübeck is world-famous for the same treat; like they say, competition is good for business.

Café Maiasmokk in Tallinn
The staff at the famous café Maiasmokk has taken good care of their guests since 1864.
Coffee and cake at the Maiasmokk in Tallinn
Piece of cake: A typical Estonian Purukook made of crumbs and filled with cream.

Pikk tn 16,
Phone: + 372 – 64 64 079
Email: maiasmokk@orkla.ee

Looking for something more….spirit-ual? Well, Vana Tallinn Liköör, a 40% liqueur based on rum, refined by citric oil, cinnamon, and vanilla might be the perfect gift then.

…And Sampling Hearty

The Olde Hanse Store in Tallinn
Medieval Times.

The Olde Hansa is not only a medieval restaurant but also houses a gift shop selling all sort of quirky souvenirs – including booze, of course.

They still prepare food and drinks like in the Hanseatic period. Also, they play music from that era, and the staff dresses accordingly.

Usually, I am not very much into this sort of Disney-fication, but since the Olde Hanse presents itself on the spot as well as on their website with a certain irony, even I find it okay. And I assume that people who are not from northern Europe will just love it.

Olde Hanse
Vana turg 1
10140 Tallinn
Phone: + 372 – 627 90 20
Email: reserve@oldehansa.ee

Museums Not to Be Missed

Since Estonia is looking back at such a dramatic history, it will be of no surprise that there are a couple of museums dealing with the country’s past: There are the Estonian History Museum Tallinn and the City Museum. At the Vabamu Museum of Occupations and the Freedom Hotel where KGB artifacts like uniforms, cameras and spy gear are on exhibit, you learn about the difficult times during Soviet rule.

Museum of Estonian Drinking Culture, Tallinn
There is even a wine tasting included in your visit to the Museum of Estonian Drinking Culture.

If you prefer to deal with the good life, the Museum of Estonian Drinking Culture at the beautiful Luscher & Matiesen Distillery might be for your – including wine tasting. Or you visit the chocolate museum Chocolala and learn about the history of the Estonian chocolate industry since 1806.

We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather when we visited Tallinn in Spring. Though, you see that even if the sunshine should be rather liquid, there’s enough to keep you busy.

Visits to all these museums are free with your Tallinn Card so you should definitely consider getting one when visiting the city.

The Hip Neighborhoods Outside the Walled Center

Wooden House at Kalamaja, Tallinn
A fine example of the traditional wooden houses in the gentrified neighborhoods of Kalamaja, Noblessner, and Telliskivi.

So yes, I presume that nobody will visit Tallinn without exploring the enchanting old town.
However, if you have the time, getting to know the gentrified hip parts is as intriguing.

The hip neighborhoods of Kalamaja, Noblessner, and Telliskivi begin just behind the Balti Jaam railway station. Once a working-class district, Kalamaja with its old, charming, very nordic wooden buildings is highly seeked after as a residential area. Besides, it is also attractive for visitors since they find a great choice of galleries, shops, restaurants, and bars.

Houses at Telliskivi, Tallinn
Getting to know Tallinn, a visit to the Telliskivi Creative City is indispensable.

Probably the most known part is the Telliskivi Creative City, a former industrial complex. Today, the old, spacious structures are housing agencies, studios, creative companies, but also hip’n’trendy specialty stores.

Store at Telliskivi, Tallinn
Cool stores selling even cooler furniture and decoration.

Telliskivi – A Creative City within a Creative City

It’s a great neighborhood to feast on international cuisine but also on traditional food with a light’n’healthy twist. There are many bars – and as soon as the weather turns cold to cool, they even offer outside seating; now, ain’t that cool?!

Mural in Tallinn
The whole complex is lavishly decorated by ingenious street art.

If you can adjust your itinerary accordingly, make sure to visit on Saturday when the weekly flea market takes place.

Mural in Tallinn
My absolutely favorite piece: Yes, death is on far too many selfies….

Another, much lesser known hip’n’creative neighborhood is just north of the Fat Margaret tower: The Kultuurikatel, Tallinn’s Creative Hub. From 1913 till 1979, the building housed the city’s central power plant. After the renovation, it is now a venue for exhibitions and festivals, but also for workshops and conferences.

Center for Contemporary Arts in Tallinn
Streetart at another very artsy district close to the waterfront.

One block further is the CCA, Center for Contemporary Arts, founded in 1992 to promote Estonian contemporary art.
They are doing a great job: I’m still thinking back at Estonia’s contribution to the Venice Biennale 2015 where NSFW. A Chairman`s Tale by Jaanus Samma was presented. And this year, their pavilion on the Giudecca is totally worth a visit, too.

However, the center, as well as the art they are promoting, will probably rather take people by storm who are really into contemporary and maybe a bit quirky art.

 Birth V by Estonian artist Kris Lemsalu at the Biennale Arte in Venice 2019
Estonia is represented on this year’s Biennale Art in Venice by enfant terrible Kris Lemsalu, who in her work Birth V  assembles objects into totemic sculptures.

Kadriorg Park

Art – yes, but quirky?! Well, if you are interested to see some more pleasing exhibits, there are two very nice venues a short ride from the old center. And they are set in a very pleasing environment, too: The Kadriorg Park.

The Kadriorg Park was first laid out in the early 18th century by Russian Tsar Peter I. Over the centuries, elements from the 19th and 20th centuries were added.

The Kadriorg Palace, a Baroque structure, in Tallinn, Estonia.
The Kadriorg Palace, a Baroque structure, commissioned by Peter the Great and built from 1718 till 1736.

For a pleasant stroll in the park, there are trails along the flower beds and around the swan pond.

Old Art…

Also, there is a number of museums in the park-like the Kadriorg Art Museum and the Mikkel Museum, the Peter the Great House, as well as the charming café Katharinenthal – which, by the way, would be the translation of Kadriorg.

The Kadriorg Art Museum houses and displays a large collection of western European and Russian art while the neighboring Mikkel Museum houses a collection of art and porcelain donated by the private collector Johannes Mikkel who passed away in 2006.
Estonia’s presidential palace is located right behind the Kadriorg Art Museum.

Kadriorg Art Museum
Weizenbergi 37,
10127 Tallinn
Phone: + 372 – 606 64 03
Email: kadriorg@ekm.ee

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from  10 a. m. till 6 p. m., Wednesday till 8 p. m.

…And New Art

An outstanding structure is the KUMU, short for Kunstimuuseum.

KUMU at Tallinn, Estonia
The KUMU: An interesting building for interesting art.

Designed by Finnish architect Pekka Vapaavuori and finished in 2006, it houses large collections of Estonian art. Besides the permanent collection, there are also temporary exhibitions taking place.

Painting Estonian Red Army Soldiers with Lenin and Stalin was a co-production of Elmar Kits and Evald Okas
I’m not sure if every Estonian enjoys this sight: Estonian Red Army Soldiers with Lenin and Stalin was a co-production of Elmar Kits and Evald Okas
Lenin depicted by Ilmar Malin, painting at the KUMU in Tallinn
Lenin depicted by Ilmar Malin in a pretty psychedelic manner. I don’t quite get it: Is he rising like the sun?

Kumu Art Museum
Weizenbergi 34 / Valge 1,
10127 Tallinn
Phone: +372 – 602 60 00
Email: kumu@ekm.ee

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from  10 a. m. till 6 p. m., Thursday till 8 p. m.

Seat made of tires at the KUMU art museum in Tallinn, Estonia
Finally, a place to sit – and what a huge one! Chair I-II is a practical work by Estonian artist Villu Jaanisoo.

To get to Kadriorg, you can take tram #1 or #3 from the stop Hobujaama to the stop Kadriorg.
If you want to start your visit at the KUMU, you can catch buses #31, #67, or #68 at the stop close to the Opera and get off at Kumu.

Practical Information

How to Get There

There are many options on how to get to Tallinn.

By Plane

The fastest and easiest way is, obviously, flying into Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport. Although air Baltic is not the most service-oriented airline and the staff could certainly be more courteous, they have some good offers.
Once at the airport, a cab to the city center should set you back about 7 to 10 €uros.
But you can easily get downtown e. g. by Tram line #4 – you’ll be there in less than 20 minutes.
All relevant information on public transport in Tallinn can be found on this site.

By Train

Of course, Tallinn has also a train station, however, the cheapest yet fastest and most comfortable way to travel to other cities in the Baltics would be by bus: The long-distance busses are clean and punctual and
almost equipped like planes with reclining seats and a great
entertainment program; on our way from Tallinn to Riga, which took only
four hours, by the way, we were able to listen to the latest hits and
watch films that made it to the movie theaters only recently; and all this
for about 15 €uro each – can hardly beat this.

By Bus

If you are planning on travelling within Estonia or paying the other Baltic states a visit, make sure to check out the schedules and offers. We went by Lux Express and did not regret our choice – just check out their website for the best deals.
However, unlike in most other cities, in Tallinn, the long-distance bus stop is not next to the train station but a couple of city bus stops from the old town.

By Ferry

If you are coming from Helsinki or Stockholm, taking the ferry is a perfect – and very scenic – option. While the trip to and from Helsinki takes up to three hours, from Stockholm, it’s much longer – about 15 hours – and travels through the night.

Getting Around

Obviously, the Old City Center can be visited walking – actually, there is hardly any other way due to the slopes and the cobblestone plastered streets and alleys.
So the only tip here: To hell with vanity, put on your most comfortable shoes and prepare for a bit of an exercise.

Three people walking the streets of Tallinn, Estonia
Walking the streets of the old town.

In general, public transportation in Tallinn is not only excellent, it is also free….at least for the city’s almost 430,000 inhabitants. But also as a visitor, you pay quite little: Buying a ticket from the driver will cost you 2 €uro, buying a QR-ticket on the Internet only 1 – pretty amazing, isn’t it?

If you stay for a couple of days and intend to visit more places outside the Old Town, you might consider getting a Ühiskaart Transport Card.

Tram at Tallinn, Estonia
Besides buses, there are also many trams taking you wherever you need to go.

If you get the Tallinn-card, and I really recommend it, all public transportation is included.

Where to Stay

There is all kind of accommodation in Tallinn, a little more expensive within the old city wall, quite reasonable in the outskirts.

Estonian National Opera at Tallinn, Estonia
This majestic building is home to the Estonian National Opera. The apartment we’d rented is just a stone throw away.

We opted for an apartment about ten minutes walking from the center which gave us the feeling of seeing Tallinn not only from a totally touristy perspective.

Check out availability and prices of accommodations in Tallinn here.*

Traditional Food and Artisan Drinks

There are tons of restaurants to choose from – whether in the Old Town or around. However, some of the best….yes: fast food is to found at the newly-restored market complex right next to the Balti Jaam, the main train station.

New Cuisine at the Old Market

It’s a covered market where you can buy everything you expect from a farmers market – and more: We bought fantastic artisan cheese, dark Estonian bread, huge fresh eggs and some succulent fruits for our breakfast – we had rented an apartment and cooked our own breakfast.

But we also browsed the stands selling everything from clothes to antiques.

Finally, we crashed at the Humalakoda Brewery on the first floor and ordered beer. To be honest, we ordered four beers – you see them on the picture below.

Beer and snacks at Tallinn, Estonia
So this was our choice of four different beers – not easy to take a pick from their huge beer menu. Oh, and they have solid food, too….

I find this is such a cool idea: You can choose four small glasses from their endless beer menu. By the way, we loved them all!

Kopli 1,
Tallinn 10149
Phone: +372 – 699 99 60
Email: info@humalakoda.ee

Although the tempura shrimps and the artisan burgers were delicious and the beer a truly gourmet experience, the next day, we opted for grandma’s cuisine – with a twist.

Traditional Cuisine at a Modern Joint

A restaurant and bar located in one of the old structures at the above mentioned Telliskivi district offers traditional cuisine like stuff dumplings in creamy sauces – just so good.

Boiled dumplings
Filled dumplings in a creamy mushroom sauce….

If you also have a craving for something more exotic, you can even mix it up a bit since they have a variety of Asian dishes, too. Combine your very own fusion cuisine – you’ll love it either way.

Fried dumplings
….and fried dumplings with herbs.

Kivi Paber Käärid
Telliskivi 60a/7
Phone: + 372 – 600 36 26


After independence, Russian was replaced by English as the first foreign language. Often the English lessons start already in kindergarten.

Since English TV is broadcasted unsynchronized, learning of English is greatly enhanced.
Therefore, you absolutely shouldn’t have any problems making yourself understood.

The Russian minority speaks, obviously, Russian.

Russians in Tallinn
The Russian minority usually does not dress like a Russian minority – there must have been something special on. However, clichés sometimes illustrate quite well.

We often refer to Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia as the Baltics and I’ve stressed the point how similar the history was. Notwithstanding, they are not just three versions of the same country. There are many differences and one of the most obvious is the language: While for instance, Latvian is a Baltic language with very slight Slavic traces, Estonian is so similar to Finnish that they were able to understand Finnish TV when they were able to get it behind the iron curtain. I personally find this also reflected in the people’s physiognomy: In general, Estonians look more Scandinavian while Latvians have often a rather Slavic appearance.


On 1 January 2011, Estonia was the first of the Baltic States to replace the national currency by the €uro.
The exchange rate is 1 US$ = 0,90 €UR (March 2020), but you can check the conversion on this page.

Money and Credit Cards
Besides €uros, credit cards are widely accepted in Estonia.

Nonetheless, credit cards are widely accepted, and there are ATMs all over the place.

Information and Deals

Like I wrote above, there is a tourist information point about three minutes from the town square where the very knowledgable and friendly staff is at your disposal.

Rusalka memorial at Tallinn, Estonia
Statue of an angel holding a cross on a granite base memorializing victims of the Rusalka shipwreck. If you take the hop-on-hop-off-bus – see options below – you also get to see this landmark from close.

Highly recommended is the Tallinn Card that grants you free public transportation, free access to many museums as well as many perks at stores and restaurants. If you opt for the plus-version, there is even a ride on one of the hop-on-hop-off-busses included.

 24 hours48 hours72 hours
adult26 €39 €47 €
adult plus*36 €49 €58 €
child under 17 **15 €20 €24 €
child under 17 **
20 €27 €32 €

*  includes a hop-on-hop-off
**an adult card includes two children under 7 years of age

Tallinn Tourist Information Centre
Niguliste tänav 2
Tallinn 10146 |
Phone: + 372 – 645 77 77
Email: visit@tallinn.ee

The center is open every day from 10 a. m. to 6 p. m.


This map should help you to find all the wonderful places that I’m introducing in this post:

Pinnable Pictures

If you choose to pin this post for later, please use one of these pictures:

Pinnable Picture on the Post on Tallinn
Pinnable Picture on the Post on Tallinn
Pinnable Picture on the Post on Tallinn

Disclaimer: I’d like to thank Tallinn Tourist Information Centre for supplying us with Tallinn Cards Plus to experience the city’s tourist attractions. The opinions and recommendations, however, are mine and weren’t by any means influenced by my cooperation partner.

* This is an affiliate link. If you book through this page, not only do you get the best deal, I also get a small commission to run this blog. Thank you so much for supporting me!

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25 Replies to “TALLINN – a small city with a great spirit”

  1. You make me so restless to travel again with such incredibly indepth posts. One of my good friends is from Estonia and I have always wanted to visit – there is so much history and culture here and I love how you have documented all the unique things to see and do.

  2. It’s so interesting that there are SO many churches and religious buildings, and over 70% of the population isn’t religious! I loved your pictures of churches. I keep reading more and more about Estonia – so I think I might just have to see for myself sometime soon!

  3. I visited Tallinn in November a couple of years ago & found it to be just beautiful, a real fairytale town. However, it was bitterly cold & had the Christmas Market in the main square. I didn’t get to explore much beyond the Old Town as I loved it there so much so it was interesting to read about your experiences & see the interesting art too. Thanks for sharing – a very comprehensive guide!

  4. I would love to visit Estonia and its beautiful city Tallinn though small but looks like a lively city. Good to know that Estonia is the northernmost of the three Baltic States and it is influenced by many countries who are its neighbors. It is interesting that they have cultural ties with Finland and historic ties with Germany.

  5. This is one of the most beautiful introductions to a city I have ever read. The first few lines summarise what Tallinn is all about. The city looks undoubtedly beautiful with some brilliant architecture. And there are so many churches! Loved reading about the history of Estonia and also about the present. Whenever I am planning a trip to the Baltic countries, I would keep Estonia in my itinerary. I have actually fallen in love with Tallinn just by reading about it.

    1. Thank you, I’m so glad you like it! It’s actually quite easy to describe something you love so much in beautiful words 😉 <3

  6. This is such a helpful post Renata, thanks for sharing the history and top attractions of Tallinn. From your photos the old town architecture and views look lovely. I’m actually planning to get the ferry from Helsinki for a day trip next year (assuming we’re allowed to travel by then). I’ll definitely pin this for later!

    1. Wow, taking a ferry from Helsinki would be a cool think to do. We got there from Riga – flying in and going back by bus. Very comfortable. Ah, there are still so many great things I haven’t done yet 😀

  7. What a beautiful city! I have never heard of Tallinn. This post has inspired me to go to Estonia!! I will use this post as a guide!

  8. Fascinating post! I wasn’t aware of Tallinn’s vast history. The photos look beautiful with the blue sky so often I only see photos of Tallin in the winter. Supposed to be visiting there this summer, still not sure if that’s going to happen, but I really hope so!

    1. Yes, we were very lucky that the skies were so blue – in Tallinn as well as in Riga.
      I also hope to travel end of Summer – just can’t wait for this mess to be over!

  9. I have to say that for a Country that is primarily non-denominational there are a massive amount of churches. The architecture of them is certainly beautiful! I also find it interesting that Estonia also has the most internet per capita in the world. This is fascinating as it is a fairly newly established Country.

  10. I have never been to Tallinn before, but you have given a good insight into what I should expect when I venture to the Baltics. My highlight would be to explore the different churches especially the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral it really stands out from the others you have described, and The Olde Hansa, I love the idea of experiencing old traditions during the Hanseatic period and the way of life especially in this authentic restaurant with delicious sounding food and music.

    1. Oh, you would love visiting Lübeck, the Queen of the Hanse then. They have a fantastic museum on the topic. It’s really absolutely fascinating that they had sort of a European Union already back then.

  11. I have been to Tallinn twice. A fair tale town as any fable book can paint it! Great guide on on the city, couldn't compile it better myself. Appreciate the little history bit you put together. This is a wonderful resource for first timers and seasoned travelers alike!

  12. What a great comprehensive post on Tallinn. It is on my list, and I look forward to one day visiting. I am a fan of churches, so it was interesting reading about the lack of worshippers these days. I love the look of the Purukook cake, and the Museum of Estonian Drinking Culture sounds right up my alley!

  13. Loved learning about the culture. Estonia has the most Internet connections per capita worldwide!And free transportation. Amazing.

  14. I loved this thorough post on Tallinn, as its a place I'd like to visit, and still want to know more about. I particularly resonated with your section about churches. I always explore the churches in cities I visit, and I am quite saddened by the fact that so many of them are not centers of worship any longer. I hope they will still be preserved for their architectural, historic, and artistic qualities.

  15. What a great post. Thank you for all the information.I met a number of people in Bulgaria this Summer who raved about Estonia and the digital residency. That definitely got us intrigued and reading about the city from your broader perspective is helpful. We plan to visit next year and good to know about the buses options. Great read. Thanks!

  16. It has been ages since I've been in Tallin, and I love that it looks to be thriving from your article. In fact, you may have inspired me to go back! Lower Old Town tempts me the most, but I'm super curious about some of the hipper, new neighborhoods, and the food. It's all changed so much since 1990!

  17. We have such great memories of our visit to Tallin. We only had a short stay. Your blog post showed me so many reasons why we need to return. The churches look like such an interesting variety. But our favourite spot was those great panoramic views over the city. Thanks for some restaurant suggestions. We only had a quick coffee stop. We will definitely check out the Tallin Card.

  18. Wow such a complete post, fill with so much information. Love the architecture of Tallinn and would love to explore some of its museums, specially the chocolate one 😉

  19. Good blog post on my neighbors (half-Latvian here). Great starting points for those first timers to the beautiful city. I been here several times and I love visiting it in the winter after a heavy snowfall and taking a photo from the top of Toompea Hill. The photo looks like a scene from a Christmas Card 🙂

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