It’s time for an article on the sights of the capital of Estonia. As many already know, I first visited Estonia in December – during the Christmas market (there is an article about it ). Therefore, the photo in the article will be winter. In addition, during the winter, some of Tallinn’s sights do not work (for example, some viewing platforms), I will definitely mention this.
For your convenience, the article will be divided into sections, in each of which I will write about the sights that can be visited within one day. I’ll write separately about Tallinn museums. So let’s go.
What to see in Tallinn in 1 day
It happens that in 1 day you need to have time to see the main attractions. Tallinn is a compact city, all the most interesting is concentrated in the center, therefore, even in 1 day it is possible to explore the city.
No. 1. The old city (13-16 centuries) is the historical center of Tallinn, like many centuries ago, it is surrounded by a fortress wall. It’s convenient to move around on foot; transport is not needed here. Do not forget to wear comfortable shoes – the streets of the Old Town are paved with paving stones. The old city consists of two parts – the Lower City (in the Middle Ages only artisans lived here) and the Upper City (Vyshhorod), the nobility lived there. The cities were independent among themselves, existed separately from each other, and each city lived according to its own laws.
No. 2. Town Hall Square is the center of the Old Town, its main square. Getting started with the city is best from here. Before Christmas, the Christmas market opens on the square, a Christmas tree and a stage for performances by creative groups and representatives of the administration are established. In the summer, all the central cafes put up their tables on the square.
An interesting fact: on the Town Hall Square there is a point (this tile is highlighted), from which you can see 5 Tallinn spiers at the same time: the spire of the Town Hall tower, the spiers of the Oleviste (St. Olav) churches, Niguliste (St. Nicholas), Pühavaimu (Holy Spirit) and the spire Dome Cathedral.
No. 3. Tallinn Town Hall (16th century) – the main building on the Town Hall Square. The town hall was built in the Gothic style, but was constantly being built and rebuilt. For example, in the early 17th century, weirs in the shape of dragon heads appeared on the Town Hall.
Official website of the Town Hall: http://raekoda.tallinn.ee/defaultru
You can get to the Town Hall on an excursion only in the summer. For 2018, the schedule is as follows:
- From February 15 to May 1, 2018 the exhibition “Joy in the heart of the city. Painting from the collection of Enna Kunil” (Excursions are not held)
- From May 2 to May 14, 2018, the Town Hall is closed
- The Town Hall opens only from June 25.
- In July August, visits are possible from 10.00 to 16.00 from Monday to Saturday. Groups and excursions by appointment.
- Ticket price: 5 euros (visiting the Town Hall except the tower), with Tallin Card – free of charge.
The Town Hall Tower is open May 15, 2018 – September 15, 2018 Mon-Sun 11: 00-18.66, closed June 23-June 24. WINTER TOWER IS CLOSED. Ticket 3 euros, with Tallin card – free of charge.
I also recommend “Tallinn Guide: How to Travel on Your Own”
Number 4. Upper city (Vyshhorod). We will return to the lower city later, but for now I suggest going to Toompea hill with the fortress of the same name, visiting 2 Tallinn Cathedrals, evaluating the strength of the fortress wall and looking at Tallinn and the Gulf of Finland from the best viewing platforms.
No. 5. Toompea Castle (Revel Fortress). The stone fortress on the rock was built by German knights in the early 13th century, since then this place has been the focus of Estonian power. Today, the Estonian Parliament is located within these walls. It is possible to get to the castle on an excursion: they are held on weekdays from 10:00 to 16:00. You can stay in the castle for a maximum of 30 minutes.
No. 6. The fortress tower “Long Herman” is one of the towers of Toompea Castle, in which there is a viewing platform (view of the park and the western part of the city). By the way, the Long German Tower is one of the symbols of Tallinn, and indeed of Estonia.
Number 7. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is the most famous Orthodox landmark in Tallinn. The cathedral was built in 1900 on the site of another church, which no longer accommodated all believers. Entrance to the Cathedral is free.
Number 8. Dome Cathedral is one of the oldest in Tallinn. Its construction dates back to the 13th century. Like many structures of that time, the Cathedral was rebuilt and modified several times, however, it preserved ancient burial sites. The Cathedral is also the burial place of some famous personalities, including I.F. Kruzenshtern.
An observation deck is open in the Cathedral tower, entrance fee is 5 euros. It works only in the summer period (from April to November) from 9:30 to 14: 30-17: 30.
No. 9. Kohtouts Observation Deck is Tallinn’s most popular observation deck. It offers the most beautiful, classic postcard view. The site is free.
No. 10. Patkuli observation deck – located literally 100 meters from the previous one and it offers a view a little to the other side, the Gulf of Finland is more visible.
No. 11. Kik-in-de-Kök Tower is another castle tower built in 1470. Today in the tower is a medieval museum of weapons and life, from here excursions along underground passages and bastions begin. Entrance to the museum is 5 euros, an excursion into the dungeon is 9 euros.
On the top floor of the 38-meter tower is a cafe overlooking the city.
No. 12. The Danish King’s Garden is a small “corner” between the ramparts and the Lower City. According to legend, it was at this place that the Danish king set up a camp here during the successful siege of the Toompea fortress in 1219.
Also, this place is considered the place where the Danish flag appeared. Today, a monument to the flag is erected on the stairs leading to the lower city.
No. 13. The Church of St. Nicholas (Niguliste) was built in the 13th century in honor of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors. The temple operated until 1944, but was damaged during the war. Later it was restored, but it was already opened as a museum. The most famous exhibits are the ancient altar and the painting “Dance of Death” (or rather, its surviving part is 16 meters in length; the original painting, presumably, was 28-30 meters in size). On Sundays, organ concerts are held at the church museum. Entrance to the museum is 6 euros. With Tallinn Card free.
No. 14. Medieval Tavern III Draakon. We return to the Lower City, time for lunch. This cafe, which is located in the Town Hall building (near the entrance to the tower) is a real attraction of the city. The cafe serves dishes made from products that were known in the Middle Ages, such as pies with moose or boar. And also a moose broth that you have to drink from a pot – there are no appliances in the tavern! Where else to eat in Tallinn, read here .
Number 15. Town Hall Pharmacy is the oldest pharmacy in Europe. Located on Town Hall Square, opposite the Town Hall. It was opened in 1422 and has been working continuously since then! Today, the pharmacy building houses a modern pharmacy and museum. Entrance to the museum is free. Among the exhibits you can see very interesting exhibits:
No. 16. The room is the Kalev Marzipan Museum, located at the Maiasmokk cafe in the center of Tallinn (Pikk 16). It is stated that the collection of the museum has 200 figures. Honestly, I did not quite understand what the word “museum” means – some of the figures are displayed in windows at the entrance to the cafe, there is also a place where, most likely, a master in painting marzipan figures works.
Somewhere they write that the museum is in the basement, but we did not see any obvious pointers to it. There is another marzipan museum in the city center, which is definitely located in the basement. Located at Pikk 40, here is its official website: http://martsipan.ee/en Entrance is free, you can see various marzipan figures, but, frankly, it’s not very impressive. If someone was in Hungary at the Marzipan Museum (in Szentendre), then do not expect a special impression of the Tallinn Museum.
Number 17. The Church of the Holy Spirit is located next to the marzipan cafe. You can recognize the church by the clock on its facade – this is the oldest carved clock in Tallinn. The church itself is also dominated by furniture and carvings. Admission is 1.5 euros, with Tallin Card – free of charge.
I also recommend my article on prices in Tallinn .
Number 18. The building of the Great Guild is opposite the Church of the Holy Spirit. In the Middle Ages, guild members controlled the magistrate. Today, the 15th century building houses the Estonian History Museum. Admission is 6 euros. With Tallinn Card free.
No. 19. Church of St. Olav (Olevist) – a church of the 13th century, perhaps with the highest spire in the city. The height of the tower is 124 meters, it has an observation deck (open in the summer from April to October, entrance 2 euros). Entrance to the church is free – it is open to tourists.
No. 20. St. Katarina Lane is a very authentic medieval street, which is also called the street of artisans. Here are craft workshops and souvenir shops. In the summer, many doors to the workshops are open; there are cafe tables. In winter, taking a walk here is very atmospheric. The attraction even has its own website http://www.katariinagild.eu/
With the sights of the first day, it’s time to end. It seems that there are a lot of them, in fact, one day to inspect them is enough (of course, if you do not spend 3 hours in each museum☺). Even on this day, you will have time to drink coffee in one of the coffee shops and have a delicious dinner in one of the restaurants or cafes, or even visit an evening tour .
And I’m moving on to the next block of attractions.
Sights of Tallinn in 2 days.
After a hearty breakfast, you can head to the opposite side from the center.
No. 21. Kadriorg is a quiet area, park, Yekaterinental Palace and the Art Museum. An example is a 30 minute walk from the center. If you have chosen a hotel in the business center, then it will be even faster to reach.
The palace was built in 1718 by Peter I for his wife Catherine (hence the name). The palace looks beautiful, but compared to Russian palaces, of course, it is not so luxurious. In the building of the palace there is an Art Museum, which will be interesting to fans of Russian and European paintings of the 16-20 centuries. The museum also has exhibits of applied art, sculpture, etc. Entrance to the museum is 6.5 euros. Entrance to the park is free.
In other buildings on the estate there are also museums, for example, in the former palace kitchen there is the Mikkel Museum. And in the house of Peter I (evaluate its scale in comparison with the palace of Catherine), the house-museum of Peter.
Number 22. After a walk through the park, you can go to the embankment, on the way, visiting the monument to the Mermaid. Despite such a romantic name, the sculpture depicts a bronze angel and is dedicated to the Russian battleship “Mermaid”, which sank off the coast of Finland in 1893.
Number 23. The embankment and the Pirita area are the shore of the Baltic Sea. There are active beaches in the Pirita area. If you come in the summer, you can spend time there. In winter, a walk along the sea will be cool and not very comfortable.
Number 24. The Rotermann Quarter is a modern quarter near Old Tallinn (returning to the center) in a loft style. Built on the site of former enterprises, it looks pretty stylish. There are many restaurants, coffee houses in the area, and there is also a company store of the Kalev confectionery factory. A Christmas tree is set in the center of the quarter in December. The most atmospheric photos of the quarter:
Now you can dine either in Rotermany, or, for example, in the mega-popular pancake company Kompressor, which even appeared in the program Eagle and Reshka. There is always a pancake line, only its length is different. All pancakes cost 5 euros (plus or minus), pancakes are sooooo big, do not take more than one per person, even a man.
After lunch, you can go shopping and buy souvenirs for relatives and friends.
I recommend to read my article about souvenirs from Tallinn .
If you arrived in December, during the Christmas markets, then until about 10 pm you can still walk around the market square, looking at goods and drinking mulled wine 🙂
What to see in Tallinn in 3 days
If you have 3 full days in Tallinn, then you will have time to explore all the most popular attractions of the city, go shopping and visit several cafes and restaurants. And even go on one or two excursions.
So what to do on the third day.
Number 25. Freedom Square at the very edge of the Old Town is a popular venue for public events. The column with the cross is a monument to the independence of Estonia, acquired after the victory in the Liberation War of 1918-1920. Also on the square you can see the Church of St. John, the Tallinn Music College, the Russian Theater of Estonia, the House of Arts and the city hall.
No. 26. Telliskivi quarter is another fashionable youth district of Tallinn with many coffee houses, fast food, designer shops. Youth concerts and events take place there. To appreciate the quarter, go there in the afternoon, or at least after 11 hours. In the morning there is definitely nothing to do there.
Number 27. Tallinn TV Tower – a modern attraction, was built in the 1980s. Today it is the tallest building in Estonia. In addition to the observation deck, the TV tower has an interactive attraction and a restaurant. A visit to the TV tower will cost from 10 euros. You can go if you like observation decks and have free time. In order not to waste time in the queue, you can buy tickets in advance via the Internet, for example, through this service .
No. 28. Botanical garden next to the TV tower. A good pastime on a warm summer day. Entrance to the garden is 5 euros.
No. 29. Tallinn Zoo is a half-day attraction, or even a whole day. It is better to visit in the summer.
No. 30. Rocca al Mare is an open-air ethnographic museum. In the park, or rather, even in the forest there are farm houses, mills, a wooden chapel, and a school. In general, everything that should bring a visitor to many years ago. It is better to visit the park in summer, in winter almost all houses are closed for visiting, and I don’t see much point in paying for a walk in the forest. The official website of the museum: http://evm.ee/eng/nachalo Admission 7 euros (children 5 euros), with Tallin Card free.
These are the main attractions of Tallinn that can be visited for a few days in the city.
Another section is the museums of Tallinn. I already wrote about some, others I will mention for the first time.
Museums in Tallinn
No. 31. The Maritime Museum – is located in one of the fortress towers (Tolstaya Margarita tower at the Great Sea Gate) and occupies as many as 4 floors of the tower! Museum about the history of navigation in Estonia.
All necessary information can be obtained on the official website: http://meremuuseum.ee/paks-margareeta/ru/
Number 32. Kik-in-de-Kök Museum – a museum of medieval life and the Bastion dungeon. Entrance 5 – 9 euros (see No. 11)
No. 33. KUMU Museum of Modern Art (works of Estonian art from the 18th century to the present). Of.site: https://kumu.ekm.ee/ru/ Admission is 8 euros, with Tallin Card free of charge.
Number 34. The KGB Museum on the 23rd floor of the Sokos hotel Viru is for those interested in the mysteries and secret life of the city. Of.site: https://www.sokoshotels.fi/en/news/news/hotel-viru-ja-kgb-museum Entrance 11 euros.
Number 35. Museum of Health – an interactive museum that talks about healthy eating, about human evolution and modern methods of diagnosis. Website: http://www.tervishoiumuuseum.ee/en/ Admission is 8 euros, with a Tallinn Card free of charge. And there are exhibitions and lectures:
No. 36. The NUKU Puppet Museum – about the history of the puppet theater; the exhibition includes Estonian dolls and dolls from other countries. Website: http://www.nuku.ee/en Admission is 6 euros, with Tallin Card free of charge.
Number 37. Legends of Tallinn – an interactive theater-museum in the very center of the city (look behind the Town Hall) – entrance is 16 euros.
This concludes the story about the sights of Tallinn. If you have been to Tallinn and you have something to supplement, leave comments on what else you liked or did not like in Tallinn, where you advise you to go, and which is better not to waste time on.