Tallinn is the capital of Estonia, so there are many cultural and governmental things to see while visiting. Check out the medieval Old Town and palaces, while examining the beauty of the surrounding countryside. For a taste of Estonia, be sure to check out the local bars and restaurants that offer traditional and modern cuisine. When you’re ready to hit the city, shopping and sightseeing are plentiful, with old palaces, gardens, and museums.
1.The Russalka Memorial
Within Kadriorg Park, the Russalka Memorial stands in memory of the lives lost in the sinking of the Russalka warship. The statue is made of two components: a granite base which stands for the ship run aground and a bronze angel. The entire memorial stands over 16 meters, and the names of all the sailors are engraved on iron posts around the statue. This memorial was built in 1902 and was the beginning of the surrounding beach park. Locals enjoy warm days around the base of the monument picnicking. Today, this is an important spot for tourists to visit when traveling through Estonia.
Pirita tee 1, 10127 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-601-5783
Freedom Square in Tallinn is the location for the War of Independence monument. In 1939, Freedom Square was first constructed as a place of national pride. In it a reminder of Estonia from the time of the tsars to when they first received independence. In 2009, the park was renovated as a place for visitors and locals to relax and stroll. Today, it is sandwiched between two art galleries, and benches and cafes dot the walkways. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Freedom Square is that there are glass enclosures to see ruins from the original Freedom Square.
Vabaduse Valjak 9, 10142, Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-5698-7258
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In 1718, Tsar Peter I called for the construction of this garden surrounding the Palace. Today’s guests are amazed to see the beauty of the park from the exterior and interior of the park. Specific places of note to see are the Japanese gardens and the Swan Pond. The Swan Pond is surrounded by flower beds that brighten the area even in the winter. Guests can see cultural influences from the 18th century on, as each generation has improved and built onto the gardens. Tourists are also treated to memorials that celebrate famous Estonian sculptors.
A Weizenbergi 26, 10127, Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-601-4548
For every ticket sold for admission to the Tallinn Zoo, one Euro is donated to protect endangered species. It’s critical for children and adults to get involved in the conservation of animals, so Tallinn Zoo includes hands-on animal meet-and-greets for the whole family and keeps the public informed with blogs, pictures, and live animal feeds on their website. For those visiting, you’ll find many of Estonia and the world’s animals, including the sand cat, baby rhinos, polar bears, wallaby, and a hairy armadillo. Along with the exhibits, there are several cafes and souvenir shops to keep patrons busy and happy.
Ehitajate tee 150, Paldiski maantee 145, 13522 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-694-3300
5.Town Hall Square
Town Hall Square in Tallinn is an important area for Estonians and locals, in general. In the square, which is situated beside Town Hall, concerts, festivals, and other important community events take place. In the winter, Christmas festivals turn Tallinn into a winter wonderland that will put the spirit of the holidays in the biggest Scrooge. Tallinn Town Hall is just as crucial to the city, as it is the oldest standing town hall in all the Baltic and Scandinavian countries (built in 1404). In 1975, the Town Hall was converted to act as a ceremonial hall for the government, a museum, and a concert hall year-round.
Raekoja plats 1, 10114 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-645-7906
Toompea Hill is the home of Toompea Castle, which is now where the Estonian Parliament meets. At one time, it was the palace of Estonian rulers and conquerors. Each made the castle their own, and visitors can see the changes and influences from each. Free excursions are available during the week for both groups and singles. If you come at the right time, you can stand in the public gallery and watch parliament in action. Toompea Hill is also home to Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and offers many fantastic views of the city from the towers.
Lossi plats 1A, 10137 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-631-6331
Oleviste Church (St. Olaf’s Church in English) was built in the 12th century and stands today as a memorial for the old Scandinavian community. It was named for Norway’s King Olaf II. A tower and observation platform are currently under renovation, but once it is complete, visitors will be able to climb the 232 winding steps that lead up to the observation platform. At the time of its build, in the 16th century, it was believed to be one of the tallest buildings in the world, providing gorgeous views of the surrounding city and vistas.
Lai 50, 10133 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-641-2241
8.Tallinn Old Town
Old Town is often spoken about when searching for tourist destinations in Tallinn. This part of Tallinn is believed to be one of the best-preserved Medieval cities in Northern Europe. Along with old churches and buildings, the winding cobblestone roads let guests step right back into a different time. Today, Tallinn Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, baring original cobblestone and buildings. Old Town is often the home of festivals and holiday celebrations, putting locals and guests right into the heart of Medieval architecture and culture. Besides churches and warehouses, you’ll find grand houses and traditional Medieval barns around Old Town.
9.Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour
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The maritime museum of Lennusadam Seaplane Harbor gets visitors excited about the history of Estonia and the water. One of Seaplane Harbor’s most distinguished residents is Suur Toll Icebreaker, one of only three steam-powered icebreakers from the twentieth century. This permanent exhibition brings guests onto the ship to see the crew’s cabins, the engine room, and all the flags flown on Suur Toll. After you’ve spent the day looking at authentic submarines and other maritime delights, stop in at Café MARU for a snack and refreshment. Also, check out the museum shop, which sells nautical-themed clothing, toys, and other gifts.
35 Webster School Rd, Grantville, PA 17028, Phone: 717-414-0341
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As the only museum dedicated to foreign art in Estonia, Kadrior Art Museum ( and Palace) holds over 9,000 pieces of art from around the world. There are permanent exhibits on display, yet there are also visiting exhibits that should keep guests returning time and again. This Baroque palace was built and lived in by the famous tsar Peter the Great. Today, this palace is preserved to act as the museum’s shell. Each year, over 1,200 tours are given, including tours in the gardens for children and other guests. Lectures are held every Saturday to get visitors more involved in Western art.
A Weizenbergi 37, 10127 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-606-6400
11.Tallinn TV Tower
As the tallest building in the city, Tallinn TV Tower provides a great observation area to check out the entire town and surrounding environment. The tower was initially built to provide better television service for the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics. Today, visitors can take the elevator or climb the 1,000 steps up to the 21st floor to the observation deck. Over the years, renovations have created 2D and 3D exhibitions for guests. For the very brave, the 22nd floor now includes a walk-the-edge attraction, where guests are tethered to the rooftop and can walk the ledge of the tower.
Kloostrimetsa tee 58A, 11913 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-686-3005
12.Kumu Art Museum
Kumu Art Museum, short for Kunstimuuseum, is one of the largest art museums in Northern Europe. It is also one of the oldest in the area, having been built in 1919. Guests who enter Kumu Art Museum are greeted by the newest rendition and building from 2006. Today, this museum is the headquarters for the Art Museum of Estonia. View masterpieces handed down generation to generation and collected by art collectors. See how art expresses the culture of Estonia and its history through the permanent exhibits. Many sculptures and paintings depict the struggles between community and environment up until World War I.
A Weizenbergi 34, 10127 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-602-6000
13.St. Mary’s Cathedral
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The oldest reference to St. Mary’s Cathedral was in 1233, with gravestones engraved from that far back. This church is a beautiful statement to ancient Tallinn, but the 69-meter high bell tower is true to Baroque architecture. There is no cost to see the church or graveyard, though a donation would be an excellent way to help keep the cathedral and cemetery in good condition. Some famous residents are buried in the cemetery, including military officers and Swedish princess Sophia Gyllenhelm. There are tickets for purchase to get into the bell tower, which provides a magnificent view of the city.
Toom-Kooli 6, 10130 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-644-4140
14.St. Nicholas' Orthodox Church
A medieval church, St. Nicholas’ Orthodox Church is a beautifully preserved church baring the Classicist architecture. This church was built in 1820, finally opening its doors in 1827 to congregants. Today, the church is a museum to Orthodox history, showcasing altarpieces over 500 years old. Guests will see many of the famous iconostas from the area, as well as the remains of some famous Estonian people, like Saint Arseny, who died in 1772 in Tallinn. The church still works as a church as well, holding masses for the Moscow Orthodox congregation. Many visitors marvel at the beautiful natural environment surrounding the church.
Niguliste 3, 10146 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-631-4330
15.Estonian Open-Air Museum
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The Estonian Open-Air Museum is a living museum that showcases rural life in Estonia from the 18th century to the 20th century. The museum has live players acting roles to show better how the people would have lived. Among the buildings, visitors will see fourteen farms, which show how different families lived from generation to generation. Visitors will also see a fire station, fishing shed, windmills, and a schoolhouse. Inside the inn, guests can try out traditional Estonian dishes. Workshops and lectures keep visitors coming back through the entire year, and children enter for free.
Vabaohumuuseumi tee 12, Habbersti Linnaosa, Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-654-9100
16.Estonian History Museum
© Estonian History Museum
Visitors can check out the Great Guild Hall at the Estonian History Museum. This medieval hall was an important piece of the city for many years. Today, Great Guild Hall has become the museum, which houses a permanent exhibit that looks at over 11,000 years of history in Estonia. Visitors can see artifacts dating from the beginning of Estonia. Other displays look at different currencies and the way trade worked during Medieval times. Visitors can check out how Estonia grew over the centuries, and visitors can take part in interactive activities to learn about Estonia’s past.
Pikk 17, 10123 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-696-8690
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17.St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
One of the most famous landmarks in Tallinn is St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. This Cathedral is an Orthodox church, looking at the Orthodox religion often practiced in the Baltics. In 1894, the Cathedral was built in the Russian Revival style, with the classically recognized bell-shaped steeples. Over time, the cathedral deteriorated, but Estonia has tirelessly worked to restore the cathedral to its stunning glory. In comparison to the other churches in the area, this is a relatively new church. Visitors to the church will marvel at the lavish decorations and images painted throughout the interior.
Lossi Plats 10, 10130 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-644-3484
18.Tallinn Town Wall
Visitors will be hard-pressed not to see at least some of the Town Walls of Tallinn. These defensive walls began construction in 1265 around the city. The original wall was only about sixteen feet high and five feet in depth. Over time, the walls were strengthened and built higher. Along the walls throughout Tallinn are several gates and towers providing extra lookout points and ways to enter Old Town Tallinn. Over time, many towers were destroyed or turned into other buildings for the city. Visitors to the town should spend time touring the walls and towers to see the 13th century construction.
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Directly in the center of the city, Raeapteek continues to run. This business is the oldest continuous running pharmacy in Europe. Since the fifteenth century, Raeapteek pharmacy has been located in the same house. Today’s visitors are treated to the working pharmacy and its museum aspects. Visitors can join tours and workshops through the building, while children can learn all about ancient herbs used throughout the centuries. Adults can partake in the pharmacy’s Claret, which has been made the same way since 1467. Visitors can also see the price list of pharmacy goods from 1695 and purchase marzipan, claret, herbs, and other collectibles.
Raekoja plats 11, 10146 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-631-4860
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20.Kiek in de Kok
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In 1475, Kiek in de Kok Tower was built in Tallinn. Today, the tower (which means “peek in the kitchen” in English) is now a fortification museum. From the tower, visitors can see the entire city and the port. It connects to different towers through the wall’s passages. The museum looks at the creation of Tallinn, as well as wars and battles that took place between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries. Patrons can take a look at original weapons and armor and then try their hand with a shooting simulator. Visitors can also check out the Bastion Tunnels that connect to the tower.
Komandandi tee 2, 10130 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-644-6686
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© Kolm Sibulat
Kolm Sibulat is Estonian for Three Onions, but visitors will find much more than onions on the menu. In fact, the chefs proclaim that the cuisine type is fusion-confusion because they have no specific set menu, but instead go where their inspiration takes them. Patrons should consider checking out the chicken schnitzel, the king prawn red curry, or the New York steak with cognac sauce, though the menu offerings continue across international borders. To complete your meal, check out one of the tasty desserts offered, such as the panna cotta, pineapple and mango pavlova, or the seabuckthorn custard with blackberry and hazelnut meringue.
Telliskivi 2, 10611 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-664-4055
© Kohvik Komeet
Kohvik Komeet is a café owned by Anni Arro, who grew her small café to one that now sits on the fourth floor of Solaris Centre. Anni claims her restaurant may include the best views of the city in Tallinn. Today, the café serves much more than sweet treats and beautifully decorated cappuccinos. Anni dedicates her work to providing delicious and hearty portions of food, such as a lamb patty, warm goat cheese salad, and roasted duck leg. Though the food is plentiful, the dessert really shines. Over thirteen types of cake are offered, along with wines and champagnes. Many of the cakes can also be purchased for home.
Estonia pst 9, 10143 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-614-0090
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23.Kohvik Must Puudel
© Kohvik Must Puudel
For a retro café offers gluten-free and lactose-free options, as well as vegan meals. A mish-mash of furniture decorates this café. Patrons can thumb through vinyl records, checking out many old records decades old. Patrons can choose to sit inside or outside in a backyard seating area or on the street, where they can watch the happenings of the town. Coffee and other non-alcoholic drinks are offered, and many of the meals come as both vegan and traditional meat-style. Must Puudel is also pet-friendly, so tourists can enjoy seeing pets with many of the locals.
Muurivahe 20, 10140 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-505-6258
When you’re hungry for some traditional and fun breakfast food, head over to the Kompressor, Tallinn’s prime pancake house. The “pancake pub” offers 29 different pancake combinations. The top three most ordered pancakes are chicken and cream cheese, bacon and smoked cheese, and raspberries with sweetened condensed milk. Other snacks, like fried cheese balls and fried potato balls are also available and worth trying. Regular entrees, such as chanterelle salad and solyanka meat soup, are also offered throughout the day. Beers, wines, and spirits are all available for purchase since the pancake house is open nightly until 11 pm.
Rataskaevu 3, 10123 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-646-4210
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© Maiasmokk Cafe
As the oldest running café in Estonia, visitors to Tallinn should stop in to Maiasmokk Café for a bite to eat. This café originated in 1864 and still serves an original recipe for marzipan. Tallinn is fabled to be the birthplace of marzipan since it was made and given as a medical treatment in the Middle Ages. Along with delicious sweets and marzipan, patrons can order entrees, like beetroot orsotto (made with barley), leg of lamb, and duck breast with sweet potato puree. Maiasmokk also offered bread puddings, tortes, candies, and homemade ice creams.
Pikk 16, 10123 Tallinn, Estonia, Phone: 372-646-4066
25 Best Things to Do in Tallinn, Estonia
- The Russalka Memorial, Photo: alexpolo/stock.adobe.com
- Freedom Square, Photo: yegorov_nick/stock.adobe.com
- Kadriorg Park, Photo: Valery Bareta/stock.adobe.com
- Tallinn Zoo, Photo: Dmitri/stock.adobe.com
- Town Hall Square, Photo: terovesalainen/stock.adobe.com
- Toompea Hill, Photo: borisb17/stock.adobe.com
- Oleviste Church, Photo: Craig/stock.adobe.com
- Tallinn Old Town, Photo: rh2010/stock.adobe.com
- Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour, Photo: Maciej Czekajewski/stock.adobe.com
- Kadriorg Palace, Photo: Mikhail Markovskiy/stock.adobe.com
- Tallinn TV Tower, Photo: Emils/stock.adobe.com
- Kumu Art Museum, Photo: yegorov_nick/stock.adobe.com
- St. Mary’s Cathedral, Photo: Pascale Gueret/stock.adobe.com
- St. Nicholas' Orthodox Church, Photo: ivan_varyukhin/stock.adobe.com
- Estonian Open-Air Museum, Photo: Jevgeni Ivanov/stock.adobe.com
- Estonian History Museum, Photo: Estonian History Museum
- St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Photo: bphoto/stock.adobe.com
- Tallinn Town Wall, Photo: elvistudio/stock.adobe.com
- Raeapteek, Photo: Baranov/stock.adobe.com
- Kiek in de Kok, Photo: Airi Pung/stock.adobe.com
- Kolm Sibulat, Photo: Kolm Sibulat
- Kohvik Komeet, Photo: Kohvik Komeet
- Kohvik Must Puudel, Photo: Kohvik Must Puudel
- Kompressor, Photo: Kompressor
- Maiasmokk Cafe, Photo: Maiasmokk Cafe
- Cover Photo: Kavalenkava/stock.adobe.com