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© 2018 by Callahan McKinley

TALLINN

Tallinn may be small for a capital city but it's packed with medieval architecture, a strong cultural identity, and gorgeous landscapes. Between its well preserved old town, and stunning views of the Baltic sea, there's a surprising amount to see here. This is my list of the 7 best things to do in Tallinn, Estonia

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL LIST OF MY RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATIONS
 

1. The Old Town (Apothecary)

Tallinn has one of the best preserved old towns in Europe. Its winding cobblestone streets mixed with castle ramparts, gothic churches, and hidden courtyards make it a great place to get lost exploring in. Originally part of the Hanseatic trade league, rich merchants from Germany and Denmark settled here in the 13th century, and built it up over time into what it is today.

If you're interested in more of its fascinating history, there's a free walking tour that leaves at 10AM, 12AM, and 3PM everyday from the Tallinn tourist info center. 

Price: Free 

Address: Tallinn Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia

2. Linnahall

When the Soviet Union hosted the 1980 Olympics, the sailing portion was held in Tallinn and a large amphitheater was built to accommodate the spectators. Abandoned for decades, the structure has since become a second home to local graffiti artists and the more adventurous tourists. 

I recommend going at sunset because the views over the baltic sea are incredible. Most likely you'll encounter local kids partying and hanging out in the area (btw you have free access to the entire place so there's no limit as to where you can climb).

Price: Free

Address: 20 Mere Puiestee, Tallinn, 10111, Estonia

3. Balti Jaam Market (Keskturg Market)

If you're looking for a taste of local life, there's no better place than Balti Jaam Market. The market has been recently restored and is home to clothing vendors, street food stalls, and breweries. Its hip atmosphere attracts a wide range of people looking to tackle what makes Tallinn well... Tallinn. 

I highly recommend going here for lunch and getting a little something from each stall to experience as many type of Estonian street food as possible.

Price: Free!

Address: Kopli tn 1, Tallinn, Kalamaja

4. St. Olafs Church

I'm usually not a huge fan of Churches (albeit with a few exceptions!). However St. Olafs Church has a beautiful clocktower you can climb to the top of for amazing 360 degree views of the city.

 

The church itself was believed to have been built sometime in the 12th century, before its conquest by Denmark. Interestingly enough, from 1944 until 1991, the Soviet KGB used St. Olaf's Church's spire as a radio tower and surveillance point, the more you know right?

Price: Child 1€, Adult 3€

Hours: Everyday from 10AM - 6PM

Address:  Lai 50, 10133 Tallinn, Estonia

Photo by Arnie Papp

5.  Hotel Viru and KGB Museum

Sometimes its easy to forget that Estonia was under Soviet control until 1991, that's less than 30 years ago! It's always important to understand the history of the place you're visiting because it gives you much needed context into the behavior and culture of the local people. The Viru Hotel and KGB museum shed light on a darker time in Estonian history and what it was like to live under the iron curtain. 

Price: Adults 11€, Child 5.5€

Hours: Booking in advance is required!

Address: Viru väljak 4, Kesklinna linnaosa, Tallinn

6. Toompea Hill

It's always nice to get away from all the hustle and bustle of a city and just relax for a bit. Toompea hill is in central Tallinn and its parks and castle make it a great place for this. The hill is laden with local folklore and mythology, with tales going back hundreds of years. 

Not a bad place to spend the afternoon, taking in Tallinn's beatuiful skyline. 

Price: Free

Address: Lossi Plats, Tallinn, Estonia

7. Nightlife 

Because Tallinn is a relatively small city, the nightlife is somewhat limited. That being said there are plenty of ways to have a good time here. Between the numerous pub crawls (Monk's Bunk pub crawl was my favorite), and underground bars/clubs you can stay out until sunrise no problem.

For a full list of my favorite bars/restaurants in Tallinn click here

 

WHERE TO STAY?

Tallinn is by no means a large capital city and as long you're within walking distance to the old town, you should be fine. That being said Kalamaja is known as the creative/hipster part of the city where you'll find pop up cafes, outdoor markets, and other forms of artistry. The other area to look out for is Pirita, which is on the coast close to the beach and is typically quieter than the rest of the city. 

 

CITY GUIDE MAP

A complete list of restaurants, bars, clubs, and more