The fast-growing Hansa town, Tallinn, is an interesting mixture of rustic old and shiny modern. Glossy office buildings looming behind the medieval Old Town walls seem to fit right in the spirit of the vibrant city. The advantages of Tallinn are its low prices, quality restaurants and the cobblestone paved Old Town, which takes you to the rich history of the city.
Many re-built areas, such as Rotermann, Telliskivi and Baltijaama are culinary paradises, with international street food and fusion kitchen side by side with wine bars and microbreweries.
Where to stay in Tallinn
The Old Town is the heart of the city containing most of the attractions, restaurants, bars and night clubs. As such, nearby areas are well-suited for accommodation.
What’s more, the public transport travel card of Tallinn provides easy access to locations such as Kadriorg, Pirita or Rocca Al Mare, that are situated farther away. You can get the card conveniently from the closest R-Kiosk.
Things to do in Tallinn
The most famous attractions in Tallinn, such as Tallinn Town Hall Square and Bastion Passages, are situated in the Old Town. The Old Town, which is inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO, may be of great interest to adults, but families should head outside the walls. Many family-friendly attractions, such as Tallinn Zoo or Seaplane Harbour, are situated away from the center.
The medieval Tallinn Old Town, inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO, is the buzzing center of Tallinn. The Old Town contains something for everyone: various types of restaurants, trendy wine bars, karaoke bars, mysterious underground tunnels, the Parliament and the oldest continuously operating pharmacy in Europe.
The Old Town is divided into two areas, the upper town (Toompea Hill) and the lower town. The beginning of the town dates back to 1219, when the Danish conquered the Toompea Castle. The name of the town may have originated from the same event, as “Taani linn” is Estonian for “Danish castle”.
If you’re systematic, the main attractions of the Old Town are easily explored on foot in a day.
1. St. Olaf’s Church
You should begin the Old Town walking tour from St. Olaf’s Church in the northern end of the area. The tower of this Lutheran church reaches 123,8 meters, and as such it is one the highest buildings in Tallinn. During the cold war, the KGB used the church as a radio tower.
2. Catherine's Alley
Continue to the picturesque Catherine’s Alley, and witness the work of local craftsmen in their small studios creating beautiful jewelry, ceramics and textiles, among other things. The skilled craftsmen use original methods from the 13th - 15th centuries.
3. Tallinn Town Hall Square
Tallinn Town Hall Square has served as the best-known meeting place in Tallinn ever since the 11th and 12th century. There are concerts and other events all year round in the square. In summer, the square is surrounded by terraces swarming with people, as they gather to enjoy sunshine and refreshing drinks. In December, the square is the venue for Tallinn Christmas Market. The name of the square originates from the Gothic Town Hall next to it. Today, the impressive building serves as a concert hall and a venue for receptions.
The oldest continuously operating pharmacy in Europe is situated in the corner of the Town hall Square. The pharmacy introduces visitors to medieval medication, such as snakeskin and mummy juice. The pharmacy is still in operation today.
4. Freedom Square
Freedom Square at the foot of the Toompea Hill is the symbol of Estonian independence and nationalism, where various events and a military parade on Estonian Independence Day are a common sight. The flamboyant column-shaped monument to the War of Independence, dedicated to the bruising battle against Russian troops in 1918-1920, is located on western border of the square.
5. Kiek in de Kök and Bastion Passages
Literally, dive deep into the history of Tallinn in the Kiek in de Kök defense tower and its underground passages. Besides its rich history, the 13th century Kiek in de Kök offers fantastic scenery over the Old Town. The Bastion Passages, dating back to 1600s - 1700s, introduces its visitors to the massive underground defense network of Tallinn.
Website: Kiek in de Kök
6. St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
The onion-domed St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is standing tall on the Toompea Hill. This Orthodox cathedral, completed in the year 1900, is still one of the most beautiful buildings in Tallinn. The interior with a collection of mosaics and icons, is worth a visit.
The Parliament of Estonia belongs to a larger complex of the medieval Toompea Castle, which has partly deteriorated into ruins over the years. The exotic, pink parliament building was built in 1920-22, and allegedly it’s the only expressionist parliament building in the world.
8. Dome Church
The white Dome Church at the top of Toompea Hill constitutes a plain prototype of a Lutheran church. The interior contains numerous beautifully carved funeral escutcheons and tombstones to indicate the tombs of German noblemen and Estonian dignitaries. To enter the bell tower, a fee of 2 euros is required, but the view over the Tallinn Old Town is worth it. The tower is open at random.
9. Kohtuotsa viewing platform
Kohtuotsa viewing platform is a good location to end the walking tour in the Old Town. Rain or shine, it’s packed with enthusiastic photographers. The platform provides the best of views over the whole town right before your very eyes.
Tallinn Zoo is situated about 5 kilometers away from the center in Rocca al Mare. The zoo contains versatile species, such as snow leopard, polar bear and black rhinoceros.
Website: Tallinn Zoo
Kadriorg Park, situated a couple of kilometers outside the center, is a perfect target for a long-distance walk and a picnic to top it off. The best time to head to the park is between May and the end of September, when the trimmed grass and colorful flowers of the park are at their finest.
The park belongs to Kadriorg Palace, which hosted the grand opening in 1718 in the presence of Peter the Great. Today, the palace houses the Art Museum exhibiting the foreign collection of Estonia. The area is larger than it looks at first glance. For example, there’s a harmonic Japanese garden, opened in 2011, hidden in the woods.
As one of the best sites for the whole family, the Seaplane Harbour contains plenty of interesting things for adults and children to experience. The spacious museum hall has numerous artifacts of wartime and maritime history on display. The main attractions include a Short 184 waterplane and the Lembit submarine, built in England, which introduces the visitors to the life inside a submarine.
Seaplane Harbour has plenty of video films, simulators and a separate children’s area to guarantee interesting pastime for everyone. Don’t forget to visit the museum ships at the harbor behind the museum. They’re included in the price of the ticket.
Website: Seaplane Harbour
Art Museum KUMU
The most famous Estonian art museum, Kumu, is situated next to Kadriorg Park. The museum, which was opened in 2006, is an architectural attraction on its own, but the main interest is drawn to its art collection. The collection at KUMU is versatile, having something to everyone’s taste. On display, there are various art movements and artifacts from the 16th century to contemporary art, with the main focus on local artists. Since you’ve come all the way to KUMU, you might as well visit the Kadriorg park as well.
Fotografiska photographic art center
Founded originally in Stockholm, , the Fotografiska photographic art center was opened in Tallinn in 2019, gaining immediate success and raising the cultural standards of Tallinn and whole Estonia to a greater international level. Fotografiska presents photo exhibitions on a seasonal basis. Their restaurant and cocktail bar on the top floor is likewise a popular hot spot.
TV Tower - Teletorn
Tallinn TV tower is not just the highest building of Tallinn; instead, it’s an important symbol of Estonian independence. The tower, which was built for the Moscow Olympics, reaches a whopping 314 meters, but the entrance ticket only grants access to a viewing platform at 170 meters. In good weather, you can see all the way to Helsinki.
The bottom level contains videos and photos concerning the events of August 21, 1991. Just one day earlier, Estonia had declared independence from the Soviet Union, which was struggling from the turmoil of attempted coup. The soviet troops tried to regain control over the tower with tanks, to prevent broadcasts promoting independence. The rest of the events of that day are not unveiled here.
The KGB Museum in Viru Hotel offers guided tours to introduce the visitors to the practices of Soviet secret service. During the Soviet era, Viru hotel hosted foreign visitors under the watchful eye of the KGB. The museum exhibits microphones, wireless audio technology and radio room equipment. To visit KGB Museum, a booking in advance is required.
Website: KGB Museum
Balti Jaam (Baltic Station) Market
Baltic Station Market is a gastronomic paradise, with market vendors, street food and much more in two storeys. While going to the market, you might as well visit Telliskivi, which is situated right next to it.
Website: Baltijaama Turg
Telliskivi Creative City
Telliskivi Creative City is a buzzing culture hub near the Old Town, with cultural events on offer all year round. The old industrial building complex has been remodified into trendy bars, casual restaurants, designer studios and startups. You should check out the event calendar of Telliskivi before heading off to Tallinn.
Beaches in Tallinn
While strolling around the cobble stone streets of the Old Town, you might forget that the Tallinn area contains plenty of shoreline with fine sand, perfect for beaches. In summer, the beaches of Tallinn are packed in good weather, since the locals just love a deep tan. There are several small beaches in the city area, but Pirita Beach and Stroomi Beach are the most popular and the most beautiful ones.
The two-kilometer-long beach stretch is the longest and the most popular of the beaches in Tallinn. A section with fine sand begins right after the Olympic harbor. While it’s reserved for surfers, a more general beach stretch begins thereafter. St. Patrick's restaurant on the beach is a good choice to have lunch when spending the day on the beach.
The nearest bus stop: Supluse puiestee
Another very popular beach, Stroomi Beach, is situated in northern Tallinn in Pelguranna district. With its shallow shoreline, it’s well-suited for families with children. There’s a playground with trampolines and other fun dedicated to kids. Near the shoreline, there’s a small bar-cafe serving snacks and cold drinks.
The nearest bus stop: Supelranna
Restaurant recommendations in Tallinn
Tallinn contains plenty of good quality restaurants with affordable prices, which is one of its main advantages as a holiday destination. The wide array of restaurants ranges from Korean to Hawaiian kitchen, but the healthy New Nordic type of menus, with raw material and ingredients from lakes, forests and swamps, are on the rise.
Fine dining restaurants
One of the most distinguished restaurants of the city, Ö, is situated in Rotermann at the very center. The restaurant has one 6 course menu at a time, representing modern Estonian cuisine.
Address: Mere puiestee 6
NOA Chef's Hall
It’s only a matter of time when Baltic countries are awarded Michelin stars. When that happens, NOA Chef's Hall, situated within NOA restaurant, is the first one on the list. This modern restaurant at Viimsi shore, serving 9 – 11 course menus, has been selected as the best restaurant in Estonia for several times.
Address: Ranna tee 3
Website: NOA Chef's Hall
180 Degrees by Matthias Diether
180 Degrees by Matthias Diether is situated in the fancy Noblessner port area, 15 minutes away from the Old Town on foot. The restaurant brings something new to the restaurant selection of Tallinn and has quickly become one of the top restaurants of the city. 180 Degrees serves modern, 4 to 6 course fixed menus in a stylish setting, yet in casual atmosphere.
Address: Staapli 4
Website: 180 Degrees
Casual dinner restaurants
Rataskaevu 16 & Väike Rataskaevu
Rataskaevu 16 and Väike Rataskaevu, situated on the streets of Rataskaevu and Niguliste, respectively, are well established, long term favorite restaurants in Tallinn. The restaurants are a regular among the top TripAdvisor picks due to their excellent food, casual atmosphere and friendly service. Both restaurants have the same, moderate-sized menu, with something for everyone’s taste.
Address: Rataskaevu 16 & Niguliste 6 (Väike Rataskaevu)
Website: Rataskaevu 16
Leib Resto and Aed
Leib, situated on the outskirts of the Old Town, is perfect for tasting modern Estonian delicacies. Creative, tasty and good-sized dishes combined with reasonable pricing ensure the popularity of the restaurant.
Address: Uus 31
F-hoone, situated in Telliskivi, is perfect for a casual dinner with tasty cocktails. The former industrial facility feels more like a cozy living room due to its retro style décor, and as such it’s well suited for lunch and brunch as well. The innovative menu with affordable prices surely has something for everyone.
Address: Telliskivi 60a
Pegasus stands right in the middle of the Old Town. Due to its delicious lunch and affordable prices it’s packed with tourists and locals on weekdays.
Address: Harju 1
If you’re in Kadriorg, consider the tiny Salt as the lunch option. Salt is one the best-known restaurants in Tallinn, serving lunch between noon and 2 p.m. The price is typically between 5-6 euros.
Address: Vase 14
It's hard to walk past the RØST bakery café in Rotermann without stopping, because the scent of fresh cinnamon ears floating inside will entice you, whether you like it or not. The café serves both savory and sweet breakfasts: stuffed breads, wraps, etc., but the place's trademark is cinnamon and cardamom ear muffs.
Address: Rataskaevu 3
Website: Kompressor Pub
Website: Kohvik Komeet
Breakfast & brunch restaurants
It's hard to walk past the RØST bakery café in Rotermann without stopping, because the scent of fresh cinnamon buns lingering in the air will entice you, whether you like it or not, to step in. The café serves both savory and sweet breakfasts: sandwiches, wraps, etc., but the place's trademark is the cinnamon bun.
Address: Rotermanni 4
Cafeteria Rukis in the Old Town serves delicious breakfast classics such as Eggs Benedict, different omelets and a wide variety of cakes.
Address: Viru 11
It’s not just a cafe, it’s a whole new world. The oldest café of Tallinn, Cafe Maiasmokk from 1864, oozes the old time spirit even today. The menu contains a wide array of pastry as well as complete meals. On weekends, the café serves a special morning menu between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Address: Pikk 16
Top 3 vegetarian and vegan restaurants
Vegan restaurant V Restoran on the busy Rataskaevu street of Tallinn, is small and sympathetic with the sole focus on vegan food. The restaurant is the absolute number one of vegan food in Tallinn.
Address: Rataskaevu 12
Website: Restoran V
Von Krahli Aed
Von Krahli Aed is also situated on Rataskaevu. For an entourage with vegans and non-vegans on board, it’s a safe bet. The taste, presentation and service are top notch!
Address: Rataskaevu 8
Website: Von Krahli Aed
Yet another Telliskivi restaurant, ÜLO, serves flashy drinks as well as delicious meat and vegetarian dishes. This laid-back restaurant is a perfect fit to start a good night out.
Address: Kopli 16
Nightlife in Tallinn
The bar and night club selection of Tallinn has plenty to offer for customers with different tastes – draft lager or gin & tonic with lime are by no means the only drinks on offer. Tallinn nightlife is concentrated on the Old Town area, but there are exceptions. The Telliskivi area contains cozy beer bars, or more like beer living rooms, to continue the evening after dinner. Next, we’ve listed few Gate98 favorite bars and night clubs in Tallinn.
Located in Telliskivi neighborhood, the Pudel Bar, which one the most popular beer joints in the area. The vast selection of craft beers fills the bar even on weekdays. The bar's interior is small, so it might be hard to find a free table, but when the weather permits, there is additional space on their terrace.
Address: Telliskivi 60A
Hell Hunt is not about hunting hell. Instead, it’s one of the most laid-back beer bars of the Old Town, with one of the best malt selections in the city. To top it off, there’s pub food on offer.
Address: Pikk 39
Website: Hell Hunt
Põhjala Tap Room
Estonia's most famous craft beer brewery Põhjala opened their new brewery in 2019 in the new Noblessner area. The huge brewery restaurant, called the Tap Room, has plenty of room and beers choices to taste. The brewery restaurant has also an interesting menu and delicious food that compliment the beer. For the fans of Põhjala, the Tap Room is an absolute pilgrimage destination.
Address: Peetri 5
Website: Põhjala Tap Room
Beer garden is the home of one of the largest screens and selection of TV-channels in Tallinn. As per the name, there’s a good selection of beer along with a pub food menu. The bar shows several different sporting events simultaneously, and you can of course request another channel. Finding the right channel among the hundreds of them might be a challenge, though.
Address: Inseneri 1
Website: Beer Garden
Nimeta Baar - Pub With No Name
The sports fans’ long-time favorite, Nimeta, is situated on the Suur-Karja street in the Bermuda Triangle of the Old Town. The bar is a mix of large screens and reasonable prices. You’re sure to enjoy the bar for longer than just the game you’re watching; the bar serves reasonably-priced pub food and the dance floor will fill up eventually, especially if the outcome of the game pleases the crowd.
Address: Suur-Karja 4
O'Leary's Kristiine Event Center
O'Leary's at Kristiine Event Center is heaven for friendly competitions and spectator sports. This top-notch sports bar has the largest screens, the widest selection of sports on TV, and the most delicious bar food in Tallinn. In addition, there’s plenty of activities on offer for adults and kids, including a bowling track, a VR rollercoaster simulator, a climbing wall, billiard tables and much more.
Address: Endla 45
Cafe Amigo (will be reopened in September)
Cafe Amigo, housed downstairs in Viru Hotel, is a laid-back night club, where you don’t need a blazer or a silk dress to get in. The customers are typically closer to their 30s and 40s rather than 20s. While Café Amigo is popular among tourists, also the locals appreciate its relaxed atmosphere. You should check the event calendar of the night club, as they frequently host gigs.
Address: Viru 4
Website: Cafe Amigo
Club Hollywood may have lost some its charm along the 20 years of its existence, but it’s still one of the most popular night clubs in Tallinn. Rarely does a night club divide opinion like Club Hollywood; while it’s the source of great memories to many of its customers, getting literally thrown out by a rough bouncer, for practically no reason, tends to cause bitterness. Its customers consist mainly of young locals and foreign tourists.
Address: Vana-Posti 8
Website: Club Hollywood
The two-story Venus is a veteran among the night clubs in Tallinn. It’s popular among locals and tourists alike. The music ranges from pop-dance to electronic. In summer, Venus Club is open on weekdays as well, but big parties start on weekends, with the own dancers of the club leading the way to get your own dance moves going.
Address: Vana-Viru 14
Website: Venus Club
Manna La Roosa
Manna La Roosa, housed in a historic wooden building at the outskirts of the Old Town, produces some of the best drinks in Tallinn. This loft style bar feels more like an art studio rather than a restaurant, since everything you see is an art piece on its own: décor, drinks and dishes.
Address: Vana-Viru 15
Website: Manna La Roosa
The elegant Horisont Bar is situated in the top floor of Swissotel. As per the style of the bar, the drinks are also elegant, and they come with excellent service and a panoramic view over Tallinn. The prices are above the average.
Address: Tornimäe 3 (the elevator upstairs is situated left of the reception)
Website: Horisont Bar
Frank Bistro & Cocktail Bar
Frank has a simple yet stylish décor. This bistro with New York influence has good food and drinks that are certainly worth a visit. There’s a separate entrance to Frank’s Underground, where they only serve drinks. Besides serving classics, the skilled bartenders are happy to fix you a tailored drink.
Address: Sauna 2
The small but atmospheric Botaanik cocktail bar in the Old Town is a guaranteed choice for enjoying delicious drinks in an intimate and sophisticated environment. The bar can accommodate very few people, so a reservation is recommended. The staff of Botaanik is one of the friendliest and the most knowledgeable drinkmasters in Tallinn without a doubt.
Address: Suurtüki 2
Shopping in Tallinn
For a small city, Tallinn has plenty of shopping centers with renowned international clothing brands. The shopping districts of the very center and the Old Town contain the same stores as the large shopping centers outside the center, such as Kristiine tai Ülemiste. It’s worth pondering whether to travel to larger shopping centers farther away or whether to go shopping in the center.
Rotermann is situated between the harbor and Viru Center. It contains stores of Spanish textile giants Inditex and Tendam, including Bershka, Stradivarius, Springfield and Pull & Bear.
Stockmann shopping center sells high-quality furniture, home appliances and other items as well as fashion for men, women and children.
Address: Liivalaia 53
Kaubamaja is slightly larger than Stockmann, but their selection are very similar. The selection contains high-quality international brands and departments, ranging from home appliances to textile and fashion.
Address: Gonsiori 2
Viru Keskus shopping center contains well-established brands such as Zara, Guess and Mango. in addition to clothing, the center has electronics and much more on offer.
Address: Viru väljak 4/6
Website: Viru Keskus
Prices in Tallinn
The prices are on the rise, but the holiday essentials such as accommodation as well as food and drinks in restaurants are below the average of the European Union.
Below, there are examples of restaurant and hotel room prices in Tallinn. Hotel room prices refer to median prices at Booking.com.
Pizza in restaurant
33 cl local beer
3-4* hotel (April)
3-4* hotel (July)
Find your hotel in Tallinn from Booking.com Hotel Map Search
From the airport to the center
The airport is situated in Ülemiste, just 4 kilometers away from the center. If you’re feeling brisk, you could in fact walk to the center.
A taxi ride to the center takes 10 minutes and costs 10 euros. The cooperation partners of the airport, Tallink Takso, Tulika, Tulika Premium and Airport Taxi will pick you up from the taxi stop next to the airport entrance. Taxi drivers should always use a meter, and the fare to the Old Town should never exceed 15 euros. If your driver tries to cheat for more, always report to the corresponding taxi company. Against a receipt, they’ll refund the excess fare.
Public transport options include buses and trams. A ticket to both costs 2 euros. To the center, use the bus line 2 and the tram line 4. Public transport options take about 20 minutes to the center.
When to travel and weather
The ideal time to travel to Tallinn is during the summer months, from June to August. In that period, the weather is at its best; the highest temperatures and the least amount of days with rain.
Winter: It’s cold during the winter months, from December to February. In December, it’s rainy and slushy with average temperatures between -2 and 0°C. January and February are the coldest months; temperatures may drop to -10°C and lower, but average temperatures are about 5°C.
Spring: In March, there may still be snow on the ground with average temperatures slightly below 0°C. Daily highs exceed 0°C frequently. In April, daytime temperatures may rise to about 10°C. In May, temperatures may reach 20°C but remain at about 10°C on average.
Summer: Summer months are the best time to travel to Tallinn. Average temperatures are about 16-18°C, but daytime temperatures may reach 30°C.
Fall: In fall, the weather begins to cool down and the daily highs drop below 20°C. Fall is the rainiest time of the year in Tallinn. In October-November, temperatures drop to about 0°C.
Text & photos: Ville Ryynänen
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