Tallinn Travel Guide

Photo of Tallinn

Tallinn Overview

Estonias cosmopolitan capital Tallinn is one of northern Europes finest-preserved cities and a destination of mesmerising contrast attracting travellers from all walks of life. On one hand this is one of most beautiful medieval cities you are ever likely to come across, with a stunningly maintained OldTown of quaint cobblestone lanes, 14thC churches and an ancient fortress. Turn the corner and discover an avant-garde café culture of sun soaked terraces and bohemian hangouts lining the streets of contemporary shopping districts. Moreover, all of this comes without a mention of Tallinns growing popularity as a stag and hen party destination, when groups of eager visitors come to submerge themselves in the citys buzzing nightlife. Whichever way you look at it Tallinn is a captivating city and one that never fails to leave a lasting impression.

By day and night the OldTown is the centre of attention. Spend the day wandering the narrow streets for a glimpse of yesteryear, admiring the spectacular churches, timeless merchant homes and absorbing museums. As the day draws to a close the atmosphere seamlessly blends from a medieval marketplace to a modern day playground for those who like to entertain and be entertained. Take a pick of a myriad of bars, restaurants and nightclubs all snuggled effortlessly between the OldTown walls. In addition this is the location for many budget backpacker hostels and swanky boutique hotels. It is amazing to think that so much action can be squeezed into one area and the changing faces have to be seen to be appreciated.
Yet, Tallinn is not all about the OldTown. Take some time out to explore Toompea, the majestic city castle perched above the epicentre on a limestone ridge. Slightly further a field, yet within walking distance, the elegant village of Kadriorg with its baroque palace, noble mansions and serene park provides the perfect escape from the city. Further still few are aware of Tallinns close proximity to some wonderful coastal villages. Set aside an afternoon to stroll along the rivers and beaches of peaceful Pirita and Rocca al Mare.
Making it in to Tallinn is a simple matter with ferries, buses, trains and planes arriving from all corners of Europe. Jump on a ferry from Helsinki or arrive on a Baltic cruise, go overland to the likes of Riga, Minsk, Moscow and Stockholm, catch a cheap flight from the western end Europe or ride a rickety train to nearby local destinations. Tallinn is small yet action packed so you wont need to go far to find something to astonish and inspire.

Things to do in Tallinn

Tallinn Old Town - The colourful enclosed district of Tallinns medieval old town is by far the prime attraction of the city, progressively built up between the 13th to 16th centuries and today showcasing a blend of ancient Estonian heritage and contemporary culture. Wandering the cobblestone streets of the district brings visitors face to face with an exquisite array of architecture from the Danish Kings Garden to the Dominican Monastery to HellemannTower to the Masters Courtyard.

St Catherines Passage - The most elegant and atmospheric street in the Old Town is home to St Catherines Guild, a collection of working workshops where tourists can see firsthand the intricate trades of glass-blowers, weavers and pottery workers.
Tallinn Town Hall Square - The beating heart of the OldTown that originally served as a market and local meeting place. Today the square, encompassed by timeless traditional homes, is a place to soak up the history and atmosphere whilst sat in one of the many alfresco cafés. Seasonal events take place at the square, such as summer concerts, Christmas market and Medieval Carnival.
Toompea Castle - Founded in 1219 by the Danes, Tallinns city castle towers above the city and dominates the skyline from afar. From its early days until the 20thC Toompea was the home of all who ruled Estonia before becoming the HQ for parliament. From the OldTown, Pikk Jalg leads a windy path up to the castle.
Tallinn Churches - Catholic, Lutheran, Russian Orthodox and Jewish, Tallinn welcomes them all and is home to a wonderful collection of religious houses of worship. Of the many, Aleksander Nevsky Cathedral, with its classic onion domed structure is the most striking. Visitors with a keen interest in churches should also check out St Olavs Church & Tower, once the worlds tallest building, and the sparkling medieval Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin, founded in 1233. Also worth a look is the Tallinn Synagogue, the most modern of all the religious houses.
Rotermann Quarter - Tallinns contemporary centre and a glimpse of how city life might turn out in the coming years. Formerly a handful of rundown factories the area has been revamped to make way for a thriving commercial and entertainment centre, with fashionable shopping zones and a main square lined with restaurants and cafés.
Tallinn Museums - Tallinn is rammed with museums and galleries, covering local history, art, science and quirky local traditions. To see them all would be a superb achievement, however not to be missed are; Kadriorg Art Museum, a collection of 16th - 20thC paintings by Russian and Western artists housed in the magnificent Kadriorg Palace; the KUMU Art Museum, Estonias national gallery; Estonian Open Air Museum, a step back in time for a glimpse of how life was in 18thC rural Estonia; and the Dominican Monastery Museum, a wonderful array of medieval stonemasonry in the grounds of St Catherines Monastery.
Pirita - Pirita is a picturesque costal town just a short drive from the city where the residents of Tallinn like to spend their weekends, relaxing on the beach, wandering through the forest parks and taking leisurely boat rides along the Pirita River. Pirita is also home to Tallinn Botanical Garden, home to more than 4,500 varieties of flora, and the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds, the stage for the Olle Summer festival.
Tallinn Nightlife
Tallinns nightlife is legendary and the locals certainly know how to party with the best of them. The OldTown is the place to be, chock full with swanky lounges, sports bars, traditional taverns and cutting-edge nightclubs.
Tallinn Bars
Beer House - Boisterous German themed beer hall.
Deja Vu - Swanky cocktail bar and a place to be seen.
DM Bar - CharismaticOldTown boozer dedicated to Depeche Mode.
Hell Hunt - Long running locals joint serving good beers and cider.
Tallinn Clubs
Café Amigo - A tourist favourite, famed for its cheesy dance floor fillers.
Club Hollywood - Huge five floor club housed in an old cinema and pulling in a regular party crowd.
Terrarium - Young and energetic crowds fill the dance floor and outdoor terrace.

Hotels in Tallinn

Budget Hotels Tallinn

The Monks Bunk - Great hostel in the OldTown, set up by backpackers who liked Tallinn so much they never left. Tel (372) 656 1120.
Euphoria - Laidback hostel popular with artsy and bohemian travellers. Tel (372) 58 373 602.
Flying Kiwi Backpackers - Welcoming hostel close to the Town Hall Square with a 20 person capacity. Tel (372) 5821 3292.
Tallinn Backpackers - Great place to meet fellow travellers especially if you are here to party. Tel (372) 644 0298.
Midrange Hotels Tallinn
Old House Guesthouse - Six bedroom bed & breakfast with plenty of pleasant personal touches. Tel (372) 6411 464.
Hotel Dorrell - Large plain rooms but a good value midrange option in the OldTown. Tel (372) 6 664 334.
Merchants House Hotel - Superb boutique hotel close to Town Hall Square. Good online packages. Tel (372) 6977 500.
Luxury Hotels Tallinn
Schlossle - It may break the bank but the medieval charm of this 5-star hotel could well be worth it. Tel (372) 699 7700.
The Three Sisters - Stunning luxury hotel set in restored merchant houses and commanding a prime OldTown location. Tel (372) 630 6300.

Tallinn Weather

Tallinn Travel Resources



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