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Best things to do in Tallinn

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Estonia  /  Harju County  /  Tallinn

Top 15 things to do in Tallinn

1. Tallinn Old Town

Divided between a fortified upper portion and lively lower section, Tallinn Old Town, now a World Heritage Site, represents the historic heart of Estonia. Defended by imposing walls and 26 surviving watchtowers, the city is one of the best preserved in Europe. Wander the winding, cobbled streets surrounded by Hanseatic-style architecture and buildings dating from as far back as the 11th century. Climb up the steep steps to the castle-like upper town, where the city's elite once lived. You'll be rewarded with sweeping views of the city and the Gulf of Finland, accented by a multitude of church spires and towers. For the clearest panoramas, head to the viewing platforms around the edges of the walls.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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2. St. Olaf’s Church

Standing imposingly over Tallinn's old town, St. Olaf’s Church represents both the cultural epicenter of the city's Scandinavian population and the tallest medieval structure in the area. Solidly built during the 12th century and modified several times since, the church dwarfs many of the buildings around it with its 124 m (407 ft) tall tower and spire. Enter the structure and you'll find that although it lacks much of the ornate artwork found in Catholic and Orthodox churches, it still possesses vaulted ceilings, a large organ, and a decorative altar. You can make your way to the tower's observation deck, where you'll be rewarded with a sweeping view of both sections of the city, modern Tallinn's skyscrapers, and the Gulf of Finland. Check the church's website for information on worship and service times; it has an active congregation.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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3. Aleksander Nevski Katedraali

A symbol of Estonia's former Tsarist rulers, Aleksander Nevski Katedraali survived demolition and the state atheism of the Soviet Union and has since been restored to its turn-of-the-century glory. Visit the cathedral, finished in 1900, and seek out multiple cupolas built in classical onion-dome style. You can enter and explore the church's interior, complete with a series of mosaics, heavily decorated icons, stained-glass windows, and domed ceilings. Be sure to listen for the 11 huge bells hung in the cathedral towers, which you can hear ringing throughout much of Tallinn during the day.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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4. Toompea Hill

Home to medieval castle fortifications, a host of churches, and the seat of Estonia's parliament, Toompea Hill has represented the epicenter of power for Tallinn's rulers throughout history. You can make your way from the lower portion of the World Heritage-listed old town to the top of the hill via a long cobbled walkway. You'll pass by a ninth-century fortress that houses the seat of the national government, the Russian Orthodox cathedral, and the 124 m (407 ft) tall church of St. Olaf. For a basic tour of the upper town, follow the remains of the city's walls around their perimeter, stopping for photos at the viewing platforms along the way.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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5. Tallinna Raekoja Plats

Surrounded by shops, restaurants, historical buildings, and its namesake structure, Tallinna Raekoja Plats is one of the focal points for activity and culture in Tallinn. Dating to the early 15th century, the square features a number of Gothic-style architectural gems and streets that branch out from the center, leading to hidden courtyards, secluded gardens, and cobbled alleys. The town hall showcases arched doorways and a 64 m (210 ft) tall tower. You'll often find a great deal of activity in the square, ranging from performers to souvenir stalls; in fact, local legend has it that the world's first Christmas tree was raised here in 1441. Watch for the circular "compass" tile in the square, from where you can see Tallinn's spires rising above the tops of the surrounding buildings.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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6. Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour

Explore Estonia's maritime history at Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour, a museum that features a World War II-era submarine and many other ocean-related artifacts. Themed exhibits spread out over three floors tell of Estonia's strong relationship with the sea. Each floor pertains to a specific sector of maritime or naval history, focusing on the air, the sea, and beneath the sea. Seize the chance to see an icebreaker ship, a pre-World War II seaplane, and the recovered wreck of a 16th-century sailing ship. You can try your hand at piloting a plane, ship, or submarine yourself on one of the museum's simulators. Don't miss climbing aboard and seeing the inner workings of the Lembit, a submarine built in 1936 that served with the Soviet and then Estonian navies until 2011.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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7. Kadriorg Park

Home to a royal palace, Estonia's presidential residence, and a host of museums, Kadriorg Park serves as the primary green space for the greater Tallinn area. The park's network of paths and trails will take you through thick forest, past decorative ponds, and around lush garden plots. You'll find several art museums displaying works ranging from historical to contemporary. Visit the unassuming personal cottage of Peter the Great of Russia and the ornate 18th-century palace he built for his wife, Empress Catherine. Don't miss the angel-topped memorial to the Russalka, constructed to honor a Russian warship lost in 1893, which is one of many statues throughout the park.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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8. Tallinna Teletorn

Height characterizes Tallinna Teletorn, which features an observation deck and an opportunity to walk on its very edge. Visit the tower, which stands 314 m (1,030 ft) tall, and view its exhibits on television displays, Tallinn, and the country as a whole. Hop on the elevator to the tower's observation deck; at the top you'll be rewarded with panoramic views over the Gulf of Finland and Tallinn to the southwest. Digital overlays and multimedia stations allow you to see pictures of the area from years past or highlight certain features. If you're up for a thrill, try the "edge walk," where you can wander outside the observation area in a harness, or even rappel, dropping 175 m (574 ft) to the ground by rope.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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9. Room Escape Games

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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10. Kumu Art Museum

Packed with works both classic and contemporary, Kumu Art Museum serves as the prime repository for native Estonian artwork. Home to five floors of exhibits and galleries organized by time period, the museum documents Estonian art history from the 18th century to the present. You can explore the museum's exhibits, featuring artists like Ants Laikmaa, Oskar Kallis, and other national greats among the more than 60,000 works housed there. Take a guided tour, which you can book ahead of time, to gain more in-depth knowledge about the history of Estonian art, the history of the museum, or a certain exhibit in particular. Be sure to check the museum's website for frequent traveling exhibitions, temporary displays, and special events.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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11. Traveller Tours

There's more to Tallinn than meets the eye and it can be difficult to see beneath the surface if you don't know where to look. The Tallinn Traveller tours aim to get you deeper into the finer points of the Estonian life – all the while keeping you entertained.

The Old Town walking tours let you see the city the way the youth sees it. The alternative bike tours help you break free from the well-known sights and take you places you never expected to see and experience.

Here on our Facebook page we post about cool things about our town and country so that if you miss being here you can stay in touch and if you haven't yet travelled here you could stay motivated.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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12. Eesti Vabaõhumuuseum / Estonian Open Air Museum

Immerse yourself in the past at Eesti Vabaõhumuuseum / Estonian Open Air Museum, a life-size showcase of centuries of Estonian village life, architecture, and culture. Home to about 80 buildings dating as far back as 1699, the village offers the chance to see the structures in a traditional rural setting. Visit the museum and explore the 72 hectares (178 acres) of forested coastal landscape divided into different themed zones, each dedicated to showcasing one of the country's prominent regions and its architectural styles. You'll notice how large a role fishing and farming played in country life, as evidenced by the presence of mills and fish storehouses. Try your hand at cooking, embroidery, or a number of other handicrafts while you're at the museum; those with little ones will find plenty of kid-friendly activities and demonstrations as well. Afterward, kick back with some traditional Estonian cooking at the village tavern.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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13. Vabamu – The Museum of Occupations and Freedom

Vabamu – The Museum of Occupations and Freedom documents the country's tragic suffering and amazing resilience through a world war and five decades of communist rule. Visit the museum, dedicated to Estonia's unfortunate experiences between 1940 and 1991, and you'll see how the country ultimately survived its conquests by both the Nazis and the Soviets. Explore the numerous displays and exhibits memorializing the experience of the people of Estonia during those dark times. You'll find stark reminders of the repressive methods used by both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union to subdue Estonia and its residents. Don't miss the exhibits dealing with Estonia's independence from the USSR and little-known issues with the Russian Army afterward.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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14. Kadriorg Palace

Experience the full scope of royal grandeur at Kadriorg Palace. Built by Peter the Great as a summer residence for his wife Catherine I, the palace is a stunning example of Baroque architecture. Even though Catherine never used the palace, her initials are visible on some ornaments. Apart from housing the royal family, the palace was used as the residence of the Estonian president before it was largely neglected during the Soviet era. Now fully restored, it features impressive grounds, as well as a lavish interior that houses the Art Museum of Estonia's collection of foreign art. Learn about the palace's history and artwork during a guided tour. Elevators make the floors of the palace wheelchair-accessible; ramps can be provided upon request.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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15. Lahemaa rahvuspark, Vihasoo

Home to thick forests, bogs, and long stretches of coastal landscape, Lahemaa rahvuspark represents the largest of its kind in the country. Originally founded in 1971 as the Soviet Union's first national park, the reserve historically was an important fishing zone. Many boardwalks here allow you to explore the more than 72,520 hectares (179,201 acres) of forest and marine foliage, including areas of cliffs and rocky shorelines. Watch for some of the area's buildings from its military past, as well as baroque civilian country manors. You may even spot a few animal residents, including lynx, bears, and wolves.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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