Tallinn's pride and joy is its historic Old Town, an enchanting neighbourhood of centuries-old streets, houses, towers and squares that looks like it was torn right from the pages of a storybook. On the other hand, threaded through that same Old Town and its environs are cutting-edge restaurants, cafes and clubs that give Tallinn its energy and buzz.
In Tallinn for a limited time? Want to make sure you've hit all the main sights? The city's pride and joy is without a doubt its Medieval Old Town, but equally enchanting is the Kadriorg district, a throwback to the time when Estonia was ruled by the Russian Tsars. Here's a list of places that you'll definitely want to put on your itinerary.
Tallinn is a highly compact city, most of which can easily be explored on foot without the need for taxis or buses. Most of the best opportunities for sightseeing, cultural events, dining, shopping, and nightlife are conveniently massed in the city centre.
Whatever your agenda, whichever of the Tallinn's you need — the romantic, Medieval Tallinn or the trendy, high-tech one — the doors are open. Just take your pick and head on in! The Tallinn Card gives you free entry to 40 museums and other interesting attractions, one free sightseeing tour of your choice, free use of public transport and a variety of entertainment options.
Estonian cuisine is based on fresh and natural ingredients that vary according to the season. Whether you want to have a cosy dinner with your family or meeting your friends for some drinks in a modern lounge bar, there are countless choices — from medieval to modern, from traditional Estonian to exotic international. In summertime, tables and chairs are set up outside restaurants, and sitting at backyards or terraces is a great pastime and holiday activity in itself.
A romantic hideaway, a trendy hangout or just somewhere to get a decent cappuccino — whatever kind of cafe you're looking for, you can find it in Tallinn. But hungry travellers should also know that the line between “restaurant” and “cafe” in Estonia is somewhat blurred, with many cafes offering extensive food menus. Meals typically range from simple, meat-and-potatoes dishes to elaborate salads and pastas. If it's just dessert you're after, try one of the cafes that specializes in handmade chocolates.
In addition to being the best places to unwind during the evening, the city's bars and pubs also operate during the day, serving up reasonably priced dishes to the frugal masses. In local pubs, the menus tend toward schnitzels and potatoes, whereas international-style pubs will serve you everything from Tandoori chicken to an English breakfast. Look for a chalkboard menu advertising the päevapraad (daily lunch special), which is a good way to fill your belly without emptying your wallet.
In Tallinn, folk tradition exists alongside everything contemporary. You can find some of the most amazing art pieces exclusively made with traditional skills. Many shops and galleries offer a wide range to choose from, so everyone is sure to find something to their liking. The most unique Estonian souvenirs are traditional Estonian handicrafts: knitwear, linen, ceramics, leather, and wood, especially juniper wood. Most of Estonian design can be seen in small galleries, design boutiques and fashion stores. You will find many unique, handcrafted pieces from some of the most imaginative designers in Estonia, ranging from ceramic, textile and fashion, to wood, furniture, jewellers and handicraft.
Tallinn Airport (TLL)
The city's international airport, Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport, provides excellent facilities and a wide variety of services. Its convenient location — just 4 km from the city centre — means transport to most destinations takes surprisingly little time.
You can get to and from the airport with tram #4 or busses #2 and #15. You can pay the fare with both the Ühiskaart (Tallinn’s public transport card), or by tapping your contactless payment card against the card reader. In the latter case, a single ticket is €2.
Address: Lennart Meri Tallinna lennujaam, Tartu maantee 101, Tallinn
Phone: +372 605 8888
Ferries cross the Gulf of Finland between Tallinn and Helsinki several times a day, covering the distance in roughly 2 to 3 hours. From late spring to late autumn, high-speed vessels also operate on the route, reducing travel time to just 1.5 hours.
Ferries between Tallinn and Stockholm depart every evening, with the trip taking approximately 15 hours.
All St Peter Line's cruise ships make a Baltic Sea circuit twice per week and can be used for one-way overnight travel from Tallinn to St Petersburg. A return trip is possible by bus or train. In some cases, continuing cruise passengers can stay in St Petersburg visa-free.
The world's largest cruise agencies have included Tallinn in their itineraries — the city receives over 300 calls per season, making it the third busiest cruise destination in the Baltic Sea region.
Passenger terminals are located within walking distance of the medieval Old Town.
Phone: +372 631 8550
Estonia can be visited visa-free for up to 90 days by citizens of most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Israel, UAE and most countries in America. If you are unsure whether or not you need to apply for a visa, we recommend contacting the embassy or consulate in your country. International (non-Schengen) travellers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the Schengen zone. Citizens of Schengen countries can travel without a passport, but must have a valid ID with them during their stay.
International connections are provided by Lux Express and Ecolines. Regular routes connecting Tallinn with Riga, Vilnius and St Petersburg operate several times a day.
International and intercity buses arrive and depart via the Tallinn Central Bus Station (Tallinna Bussijaam).
Address: Tallinna Bussijaam, Lastekodu 46, Tallinn
Phone: +372 681 3408
Central Tallinn is very compact and easy to get around, and reaching farther out destinations is simple thanks to the city's network of buses, trolleybusses and trams.
The public transport network operates from 6 am to 11 pm (some lines until midnight). The ticket system works on a random-inspection basis, so you can board via any door and don't have to show anything to the driver. You must, however, have a validated ticket or you risk a €40 fine.
When planning no more than 3 journeys on public transport use the single journey tickets costing €2. This ticket is valid for 60 minutes, and you must re-scan it at each entry during your travel period. You can purchase the tickets by tapping your contactless payment card against the terminal.
If you plan more than 3 journeys on public transport, it is cheaper for you to get the plastic (non-registered) smart card. This smart card is easy to top up with money or travel cards and then to validate your e-ticket(s) at the start of each journey. One smart card can be used by different people (family members, colleagues, etc.).
Tallinn Card holders travel free on public transport. Validate your Tallinn Card by touching the orange card readers (at all entrances) at the start of each journey.
Taxis can be hailed on the street, ordered by phone or ordered via the Taxify app. They can also be found queued up at taxi stands in front of larger hotels and at some major intersections. You also can order a ride using Bolt, Forus and Uber apps.
Rates are not uniform — they are set by the taxi company or operator, and can vary widely. Each taxi's rates are posted on a yellow sticker on the car's right rear window. The cost usually consists of a base fare (starting fare) plus a per-kilometre fare. Above is an example of the typical fare range. If you want to avoid misunderstandings, you can ask the driver to approximate the cost of the trip in advance.
You can use the Omniva’s website to find the closest post office. Alternatively, you can visit the Tallinn Tourist Information Centre at Niguliste 2 to buy stamps or send postcards.
Address: Kaubamaja Omniva Postkontor, Gonsiori 2, Tallinn
Phone: +372 661 6616
Pharmacies are usually open from 10 am to 7 pm.
Two Südameapteek pharmacies stay open all night: one at Tõnismägi 5 (+372 644 2282) and the other one at Vikerlase 16 (+372 638 4338).
Pharmacies in shopping centres are usually open from 9 am to 9 pm.
Address: Südameapteek, Tõnismägi 5, Tallinn
Phone: +372 644 2282
Country code: +372
The electrical current is 220 volts AC, 50 Hz,
European-style plugs with two round pins are used.