Best Ideas on How to Spend Three Days in Tallinn?
A three-day city guide to Tallinn is all you need for your discoveries to the best of the Estonian capital
Day one: Tallinn’s Old Town and Kalamaja
About 200 authentic items are on display at the historical seaplane hangar: a submarine called Lembit, a century-old icebreaker Suur Tõll, a seaplane called Short 184, remains of the oldest ship found in Estonia, and much more. There is also cafe MARU and a museum shop.Globe-trotting in a submarine, having your picture taken in a navy uniform, an aquarium, simulators, throwing paper airplanes, a children’s corner with drawing tools, building blocks, an authentic sailboat, and an outdoor playground – programmes and materials meant for independent visits are playful and broaden the horizon of children and adults alike.
TOP three things to do in the Old Town
- Wander around the ancient cobblestone streets. In addition to the impressive medieval defense system, the area’s top sights include the only intact Gothic town hall in Northern Europe, the oldest continuously operating pharmacy in Europe (since 1422), numerous churches, viewing platforms and much more. You can just walk around aimlessly, sit in one of the many cute cafés and take in the fairy-tale-like surroundings, or go for a more structured approach and try to check these top sites off your to-see list:
Tallinna Raekoda & Raekoja Plats (Town Hall & Town Hall Square )
Raeapteek (Town Hall Pharmacy)
Katariina käik (St. Catherine’s Passage)
Niguliste Muuseum (St. Nicholas’ Church)
Oleviste kirik ja torn (St. Olav’s Church and Tower)
Holy Spirit Church
Kohtuotsa viewing platform
Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin (Dome Church)
St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
- Enjoy the views. Visit one of the numerous viewing platforms on Toompea hill, climb a Gothic church tower, or for a complete medieval immersion, visit some of the ancient defence towers – for example, at the Kiek in de Kök Fortifications Museum, you can not only walk on the town wall from one tower to another, but also explore the fascinating, hidden underground passages.
Patkuli & Kohtuotsa viewing platforms
Piiskopi viewing platform
Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin (Dome Church’s) Tower
Kiek in de Kök Fortifications Museum
Oleviste kirik ja torn (St. Olav’s Church and Tower)
Tallinna Raekoja torn (Town Hall Tower)
Tallinn Town Wall: Nunna, Sauna and Kuldjala towers
- Visit a museum. Tallinn’s Old Town is dotted with fascinating museums, such as the Tallinn City Museum, the Great Guild Hall of the Estonian History Museum, the Estonian Museum of Applied Arts and Design, and the KGB prison cells. If you are interested in recent history, go to the Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom on the edge of the Old Town.
How to get to the Old Town?
- From the airport: Tram number 4 and bus number 2 take you directly to the city centre, just a five-minute walk from the Old Town.
- From the port: The Old Town is located walking distance (15-20 minutes) from the main terminals.
TOP three things to do in Kalamaja:
- Take a stroll around the streets of Kalamaja to see the area’s trademark colorful wooden houses. Head to the streets of Valgevase, Kalju, Kungla, Köie, and Niine for the most charming examples. For a break, stop at one of the cafés dotted around the area or stop by the Balti Jaam railway market’s street food court.
- Enjoy a meal or do a bit of design shopping in the uber cool Telliskivi Creative City. In addition to a large choice of shops, restaurants and street food, Telliskivi is home to some of the trendiest event venues and galleries in town, including the Tallinn branch of the renowned Fotografiska, the Swedish Museum of Photography.
- Or stop by the Noblessner seafront quarter, the up-and-coming district on the other side of Kalamaja, which counts amongst its residents a restaurant with a Michelin-starred chef, a top-level local craft brewery, an art café, and a beloved Estonian-Norwegian home design brand.
How to get to Kalamaja?
- Kalamaja and the Telliskivi Creative City are located at a walking distance (15-30 min) from the Old Town, just across the tracks of the Balti Jaam railway station. You can also take trams number 1 or 2 from the city centre to the stop Telliskivi.
- For the Seaplane Harbour and the Noblessner seaside district, opt for bus number 73 (stop Lennusadam for the museum and Noblessneri for the district).
Day two: Kadriorg and Pirita
TOP three things to do in Kadriorg
- Do as the locals and enjoy the scenery at the Kadriorg park. In addition to a swan pond, fountains, canals and several different styles of gardens, the 300-year-old park hides many historic buildings. Among them is the 18th-century summer palace established by Peter the Great, now home to an art museum, and the Estonian presidential palace. If you wander a bit further, you will arrive at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds, home to the Estonian Song and Dance Celebration, which brings together up to 34,000 performers and 200,000 spectators every five years.
- Visit a museum. In addition to Kadriorg palace, the park is also home to the headquarters of the Art Museum of Estonia – KUMU – which serves both as a national gallery and a center for contemporary arts. The nearby Mikkel Museum displays an interesting array of foreign art and porcelain donated by a private collector, Johannes Mikkel.
- Discover the neighborhood around Kadriorg park. The surrounding streets are lined with ornate wooden villas – not surprising for an area that was once the first seaside resort of the Russian Empire. If you wish to get a sense of how people used to live in Kadriorg, stop by one of the area’s museums of Estonian writers: Anton Hansen-Tammsaare’s house from the 1930s or Eduard Vilde’s residence in an 1850s villa.
How to get to Kadriorg?
- Take tram number 1 or 3 from the city centre to the stop Kadriorg.