Tallinn is a city that I’ve been dying to visit for a few years. What drew me to Tallinn was more than just the fairytale streets. I was excited to experience the entrepreneurial culture, and renowned culinary scene. Estonia is known for their booming tech scene and has become a quite popular stopover because of its idyllic seaside location and close proximity to Helsinki and St. Petersburg.
Where to Stay in Tallinn
Looking for a centrally located & stylish place to stay? Look no further than this cozy Airbnb located in an old spirits factory. This soulful apartment is beautifully designed and within walking distance to just about everything.
The Nordic Hotel Forum is located in downtown Tallinn within walking distance of Old Town, the harbor, and some great shopping. If you’re looking for a way to relax after a long day of exploring this hotel is also known for its fantastic pool and spa.
Things you must see in Tallinn
Tallinn’s most famous attraction is its well-preserved medieval Old Town. Tallinn is a port city which gets a lot of cruise ships passing through so Old Town does pack up with tourists during the day. The best times to visit are early in the morning or late afternoon. Midday is the perfect time to explore Kalamaja District or the Kadriorg Palace.
This is a spread out district known for its colorful houses and unique street art. The best way to get there is to route to a specific location such as Talli Design (a local design shop) or F-Hoone bar. Kalamaja is dotted with local fashion shops, craft beer, and unique street art. This is the ideal corner of town where you can stumble into any pub and be perfectly content with your choice.
A. Weizenbergi 37, 10127 Tallinn, Estonia
After seeing the scars of years of occupation in the form of countless whitewashed churches and barren castles on our Baltic trip I was surprised to come across an awe-inspiring, lavish, castle. Kadriorg Palace was built in 1718 by Peter the Great of Russia for his wife Catherine the Great. The interior of this palace is absolutely stunning down to the last detail with gardens to match. The grounds surrounding the palace are now a sprawling park, perfect for an afternoon stroll.
On the hunt for the perfect Instagram? This lookout has a breathtaking view of Tallinn’s famous Old Town, but it is very popular. The best time to visit this spot is early in the morning or around sunset.
Tallinn is a very well preserved medieval city which is very evident, especially so when you stumble upon the Old City Walls. I felt like I was running around Winterfell while exploring the watchtowers. When climbing around be sure to watch your step!
Toompea 8, 10142 Tallinn, Estonia
By far, the most impactful part of my trip to the Baltics was my visit to the Estonian Occupation Museum. Here you will go on a solo narrated journey through Estonia’s recent history from the crowded railroad cars transporting Estonians to hard labor camps through the dissolution of the Soviet Union. My number one thing I recommend to everyone going to this city is a visit to the Museum of Occupations and Freedom. It was one of the most impactful and thought-provoking places I’ve ever been to.
Masina 11, Tallinn 10144, Estonia
Liviko makes a variety of alcohols known throughout the world from Dewer’s and Grey Goose to lesser-known brands like the local Vana Tallinn. Liviko’s tour packages include a factory visit, tasting, and cocktail training at the Liviko Beverage Academy.
Where to Eat & Drink in Tallinn
Rataskaevu 16, 10123 Tallinn, Estonia
Rataskaevu 16 is so popular that they opened a second location across the street to keep up with demand. When dining here you will sample the most amazing bread I’ve ever eaten, also known as, a cloud of gluten-filled happiness. Be sure to make a reservation because I’m convinced people come to Tallinn simply to converse with the amazing waitstaff at Rataskaevu 16. From the selection of Estonian Cheeses to the Braised Elk Roast I was consistently impressed with everything on Rataskaevu 16’s menu.
Manna La Roosa
Vana-Viru 15, 10111 Tallinn, Estonia
While we came to Manna La Roosa for dinner we could immediately tell that this gem is not only known for their food. The drink menu is wonderfully creative and compliments the eclectic decor. Whether you are looking for a memorable dinner or a night on the town, look no further.
Uus 31, 10111 Tallinn, Estonia
One of the most charming restaurants in town located in a romantic walled garden is none other than Leib. Leib has a rotating seasonal menu filled with modern takes on traditional Estonian cuisine including beetroot tartar and borsch. Weather permitting you can enjoy your meal on the patio.
Vana turg 1, 10146 Tallinn, Estonia
I felt like I was transported to a medieval celebratory feast of our arrival in Tallinn. The entire place appeared to be lit up solely by candles and the decor looks straight out of a storybook. The waiters flawlessly act their part truly making you feel as though you stepped into Westeros back in time. Because we were in the feasting spirit we ordered two massive bowls of Thick Meat Soup and the Reval’s Beef and Liver Paté Tasting Plate. Naturally, we finished it all.
Müürivahe 20, 10140 Tallinn, Estonia
We stumbled into Must Puudel while dodging the rain and looking for a refreshing cup of tea. The fresh mint tea was fantastic and the atmosphere brought us back for breakfast. Must Puudel is known for their bruschettas and is a great spot for a quick bite or a lazy afternoon filled with good beer.
Pärnu maantee 76, 10131 Tallinn, Estonia
Grenka Cafe is a local favorite known for their delectable brunch complete with pancakes and grenkas (loaded toasts). Grenka prides themselves on cooking simple, honest food throughout the day.
Sauna 8, 10140 Tallinn, Estonia
If you have a dirty sense of humor like I do, you will truly appreciate the cocktail menu at Sigmund Freud Bar. On the other hand, if you are easily offended, it may be better to simply ask for the bartender's recommendation. I had the Boobs & Clooney and it was a fun twist on a whiskey sour.
Telliskivi 60a-5, 10412 Tallinn, Estonia
Pudel is Estonia’s first gourmet beer bar with a wide selection of craft brews from around the world. The bartenders are very knowledgeable and happy to help find you the perfect brew. I was thrilled to discover the Bear Hug Stout which had hints of chocolate and orange peel.
Balti Jaam is a massive indoor market located in the Kalamaja district complete with floors of food vendors, local artists, and vintage shops. This is a great place to grab lunch or a midday snack.
Day trips from Tallinn
Helsinki is a short, scenic ferry ride from Tallinn. We took the Eckerö Line from Tallinn to Helsinki which took about 2 hours. You could hop on an early morning ferry and come back to Tallinn at night or spend a few days across the Baltic. The Finnish have a love of saunas and beautiful parks which makes Helsinki the perfect place to relax.
Technically off-limits, but to those of you who like a good adventure, Rummu prison was the one place I regret not visiting while in Tallinn due to time constraints. Rummu is an abandoned Soviet Prison which is in the middle of a quay known for attracting swimmers. It’s an hour and a half train ride outside of Tallinn, and honestly, this is one for the bucket list!
How to get around Tallinn
Tallinn is a very walkable city, and in my opinion, the best way to get to know a place is by exploring on foot. Sarah and I stumbled upon many hidden gems whilst wandering through these historic streets.
Given Tallinn’s coastal location the weather can easily switch from a beautiful sunny day to stormy seaside town in no time which had me reaching for my Uber app more than once. Uber is not as popular here as in other countries, so it may take an extra few minutes to get a ride.
Tallinn has a great public transit network that is easy to navigate, clean, and reliable. The trams in Tallinn are easy to hop on and off, just be sure to have cash for your ticket which you can purchase from the driver or download the app.
Tallinn is a vibrant city with a welcoming blend of old and new. I found myself constantly wanting to sit at cafes and pubs and just act like a local because this city is so wonderfully inviting. As with Vilnius and Riga, I am in awe of the history in this place and the strength of its people. I believe we must all understand the past to shape a better future so I encourage you to take the opportunity to learn about Estonia’s history on your next trip here. I wish we had spent more time in Tallinn, but I know I’ll be back because in this wild and connected world it’s so easy to hop on a plane.
Disclaimer: My trip to Tallinn was sponsored by Visit Estonia in return for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own and are not influenced by Visit Estonia or their affiliates in anyway.