Tallinn is not a mass tourism destination and it feels a bit more of an off-the-beaten-track capital to visit in Europe. But if you can do at least one day trip to Estonia you must visit Tallinn Old Town.
Tallinn has a modern vibe mixed with a rich combination of architecture, charming nooks, and intimate street-side cafes. It has beautifully restored Old Town and several medieval churches, cobbled streets, and merchants’ houses.
Getting from Helsinki to Tallinn by ferry
Tallinn is right on the Baltic Sea, located 80 km from Helsinki and connected by frequent ferry service which makes it a great occasion for a one day trip. Our experience was organized by Visit Tallinn in collaboration with Tallink Silja which operates in Finland, Sweden, Estonia, and Latvia. For the first time, we had the chance to travel in a Business Lounge, and we believe our trip couldn’t be comfier!
The lounge offers breakfast, lunch or dinner buffet & drinks, high-speed wifi, cozy sofas and the best views over the baltic sea. There is even a meeting room.
*As you will be crossing the border, we recommend that you bring your ID or passport. Most ferry services require you to be at the terminal around one hour before departure. The ferry ride takes approximately 2 hours.
Once you arrive at the ferry port in Tallinn, a walk to the Old Town takes only 15 minutes.
What To See in a One Day Trip to Tallinn, Estonia
One day gives you enough time to experience some of the top things to do in Tallinn. Visit Tallinn provided us with a Tallinn Card, which gave us free access to public transport for one day and free entry to over 40 attractions and museums around the city. You can also get some discounts on tours, activities, shops, and restaurants.
Tallinn Card for 24 hours cost 26 Euro per adult. There are also deals for 48 and 72 hours if you’re staying longer. You can order your Tallinn Card online, or pick one up in their visitor center.
1. Visit the Town Hall Square
This is the heart of Old Town Tallinn! Here, you’ll find a beautiful cobbled square with colorful buildings, the medieval Town Hall and lots of restaurants to enjoy the Estonian cuisine.
Tallinn Town Hall is pretty unique as it’s the oldest one in the Baltic Region and Scandinavia, dating back to the 13th century. This Gothic building served as a meeting room for residents of the town council and criminals as it also functioned as a courthouse. In 1970 Town Hall became listed as a UNESCO world heritage building.
The entrance to The Town Hall and Tower without Tallinn Card cost 5 Euro. Make sure to check the opening hours and dates as it vairy through the year.
2. Climb the city walls and visit Kiek in de Kök
Climbing the city walls is a must-do when in Tallinn! This Estonian city was originally built for protection against the enemies and its first wall was built in 1265.
We climbed the wall that belongs to the Kiek in de Kök Museum which was the most powerful defense tower of medieval Tallinn and is the greatest defense tower of the Baltics! Inside, you can learn all about the city history in medieval times.
The Maiden’s Tower and Kiek in de Kök fortification museum is free with a Tallinn Card and 14 Euro’s per adult without. Opening times are 9-6 pm daily.
3. Toompea Hill Lookout
Toompea Hill overlooks Tallinn’s Old Town and surrounding districts and it offers spectacular views from several points. Along the way, there are many historical buildings, churches, and embassies which makes it a pleasant and full of character walk. The most atmospheric way to Toompea Hill from the Old Town is through the sturdy Pikk Jalg gate tower.
Our favorite viewpoint was the Kohtuotsa Platform. You can also get there by a mini-train trolley or taxi which costs approx 5 Euros.
4. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is the biggest orthodox church in Tallinn. Built-in 1900, was meant to expose the Russian dominance over this Baltic region. It is worth a quick look inside as the interior is impressive.
It is open from 08:00 – 19:00 (Sun-Fri) and 08:00 – 20:00 (Sat). The admission to the cathedral is free.
5. St. Catherine’s Passage
St. Catherine’s Passage is a picturesque and unique walkway in the Old Town that connects Vene and Müürivahe streets. It’s a place where you can buy handmade ceramics, jewelry or hand-painted silk. There are also a few cafés along the way where you can sit and gave a cafe in the medieval ambiance.
6.Visit Telliskivi Creative City
Telliskivi Creative City is an industrial area transformed into a creative space for entrepreneurs. You can find here restaurants inside train wagons, amazing murals, unusual architecture, home decor stores, and some tasty food.
7. Grabe some food at Balti Jaama Turg
Balti Jaama Turg is a famous market located next to the train station. On the top floor, you’ll find souvenirs, antiques, and clothes, in the basement, restaurants and grocery market, and on the main floor many restaurants. We had some delicious falafel and salad at a very affordable price.
Once you are back from a day in Tallinn, here are some tips of What To Do in Helsinki.
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