Tallinn, Estonia did not remain on our bucket list very long, because as soon as we started seeing photos of this beautiful country, we quickly got flights to visit Estonia.
In Tallinn the medieval architecture will blow your mind, especially in the Old Town. The medieval towers, churches, cobblestone streets and ancient walls have been well preserved making it feel like you have taken a journey back in time.
Estonia has been ruled by Sweden, Denmark, and, of course, Russia over the last few hundred years. The combination of cultures and influence has led to the Old Town in Tallinn being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
Tallinn offers several panoramic viewpoints to give you a different perspective of the Old Town so you can enjoy it not only from the street level but also from above.
How long do I need to stay in Tallinn?
We recommend planing on 1 to 3 days to visit Tallinn. To be honest, you can see the city in a day but if you truly want to experience the city, enjoy its multiple coffee shops and get lost in its charming cobbled street, two or three days is better.
The city is small and you can see the main highlights in a day which is why we wrote how to spend 24 hours in Tallinn, even though we stayed two full days.
What to do in Tallinn Old Town Map:
The best things to do in Tallinn – Old Town:
Tallinn is a beautiful city with many things to do in the Old Town and surrounding areas. We have selected our favorite things to do in Tallinn in the Old Town to help you plan your next trip to Tallinn, Estonia in 24 hours. In this guide we will include the main historic buildings, the most Instagrammable spots in Tallinn, the best viewpoints and the best cafes in town.
1. Take a photo and stroll around the Old Town Square – Raekoja Plats
In the Raekoja Plats, also known as the Old Town Square, you will find the Tallinn Town Hall. During Christmas it is here where all the market stalls, rides and the seasonal Christmas tree is set up.
➳ Tip: To get a beautiful photo of the cobble streets and the Tallinn Town Hall as a backdrop go to Mundi Street.
2. Go up the Helleman Tower and walk along the Old Tallinn Wall
If you wander around the Old Town you will encounter many segments of the Old Tallinn Wall. There are only two places where you can actually go up and walk along the top of the wall. Our favorite is the Helleman Tower as you get a fantastic view of the city.
3. Walk across the St. Catherine’s Passage
In this path you will find ancient tombstones lining the walls. They are from the members of the Magistrate of Tallinn, the Brotherhood of Blackheads and others. It is one of the most beautiful and unique streets in the city. It is perfect for a quick photoshoot.
4. Take a photo of the Viru Gate
The Viru Gate is located in the east side of the Old Town. Here you will find two towers at the entrance to the old city.
5. Towers’ Square
Towers’ Square is located a the edge of the Old Town, with plenty of defensive towers across the park. It is fun to find the best viewpoint to capture as many towers in one photo as possible.
6. House of the Brotherhood of Black Heads
The House of the Brotherhood of Black Heads was once the local headquarters of the Black Heads, a guild for young single merchants. This Renaissance-style building is now famous for its brightly colored and highly intricate door.
7. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is Estonia’s main Russian Orthodox cathedral. It is located in the heart of Tallinn Old Town.
It was built during the period when the country was part of the Russian Empire by Mikhail Preobrazhensky in a typical Russian Revival style between 1894 and 1900.
The best viewpoints in Tallinn:
One of our favorite things about Tallinn is that it has several viewpoints around the city. The majority of them are open to the public around the clock and are free to visit. Here is a list of our favorite viewpoints in Tallinn.
1. Kohtuotsa Viewing Platform
It gives you a beautiful panorama view of the Old Town Tallinn. This viewpoint is in the upper side of the Old Town and a few minutes walk from Patkuli Viewing Platform.
2. Patkuli Viewing Platform:
This might be our favorite viewpoint in the city as it gives you a breathtaking view of the Old Town, the Old Wall and St. Olaf’s Church. This viewpoint is also accessible to the public for free at any time.
3. St Olaf’s Church Tower
This tower is a tough climb. You go up 60 meters and 258 steps. Once we made it to the top, were it can be difficult to enjoy the view in a tight space.
The views from the tower are of the port and the water as well as the old town. The entry fee to the tower is 3 Euros but it is free to visit the rest of the church. The tower is only open from April to October.
4. Hellemann Tower and Town Hall and St Mary’s Cathedral
Hellemann Tower and St Mary’s Cathedral provide beautiful views as well. But to be honest, our legs were done climbing stairs after visiting Olaf’s Church and having already visited several viewpoints in the city we choose to skip them.
6. Danish King’s Garden
The viewpoint from Danish King’s Garden is beautiful, although it is hard to get your photos to come out as good as the view looks in real life.
The view of amazing city vistas with the added benefit of being surrounded by a medieval town wall, three defensive towers, and a number of mysterious hollow-faced monk statues. Do not get too weirded out though, as otherwise you might miss the serene “breathe baby” graffiti, next to the platform.
There are also several hotels that have beautiful viewpoints from their rooms and rooftop bars such as the Radisson Blue Sky Hotel and the Swissotel Tallinn.
Our favorite cafes in Tallinn:
To be honest, our first encounter with food in Estonia was terrible, but it was our fault. We sat down at the first restaurant we saw in the Old Town Square, BIG mistake. We ended up spending 50 euros for two terrible entrees and one soda. The small bottle of diet coke was 8 euros alone. It sucks to find yourself in a tourist trap restaurant, but it happens to even the most seasoned travelers.
After that terrible experience we made sure to do our research and start digging for the best restaurants in Tallinn. One thing that surprised us is the difference in culture around inviting in potential clients. Do not mistake this for being unwelcome in restaurants, coffee shops and souvenirs store.
1. Chocolaterie: It is the cutest little quirky cafe in town. The food is so good that we had to go twice. The prices are a little higher but it is worth it. The Chocolaterie is located at the Masters’ Courtyard. Make sure to try the Salmon Cibbata, it is heaven!!
2. Café Komeet: The Café Komeet is on the 4th floor of the Solaris Shopping Centre. It has delicious and beautiful sweets, but our favorite treat is the panoramic views of Tallinn.
3. Maiasmokk Cafe: It is the oldest cafe in the city.It is the perfect place to grab coffee and a sweet pastry. The prices are nothing special, but the cafe does get very busy in the middle of the day, so act quick. The best time to visit is early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
4. Kohvieri: It is a cute little coffee shop with delicious macaroons.
5. Joe’s Ramen: It is not a coffee shop but they have the most delicious Ramen and Donburi. Combined with the high quality service and reasonable prices, it had to make our list.
What you need to know before planning a trip to Tallinn:
WiFi Connection: WiFi is easy to find everywhere in the Old City, especially in restaurants and coffee shops.
Emergency numbers: Dial 112 for fire, police and medical
Closest Airport: Tallinna Lennujaam
How to get from the Airport to the city center: You can either take the bus line 2 or hire a cab or Uber.
Bus Station: Tallinna Bussijaam
Language: Estonian, Russian and most know English as well
Power supply: 220-230v- Type F – European