Tallinn, Estonia: Day Trip Guide

August 13, 2017

I'm a sucker for good vegan restaurants, Eastern Europe and picture perfect old towns. I'm also sucker for travelling and after being stuck in Finland for most of the summer I decided it was a time to escape the land of a thousand lakes for a bit. Taking time off from work wasn't an option so I did what every Finn should do at least once a summer; I decided to head to Tallinn, Estonia for a day trip.

Planning a trip there? Keep reading to find out how I spent my day in Tallinn and what you shouldn't miss out!


How to get to Tallinn

There are multiple ferries departing Helsinki daily. Depending on which ferry you catch you're gonna have 4-10 hours to spend in Tallinn. If you're based in Helsinki I definitely recommend catching an early ferry to be able to spend as much time in Estonia as possible. The ferry ride will take two and half hours one way and the return tickets will cost around 20€. If you book your tickets early you can get them for just 5€ though! There are multiple ferry companies operating between Helsinki and Tallinn and the services they provide are pretty much the same so I recommend just going for the cheapest one.


What to do in Tallinn

Wander around the old town

If you're heading to Tallinn just for a day you definitely want to spend most of your time wandering around the old town. The medieval town is filled with beautiful architecture, historical locations, great restaurants and adorable little shops. The place is picture perfect and you're very likely to drive your non-photographer friends mad by stopping every few minutes for photos. As most of the good restaurants and attractions are located in the old town I spent my whole Tallinn trip in there.

Tallinn old town is located just ten minute walk away from the port and it's easy to spot in distance - just head to the direction oh church towers and historical looking buildings.


Climb the tower of Saint Olaf's Church

St Olaf's Church is the tallest building in the old town and offers some of the best views over the city. The church is free to visit but there's a very humble entrance fee to climb the tower. For 3€ (less for students and children) you get to climb up to the tower and get a bird eye view over the old town. The staircase is narrow, the steps are steep and you keep running to people on their way down but it's absolutely worth it!

Saint Olaf's Church is located in Lai 50.


Visit the Town Hall Square

Bubbly handicraft markets, town hall decorated with dragons, Estonia's oldest pharmacy... What else could you ask for? The Town Hall Square is the heart of the old town and always packed with people. It's been a market place since Middle Ages and one of those places that you just have to visit in Tallinn. If you're heading to Tallinn in December make sure to head here for the Christmas markets!

The Town Hall Square is located in Raekoja Plats 1


Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Fun fact: The Estonians have been claimed to be the least religious people in whole Europe. The majority of the Christians in Estonia are part of the Orthodox church so if you've never visited a Orthodox cathedral now is your chance. It's not the most impressive cathedral from the inside but the facade of the building is absolutely stunning.

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is located in Lossi Plats 10


Climb the Tallinn Town Wall

The Town Walls of Tallinn are one of the most well preserved ones in whole Europe and guess what? You get to climb it! It costs 5€ (less for students and children) to climb the town wall. The views don't compare to Saint Olaf's Church but the climb is worth it if you got spare time. If not, go and check the views over the city in Toompea Hill!


Prioritising is the key

There are so many things to do in Tallinn that you really have to prioritise what you wanna see. One or two days aren't enough to see everything. I went nuts and somehow managed to do the things above as well as two restaurant meals into my four hour visit to the city but you might just wanna take it slow and not run around the city like a crazy person like I did! There were also so many other activities I wish I had had time for, such as the Kadriorg Palace, Maritime Museum and Patarei Prison.

What to eat in Tallinn

The Vegan Food scene

Did I already mention that Estonia has an incredible vegan food scene? I'm the type traveller who cooks tomato pasta seven days in a row to avoid spending too much money on unnecessary stuff but not for a second did I regret spending my whole Tallinn budget on restaurants. If you're into vegan food make sure to check Vegan Restoran V and Vegan Inspiratsioon. The celery nuggets in Vegan Inspiratsioon are by far one of the best vegan dishes I've ever had in my life and the cakes in V are to die for


The cafe houses

Tallinn has an amazing coffee house culture. The old town is filled with adorable little cafes filled with cakes and sweet pastries and you're gonna be tempted to walk into every single one of them. If you're vegan I recommend heading to Vegan Restoran V for some cheesecake and home made ice tea but if you got no diet restriction you should check out Maiasmokk Cafe. It's one of the cutest coffee house I've ever seen in my life and one of the best in Tallinn.


Karu Talu Sokolaad - A vegan chocolate shop

If you thought my love for Estonia's vegan food scene only extended to restaurants you were wrong. How do you feel about handmade vegan chocolate chunks that costs less than the vegan chocolate bars they sell in Western Europe? Karu Talu Sokolaad is located in Voorimehe 4 and it will blow your mind. The lads running the shop are super helpful and happy to give you free samples to help you in decision making. I loved the mint and the snicker flavored ones!


Tips for visiting Tallinn

  • The boarding time to ferries will be approximately half an hour before the departure so make sure to be back in the ferry terminal on time!
  • Tallinn is known for its pickpockets so keep your stuff safe. I've never been robbed in there but I've heard stories of multiple people being less lucky.
  • One day is not enough. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely worth the hassle to go to Tallinn for a day but you're likely to regret not spending more time in there. There's so much to do, see and eat in the city that if you're not in a tight schedule I definitely recommend staying overnight in Tallinn! 

    


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22 kommenttia

  1. As a big coffee fan, your mere mention of the fact that this city has a coffee house culture has me curious right away! It is so pretty too - your photos perfectly encapsulate the vibe of this city. I love the beautiful architecture and the large squares!!

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    1. It's so beautiful in there! I don't drink coffee but as log as there's cake available I don't complain haha.

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  2. Tallin looks absolutely stunning! The little town is so picturesque and lively. Your photos from the trip came out amazing. Great job! Also, you mentioned one day is not enough. How many days would you recommend to see everything this town/village has to offer? two or three? Looking forward to hearing from you. - Mariella

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    1. I'd definitely recommend staying for two days to be able to see most of the main sights and to be able to enjoy of the food cause there are tons of great restaurants! There are also plenty of cool destinations around Tallinn so might wanna spare some days for them as well :) Cheers!

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  3. I love how picturesque these eastern European cities are with their pastel buildings and churches. It looks like you managed to squeeze a lot in to your 4 hour trip - you're lucky to be such a short distance from such a beautiful place! I'd love to visit but will maybe go for a whole weekend so that I can take it slow and make the most of that coffee culture!

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    1. I'm not sure if short distance is the right word considering it still takes around 5 hours one way to get there haha. But it's definitely worth it! I definitely gotta stay longer next time so I can really get to know the place without hussle.

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  4. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is stunning, especially the outside. That is really interesting that the Estonians are the least religious, we have something in common haha! So great to hear about the coffee culture too, I'd love to visit Tallinn

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    1. They got suprisingly many churches there considering that they aren't very religious haha! Hope you'll make it there one day!

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  5. Tallinn looks so charming with the colorful architecture and the traditional building style that you would find in Eastern countries. It's great that the city centre it's so close to the port. It doesn't seem to be a very big city as well, which is great if you go on a day trip. I am a foodie so all the suggestions you gave us are very appealing to me, especially the vegan chocolate shop that has such a cute terrace.

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    1. It's not big but there's so much to do just in the old town! I didn't even make it to the modern parts of the city on my trip :D Glad to hear you liked my restaurant suggestions, they were all great!

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  6. How cute is Tallinn! The buildings are so colourful and intricate! I love that about Europe, there's just so many gorgeous places to be. Imagine living there and being able to sit in the village square for coffee or a chat. Heaven!

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    1. That's exactly what I was thinking! Would love to live in Tallinn at some point in my life :)

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  7. I am 100% obsessed with these photos. Those rooftops and facades are so beautiful. On the list!!

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    1. Haha thanks! It should be on everyone's list ;)

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  8. Estonia looks like a beautiful place to visit- I love that you can get birds eye views of the city and it's gorgeous architecture at different places throughout the city. It's also really helpful to know that, if necessary, it can be a day trip from Helsinki!

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    1. We visited just two viewpoints but there are literally so many in the city! It's a super popular thing to do for both Finnish people and tourists that got some spare time :)

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  9. Sounds interesting! Thanks for this guide. I guess I can go on a extended weekend trip to Helsinki and spend a day in Tallinn. Thanks for the tip about booking the ferry ticket early!

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    1. That sounds like a perfect idea for me! In my humble opinion Tallinn is way more exciting than Helsinki so recommend spending more time in Estonia than Finland ;)

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  10. I visited Helsinki on a day trip from Tallinn so did it the opposite way around to you. I think the way you did it is better as Helsinki is impossible in a day! I agree that Saint Olaf's Church is good for a view of the city. The Vegan chocolate shop is perfect for Vegans!

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    1. Haha I think Tallinn is impossible in a day as well! You did it the cheaper way though as accommodation, food and well, genuinely everything is a lot cheaper in Estonia compared to Finland!

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  11. The architecture and colors would be wonderful to photograph! Wonderful tip to prioritize your time in Tallinn. I would need a plan to make sure I saw the things I wanted.

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    1. You really need to plan things when your time in a place is this limited! We had a crazy plan but there were still so many things I wish I had seen :(

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