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Tallinn Travel Guide (new for 2023)

Getting around

From the airport:
Buses 2 and 15 go to the centre of the city.
There are long distance buses (numbers above 73) that also follow this route, but you can’t use Tallinn Cards on these.
If staying at Swissotel (see below) get off at stop Tornimae, and walk back 100m crossing the road.

You can pay on a bus or tram by tapping a contactless bank card against the validator, but you must use the one at the front of the bus, as the others don’t accept bank cards. It works like London, in that there is a daily cap, so all your day’s tickets will appear as a single transaction the next day. You can also use one card to buy several people’s tickets at once.

From the ferry ports:
Bus 66 goes from Terminal D (for Tallink/Silja Line ferries). Come out of the terminal building and bear right past the pushy taxi drivers to the covered bus stop area. Don’t cross the main road. You’ll find bus stop Reisisadama Terminal-D 66 (the bus numbers are haphazardly stuck on the top of the sign!). This bus goes to Balti Jaam [Baltic Station] where you can change onto other lines.
Alternatively get bus 20 to Viru which is in the centre of town. 
From Terminal A (for Viking Line ferries), the only bus is IKEA Bus 200. Again you would need to change at Balti Jaam.
If you are travelling back to catch a ferry at a certain time, you may just have to bite the bullet and fork out for a taxi. The drivers will know the right back roads to use to avoid the constant traffic jams.

While roadworks are disrupting the city centre until 2025 for the construction of a new tram line, you will find that it is quickest to walk in most of the modern city. If in doubt, get a bus or tram to Balti Jaam or Viru and change there.

The Tallinn Card costs between €40 for one day, up to €72 for three, and gives free public transport (again tap at the front validator only) and access to 50 museums (marked with a * below)
You can buy it online, in person, or as an app. 

Tallinn is in three main parts:
1) the Old Old Town, on a hill to the south-west, with both the Lutheran and Orthodox cathedrals, and the narrowest streets
2) the Old Town, in the centre, with historic buildings and the majority of museums and restaurants
3) the modern city, to the east, with shopping centres, modern hotels, and the maritime museum and ferry terminals to the north

The Tourist Information Centre is at Niguliste 2, in the Old Town, near St Nicholas’ Church

Omniva is the brand name for the Estonian Post Office, and the main one in town is hidden in a shopping arcade underneath the Kaubamaja shopping mall. Do a map search for Omniva Gonsiori 2. Between Laikmaa Street and Kaubamaja Street, or taking the escalator down to the ground floor from the mall. The post office is open from Monday to Friday from 10 am to 7 pm and on Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm. The post office is closed on Sundays.

Where to stay:

Swissotel, Tornimae 3
This is a high quality business and leisure hotel with excellent facilities. Rooms have great views, air-con, a fridge, and plenty of storage. On the top floor are the Horizont restaurant and executive lounge. Swissotel is part of the Accor group, so get Accor Live Limitless membership before you book, for a guaranteed discount, and get points towards future stays.
If you need to pop out for supplies, there is a Rimi supermarket just across the main road.

Museums and Galleries:

To get to Kadriorg Park, take buses 31, 42 or 67 to Kumu, on the south side of the park, or bus stop J. Poska on the north side, with buses 1 and 5 or trams 1 and 3 stopping there. In the park are the following galleries:

Kumu Art Museum * (as featured in TENET)
House of Peter the Great *
Kadriorg Art Museum *
Mikkel Museum of Art *
Children’s Museum *

The Harbour District is being developed and there are two good attractions to visit there:

Kai Art Centre *
in the Noblessner harbor complex 
bus 73 from Viru in the centre to bus stop Noblessneri
(including Lore Bistro, see below)

Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour *
Located in a historic seaplane hangar, the exhibition includes a submarine from mid-1930s, seaplane Short 184, a 100-year-old ice-breaker, and much more. 
There is a bank of lockers behind the cash desk that no one knows about. The café is usually too busy to get a seat.
bus 73 from Viru in the centre to bus stop Lennusadam, or it’s a nice walk along the seafront

Fotografiska *
A photographic art centre with exhibitions and a café, and photography gift shop
behind Balti Jaam station, in an arts complex with cafes and shops

In the Old Old Town:

St Mary’s Cathedral * (aka Toomkirik)
Lutheran cathedral, oldest church in Tallinn
open Tue – Sun 10am – 4pm

Aleksander Nevski Cathedral
Eastern Orthodox cathedral with Russian styling
open daily 8am – 6pm 

The oldest part of the city has viewing platforms all around the hill, especially at Patkuli looking north, Kohtuotsa looking east, and from the Bishop’s Garden looking southwest.

Down in the Old Town:

Estonian History Museum, Great Guildhall *
Pikk 17
With a great hall, temporary exhibitions, and national treasures, this building on the main shopping street is worth an hour or two of your time.
Wed-Sun 10am to 6pm

Fat Margaret *
Pikk 70
An impressive medieval tower which includes an exhibition of a 700 year old medieval shipwreck, and lots of ship models. It has a rooftop café and good shop. 
Mon-Sun 10am to 7pm

Niguliste Museum (was St Nicholas’ Church) *
Harju Street
With a glass lift taking you to the top of the building, this former church has a permanent exhibition of medieval ecclesiastical art, including the famous Rode's Altarpiece and Notke's "Danse Macabre".
Tue – Sun 10am to 6pm

Ones to try next time:

Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom *
Toompea 8b
The exhibition consists of five parts: crimes against humanity, Estonians in the free world, life in Soviet Estonia, the restoration of independence, and freedom. 
Wed–Sun 11am–6pm

ETDM (Applied Art and Design) *
Lai 17
Wed-Sun 11-18

Museum of Estonian Architecture *
Ahtri 2
Tue – Sun 11am – 6pm

Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia – closed until April 2024
Kursi 5


Town Hall & Tower *
The oldest surviving town hall in Northern Europe, the building goes back to the 13th century.
Excellent exhibitions and an attic with medieval artefacts and a view of the roof construction.
Daily 11am to 6pm
You can also climb the Tower from June to September.

City Wall & Helleman Tower *
Müürivahe tn 48
The 200-metre-long old defence wall connects Hellemann Tower with Munkadetagune Tower. Climbing up the steep stairs, you will arrive at the attic, which opens up as a viewing platform, so is definitely worth taking a walk along the defensive walls.
11am to 5pm

Town Wall & Nunna, Sauna and Kuldjala Towers *
Väike-Kloostri tn 1
The oldest sections of Tallinn's city wall were built in the 13th century. You can walk on a small section of the wall that connects the Nunne, Sauna and Kuldjala towers. The wall has a wonderful view of the Old Town and Toompea.
Fri-Wed 11am to 6pm

Kiek in de Kök Fortifications Museum *
Toompea Hill near the Vabaduse väljak at Komandandi tee 2
Tue-Sun 11am to 6pm

Church of the Holy Spirit *
Pühavaimu tn 2
Built in the 14th century with timber interior and a hexagonal tower, the bright white Church of the Holy Spirit is one of the oldest in Tallinn, and is on the main shopping area. It has an ornate clock outside, but little of interest within 
open 10am – 6pm

St Olav’s Church *
Lai tn 50
open 10am – 6pm
winding stairs and a windy outdoor viewing platform (no lift)

Freedom Square
Vabaduse väljak
Dominated by a Victory Column (2009) commemorating the Estonian War of Independence 1918–1920, this windswept plaza in the old town is used for concerts.

Eating Out:

Lore Bistroo, Peetri 12
in the Kai Art Centre at the Harbour
Holder of a Michelin Bib Gourmand for outstanding value, Lore offers Estonian comfort food but with a cool, contemporary twist


Viru Keskus mall
In the centre of the modern city

Kaubamaja mall
Also in the city centre

Solaris Design Mall
In the centre, near the Concert Hall

Balti Jaama Turg
To the North of the station, and very handy for the Old Old Town, is this giant barn-like centre.
It has artisan shops and cafes, a large market upstairs, a food hall, and is ideal for picking up anything from vintage clothes to a cheap suitcase to take all your purchases home!
We especially recommend the Estonian chocolate brand Kalev, which has a large shop here, and for lunch, very friendly service from Paul at the Cape Town Café, with homemade pies and lots of South African specialites.

Ulemiste Mall
A large shopping mall, but with no trams currently running, you need to get buses 2, 7 or 15 from the city centre (30 minutes)
Or get train from Balti Jaam (12 minutes), though you have to pay for this with contactless (not on Tallinn Card) and you will get checked
Where to eat: Lido Latvian restaurant (Latvian), Pirogoff pierogi dumpling bar, Vapiano

T1 Mall of Tallinn
It’s 5 minutes walk from Ulemiste under the railway line to T1, though you need to head round to the right to find a side entrance
This has the rooftop SkyWheel * with excellent views of the city
The Tallinn Card gives you 50% off between noon and 4pm
Trams 2 and 4 (from the north entrance) take you back to the city
Where to eat: Pelm Slavic & Uzbek Kitchen, serving pelmeni dumplings and steaks

Out of town trips:

Teletorn *
170 metres tall, this is Northern Europe’s highest viewing platform, in a tower reaching up to 314 metres
There is a Botanic Garden nearby
Buses 34, 38 and 39 from Viru stop at Teletorn

Maarjamae Memorial
It was erected in dedication to those who had fallen defending the Soviet Union. At its centre stands a 35-metre obelisk, surrounded by the graves of the crews of the Avtroil and Spartak minesweepers, and a bronze sculpture of a flock of birds.
Buses 1, 5 and 8 from Viru stops at Mälestusvälja for the memorial and palace

Maarjamae Palace
A history discovery centre in a summer residence built in 1873
Wed – Sun 10am – 6pm


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