48 hours in Tallinn
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
To be honest before visiting Estonia my main aim was to check off another country in my list. I didn’t have a lot of expectations from it other than knowing since its in Europe, I will love it in any case.
Being only 4.5 hours away from St petersburg, Russia and two hours ferry ride from Helienski, a day trip to Tallinn is something I would highly recommend. (Ferries cost as little as 25-35 euros.)
Estonia was the first country in the Baltics that I had visited. As soon as I landed on that cozy little, airport I fell in LOVE with it. So the airport had only 4 gates, but was well equipped with a free gym and play area for the kids! As I headed towards the buses and trams sign feeling bewildered as to which tram to get, I found an interactive map which showed me the route and buses to take for my hotel. Pretty awesome right?
The Tram tickets cost 2 Euros and can be purchased from the driver.
You can check the link below for more transport information:
Tallinn happens to be the Capital and largest city of Estonia. You’ll find it cheaper as compared to western european countries (thats the best part!) If you're staying in Tallinn, it is always better to find a hotel closer to the Old town since that is where most of the attractions are. I was staying right opposite the old town and was treated with beautiful views of the Viru Gate, thanks to Estoria Hotel. It is a lovely hotel with 93 rooms, each based on a different story of Estonia! What better way to get to know this lovely country!
I was in Tallinn for 48 hours so let me list down the places you need to visit!
The Old town:
The old town tallinn also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once you enter the Old town you’ll feel you're walking in the medieval era! The cobbled stone streets, the well preserved medieval cathedrals and churches, the old buildings and those lovely colourful restaurants at every corner. I fell in love with it! Walk, explore, stroll down the narrow alleys, you’ll find the cutest hidden gems everywhere!
The old town is divided into the lower Town, All-Llin, and upper town, Toompea Hill.
Important tip: To REALLY get the feel of the city, go before the place is swarmed with tourists.
2) Viru Gate:
To enter the old town, I walked through the majestic Viru Gate! There are gorgeous little flower shops lined on the left side and they make a very picturesque view. You will see plenty of tourists taking photos with the beautiful flowers. As for me, I wanted to get the flowers and Viru gate in the same shot, check out the photos below!
3) St Olaf’s Cathedral:
ST loaf’s happens to be one of the tallest buildings and the city’s biggest medieval structure. It is usually free, unless you want to go up its 258 steps to check the beautiful panoramic views of the city and toompea hill! entrance fee of 3 EUR. Sadly I had decided to skip it. It opens up at 10 am so it is advisable to get there early to avoid the crowds at the staircase.
4) St Catherine’s Passage
As a tourist you must visit St Catherine’s Passage! Its a small, quaint alley which connects the streets of Vene and Müürivahe. Here you’ll find the most interesting artisan workshops and craft souvenier shops, along with some best Italian restaurants! If you have some spare time, do stop by to feel the ambience of the place! It is known as a secret passageway but is actually really crowded, therefore go as early as possible. If you enter the old town through the Viru gate, turn right, walk past some shops on the left, you’ll reach the St Catherine’s passage right behind St Catherine’s church.
5) Pikk Street:
If you are a photographer, or generally love exploring around areas by foot, a street called Pikk was another gem I found. I just wanted to photograph the House of Brotherhood of Blackheads, but that entire street was filled with lovely colourful facades in the form of restaurants and cafes.
House of Brotherhood of Blackheads was actually formed by a group of young male merchants, ship owners and foreigners. It is interesting to know its history.
6) Toompea Hill:
Now this is known as the Upper town of Tallinn Old town. I followed the directions on the streets, made my way through quaint cobbled stone lanes, adorned with colourful flowers and charming little shops, and I entered what was known as the Toompea Hill, made out of solid limestone. Myth says, that it was built over the grave of the Estonian King, Kalev. However, it is actually the center of the Government of Estonia and the Riigikogu (parliament). You may want to visit the historical Toompea Castle as well, located here.
7) Alexander Nevsky Cathedral:
This is basically a colourful Russian Orthodox church built between 1894-1900 when Estonia was part of the Russian empire. This is probably the reason it stands out and fascinates every visitor here. Opening hours: 7:30 am-5:30pm
8) Kohtuotsa Viewing Platform:
Who doesn’t love panoramic views of cities? Once you reach the Toompea Hill, make sure you make your way to the famous Kohtuotsa Viewing Platform. They have put up signs everywhere so it is pretty easy to get there. To avoid the crowds and have it all by yourself, get there before 7 am the latest. It is a view worth it all! However, it is equally gorgeous at sunset as well!
9) Kadriog Palace and Park:
How can one not visit a palace while in Europe? This happens to be the grand Baroque palace of Tallinn, built for Catherine I of Russia by Peter the Great in Tallinn. Interesting fact is, Petrine Baroque, is a name given to a unique style of baroque architecture which was only favoured by Peter the Great (Ruled the Russian Empire from 1682-1725)! Imagine!
Tickets cost 6.50 euros. (I personally skipped the inside tour) It is a beautiful structure, and has some lovely gardens too. Once you're there, don't forget to stroll around the place, take photos of that mini canal in the park oh and visit the Kadriog Park. Theres a cute little cafe opposite it, don’t forget to indulge in a pastry or ice cream!
You can get here by taking the tram no. 1 which stops by right in front of the palace. Tickets bought from within the tram, by the driver, cost 2 euros per person. It is open from Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-6pm (8pm on Wednesdays).
10) III Dragons:
To experience a lovely lunch in an Estonoian medieval setting, do head over to the III Dragons. It is situated in the old court room of Tallinn’s town hall. Most of the food and drinks cost around 1-3 Euros.
11) Old town Hall Tallinn:
This had to be my favourite spot to just chill out, relax, and eat my heart out in Tallinn! Apart from offering tourists with some great photo opportunities, town Hall Square has been a market place and the centre of this old Hanseatic town since the Middle Ages. It became the centre of the Lower Town at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. It is surrounded with some lovely outdoor cafes, medieval festivals, open air concerts, and in the evenings you’ll find some great street performers here!
While I visited Tallinn in summers and it was absolutely perfect, It is highly recommended to visit it during the winter season as well and experience the magical Christmas market!