Tallinn is...

  • ...the capital of Estonia, with over 500 000 Estonians living there. That's more than 1/3 of our population!

  • ...ranked as a global city and has been listed among the top 10 digital cities in the world.

  • ...surrounded by Lake Ülemiste, which was supposedly born out of Linda's tears after our mythological folk hero Kaleva died. Lake Ülemiste is also Tallinn's main water supply.

  • ...full of restaurants, bars and cafes with a selection for everyone. For a great dining experience, check out the Visit Tallinn Eat & Drink section.

  • ...on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list with its Medieval Old Town. It is one of the best preserved Hanseatic town centres in the world and definitely worth to check out.

  • ...as much modern as it is historic. Tallinn combines its modern and fast-paced city centre with relaxing cobblestone streets and beautiful architecture.

 

Shopping in Tallinn

In Tallinn, the folk traditions exist alongside the contemporary.

You can find some of the most amazing art pieces exclusively made with traditional skills. The most unique Estonian souvenirs are traditional Estonian handicrafts.

Most of Estonian design can be seen in small galleries, design boutiques and fashion stores. You will find many unique, handcrafted pieces from some of the most imaginative designers in Estonia. There is something for everyone and ceramic, textile and fashion, wood and furniture, jewellers and handicraft.

Great news for those itching to spend: Tallinn is a consumer-friendly city! Most shops in the Old Town and department stores throughout the city are open seven days a week, and major credit cards are widely accepted. 

 

Favourite gifts and souvenirs from Estonia

Difficult to decide which gifts to buy to your friends and family? Handicraft items such as hand-knitted woollen sweaters with traditional Estonian folk patterns, fun felt hats, juniper coasters and limestone candle holders are always a good choice.

You should also consider following ideas as gifts:

  • Original art such as graphic prints, handmade jewellery, colourful glassware or fine ceramics.
  • CDs of Estonian composers of international acclaim (Tormis, Pärt, Tubin, Tüür).
  • Soviet-era trinkets, sold in antique shops.
  • Dark, bittersweet Estonian chocolate and other local sweets produced by the Kalev confectionery.
  • Hand-painted marzipan

 

Tallinn Top 22: Must See Sights

In Tallinn for a limited time? Want to make sure you've hit all the main sights? Here's a list of places that you'll definitely want to put on your itinerary. 

We've included extended descriptions of each one to give you the necessary on-site background and to help you narrow down the list even further if needed. 

Most popular sights:

 

 

Kaarli Church on Toompea

Tallinn's grandest 19th-century church sets itself apart with its twin steeples, immense size and neo-Roman style.

It was built from 1862 to 1882 as a long overdue replacement for the original Kaarli Church, founded in 1670 on the order of Sweden's King Charles XI. Like many wooden structures located outside the city wall, the first Kaarli Church burned down during the Great Northern War in the early 1700s.

 

The Kaarli Church is home to the first Estonian fresco, “Come to Me,” painted in 1879 by famed Tallinn artist Johann Köler. It also boasts the country's largest churc

   
   

Kadriorg Art Museum

This grand, baroque palace built for Peter the Great in 1718-1725 now houses the Art Museum of Estonia's foreign collection. Designed by Italian architect Niccolo Michetti, the palace and surrounding manicured gardens are a humbling example of Tsarist extravagance.

In its current role as the Kadriorg Art Museum, it displays hundreds of 16th- to 20th-century paintings by Western and Russian artists, as well as prints, sculptures and other works.

Surrounding the Palace are several interesting palace side buildings. For example, the restored kitchen building houses a cosy art museum called the Mikkel Museum, and the humble summer cottage is the Peter I House Museum.

   
   

St Catherine's Passage

Easily the most picturesque of Old Town's lanes, this half-hidden walkway runs behind what used to be St. Catherine's Church. 

The passage is home to the St. Catherine's Guild, a collection of craft workshops where artists use traditional methods to create and sell glassware, hats, quilts, ceramics, jewellery, hand-painted silk and other wares. The workshops are housed in the small, 15th- to 17th-century rooms on the south side of the lane, and are set up in an open-studio fashion so visitors can watch the artists at work, be it glass-blowing, weaving or pottery making.

No other place in Tallinn combines creativity with a medieval atmosphere quite like it.

   
   

Old Town

Wisting cobblestone lanes and iron street lamps. Gothic spires and medieval markets. Cappuccino and Wi-Fi. This is the city's famous Old Town. 

If you're looking for that mix of historic ambience and cutting-edge culture that defines Tallinn, you'll find it here.

 

Built up from the 13th to 16th centuries, when Tallinn – or Reval as it was known then – was a thriving member of the Hanseatic trade league, this enclosed neighbourhood of colourful, gabled houses, half-hidden courtyards and grandiose churches is, quite rightly, the city's biggest tourist draw. And the fact that it's all neatly packaged within a mostly-intact city wall and dotted with guard towers gives it an extra dose of fairytale charm. It’s small, compact, and very easily explored on foot. 

 

For more info about what to see and do in Tallinn, check out: