Tips for the perfect holiday in Tallinn

Compact, relaxing, medieval, modern, magical—this is how visitors describe Tallinn, Estonia’s capital city.

It is the perfect holiday destination, combining Middle Age architecture with modern convenience, plus delightful seasonal dining options and immersive cultural experiences.

While getting caught up in Tallinn’s charm is easy, take some time to explore beyond its borders. Minutes from the city, you’ll find lush forests, mystical bogs, and thousands of kilometers of untouched coastline.


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For history lovers and culture scouts

Old Town

Tallinn received its Lubeck city rights on May 15, 1248, making it 776 years old in May 2024.

Three people walking through the Tallinn Old Town streets

Photo by Rasmus Jurkatam

Unlike many other capital cities in Europe, Tallinn’s Old Town looks its age. Thanks to its exceptional preservation, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

Now you can meander along cobblestone streets and climb to the many lookout points to admire the red-tiled rooftops and church spires dotting the city’s skylines.

Admire Tallinn from one of the many lookout points

Photo source: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau (author: Rasmus Jurkatam)




The neighborhood of Kadriorg has a royal past — the highlight is Kadriorg Palace, built by Peter the Great for his wife Catherine in the early 18th century. The palace is now a museum in the heart of Kadriorg Park.

Kadriorg Palace now is a museum in the heart of Kadriorg Park

Photo by Ken Mürk

Nearby, you’ll find the KUMU Art Museum and numerous restaurants and cafes where you can stop for a coffee before heading to the seaside to enjoy a stroll along the Pirita promenade.

Estonian History Museum next to Pirita Promenade

Photo by Ken Mürk



Telliskivi & Noblessner

The Telliskivi area on the outskirts of Old Town is a prime example of the city’s penchant for repurposing former industrial sites as hip neighborhood hotspots.

The warehouses of Telliskivi have been transformed into creative event spaces, local design shops, and diverse restaurants.

The restaurant Peatus in the Tallinn Telliskivi area

Photo by Rasmus Jurkatam

On the other side of the Kalamaja neighborhood, you’ll find Noblessner, another example of industrial repurposing.

This former submarine factory is now home to Estonia’s only two-star MICHELIN restaurant, PROTO Invention Factory, and Iglupark’s chic seaside saunas.

In the Noblessner area, you will find Michelin-starred restaurant, the PROTO Invention factory and Iglupark saunas

Photo by Kaupo Kalda



Tartu 2024 — the European Capital of Culture

Tallinn may be the gateway to Estonia, but in 2024, it is also the gateway to Tartu!

Tartu is the European capital of culture in 2024

Photo source: Visit Tartu (author: Kiur Kaasik)

A two-hour train ride will take you to Estonia’s second city, home to one of the oldest universities in Northern and Eastern Europe, the University of Tartu.

To celebrate the city’s year as the European Capital of Culture, there will be over a thousand sustainable events held in Tartu and South Estonia.

Tartu Town Hall Square in summer

Photo by Riina Varol



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For foodies and flavor seekers

MICHELIN Guide restaurants

In 2022, the MICHELIN Guide came to Estonia, the first Baltic country included in the prestigious guide. Once you’re in Tallinn, you’ll see what drew the inspectors to Estonia.

Restaurant Tuljak - one of the 2023 Michelin-starred restaurants in Tallinn

Photo by Näljane Nelik

The city’s internationally recognized chefs have their own take on New Nordic cuisine, featuring traditional Estonian food preparation methods such as smoking, pickling, and fermenting to highlight locally harvested seasonal ingredients.



Countryside cuisine

It is said that Estonia is a small country with a big heart. When looking at the variety of Estonian regional cuisines, it might be more accurate to say it’s a small country with a large stomach!

Woman sitting on the windowsill at the Good Mood cafe in Saaremaa

Photo by Alina Birjuk

Tallinn is not the only place you’ll find delicious dining options. Venture south to try classic dishes from Setomaa, such as sõir, a fresh cheese seasoned with caraway seeds and served with jam.

A classic dish from Setomaa - sõir, a fresh cheese seasoned with caraway seeds and served with jam

Photo by Ken Oja

The Baltic coastline is also home to numerous seaside restaurants serving traditional fish dishes, such as freshly smoked fish or hearty fish soup.


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For nature nomads

Wild swimming in the city

Estonia may not be the first place that comes to mind when looking for a beach vacation, but with over 3,000 kilometers of coastline, there are plenty of spots to take a dip in the sea.

Windsurfers on Tallinn's beach during sunset time

Photo source: Unsplash

Pirita Beach is Tallinn’s largest beach. Even on the hottest summer days, you’ll be able to find a place to lay your blanket.

Close to the city center, you can swim at Stroomi or Pikakari Beach, while Kakumäe Beach is located on the outskirts of Tallinn.

Couple walking through Tallinn's coastline

Photo by Andri Peetso

Most beaches offer family-friendly facilities such as toilets, changing cabins, playgrounds, and, most importantly, ice cream stands!



Wild swimming in the… wild!

Swimming in Estonia goes far beyond the sandy coastal beaches.

Crystal clear Rummu Quarry water and the walls of the former Murru Prison

Photo by Linda Jekabsone

You can try swimming in the otherworldly blue waters of Rummu Quarry or take the plunge into the mystical waters of a bog — the tannins that stain the water dark brown are said to do wonders for the skin.

Enjoy a unique experience in Estonia - swim in bog

Photo by Romet Vaino

But if sand is still what draws you to the water, then you can head to the peaceful beaches of Vääna-Jõesuu or Laulasmaa, both less than an hour from Tallinn.



Camping in Estonia

Over half of Estonia is covered in forest, and camping is a favorite local pastime.

Explore camping possibilities in Estonia with the RMK application

Photo by Sander Rannakivi

Estonia’s digital prowess extends to the outdoors, too. The Estonian Forestry Ministry (RMK) manages hundreds of campsites around the country; you can view them on their digital app.


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For active travelers

Hiking trails for all

With some of the cleanest air in the world and one of the lowest population densities in Europe, a day outdoors is the best way to relax and experience a deep connection to the environment.

Sunrise in the bog lake

Photo by Sven Zacek

From long-distance hiking trails, such as the Baltic Coastal Trail and the Baltic Forest Trail, to short boardwalks designed for wheelchairs and strollers, Estonia has hiking trails for all ages and abilities.

The Baltic Forest Trail is a 2141 km long distance through Baltic states forests

Photo by Hans Markus Antson

You don’t even have to leave Tallinn to hike, as you’ll find trails on Paljassaare Peninsula and in Pääsküla Bog.




Tallinn makes a great base for biking holidays. Several outfitters rent bikes and gear, and then you can head out onto the open—and flat—road.

Campsites along the way make multi-day bikepacking trips in Estonia a breeze.

Explore Estonia with a bike

Photo by Peeter Järvelaid



Estonian golf courses

The first golf course in Estonia—and the first course in the Baltics—opened in 1993, and Estonian golf courses are considered one of European golf’s best-kept secrets!

Estonia's Rae Golf Club during sunset

Photo by Robert Lindström

There are seven world-class courses with designs integrating the country’s forests, rivers, and sandy coastal areas.

The season typically lasts from May to November, and all courses are within driving distance of Tallinn.


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For slow travelers

Sit back in a sauna

A trip to the sauna is the most “like a local” experience you can have when visiting Tallinn.

While it may not be as famous as Finnish sauna culture, Estonian sauna culture has deep roots. In fact, at last count, there were at least 100,000 saunas in Estonia.

Going to the sauna is the most _like a local_ experience you can have while you are in Tallinn

Photo by Kertin Vasser

The smoke sauna traditions of South Estonia have made it onto the UNESCO List of Intangible Heritage, and you’ll find saunas in hotels, spas, and even rental apartments.



Treat yourself at a spa

Looking for a relaxing weekend city break? Then, check out one of Tallinn’s six spa hotels. You’ll be able to soak in a jacuzzi, sit back in various saunas and steam baths, or swim in an indoor pool.

Two women enjoy jacuzzi in Tõrva Veemõnula water and sauna centre

Photo by Georg Svidlov

Most of these hotels have spa centers offering special treatments, such as couples massages and facials using locally made beauty products.

A couple enjoy a relaxing time at the Hedon SPA & HOTEL

Photo by Ken Oja



Unique accommodations outside of the city

Tallinn has the most accommodation options in Estonia, but outside the city, you’ll find some of the country’s most unique places to stay.

Maidla Nature Resort offers luxurious cabins for two, and its restaurant received a MICHELIN Green Star in 2023.

An unforgettable accommodation near Tallinn - the Nature Villa

Photo by Priidu Saart

Mirrored ÖÖD cabins are found in multiple picturesque locations around the countryside.

You can find mirrored ÖÖD cabins in multiple picturesque locations around Tallinn's countryside

Photo source: Visit Estonia

Or spend the night in a treehouse for a heightened perspective on nature and life.


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From meticulously maintained medieval architecture to sustainable accommodation options, Estonia’s timelessness is its uniqueness.

Whether your visit is a high-speed weekend city break or a week-long immersive adventure, you will discover something unexpected in Tallinn.

Visit Estonia. It’s about time.

The red rooftops of Tallinn's Old town

Photo by Kaupo Kalda


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Cover photo source: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau (author: Kadi-Liis Koppel)

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