TRAVEL

  IMAGE: Kaupo Kalda

Tallinn:

A City for All Seasons

January 9, 2023

Photos of Tallinn always show a medieval walled city of ethereal spires and fairy-tale towers topped with conical red roofs—and so they should. It's a beautiful place, with a UNESCO-listed Old Town and a rich heritage formed from the mixing of native Estonian culture and the influences of all those who governed here in the past: Danes, Germans, Swedes and Russians.

 

But within these historic walls there also lies the beating heart of the Baltic Sea's own Silicon Valley. The Skype communication app was created here, and today, Tallinn is a major hub of information technology. It boasts a lively cultural scene, a contemporary vibe and a sustainable ethos, too. Add in its all-year-round appeal and it's easy to see why Estonia's capital is a favourite with business and leisure visitors alike. Luckily, if you want to join their ranks, it's easy to get here.

 

Travelling to Tallinn

 

Small, cosy Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport is just 5 km from the city centre, easily reachable in 20-25 minutes by frequent buses and trams. While it's not the greenest option, Tallinn Airport does have sustainability certifications and is working towards being carbon neutral by 2030. There are direct flights from over 40 destinations, including Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Helsinki, Istanbul, London, Oslo, Paris, Rome, Salzburg, Stockholm, Warsaw and Zurich. Airlines include Ryanair, easyJet, airBaltic and the national carrier Nordica.

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

For a greener option, choose the bus, train or ferry. Flixbus runs direct services to Tallinn from many eastern European cities, plus Prague and Berlin. From these destinations, other Flixbus services can take you to more westerly capitals such as Brussels. Ecolines also connects Tallinn with many cities in Europe, either directly or with just one change, and its network extends west to cities in the Netherlands and Germany. Lux Express services are more limited, but they can take you to a few major eastern European cities in Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Russia, plus Helsinki.

 

While direct international rail services to Tallinn from Moscow and St Petersburg have been paused due to the war in Ukraine, there are several other options available for travelling to and from Tallinn. By ferry, you can travel from Helsinki several times a day thanks to services from Eckerö Line, Tallink and Viking Line. There are also connections from Stockholm with Tallink, and St Petersburg with Moby St Peter Line. The Port, which is practically in the city centre, is a founding member of the Estonian Association for Environmental Management, a member of the European environmental protection organisation Ecoports and a supporter of the C40 World Ports Climate Declaration.

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Tallinn's Eco-Friendly Credentials

 

If you're planning a break or business event that's kinder to the planet, Tallinn will tick the box. From expanding its green spaces to creating ambitious climate action plans, it's a city where sustainability is taken seriously.

 

The Tallinn 2035 Development Strategy

 

Tallinn has a long-standing commitment to climate adaptation and sustainable measures, and in 2013 it became the first European capital to make public transport free for its citizens. To prepare for climate change, it's remodelled its streets and introduced new stormwater management systems. It's also Estonia's first (and currently, only) city to sign the Green City Accord, a commitment by European mayors to make their cities cleaner and healthier.

 

Unsurprisingly, then, its recently-adopted 2035 Development Strategy is wide in scope and bold in aim. Linked to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, it covers carbon neutrality, climate adaptation, innovation, health, mobility, biodiversity, circular economy, sustainable energy and food production.

 

Climate-neutral Tallinn: Tallinn Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan 2030

 

This Plan specifies the action plan for working towards:

 

  • the 2035 Development Strategy goals for achieving climate neutrality by 2050

  • the Covenant of Mayors commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.

 

The Plan is closely linked to the EU's 'A Clean Planet for All' vision. It covers the political, economic, technological, educational and administrative actions needed—by the private sector, residents, and the state—to reduce climate impact and adapt to climate change. EU European Green Deal funds will be used for projects such as developing climate-neutral public transport and mobility, improving the energy efficiency of buildings, developing green and blue infrastructure, implementing green technology, and environmental education.

 

European Green Capital

 

Tallinn is the only European capital to boast a bog, and protected green areas make up over a fifth of the city's footprint. The European Environment Agency rank it seventh for urban green space and eighth for urban tree cover. It's also praised the Garden of the Senses in Tallinn's Botanical Gardens: a space designed to attract and accommodate people with mental and physical disabilities.

 

This commitment to green space has won Tallinn the title of European Green Capital 2023. However, the city isn't resting on its laurels. It's determined to further increase its protected areas, biodiversity, and green space accessibility, and the Tallinn 2035 Development Strategy has set a target for at least 65% of Tallinn's land surface to be natural.

 

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Sustainable Transport

 

One of Tallinn's goals is to ensure that all citizens will be able to reach all necessary infrastructure within 15 minutes via soft transport by 2035.

 

At present, half of the trains run by government-run railway company Elron are environmentally friendly electric trains. Ambitious plans will see a new 870 km electrified railway, Rail Baltica, connect Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius and link them to the European high-speed rail network. The Tallinn section should be complete by 2026. Tallinn's terminus, due for completion by 2030, will be built to high sustainability standards at Ülemiste train station. The station will become a hub for national, international and local rail services, buses, trams and coaches, right next to the city's airport.

 

As for the city's buses and trams, all diesel buses will be retired by 2025, and all vehicles will be electric by 2035.

 

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

The Tallinn Bicycle Strategy 2018-2027

 

Tallinn is already very bike-friendly, providing:

 

  • smart bicycle racks with surveillance cameras, a multi-point electronic locking system and well-equipped self-service repair stations

  • self-service repair stations by some health trails

  • the Bikeep app, showing locations of repair stations, smart racks, public water taps and electric scooter stations.

 

However, the City wants to make cycling even more easy and popular. Its Bicycle Strategy aims to increase cycling and improve cycle paths. It also includes plans to increase bike parking and make the main cycle road network more accessible, bringing it closer to homes, public institutions and health trails.

 

Travelling around Tallinn

 

Want to get around the city easily while minimising your environmental impact? No problem.

 

Walk, Cycle or Scoot

 

Tallinn is a compact, walkable city; walking from the Old Town to Port Noblessner seafront takes just 20 minutes. It's also very bike friendly. You can rent road bikes, mountain bikes, tandem bikes, city bikes and children's bikes from City Bike, located in Old Town, and helmets and bike locks are included. A three-hour rental is free with a Tallinn Card. You can also rent bikes from 16 euro at Hostel Bike Rental, also in the Old Town.

 

For less strenuous transportation, hire an electric scooter, powered by 100% renewable energy, no less, via Bolt (which began life as a Tallinn start-up) or via Tuul. Both companies have an app to locate nearby scooters and manage rentals.

 

Use Public Transport

 

Tallinn and its surrounding districts are all easily reachable via a comprehensive network of buses, trolley buses and trams, which use the same ticketing system. Many of these vehicles are low entry for easy accessibility.

 

Trains are only the easiest form of transport when travelling to Nõmme, on the south-west edge of Tallinn, or to local towns and other Estonian cities. The Baltic Station (Balti jaam) is the central railway station, while Ülemiste station is close to the airport.

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Purchase a Tallinn Card: Your All-In-One Pass for Attractions and Transport

 

Like many other cities, Tallinn has an all-in-one pass card to help you get the most from your stay. The Tallinn Card offers:

 

  • free transport on Tallinn's buses (up to No 73), trolleys and trams

  • three hours' free bike rental with City Bike

  • free access to over 50 museums and attractions

  • discounts on numerous sightseeing tours, activities, shops and restaurants

  • skip the lines at top attractions such as the Tallinn Zoo

 

You can buy your 24, 28 or 72 hour Tallinn Card online or from one of its participating attractions or stores. The validity period begins the first time you use it. It's the perfect way to help save the environment while saving money.

 

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Your Sustainable Business Event in Tallinn

 

Why Host Your Event Here?

 

There are many reasons to book your sustainable event in Tallinn. Firstly, the city is well-equipped and experienced in hosting events, large and small, sustainably. It recently hosted the 30th anniversary conference of SEI Tallinn, an organisation working towards sustainable development in Estonia, the Baltic region and beyond. It also hosts the flagship Greentech event, which brings together public and private sector experts, cleantech companies and investors from all over Europe to discuss all things green!

 

The Visit Tallinn Convention Bureau, which is a non-profit organisation, offers free support to international associations and event planners. Staff can advise you on meeting venues, incentive ideas, hotels, transportation, pre- and post-conference tours, service providers and guidelines for organising a sustainable event in Tallinn. They can also direct you to reliable PCOs (Professional Congress Organisers), DMCs (Destination Management Companies) and EMCs (Event Management Companies).

 

Secondly, the compact nature of the city means that distances between venues and accommodation are short and usually walkable. This makes it easy for organisers to use a variety of hotels or venues simultaneously and practically eliminates the need for transfers. However, if public transport is required, the City offers free public transport to your delegates if you apply for it in advance.

 

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Tallinn has strongly focused on sustainable re-use of old areas and buildings, giving new life to neighbourhoods like Rotermanni, Telliskivi and Noblessner. These industrial areas stood neglected for decades but have now transformed into vibrant, versatile city districts with amazing architecture. They have become hubs of creativity, community and innovation, all in a relatively small area around the Old Town. They're great places to hold events or to spend time soaking up the atmosphere before or after your event.

 

Last but not least, it's a hub of technology, trade and enterprise, providing the ideal location for networking, demonstrations, and utilising local expertise and academia.

 

Technology

 

Tallinn is the home of the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (EU-LISA), and the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence of NATO. Tallinn's main specialisms are tech-based and include cybersecurity, robotics, smart fabrics, personalised medicine, electronic prescriptions, genetics studies and e-health.

 

Tehnopol, Tallinn's Science Park, is a research and business campus working to make Estonia's economy sustainable via tech. It offers companies premises, test solutions and business development experts to help them launch, grow, and expand to foreign markets. Its focus areas are smart city tech, green tech, health tech and knowledge-intensive technological solutions. Over 300 companies have graduated from the Tehnopol Startup Incubator programme.

 

Ülemiste City is a 36-hectare smart city next to Tallinn Airport, founded in 2005. It has the largest and fastest-growing business campus in the Baltic States, with nearly 500 businesses. Their total turnover is over 2 billion per year—making Ülemiste City Estonia's third most productive 'city' (behind Tallinn itself and Tartu).

 

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) campus, 7 km from the city centre, is where the world's first smart city centre of excellence is being developed. TalTech's focus is on smart and energy-efficient environments, dependable IT solutions, valorisation of natural resources, innovative businesses and future governance, health technologies, the smart maritime sector, and the sustainable marine environment. It promotes:

 

  • the development of Estonia's e-government and European Digital Single Market

  • scientific and innovative cooperation between universities and businesses.

 

Trade

 

Tallinn is Estonia's trading hotspot and planned improvement to rail links is likely to further strengthen its position. Estonia is a member of the World Trade Organisation, the European Union, the Schengen Area, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and the Development and the Digital 5 Cooperation Network (of which it was a founder).

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Enterprise

 

Estonia has one of the highest concentrations of start-ups per capita, partly because setting up a business here is so simple online (it takes around three hours). This is largely thanks to Estonia's e-Residency programme, which allows non-Estonians to form an EU-based company from anywhere in the world. In doing so, e-Residents have access to Estonia's transparent business environment and the all-important European markets. It's the first such programme of its kind in the world and is yet another example of how Estonia has geared itself towards the future, providing progressive services that meet the demands of today's businesses. Over half of Estonia's businesses are based in and around Tallinn, which generates over half the country's GDP. It attracts start-ups and international businesses alike.

 

The Tallinn Business Incubators Foundation has helped over 1000 companies develop since its launch in 2006, and 50 businesses participate in the Tallinn Creative Incubator programme every year, from tech start-ups to designers. There are also 100 Estonian designer brands represented in the city's Tallinn Design House, such as Reet Aus, a sustainable designer with a passion for upcycling.

 

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Where to Hold Your Sustainable Business Event

 

Most of Tallinn's Green Key certified hotels listed below under sustainable stays have spaces available for meetings and small or medium-sized events. Tallinn also has many venues suitable for events, from small rooms to international business hotels and huge venues.

 

For smaller events, consider the Club of Different Rooms, where rooms are furnished to feel like a cosy living-room. Expect sofas, screens and interactive tables! The stylish rooms, state-of-the-art technical solutions and personalised customer service are a winning combination for live or hybrid events. Telliskivi Creative City offers a variety of galleries, restaurants, smaller venues and theatres that are ideal for smaller events or for combining simultaneously for larger ones. Iglupark is also a unique place for small events and has meeting rooms to accommodate 10 guests, who can also enjoy a private sauna experience.

 

For large-scale events, many of the city's museums offer unique spaces and breakout activity opportunities.

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Tallinn also offers:

 

The Song Festival Grounds

 

This is one of the largest venues for outdoor and indoor events in Estonia, offering beautiful views towards Tallinn Bay. Indoors, it frequently hosts banquets, conferences, and exhibitions, while the outdoor area has proven ideal for international concerts. Every five years, the venue is home to the Estonian Song Festival, listed in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

 

Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel)

 

The former Tallinn City Central Power Station is now a unique venue for events, and one of the main conference venues when Estonia held the presidency of the Council of the EU in 2017.

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Seaplane Harbour

 

Accommodating one of Europe's largest maritime museums, the Harbour also offers:

 

  • the Hangar for large evening events (gala dinners for up to 700 guests, receptions for up to 1500)

  • the deck of the icebreaker Suur Tõll for receptions or open-air concerts for up to 100 guests

  • the Officers' Mess-Room on the Suur Tõll for dinner and events for up to 20 guests.

 

Two venues noted for their sustainability are:

 

Alexela Concert Hall

 

Alexela Concert Hall is Green Key certified and can be found next to the Solaris Centre, close to the Old Town. The hall's theatre-style configuration can seat up to 1,829 people, but seating can be removed to provide a larger open space with 717 seats. There are also nine additional cinema halls seating between 72 and 505, two lounges, and other open spaces ideal for exhibitions. With six bars, a café and bespoke catering services too, it's a truly versatile venue.

 

The Tallinn University Conference Centre

 

Located in central Tallinn, the centre offers 36 meeting rooms, accommodating 20 to 400 people. It also has a contactless studio--the BFM Television Studio—for virtual and hybrid events.

 

Break Out Programmes

 

There are plenty of more eco-friendly activities available in and around Tallinn. They include mushroom and berry picking trips, nature tours, bog walking, golfing, sailing trips, stand-up paddleboarding sessions, street art tours, marzipan-making, and visits to breweries, cider farms and vineyards.

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Sustainable Stays in Tallinn

 

Green Key Hotels

 

Hotels that have earned the Green Key sustainable certification include:

 

Radisson Blu Olümpia Hotel

 

Olümpia is centrally located, with 26 floors of comfortable rooms. There's a top-floor gym with sauna and pool, plus a café, restaurant, and bar. The versatile conference centre, with 13 well-equipped meeting rooms, accommodates up to 500 people.

 

Oru Hub Hotel

 

This modern, stylish hotel has a coworking area with a meeting room for up to 10 people, plus a bistro and yoga room. There's also a lounge with board games, books and a TV, and a DIY room where you can get creative with the supplied craft materials or iron and mend clothing.

 

Park Inn by Radisson Central Tallinn

 

Just a 5-minute walk from the Old Town, Park Inn Central Tallinn has 245 rooms, four well-equipped meeting rooms and a restaurant. It offers bespoke catering for meetings and events.

 

Park Inn by Radisson Meriton Conference & Spa Hotel Tallinn

 

Only 10 minutes from Telliskivi Creative City, this city centre hotel offers 465 rooms plus a café, bistro, restaurant, and fitness centre. Its conference facilities offer 12 spaces, with the largest theatre-style hall accommodating up to 380 people.

 

Tähetorni Hotel

 

Lying 9 km from the city centre in the green and quiet Nõmme district, the Tähetorni is a small, quirky hotel with multiple round towers and winding steps! Guests staying in one of its 38 rooms can enjoy its restaurant, bar and sauna. There's also an event space with room for up to 50 people—from which a winding staircase leads to a meeting room suitable for six!

 

Nordic Hotel Forum

 

Currently applying for Green Key certification renewal, the Nordic Hotel Forum is located on the edge of the Old Town. It's a modern business and conference hotel with two restaurants, a bar, a leisure centre and seven meeting spaces. The largest, Sirius, is a hall that can accommodate 250 guests. It's also Tallinn first, and currently only, hotel to keep bee hives on its roof. A live feed lets guests watch the daily activities of the 360,000 bees in their six hives!

 

 

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

 

 

Other Places for a Sustainable Stay

 

Economy Hotel

 

Close to the Old Town in Kalamaja, this small, historic hotel is full of character. It has 40 comfortable rooms and offers breakfast at the nearby Flower Garden café. The hotel has a recycling mini-library and to reduce waste, items like hairdryers, irons and umbrellas are available to rent for free.

 

Hektor Container Hotel

 

The Hektor Container Hotel provides the ultimate sustainable accommodation. Uniquely situated within an old railway depot in the Telliskivi district, the hotel's rooms are all re-purposed 20ft shipping containers. There's no restaurant, but there's a multitude nearby, and the hotel offers simple breakfasts at the lobby bar. There's also a guest kitchen to cook up ingredients from the Baltic Station Market, right on the doorstep, and a guest laundry room. If you're preparing for a business event, you'll appreciate the free Wi-Fi and co-working space, with free coffee.

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Enjoy Tallinn All Year Round

 

Whatever time of year you visit, Tallinn has plenty to offer, whether you're here for a day or a fortnight. While it's a great summer break destination, it also welcomes an influx of people

for Christmas and winter breaks.

 

Tallinn in Spring and Summer

 

Make the most of the longer days and warmer weather by enjoying the great outdoors. In June, you can experience the Nordic' white nights' when it doesn't get dark at all. Nightlife with a difference!

 

Discover Nearby Beaches

 

Pirita, Stroomi and Pikakari seaside beaches and Harku Lake Beach are all within half an hour from the city centre by road.

 

Pirita Beach: This 2-km-long Blue Flag beach is the longest and busiest in Tallinn. Just 15 minutes from the city centre, it offers water sports, ball courts, playgrounds, lockers and sunbeds, plus lovely views of the Old Town. Parallel and close to the beach you'll find Pirita Adventure Park, with tree-top adventure trails through the pine forest.

 

Stroomi Beach: With ball courts, trampolines, playgrounds, and electric cars for children, Stroomi is a great starting point for a walk or cycle along the 2.5-kilometre Rocca al Mare promenade.

 

Pikakari Beach: This Blue Flag beach is less developed than Tallinn's others and the water gets deep quickly here, so it's more suitable for serious swimmers.

 

Harku Lake Beach: on the western edge of the city, this beach offers slightly warmer waters than the coastal beaches. It's a great place to row, surf, play mini-golf or hire a paddle boat.

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Discover Tallinn's Islands

 

Tallinn's three largest offshore islands are all reachable by ferry in an hour or less. Naissaar and Aegna have summertime services, while Prangli can be visited all year. If you only have time to visit one of these peaceful havens, make it Naissaar.

 

Naissaar is only an hour by ferry (May-Oct) from Seaplane Harbour. Just 8 km long and 3.5 km wide, it was used for military purposes for centuries and was completely off-limits during the Soviet occupation. Today, it's a protected nature reserve with many points of interest, including mines and military installations.

 

Come here in July to enjoy the Nargen Festival, featuring local classical and folk music. Wander through the forest, picking blueberries and lingonberries for your picnic. Enjoy the sandy beaches, with their wild roses and barbecue areas. Explore the abandoned buildings or ride on the narrow-gauge railway between Männiku village and the harbour. Climb up to the lighthouse observation platform for amazing, far-reaching views. Book a digital tour by bike or military car. Or just follow one of the island's three circular hiking trails, each taking you to various themed points of interest.

 

Take a Boat Trip

There are many different boat trips on offer from Tallinn, including island trips and themed cruises. You can also rent a rowboat, yacht or kayak near the Pirita River. The ferry Tõll has been retrofitted into a hybrid passenger vessel, allowing partial travel on electricity while reducing some 1,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

 

Plans to develop a zero-emission ferry in conjunction with Finnish engineering company Deltamarin and between the mainland and the islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa are also

well underway.

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Walk Through History

 

The Old Town

 

Historic churches, cobbled streets, grand old merchant houses, towers with their signature conical, red-tiled roofs, picturesque pastel houses, winding passages, medieval walls and charming courtyards… a walk through Tallinn's magical Old Town really is like travelling back through time. That's why it has earned a place on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

    In the middle lies Toompea Hill, where, it's said, lies the grave of Kalev, the legendary ancestor of the Estonians. Today, the Danish fort built in 1219 is gone; the newer Toompea Castle, now home to the Estonian Parliament, stands in its place. While you're here, go to the lookout platforms for spectacular views over the city, and visit the impressive domed Aleksander Nevsky Cathedral.

    At the foot of the hill, you will find Raekoja plats, the historic marketplace, and the Town Hall with its gothic arches. Inside is a museum, only open in summer, depicting life in Tallinn through the ages. The Old Town's historic churches aren't to be missed either: St. Olaf's, St. Nicholas', and the Holy Spirit Church are all particularly magnificent pieces of medieval architecture. To keep the historic vibe going, stop for refreshments at Maiasmokk, Tallinn's oldest café, dating back to 1864.

 

Towers and Tunnels

 

The Kiek in de Kök Fortifications Museum includes:

 

  • the Kiek in de Kök artillery tower

  • the underground bastion passages, originally built by the Swedes for defence and used as bomb shelters during World War II

  • the Carved Stone Museum

  • the Maiden's Tower, Stable Tower and Gate Tower

 

Walk the fortified city walls, explore the tunnels and towers, and learn more about the history of Tallinn. You can also visit the Nunna, Sauna and Kuldjala Towers on the north-west side of the Old Town.

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Enjoy Outdoor Attractions and Green Spaces

 

Telliskivi Creative City has been created in and around a repurposed railway locomotive factory. It's Tallinn's trendiest and most lively district. Admire the street art, visit the markets and unique shops, listen to live music, and walk the slack lines between the trees. When you're ready for refreshments, there are plentiful street food trucks, eateries and bars.

 

The Fotografiska Art Centre here is one of Tallinn's key attractions. It features work from the world's top photographers and rising stars and focuses on positive societal impact. Artists, designers, programmers and craftspeople share their work and ideas on the stage outside.

 

Tallinn Botanic Garden is home to over 8,500 plant species. It's a beautiful spot to enjoy a walk, picnic or outdoor concert. Plant enthusiasts can join a themed tour or explore by themselves with an audio guide.

 

Paljassaare Peninsula is the site of a conservation area and the best spot for bird-watching in Tallinn, as it attracts many species.

Tallinn has many other parks and promenades to enjoy, letting you enjoy green space, seaside views or both! You're never far away from nature here.

 

On Tallinn's outskirts, Nõmme-Mustamäe Nature Reserve offers a forested expanse with natural springs, numerous hiking trails, and wonderful views from Tallinn's highest point.

 

Get Active

 

Tallinn offers golf, mini-golf, water sports, stand-up paddleboarding, bog walking and bicycle tours, and health trails for walking and cycling. As well as the previously mentioned Pirita Adventure Park, there's also a forest park in Nõmme.

 

Nõmme Adventure Park is a forested park of woodland trails and treetop rope and bridge routes for the more adventurous. While you're here, enjoy a picnic and ball games, visit the medieval Swiss-style Von Glehn's Castle and its park, or take a dip in the outdoor pool at Nõmme Sports Centre.

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Fair Weather Festivals

 

Enjoy some festival fun in the sun (hopefully!) by attending some of Tallinn's many spring and summer festivals:

 

Jazzkaar Festival: mid-April. Featuring big names in jazz from around the world.

 

Kalmaja Days: mid-May. A street party with street food, markets, sports competitions, puppet shows, dance performances and live music.

 

Old Town Days: late May-early June. Old Town's biggest festival focuses on the local cultural heritage and community. Enjoy several days of music, theatre, art, and sports events.

 

Midsummer/St. John's Day: 23rd June. Many people go to the Estonian Open Air Museum, where the day is celebrated traditionally with bonfires, folk music, dancing and traditional Estonian games.

 

Song and Dance Festival: end of June-beginning of July. It takes different formats and isn't held every year, but in 2023, the Youth Song and Dance Festival will take place on 30th June to 2nd July.

 

Medieval Days: early July. Held in the Old Town, it includes jousting demonstrations and a costumed carnival.

 

Maritime Days: late August. People flock to Tallinn's harbours for boat trips on the many guest boats that arrive to take part, and there are markets, children's activities, music and plentiful seafood.

 

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Tallinn in Autumn and Winter

 

As the days get chillier, bundle up to enjoy autumn colours, winter sports and Christmas lights—or stay warm inside indoor attractions, covered markets, saunas, and cosy bars and cafés!

 

Wander Through Colourful Woods

 

Autumn is one of the best seasons to enjoy Tallinn's wooded green spaces.

 

Kadriorg Park is 2 km east of the Old Town and designed by Peter the Great. The Park is beautiful in its own right: its elegant Swan Pond has a fountain and island pergola, and it has manicured gardens, and an abundance of trees and meadows. But it's also home to Kadriorg Palace, a Baroque building built for Peter's wife Catherine, which houses the Kadriorg Art Museum. In September, the Park hosts the Wandering Lights Festival, which sees the palace gardens turned into a beautiful, illuminated wonderland.

 

Other great places to appreciate autumn colours are:

 

  • Kalamaja Park, to the west of the Old Town

  • Viimsi Open Air Museum in northeast Tallinn. Here, you can walk around a carefully preserved 19th-century farm and seaside village and learn more about the area's coastal and farming history before walking the woodland trails

  • The Estonian Open Air Museum on the coast of Kopli Bay, where you can wander around 72 hectares of countryside, explore dozens of preserved and reconstructed buildings, or enjoy a carriage or sleigh ride.

 

Winter Festivals and Christmas Festivities

 

Black Nights Film Festival: mid-November. One of the biggest film festivals in Northern Europe, with over 1000 guests, showing around 250 films and 300 shorts and animations every year.

 

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Christmas Celebrations

 

In mid-November, a huge Christmas tree is installed in the middle of Town Hall Square and remains there until nearly the end of January. Around this tree, Tallinn's Christmas Market appears, named the best Christmas market in Europe in 2019! Buy local crafts as gifts and enjoy mulled wine, roasted almonds and, if you're so inclined, verivorst (a blood sausage wrapped in pig's intestine).

 

Old Town always looks particularly fairytale-like when draped in Christmas lights, especially when the weather obliges with snow.

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Winter Sports

 

Nõmme Snow Park and Sports Centre

 

Nõmme is just 10 minutes from central Tallinn and easily reachable by bus or train. The Snow Park, with the pine forest as a backdrop, is a stunningly picturesque place to ski (or snowboard, or snowtube!). It has 20 km of varied ski trails and equipment can be hired from the Sports Centre. The Sports Centre offers a range of year-round activities and an ice rink if snow sports aren't your thing.

 

Viimsi Mountain Park, Vimka

 

Just 20 minutes from the city centre by road, Viimsi Mountain Park is on a smaller scale than Nõmme, but still offers skiing, snowboarding, snowtubing and equipment hire.

 

 

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Ice Skating and Sledging in the City

 

As well as the ice rink in Nõmme, you'll find rinks in the Old Town (Uisupark), Kadriorg, Mustamäe, and Lasnamäe. If you prefer sledging, Tallinn has many suitable hills, but the favourite spot for many Tallinners is the Song Festival Grounds. You can also sledge in Hirve Park, Pirita sports centre, Tallinn Botanic Garden, and the Estonian Open Air Museum. No sledge? Don't worry—you'll find one in a local supermarket.

 

Covered Markets and Cosy Bars

 

Balti Jaama Turg covered market in Telliskivi sells street food, handicrafts, retro posters, vintage clothing, antiques, and local farm produce.

 

Whisper Sister is an underground cocktail bar concealed behind a very normal-looking door on the edge of the Old Town, and you have to knock for entrance. They also serve spirits and a limited range of wines and beers too. Add a small selection of snacks and it's the ideal place to hunker down and hide from the cold weather.

 

Sauna Street in the Old Town has a selection of cocktail bars, including Frank Underground where bartenders will create something new around your favourite spirit. You'll find plenty of cosy cellar bars in the Old Town too, some with live music.

 

Museums

 

Tallinn's many museums require an article, if not a book, all to themselves.

 

Some of the best include:

 

The Kumu Museum has three permanent exhibition floors that take you through a timeline of Estonian art, from 18th century Baltic German heritage pieces all the way to contemporary works. There are also many temporary exhibitions to showcase artists, eras and themes.

 

Estonian Maritime Museum, housed in a hangar at Seaplane Harbour. Try naval crafts and simulators, explore a submarine and step outside to see other exhibits in the harbour.

 

Estonian History and Film Museum's Maarjamäe Palace offers fascinating exhibits in both the beautiful palace and its elegant gardens.

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Other Indoor Attractions

 

Pohjala Brewery offers tours of its new state-of-the-art facilities and tasting sessions in the attached Tap Room, which carries 24 different beers. Just the thing to give you a warm glow!

 

The Proto Invention Factory

 

Once a submarine factory, the colourful Proto Invention Factory in Port Noblessner now offers a fantastical and entertaining look at science and inventions. A mix of physical interaction and virtual reality make it a truly immersive and engaging experience for people of all ages.

 

Teras Beach is an indoor beach hall where you can pretend it's summer! The temperature is kept at +26 °C, and there's a white sand beach, saunas, and beach volleyball and tennis.

 

 

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Saunas

 

The ultimate way to get warm—unless you do what the locals do and take an ice-cold bath or swim afterwards! Many hotels have saunas, but if yours doesn't, head to:

 

  • The luxurious Club 26 in the Radisson Blu Hotel Olümpia

  • The Kalev Spa Waterpark (a cheaper option)

  • Kalma Saun, with Tallinn's oldest public bath, for an authentic Russian bathhouse experience (including swishing with birch branches!)

  • Port Noblessner, where you can privately rent an Iglu sauna with a ladder into the Baltic Sea, a fridge, showers, and a terrace with furniture!


IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Get a Taste for Tallinn

 

If you get thirsty while exploring the city, you're never too far from a public drinking water tap, but of course there are plenty of bars too. Try lagers and beers from local brands Saku and A. Le Coq, and local craft beers such as Lehe, Põhjala, Õllenaut and Pühaste. Unsurprisingly, vodka is a popular choice here, but take the time to also try Tallinn specialties like hõõgvein (mulled wine) and Vana Tallinn, a dark liqueur.

 

Traditional Estonian foods include dark bread (leib), herring (heeringas), blood sausage (verivorst), sauerkraut (mulgikapsad), potato and groats porridge (mulgipuder) and smoked fish, particularly eel (angerjas). For dessert, if you're visiting around Shrove Tuesday, try vastlakukkel, a sweet roll that's cut and filled with almond paste and lots of whipped cream. For an all-year-round treat, try kama, a traditional finely milled flour mixture. Once eaten as a plain or savoury dish, these days, this porridge-like meal is often served with fruit or syrups as a dessert. Of course, there's no need to eat traditional Estonian food every night! The city has a great range of international cuisine available in its restaurants, and there's a taste to suit every palate and every occasion.

 

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Ten Great Places to Eat in Tallinn

 

The Telliskivi district is the place to go for delicious street food. However, on the fine-dining end of the scale, Tallinn boasts the first two Michelin-starred restaurants in the Baltic states. It also has many eateries that are featured in the White Guide. The Guide recognises excellence in Nordic and Baltic restaurants, categorising top restaurants into four levels: Global Masters, Masters Level, Very Fine and Fine Level. There's a good selection of sustainable and vegan eateries here too, plus three restaurants and a café with the Green Key certification.

 

NOA Chef's Hall

 

Located near Pirita with wonderful sea views, NOA Chef's Hall has a Michelin Star and a Global Masters Level award in the White Guide. The menu combines high-quality international ingredients with local produce.

 

180° by Matthias Diether

 

With a Michelin Star and a Global Masters Level award in the White Guide, you can be assured of high quality at 180°, which can be found in the Port Noblessner area.

 

Restaurant Fotografiska

 

The Fotografiska Restaurant and Bar holds a Michelin Green Star for sustainable gastronomy and a White Guide Masters Level award. Sited on the rooftop of Fotografiska Arts Centre, it's a great place to enjoy amazing views, cocktails, and seasonal dishes. Staff take the zero-waste policy seriously, attempting to use every part of their predominantly local produce and composting any unusable food on-site. The restaurant has a rooftop garden where it keeps bees and grows its own herbs.

 

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

Lee Restaurant

 

Lee Restaurant in the Old Town is Green Key certified and holds a White Guide Masters Level award. It focuses on using local ingredients from small producers to create high-quality international dishes, including vegetarian and vegan options. The restaurant is involved in Estonia's Green Tiger initiative, producing videos on using common leftovers. Sustainability is baked into every aspect of the restaurant's identity and operation. Recycling and minimising waste are high on the agenda, and they have strict protocols for biowaste in place, while the entire restaurant runs on 100% renewable energy.

 

Restaurant Munga Kelder

 

Tucked beneath a medieval archway in Old Town, the rustic Restaurant Munga Kelder is Green Key certified and offers tasty European dishes.

 

Senso

 

Located in the Radisson Blu Hotel Olümpia in the city centre, Senso is a sophisticated restaurant offering Mediterranean-inspired dishes made predominantly with local, seasonal ingredients.

 

Café Boulevard

 

Also located in the Olümpia Hotel, the Café Boulevard offers light meals, pastries, cakes and coffee.

 

Olde Hansa

 

Olde Hansa in the Old Town offers a traditional and medieval-inspired dining experience, including game dishes and homemade schnapps. It mainly uses fresh ingredients bought from local farmers and hunters. The local hunters take habitat conservation and predator management very seriously, while the local farms are renowned for their minimal use of pesticides.

 

Vegan Restaurant V

 

Cosy, rustic Vegan V was Tallinn's—and Estonia's—first vegan restaurant when it opened in April 2014. Located in the Old Town, it offers a variety of international dishes.

 

Oasis Restaurant

 

Sitting in the Rotermann quarter, Oasis serves international but predominantly European vegan dishes. A shop next door sells a range of vegan foods, some of them made by the Oasis team.

 

IMAGE: Tallinn City Tourist Office & Brand Estonia

An Unforgettable City

 

Tallinn truly is a city for all seasons, and a city for everyone. Whether you visit for business or pleasure, it will be a great experience. If you want to buy something to remember your trip, while supporting the local economy, you're spoilt for choice. Luckily, most shops in the Old Town and other popular areas are open seven days a week, ideal for last-minute souvenir or gift shopping.

 

Visit Tallinn's small galleries, design boutiques, and indoor and outdoor markets. Here you will find Estonian-made—and often Tallinn-made—ceramics, textiles, fashion, furniture, jewellery and handicrafts. For an authentic souvenir of your stay, look for hand-knitted jumpers with traditional Estonian folk patterns, local glassware, or kitchen utensils and art pieces made from juniper wood. At St. Catherine's Passage, you can watch expert crafters produce glasswork, ceramics, leather goods and quilts in medieval-style workshops before choosing something to take home. You could also pick up a pre-loved or repurposed item at one of the city's many markets.

 

If you prefer something edible to enjoy on the return journey or give as a gift, try the famous hand-painted marzipan figurines from the Kalev confectionery, or sustainable vegan chocolate from Karu Talu Šokolaad. This kind of souvenir won't last long, but don't worry. We can guarantee your memories of Tallinn will last longer—and be just as sweet.

 

 

 

 

 

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