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In this article we will explore the best things to see in one day in Tallinn. Tallinn has been voted Lonely Planet’s No 1 best value destination for 2018 (see article) and it’s easy to understand why.

The city is small, green, charming and packed with medieval architecture, narrow cobbled lanes and cheap bars and restaurants. All this is set to the backdrop of church spires, onion domes and terracotta rooftops overlooking the Gulf of Finland. Tallinn is definitely one of the most picturesque cities in Europe and makes for a perfect weekend getaway or even a day trip from one of the neighboring countries!

As I have visited this jewel of the Baltic five times, here is my guide on what to do and see in Estonia’s charming medieval capital in one day.

One Day in Tallinn – The Old Town

Start in the medieval town square of Raekoja Plats and walk up the winding lanes to Toompea hill. You will pass along the medieval city walls where you can have a go at archery and other activities.

Stop and admire the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral with its whitewashed walls and shimmering black/blue onion domes. This is one of the landmarks of Tallinn and makes for a great photo opportunity (Instagram selfie anyone).

As you walk further past the embassy district you will soon come to the main viewpoint overlooking the city and Gulf, one of Europe’s finest vistas!

Tallinn Rooftops

Descend the steps down into Toompark and wander among the trees and lake (tip: the train station is just across the other side of the park, so if you need to get a ticket for your onward journey now would be a good time).

Follow the park in a south-easterly direction and take one of the side streets, filled with shops selling Baltic amber, back to Raekoja Plats for a traditional Estonian lunch.

Many restaurants line the square across from Tallinn Town Hall and serve delicious traditional cuisine (plus some western dishes too).  Prices on the square are a little higher than if you choose somewhere on a side-street, but still very cheap by western standards. Young girls in medieval dress will try to entice you in with their menu, but there is little difference between places.

One Day in Tallinn – Perfect for walking

After lunch visit one of the many little museums that can be found in the old town (for fans of the macabre, I recommend the medieval torture museum just to the south of the main square) or just wander around exploring side-streets, galleries and amber jewelry.  Stop for a tankard of beer and dried reindeer meat (like biltong or jerky) and choose one of the many bars or restaurants to while away a few hours in the evening.

If you have more than one day then there is plenty to keep you occupied including some stunning beaches not far from the city. You could also do a day trip to Finland over the water with the ferry taking less than 2 hours (see below for more info on the Tallinn to Helsinki ferry).

Need accommodation in Tallinn? Check out Booking.com for prices and locations.

Getting to and from Estonia

Citizens of the EU, USA and Australia do not need a VISA to enter Estonia for up to 90 days. You can check the situation with your own country’s VISA rules here.

Tallinn is served by budget airlines from all over Europe which makes the city an excellent base from which to explore the Baltic region and beyond. It has excellent transport connections to Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Russia.

There are multiple ferries everyday that go the short distance between Helsinki and Tallinn. See my article on the Helsinki to Tallinn Ferry for more information and current timetables.

Lux Express offers cheap, modern and comfortable coaches to Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia. The coaches have screens in the back of the headrest with movies, music and games; free headphones and water are provided on board and the service is excellent. I have travelled with Lux Express many times and would highly recommend using them when travelling in the Baltic States and beyond.

Below you can find information on how to get to other cities in the region. 

Tallinn to Riga

Journey Type: Coach
Company: Lux Express
Journey Time: 4.5 hours
Cost: 21 Euros
Times: 13 departures 8am to 10.30pm

Tallinn to Vilnius

Journey Type: Coach
Company: Lux Express
Journey Time: 9 hours
Cost: 34 Euros
Times: 5 departures 8am to 10.30pm

Tallinn to Minsk

Journey Type: Coach
Company: Lux Express
Journey Time: 13.5 hours
Cost: 44 Euros
Times: 2 departures 6pm to 11pm

Tallinn to St. Petersburg

Journey Type: Coach
Company: Lux Express
Journey Time: 7 hours
Cost: 25 Euros
Times: 5 departures 11am to 12am

Tallinn to Moscow

Journey Type: Coach
Company: Lux Express
Journey Time: 16 hours
Cost: 59 Euros
Times: 1 departure at 8pm

Tallinn to Moscow

Journey Type: Train
Company: Russian Railways
Journey Time: 16 hours
Cost: 75 to 105 Euros
Times: 1 departure at 6pm daily

Tallinn to Helsinki

Journey Type: Ferry
Company: Viking, Tallink, Silja Line,
Journey Time: 2 hours
Cost: 25 Euros
Times: 13 departures daily

Interested to see more of Eastern Europe? Check out some hidden gems in my list of 10 European places off the beaten path!

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