8 Things to do in Tallinn: How to Spend a Day in Tallinn, Estonia

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Estonia is a small country in Eastern Europe, along the Baltic coast. Tallinn, its capital, is extremely rich in history and its first settlements date back to over 5,000 years ago. Although we didn't see anything that was 5,000 years old, Tallinn is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe, full of winding cobblestone streets and beautiful buildings, including a medieval pharmacy! It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as being dubbed the 'European Silicon Valley' - it has the most startups per person in Europe and is where Skype was born... bet you didn't know that!

This was another one of our stops on our Baltic cruise so once again we only had around 6 hours to explore... luckily for us the city isn't that big so we got to see quite a lot of it. Here are 8 things that you should do if you're lucky enough to go to Tallinn, Estonia - enjoy!


1) Visit the Raekoja plats, Tallinn's Town Square

This beautiful square is the perfect place to start your visit to Tallinn. Bordered with little houses, the town square dates back to at least the 14th Century and is often home to the cutest little market stalls.




2) Find Tallinn's Old City Walls

Tallinn used to be a medieval fort. The city walls were originally 2.4km long and it's so well preserved that there is still 1.9km of it, complete with 20 observation towers.
They're pretty easy to find and will pop up when you're walking around the city... some of them even have some interesting names such as Fat Margaret and Kiek in de Kök, which is where you can learn all about Tallinn's defence history.

The picture of the statue of the soldier with the Danish flag is supposedly where the Danish flag was born.
Legend has it that the Danish were almost about to lose during battle (in 1219) when a flag dropped from the skies which the King then used it as a sign from heaven to lift his troops and lead them to victory.




3) Visit Saint Nicholas' Church

This medieval (shock) church was originally built in the 13th Century and you can see its spire from all over the city. It was partially destroyed during bombing in World War II, however it has since been restored and houses some beautiful artwork - it even houses a branch of the Art Museum of Estonia and is frequently used as a concert hall!


4) and then head to the St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

This beautiful church is Russian Orthodox. Built in 1900, it's much newer than a lot of the city and was built when Estonia was still part of the Russian Empire. Entrance is free and the interiors are gorgeous.



5) Get carried away with the Medieval things that Tallinn has to offer

In case you haven't already read, Tallinn is a medieval city and it is full of little stalls, shops and cafés etc. which play on this. These are most likely mainly for tourists, however it is charming, interesting and very different from what I have seen.





6) Buy some Powdered Unicorn horn at Raeapteek, Tallinn's Medieval Pharmacy

Continuing on with the medieval theme you will find all sorts of quirkiness at Tallinn's medieval pharmacy, powdered unicorn horn being one of them. The pharmacy is one of Europe's oldest and is definitely worth a visit.

The pharmacy sells not only mementos of the past, but also modern medicine in case you need to pick anything up on your trip there.

Make sure to walk all the way through to the room at the back where you will find lots of different little bottles and vials containing everything and anything you could imagine (which all comes from the 17th to 20th centuries).



7) Go up to the Toompea Loss, Toompea Castle

Once the royal castle, it is now home to the Estonian parliament. Excursions are free and can be booked online in advance - look how beautiful the pink Baroque façade is!


8) Take in the Beauty of the City from Toompea Hill

From Toompea Hill you can look over at pretty much the whole of Tallinn, from the old city walls and the medieval churches complete with red roofs and spires to the newer parts of Tallinn also known as the 'European Silicon Valley'.



Whatever your reason for visiting Tallinn, I hope that you have a wonderful time. And remember, if you come across any chimney sweeps dressed in the traditional dress, make sure to touch their brass buttons... it brings good luck!

Other stops on our Baltic cruise:


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2 comments

  1. Visiting Alexander Nevsky Cathedral would definitely be at the top of my to-do list; what beautiful architecture! Actually, this entire post is filled with beautiful architecture - just perfect! :)

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  2. Tallinn is a great city and you should definitely visit Vilnius at some point it is beautiful! xx

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