Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, is an enchanting place. The cityscape tells of its Soviet past, mixed in with sleek contemporary architecture inspired by Scandinavian style. The real highlight of Tallinn is the fairy-tale medieval Old Town, one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the world. Walk through the historic streets and marvel at romantic spires, quaint squares and cobblestone lanes.
Visit the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, modelled after St. Basil’s in Moscow, and its impressive domes. Or wander through the Estonian Open Air Museum and step back in time to rural Estonian life. There is plenty of culture to be found in Tallinn, from the great food at sidewalk cafés to the quirky galleries and antique stores.
Tallinn has become a major tourist destination in recent years and is a popular port of call for cruises exploring Europe.
Cruise ships generally dock at the Old City Harbour, which is about 500 metres from the modern city centre and 2 kilometres from the heart of Old Town. It is therefore possible to walk into town, but there is also a taxi rank at the terminal.
Occasionally, ships will dock at Muuga Harbour, which is a cargo port located 17 kilometres east of the centre. If this is the case, cruise ships will generally provide a shuttle into town.
The Old Harbour cruise terminal is well equipped with amenities. There are plenty of shops nearby for last-minute souvenir shopping.
- Tourist information desk
- Currency exchange
- Free Wi-Fi.
How to Get Around
It is best to explore Tallinn, particularly Old Town, on foot to soak up the atmosphere of the city. The streets are mainly cobbled and can be steep, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes to make the most of your day.
There are also taxis that will get you around town; however, it is a good idea to negotiate the fare at the start of the journey. Additionally, there is a ‘hop-on hop-off’ tourist bus that visits all the major sights. A day pass costs €18 for a standard fare, €15 for a concession fare and €7 for children.
Travel times from Old Harbour:
- It is a 22 minute journey to Town Hall Square
- It is a 26 minute journey to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
- It is a 7 minute journey to Town Hall Square
- It is an 8 minute journey to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
- It is a 15 minute journey to the Estonian Open Air Museum.
- Currency – The official currency of Estonia is the euro (€). There are many ATMs in the centre of the city.
- Time Zone – Tallinn operates on Eastern European Time (EET), which is 2 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Estonia switches to Daylight Saving Time (DST) at the end of March, when the clocks are set forward 1 hour. Daylight savings finishes in October.
- Weather – Tallinn enjoys a relatively mild climate, due to it being located on the coast. The summers are generally warm and sunny, with an average high temperature of 24 degrees Celsius in July, the hottest month. Winters are cold; the average minimum temperature in February is -9 degrees Celsius. December and January are usually slightly warmer.
- Old Town – There is so much to see in Tallinn’s Old Town. Visit the impressive Toompea Castle, built on the site of a 13th century fortress in the mid-18th century. Or wander the iconic Town Hall Square, admiring the gothic Town Hall, which is now a museum and concert hall. Don’t forget to make a stop at the Flower Market on the outskirts of Old Town. Consider taking a walking tour of Old Town to become acquainted with its rich history, or explore on your own and get lost in the impossibly photogenic streets. You never know what you’ll stumble across.
- Alexander Nevsky Cathedral – Located on the Palace Square, the ornate Russian Orthodox Church was built in 1900 when Estonia was still part of the Czarist Empire. An excellent example of Russian architecture, the cathedral is open for visitors every day, from 8am till 7pm. Entry is free of charge.
- Estonian Open Air Museum – This open air museum is a magical place, just a 15-minute taxi ride from the centre of Tallinn. The purpose of the museum is to showcase Estonian rural life over the last three centuries. The village is beautiful, with its own mill, church and shop, which sells local handicrafts. Visit the tavern for traditional Estonian cuisine, and even take a ride on a horse to truly immerse yourself into rural life.