• Krista the Explorer

Explore the Medieval World of Tallinn

Tallinn is a medieval paradise, which was perfect for me! Honestly, walking through the streets of the old town was like walking through history. There were no modern buildings ruining the atmosphere, many of the shops and restaurants had a traditional feel to them, and there were loads of markets to get yourself lost in. There are even medieval themed restaurants you can go to, where you are treated badly on purpose, and the options on the menus also cover medieval food. Depending when you visit, queues can be quite long to get inside the attractions. I booked some of my tickets online ahead of time with Tiqets such as to the KGB Museum, Skywheel, and the Great Guild Hall. If you're looking to do a walking tour, there are loads of free ones available, and some of the guides even dress up in medieval attire!

The airport is located very close to the city centre, so it doesn't take long to get to and from it. Instead of using the bus, we chose to take an Uber so it was more direct and quicker. Uber is very cheap in the city, so I'd recommend using it if you need to get further afield or are tired of walking, it won't cost much! There are lots of places to stay in the city, but we chose to stay at the brand new Ibis Tallinn Center for four nights which was a short walk from the old town, and included breakfast which was great too. You can read about our stay here.

From its 14th century medieval fortifications, to its numerous churches, to its large selection of restaurants and cafes, Tallinn has something for everyone. We spent the majority of our time in the old town area, but there are lots of great places to visit outside of that too if you don't mind a bit of a walk. Check out my top things to do below!

Town Hall Square
The heart of Tallinn's old town! No the photo isn't photoshopped, we woke up at sunrise to get this, which I'd recommend doing because it's packed with people at any other time. If you're lucky enough, you'll come across a market taking place which is a good spot to get souvenirs and other goodies. It's also home to Ill Draakon, a medieval themed restaurant where you can get soup or meat dishes for a very cheap price, served by a grumpy tavern owner! They only take cash, and be prepared to queue as well.
Climb Town Hall Tower
One of the best views in the city is from the town hall tower. There's a small entry fee which you can only pay with cash, and the top of the tower is very small so the number of people let inside at one time are limited.
Try Garlic Ice Cream from Balthasar
Yes you read right. Garlic ice cream. Balthasar is located overlooking the town hall square, and is the city's first garlic restaurant! So naturally, garlic ice cream is a thing there. It's a unique experience to say the least, but after the initial taste test it's actually pretty good!
Walk Through the KGB Prison Cells
This is the former KGB headquarters in Tallinn, and was where many suspected enemies of the state were imprisoned and tortured before being killed or sent to labour camps in Siberia. It's a very moving experience, and doesn't take long to go around, so it's definitely worth stopping at.
Hop on the SkyWheel
The wheel is located on top of the Mall of Tallinn, so it's a short bus or uber ride to get there. The views of the city are amazing, and if you go closer to sunrise, it isn't as busy and you can snag your own private compartment!
Explore the Great Guild Hall
Located just off of town hall square, this is a great stop if you want to learn more about the cultural history of Tallinn and see some interesting artifacts.
Eat Your Way Through DEPOO
This is a huge area full of amazing food trucks, shops and train carriages (very cool). It's neighbours to Telliskivi Creative City, and Balti Jaam Market. The whole area is a hipster's dream, and definitely has some of the best places to eat in the city.
Located on the waterfront, and a short walk from the old town, this museum is very unique and fun to visit! It's quite interactive, and you can climb inside a submarine as well as climb aboard a variety of ships outside of the museum in the harbour!
Walk Around Linnahall
Something free to do! Yay! Linnahall translates to city hall, and was once used as an outdoor venue for various public events. It was built to mimic the old town bastions as well as the ancient Mayan temples. Although not in use today, you can still walk around it and if you climb to the top you can get some nice views of the waterfront!
Visit Estonia's Most Famous Chocolate Shop
Kalev chocolate shop is a must for chocolate lovers. You can take a 2 hour workshop if you have time, or just browse the large variety of chocolates on offer!
Walk Up Lühike jalg
This street has some of the best little shops in the city, and if you walk to the top you'll come out at an amazing viewpoint in front of the Kiek in de Kök Museum and Bastion Tunnels!
Kiek in de Kök Museum and Bastion Tunnels
This is the best example of the town's fortifications, and the ticket includes entry to all of the towers here. You can also go underground and explore the history of the bastion passages too.
Danish King's Garden
You'll most likely walk through this on the way to the bastion entrance. The small square provides great views of the old town from above, and the monks give a little added charm to it, but can be quite creepy in the evening!

Kohtuotsa Viewing Platform
Located a short walk from the Danish King's Gardens, this is one of the best viewpoints in the city, and is completely crowded as well. It's a bit difficult to get a photo here in the summer with all of the crowds, but visiting very early or later in the evening is probably your best bet.
Indulge at Gelato Ladies
No garlic ice cream here, but it comes highly recommended as having the best gelato in the city!
Pop in to the Master's Courtyard
We came across this by chance, and it's easily missed if you aren't expecting it. Centuries ago it used to be a craftsman's courtyard, and is still kept in a similar way now!
Walk On Top of Tallinn's TV Tower
This is a really unique experience! I've done the CN Tower walk in Toronto before, so when I came across this I had to give it a go as well. It's northern Europe's tallest open viewing platform, and the views of the whole area are incredible. There are a limited number of people allowed for each tour, and the tour guide gives you some great facts too!
Walk Along St Catherine's Passage
This was one of my favourite spots in the city. It still has its medieval feel to it, and is home to a collection of workshops that still use traditional methods to create their goods!
Try the City's Best Burger at the Estonian Burger Factory
It's a little walk from the old town but so worth it. They have a unique selection of burgers and side dishes too!
This is such a beautiful palace to visit, and its park setting adds to its overall charm. The gardens are free to walk around, and the inside has been turned into a museum, which costs very little to get into. It was originally built as a summer residence by Peter the Great for his wife, Catherine I!
Take a Break at Maiasmokk Cafe
This is the oldest operating cafe in the city, and probably in Estonia. It's not far from from the town square either!
Walk Through the Viru Gate
The gates mark the entrance to the old town, and lead you to one of the city's most popular pedestrian shopping streets! There's a flower market to the left of it too, as well as loads of restaurants in the area.
Have a Cocktail at Manna la Roosa
Located around the corner from the Viru Gates, this is a great spot to stop for a cocktail. In the summer you can sit outside, or take in the unique decor inside! The cocktails are bizarre to say the least, but taste amazing!
Marvel at Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
It's actually very difficult to get a good shot of the whole cathedral in one photo! This is one of the city's most beautiful cathedrals, and is completely free to enter!
Gaze Out at the City from the Patkuli Viewing Platform
There are lots of viewpoints in the city, but this was my favourite. It was slightly less crowded than the others, and a little confusing to get to because of the small winding streets, but if you have your phone with you it shouldn't be a problem to find it!

Let me know if you have any other recommendations for the city! If you haven't been before, get booking your flight, I promise you'll love it!


My name is Krista, and like many people I love to travel! I think it's important that people share their travel experiences, so I hope that mine help you in some way in your own travels, or inspire you to travel more! 

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© 2018 by Krista the Explorer