Things to do in Tallinn + A Pink Castle and Palace

Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia which is a Baltic state.  It was once part of the Soviet Union but is now part of the European Union.  Here are a few things to do in Tallinn;

  • Tallinn Old Town
  • Alexander Nevsky cathedral
  • Toompea Castle
  • Kadriorg Palace
  • Kiek in de Kok
  • Viru Gates and City walls
  • St Nicholas’ Church
  • Tallinn TV Tower

There are lots of good value hotels in Tallinn as tourism is the main source of income.

Tallinn Old Town – UNESCO Site

Things to do in Tallinn - Old Town

The historic old town of Tallinn is a protected UNESCO site.  The old town includes everything inside the city walls as well as Toompea Hill.  As a matter of fact, the majority of the things to do in Tallinn are within the old town walls.  As you walk around town you’ll pass several colorful and picturesque Medieval buildings.  What’s more, the majority of these buildings are shops, bars, restaurants and hotels therefore you can explore the interiors.  Finally the colorful houses are a top Instagram spot in Tallinn.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Things to do in Tallinn - Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a grand 19th century Russian orthodox church.  It has been restored and is in immaculate condition, in addition, you go inside and view the interior.  Finally, the cathedral is located on top of Toompea Hill, adjacent to Toompea Castle.  Did you know there is also a Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia Bulgaria?

Toompea Castle

Things to do in Tallinn - Toompea Castle

You would be forgiven for walking past Toompea Castle and not realising it’s actually a castle.  This is because the castle has a pink Baroque facade and resembles a grand palace.  As a matter of fact Toompea Castle is the home of Estonian Parliament.  Did you know there is a similar castle in Riga, Latvia which is now a parliament building.

Kadriorg Palace

Things to do in Tallinn - Kadriorg Palace

Kadriorg Palace and the surrounding park are an incredibly grand location.  The palace itself was built in the 18th century based on the design of Italian palaces.  As you walk around the well kept gardens you’ll find several top Instagram locations in Tallinn.  It’s located outside the old town however, the tourist bus stops here or you can walk.  Did you know it’s possible to stay in a real Italian Palace in Brescia Italy?

Kiek in de Kok

Things to do in Tallinn - Kiek in de Kök

Kiek in de Kok is adjacent to Toompea Castle on Toompea hill.  In fact, it’s more impressive than Toompea Castle as you can explore more of it.  Kiek in de Kok was built in 1475, this name was given because of the ability to look into nearby kitchens from the towers.  The towers are 38 m tall which offer city views.  In addition, Kiek in de Kok is a museum which gives you access to the bastion tunnels below, as well as the towers.

Grim Reaper Statues

Things to do in Tallinn - grim reaper statues

In the gardens of Kiek in de Kok you’ll find some life size grim reaper statues which make for a great selfie.

Viru Gate and City Walls

Things to do in Tallinn - Viru Gates and City Walls

When you go to Tallinn you must get your photo taken at the Viru Gate and city walls.  This is the main entrance to the UNESCO Tallinn Old Town.  In the old town there are lots of restaurants, pubs and bars and if you visit on a weekend there are lots of pub crawls you could join.  The hotels here are pretty good value too, I stayed at the Three Crowns Residents which was in the old town but very fairly priced.

Tallinn TV Tower

The Tallinn TV tower is located on the outskirts of the city.  To get there you must take a bus or taxi which takes around 30 minute.  I would only recommend visiting the TV tower if you’re staying more than 1 day in Tallinn.  Otherwise, you’ll be short of time to see the other things to do in Tallinn which are all in the old town.  Things to do at the TV Tower include, tallest building in Tallinn, 3D Movie, TV Studios as well as panoramic views .  Finally, you can buy skip the line TV Tower tickets online before you go.

How to get from Tallinn to Helsinki by ferry

Tallinn to Helsinki ferry

You can take a direct ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki which takes 2 hours.  It’s possible to take a day trip to Helsinki from Tallinn or vice versa.  There are a few different ferry services but I chose the Tallink Silja Line as they had the most crossings.  You can buy your ticket online or easily at the ferry terminal right before departure, everything is very organised inside the terminal.  I have to mention that there’s a Burger King on the ferry so you don’t need to worry about going hungry!  There is also free WiFi all over the ship, a few restaurants and even a supermarket.  A one way ticket is €15 with Tallink Silja Line.

How to visit Russia without a Visa

If you plan your time well, it’s possible to visit St Petersburg, Russia without a visa for up to 72 hours.  This is only possible if you use the St Peter Line ferry.  You could go from Tallinn to St Petersburg for a couple of nights, then onto Helsinki.  Now that’s one way to visit Russia without the visa hassle!

Things to do in Helsinki

2019-01-02T11:17:52+00:00December 19th, 2016|Estonia, Northern Europe|9 Comments


  1. Natalie February 19, 2017 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    I love a Russian orthodox church – such pretty domes. I visited one in Nice, France, of all places…a wealthy Russian built one there so he could worship while on vacation. Russia is on our list of places to visit. You’ve given a great overview of what to see in Tallinn!

  2. Mel February 19, 2017 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    What a great place to visit. I’ve never been to Tallinn, Estonia, but now I want to go! The church is gorgeous and I love the lights on the city walls. The ferry sounds like a fun way to get to or from Tallinn.

  3. Lia February 19, 2017 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    Tallinn looks amazing! I had no idea it was so close to St. Petersburg, too. Gotta put those on my list (along with Helsinki, of course)!

  4. Toby February 20, 2017 at 8:30 am - Reply

    I love your posts because they cover so many unique and yet unexplored – by tourists – regions. Again, i’m one of them and would never have though about Estonia as a tourist destination but it comes across as a charming winterland. The fact that it can be done in a day from Helsinki and comes under Eu/Schengen states is always good to know.

  5. marie February 20, 2017 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    I have never been to any of the countries before but I’ve seen other posts on the and now looking at yours – they’re simply fabulous. I think many travellers, from other continents but Europe too tend to overlook these lovely destinations.

  6. Jade February 20, 2017 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    I’m a Fitbit addict (love my alta lol) so I would have no problem racking up some steps around the old town. Although I image the pubs and restaurants may distract me a bit. Viru Gate looks stunning (if a bit cold!) and good to know it’s reasonably priced inside the city walls!

  7. Jean February 20, 2017 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    Your photos show how truly stunning some of the buildings can be in estonia! Thanks for the great advice on how to get from Helsinki across so easily. It makes planning my next trip so much easirr

  8. Raymond Carroll February 20, 2017 at 11:06 pm - Reply

    Good history lesson on Tallinn, James. I like the picture of you in the Viru Gate – cool pic. You must have some photo album boy! Well impressed! Keep up the good work. Posts are great!

  9. Swati February 22, 2017 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    After reading few of your posts.. we have included Tallin to our list. We will also be doing a day trip from Helsinki 🙂 Amazing pics as usual and the architecture looks splendid. Bookmarked and flipped your page too 🙂

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