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Tallinn Holidays

A dynamic mingling of old and new

Tallinn holidays are becoming increasingly popular with travellers looking for an alternative to more established destinations, and who are tempted by the Estonian capital’s combination of medieval architecture, lively heritage, and innovative contemporary outlook. With a Unesco-listed Old Town, an ever-changing and impressive craft beer and food scene, a wealth of museums and a unique history, Tallinn is a tempting prospect. A tumultuous history has given Estonia a unique blend of influences, and this is partly reflected in its diverse cuisine, with Nordic, Russian and Baltic food all mixing together.

There’s no resistance to international trends, though, and everything from vegan to sushi is on offer – particularly in the Kalamaja and Telliskivi districts. In Kalamaja, you’ll also discover contemporary galleries, designer shops and bohemian coffee outlets, while the revamped Port Noblessner area, once home to a submarine factory, has a number of new museums, a craft beer brewery and more. And those drawn to Tallinn for its historic charm won’t be disappointed. The best-preserved medieval city in Northern Europe, it’s replete with winding cobblestone streets, Gothic spires and buildings dripping with history, from the medieval period right through to the 20th century. So whether it’s hip cuisine or Disney-esque castles you’re after, holidays to Tallinn thoroughly deserve their place on an increasing number of travellers’ wish lists.

All resorts in Tallinn

Three tips for a top trip

Get a travel card

A one-off purchase of a Tallinn Card covers public transport around the city for a set period, as well as access to museums and attractions, shopping discounts and free hop-on-hop-off bus privileges.

Settle into a sauna

Sauna culture is huge in Estonia, and Tallinn is no different. You’ll find a number of public saunas dotted around the city and in many hotels.

Eat like the locals

The Old Town is gorgeous to visit and wander around, but you won’t hear many Estonian voices in the restaurants. Locals know the food is as good, or better, outside the tourist centre – and a lot cheaper.

Best attractions to see in Tallinn

Kalamaja

Although it has great bars, cafés and restaurants, the atmosphere and pretty wooden houses of the Kalamaja district is reason enough to take a relaxed walk around.

Old Town

The ‘all-linn’ (lower town) is a Unesco World Heritage site, and while the Old Town can get crowded, its beauty makes it a must-visit. Enjoy the architecture, cobbled streets and busy atmosphere.

Noblessner

The portside Noblessner area has undergone significant regeneration in recent years. Once a submarine factory, it now has restaurants, museums and fantastic views of the Baltic Sea.

Your Tallinn questions, answered

In winter, you get snow-enhanced medieval architecture, however, the White Nights of summer are spectacular, with the sun staying up late into the night and plenty of events.
Tallinn is a compact, walkable city so it’s perfect for visits with small children. It also has a great network of trams and buses for when little legs grow tired. A short bus ride from the city centre, there’s Pirita Beach with its safe swimming – lifeguards are on duty throughout the summer. There are changing cabins and playgrounds for children. There’s a children’s museum with exhibits that encourage kids to play. The Super Skypark features bumper cars, a rooftop Ferris wheel and the SkyLab science centre, a crazy maze of slides, trampolines and climbing ropes.
There are many family-friendly museums, plus national parks further afield, but Tallinn’s picture-postcard views and medieval charm also make for a great romantic city break.
About 70% of Estonia is covered in forest, so wooden items are an authentic souvenir. Often carved from fragrant juniper wood, look out for pretty buttons, boxes and cutlery.
There are reasons to visit Tallinn throughout the year, from the 18 hours of sunlight in the summer to a good chance of seeing the northern lights in the winter. Since there are so many museums and art galleries – not forgetting the coffee shops and cafes – there are always places to hide indoors if the weather isn’t great. In the summer there’s the beach retreat and in the winter there are Christmas markets. Having a good holiday in Tallinn is just a question of packing clothes to prepare for the constantly changing weather.
Because Tallinn is so small it almost doesn’t matter where you stay. The old town is an easy choice if you want bars and restaurants on your doorstep. But don’t overlook the newer parts of the city with their trendy cocktail bars. Kalamaja is where the city’s many entrepreneurs and creatives live and there are some good value hotels here. Pirita is a peaceful escape from the bustle of the city. And Kadriorg is at the luxury end, with tree-lined streets, grand gardens, and its perfect placement between the beach and city.
While Estonia may have been part of the Soviet Union until 1987, it is rapidly leaving that era behind. Restaurants are now focused on a true farm-to-fork experience and make use of fresh vegetables and local produce. While there’s a heavy emphasis on meat and fish at the heart of dishes, there’s also a growing veggie and vegan scene. You’ll find street carts with food from around the world in some of the markets, too.
Tallinn is a great choice for your weekend break. It’s an easy place to get to know in a short time, with the old town a perfect size for walking around. But, if you stay longer, you’ll be able to explore the new sides to Tallinn – the apartment buildings decorated with huge murals and the impossibly hip cafes and bars. It’s also worth leaving time to head out into the countryside and take the chance to try the unique sport of bog shoeing in Lahemaa National Park.
Tallinn’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it's at the heart of most holidays to Estonia. It’s a maze of medieval buildings and centuries-old traditions. In the winter there are enchanting Christmas markets, and every five years there’s a huge cultural festival. If you think you remember hearing that Estonia and computers go together, then you’re right; there are more startups here than anywhere else in Europe. While Tallinn loves its history, it’s also known for being at the cutting edge of the modern world.