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Photo by: Krõõt Tarkmeel

By Terhi Pääskylä-Malmström  •  17.05.2018

Tallinn belongs to everyone. Accessibility is taken more and more seriously, and many museums, sights and services are available for people with reduced mobility. Accessibility not only applies to wheelchairs users; it means providing equivalent experiences to every single one of us, helping us move around with buggies, walkers, crutches and white canes. This article introduces accessible and partially accessible sights of Tallinn by neighbourhood. 

Arriving and moving around in Tallinn

Tallinn’s port, airport, bus station and railway station are all easily accessible. Connections within the city are available by public transport and taxi. A huge amount of Tallinn’s buses, trams and trolleys are low-entry vehicles, clearly marked in timetables. Wheelchair accessible taxis can be ordered from Tulika and Termak taxi companies.

Those traveling by car will be happy to know that public parking on Tallinn’s streets is free of charge for cars correctly marked with a disabled parking permit. Most private car parks, however, do not offer free parking for the disabled. Make sure to familiarise yourself with the rules and regulations available onsite.  

In recent years, more and more attention is being paid to wheel-friendly streets and pavement, which are also more than suitable for anyone visually impaired. That’s good news, because in a compact city like Tallinn, moving on foot is often the easiest way to reach your destination.  

This map shows you the accessibility of Tallinn’s main streets. It also points you to the accessible public parking spots and toilets.   

When searching sights and museums on our website, you can also find information about the sight’s accessibility. You will find the information in the left-hand margin, below opening hours, location and contacts.  

Old Town

Tallinn’s Old Town is a hard nut to crack from time to time, and quite understandably so. Built in the Middle Ages, it follows the beauty ideals of that time – narrow, steep stairways and uneven cobbled stones. 

Toompea Hill is, just like the name hints, a hill. To get on top, you need to manage a steep rise, accompanied by stairs and cobbled stones on some routes. The smoothest way to the top runs on Toompea and Falgi tee streets, but the rise remains sharp, so be prepared for a little push from a friend. However, these two streets allow you to reach the top by car as well. While you’re up there, make sure to visit the viewing platforms of Piiskopi, Patkuli and Kohtuotsa, offering magnificent views over Tallinn.

The rest of the Old Town is much more accessible. The streets are uneven at times, but the main streets of Viru and Harju, for example, have completely smooth pavement for pedestrians. 

Easily accessible street-level sights, shops and restaurants are available, but medieval housing shows its downsides quite often with steep stairs rising in front of the entrance. The beautiful Town Hall Square is fully accessible, as well as Niguliste Museum, the Estonian History Museum and the Estonian Health Care Museum, which are all accessible with a little help. Accessible toilets can be found, for example, in Restaurant Troika, Hotel Telegraaf and Puppet Theatre NUKU.

City Centre

The streets and parks of Tallinn’s modern city centre are fully accessible. Some crosswalks are also equipped with sound systems for the blind. 

The Estonian National Opera, Alexela Concert Hall and the city centre cinemas offer easy-to-access cultural experiences. Shopping goes nicely and smoothly, for example in Viru and Solaris Shopping Centres, and the Rotermann Quarter, a former factory area living a new life as a busy retail and restaurant district. St. John’s Church (Jaani kirik), situated on Freedom Square, is also an easy place to visit, whereas in other sights a little help might be needed.   

The big hotels in the city centre are always a sure choice for those looking for accessible accommodation. 

Kadriorg and Pirita

The imperial, and later presidential, park district of Kadriorg, with its many wheel-friendly pathways, is an ideal location for those in search of accessible experiences. Admire the 300-year-old park, with its beautiful trees and plants, and enjoy the centenaries of Estonian art in Kumu Art Museum and the collections of foreign art in Kadriorg Art Museum. The latter museum is housed in Kadriorg Palace, which was built for Peter the Great himself.   

The Tallinn Song Festival Grounds are easily accessible with all kinds of wheels. This is a place for many concerts and other public events, but it also offers great views from the top of the hill. You might need some help to get there, but it’s worth it. While there, make sure to say hello to the statue of composer and choir conductor Gustav Ernesaks – he is also there admiring the views. 

Pirita Promenade runs wide and smooth right next to the sea, leading you all the way to the former Olympic Yachting Centre and the famous Pirita Beach. On your way there, pop into the newly renovated Maarjamäe Palace, housing another section of the Estonian History Museum, Estonian Film Museum and interesting outdoor exhibitions accompanied by a beautiful park and children’s playground.  

A bit further away lie the ruins of St. Bridget’s Convent, dating as far back as 1407. The fairly accessible ruins and their surroundings are open to visitors. They are also a popular summer concert venue, hosting Birgitta Festival, an international festival of modern musical theatre held in August.   

Please be prepared to cover longer distances while visiting these areas.

Kalamaja

The trendiest of them all, the district of Kalamaja, is known for its colourful wooden houses and bohemian lifestyle. Many streets, for example Soo and Kalaranna, have been fully renewed with beautiful pavement, suitable for everyone.  

The recently renovated Balti Jaam Market (Balti Jaama Turg) has all the ramps and wide alleyways required for a problem-free shopping experience. The famous Telliskivi Creative City also welcomes people with reduced mobility in its stylish design shops, restaurants and cafes.  

Seaplane Harbour is a super modern and interesting maritime museum, full of sea-related stories and exhibits. Built in old seaplane hangars, it is also fairly accessible. On your way back, wheel-friendly Beta Promenade, running next to the shoreline, offers a light breeze and some amazing sea views.

Rocca al Mare

The Estonian Open Air Museum takes you back in time – this is the place to peek into old, rural Estonian villages. The area is fully accessible, but because of its vastness, some guests may need help and short breaks along the way. The same goes for the nearby Tallinn Zoo, which is otherwise fully accessible. 

More nature can be admired on Rocca al Mare Promenade. It runs through a peaceful, forest-like residential area, connecting you to two popular suburban beaches: Stroomi and Kakumäe. The surroundings of Mustjõe birdwatching tower are known for the abundance of bird species, many of which are protected.  

Shopping and eating is easiest at Rocca al Mare Shopping Centre, with its wide corridors and a huge variety of shops and restaurants. Next to the mall lies Estonia’s best-known event venue, Saku Suurhall. The fully accessible arena hosts dozens of concerts, fairs and sports events, of which you’re sure to find your favourite.  

Welcome to accessible Tallinn!

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