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Photo by: Kaupo Kalda

Photo by: Kaupo Kalda

Photo by: Jaak Nilson

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Top 10: must-see sights in Tallinn

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By  •  13.09.2019

It’s quite a task to choose only ten things one must see in Tallinn. From the city’s many intriguing sights, these stand out because each has a unique story and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. So if you’re in Tallinn for a limited time, or are looking for something truly special, check out this list of noteworthy sights.                              

A top tip: if you plan to visit museums, use public transport, or the hop-on-hop-off tour bus, consider purchasing a Tallinn Card, a sightseeing pass that includes free entry to Tallinn’s top museums, free use of public transport, and a 50% discount on the hop-on-hop-off tour bus (free with Tallinn Card PLUS). 

As in the Middle Ages, the Town Hall Square is the heart of the Old Town. Historically, it served as a marketplace, but today is the stage for various events, the most well-known being the Christmas Market. As you may have guessed, the square takes its name from the gothic Town Hall building. During the summer, visitors can climb the Town Hall’s tower to a 34-metre-high belfry balcony with views over the Old Town. Opposite the Town Hall is the Town Hall Pharmacy, the oldest continually operating apothecary in Europe. 

If you’re not afraid of heights, explore the vertical wonders of the Old Town. St. Olav’s Church was once the tallest building in the world during the 15th and 16th centuries. Today, its tower remains the most defining element of the Tallinn skyline, which visitors can ascend during the summer season for magnificent views. 

Kohtuotsa viewing platform is one of the most photographed places in Tallinn. From here, a panorama including St. Olav’s spire, the modern city centre, many of the Town Wall’s defence towers and much more can be seen. Tallinn’s Town Wall is one of the best preserved medieval fortifications in Europe, so take the chance to explore it up close. It is possible to visit the northwest portion of the wall, as well as some of the 20 defence towers. 

Walking along St. Catherine’s Passage, one can envision what it was like to be a Baltic craftsman 500 years ago. The workshops of St. Catherine’s Guild line the romantic walkway, where artisans produce and sell handmade goods. To put Tallinn’s medieval sights into context, visit the Estonian History Museum’s Great Guild Hall. Here, travel through prehistoric times all the way to the end of the 20th century. The lofty hall itself dates back to the 15th century, from which German merchants chaired the Town Council. 

Just a short walk or tram ride from the Old Town, Kadriorg Palace is a stunning jewel of baroque architecture. It was built in the era of Tsar Peter the Great and named after his wife Catherine. Its neatly manicured gardens are home to many museums, including Kumu Art Museum. While in Kadriorg park, also be sure to visit the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds. This arched stage and performance venue hosts Estonia’s largest event – the Song and Dance Celebration. It was here in 1988 that the Singing Revolution spurred Estonia’s road to renewed independence.  

The Seaplane Harbour is Tallinn’s most popular museum, and for good reason. The century-old seaplane hangar houses modern maritime exhibits that will educate and entertain guests of all ages. Learn about Estonian history through its connection to the sea, and climb inside a real submarine! 

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