Attractions & museums

    Seaplane Harbour, Estonian Maritime Museum

    The unforgettable Seaplane Harbour is home to a super-modern maritime and military museum, complete with historic ships to tour.

    Located in Tallinn's famed, wooden-house district of Kalamaja, the harbour is best known for its architecturally unique Seaplane Hangars. Built a century ago, in 1916 and 1917, as a part of Peter the Great sea fortress, these hangars are the world’s first reinforced concrete shell structures of such a great size. Charles Lindbergh, the man who performed the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, landed here in the 1930s.

    Now the vast hangars house an extensive, high-tech museum telling exciting stories of Estonia's maritime and military history and promising a 'sea full of excitement' for the whole family.  The museum comprises more than two hundred large exhibits in an area equivalent to nearly 2 million A4 paper sheets laid down side by side. 

    The British-built Lembit submarine, weighing 600 tones, is the centrepiece of the museum. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, Lembit served in World War II under the Soviet flag. It remained in service for 75 years and was the oldest submarine in the world still in use until it was hauled ashore in 2011. Despite its long history, Lembit is still in excellent condition, and climbing inside offers an interesting glimpse of 1930s technology.

    Another exciting attraction is a full-scale replica of a Short Type 184, a British pre-World War II seaplane that was also used by the Estonian armed forces. The Short Type 184 earned its place in military history by being the first aircraft ever to attack an enemy’s ship with an air-launched torpedo. None of the originals have survived. The replica in the Seaplane Harbour is the only full-size representation of the aircraft in the entire world.

    More excitement for adults and kids alike is provided by the museum's simulators, which mimic a flight above Tallinn, an around-the-world journey in a yellow submarine and navigating on Tallinn Bay.

    In the museum's outdoor area, visitors can tour a collection of historic ships, including the Suur Tõll, Europe's largest steam-powered icebreaker.

    Discover more about the Seaplane Harbour's permanent display with the audio tour. The audio guide (2 €) is available in ten languages: Estonian, Russian, Finnish, English, Latvian, French, German, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese.   

    Entrance to the whole complex is free with Tallinn Card.

    TripAdvisor® Traveler Reviews

    TripAdvisor logo tripadvisor rating 4.5 of 5

    based on 3652 reviews

    • Must-see in Tallinn

      tripadvisor rating 5 of 5
      May 30, 2021 By angelasJ5518LZ

      This place tells shows history, you can touch it. The most impressive part is a submarine, it is so difficult to understand how people could spend more than 5 minutes there. It is a great... Read more comments

    • Great hands on experience

      tripadvisor rating 5 of 5
      November 8, 2020 By bartonsmpson

      Purpose built seaplane maintenance sheds converted to a museum houseing a couple of seaplanes,a full sized UK built Submarine with a host of other military eqipment. Great to get onboard the sub... Read more comments

    • Three Things Stood Out

      tripadvisor rating 4 of 5
      September 25, 2020 By Gee T

      I found the crampness of the submarine interesting. The audio of the people escaping the Soviets by sea was chilling and moving. Speaking with staff made me feel even more appreciative.