How to Spend 3 Days in Tallinn
Tallinn has so much to see and do that getting the maximum from three days in the city requires careful planning. From discovering its Old Town UNESCO World Heritage Site to exploring farther afield, here’s our take on spending 72 hours in the Estonian capital.
Day 1: Explore the Highlights
Tallinn has sights aplenty, from its medieval Old Town to Soviet-era landmarks. Tick off Lower Old Town must-sees such as the Kiek in de Kök tower and Old Town Pharmacy—Europe’s oldest working pharmacy—and Upper Town sights such as the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and Toompea Castle. Hop-on hop-off tours stop right outside the Old Town’s walls, while walking, bike, and bus tours offer Old Town overviews coupled with wider forays around 20th-century landmarks, such as the 1980 city hall and Song Festival Grounds. Top off a busy day with a tour sampling craft beers or liqueur such as the local caraway-flavored Kännu Kukk.
Day 2: Capital Trips
Rise early and get ready for a full—and long—day exploring one of two northern European capitals: Riga or Helsinki. Ride a ferry across the Gulf of Finland to explore the handsome Finnish capital of Helsinki, with its cathedral, Sibelius Monument, and late-20th-century Temppeliaukio Church. Most day trips include an audio-guided bus tour then time to enjoy the shops, markets, and restaurants independently. Alternatively, for architectural interest, take a guided tour of the beautiful Latvian capital, Riga. Travel south through Estonia’s and Latvia’s wooded countryside, stopping to see the medieval Viljandi and Cēsis castles en route. In Riga, explore the Old Town, crowned by Riga Cathedral, Riga Castle, and the Dutch Renaissance–style House of Blackheads, a 14th-century redbrick merchant’s hall and city landmark.
Day 3: Food, Art, and Fun
Begin today with a culinary tour of Tallinn. Call at the Baltic Station market, as well as delis, bakeries, and cafés, and sample staples such as sprat sandwiches and fruit wine, or join a workshop and learn the art of sculpting marzipan, reputedly invented in Tallinn. In the afternoon, continue exploring the city. Take in attractions such as the baroque Kadriorg Palace, built by Peter the Great, and a branch of Estonia’s Art Museum on the city’s fringes. Alternatively, join a cycling tour around Tallinn’s Kalamaja district. Finally, test your nerve with an escape-room game or a ghost walk around shadowy Old Town lanes to discover their sometimes sinister past. Otherwise, jump straight into party mode and top off your stay with a bar crawl.