Tallinn Travel Guide

Write a Review
Popular Travel Destinations

Recently Reviewed Hotels Around Tallinn

Tallinn Travel Guide

Tallinn Local History

It is believed that Tallinn's history began in the suburb of Iru, where a settlement and castle were built around the end of the first millennium. This castle was probably built to offer refuge in the event of enemy attacks.

The first reliable information about Tallinn goes back to the Chronicle of Latvian Hendrik which describes the landing of King Valdemar II landing near Lindanise castle in June 1219. According to legend there was a battle waged on the area which would become the future Tallinn. It was a difficult victory for the Dane invaders but in the end they won and built their castle on Tompea and bishop Andreas Sunesen was the first regent of Denmark in Tallinn. From 1227 to 1238 Tallinn was governed by the Order of the Brotherhood of the Sword after they had gained power from the Danes. It was in about 1230 that German merchants were invited to Tallinn by the Brotherhood and this is considered an important event in the making of the Tallinn residents.

In the 14th Century the Danish king forced by the lack of money and internal difficulties sold his lands in Northern Estonia as well as Tallinn to the German Order. In 1347 Tallinn became an Order town and was governed by a comptoir of the German Order, but nothing much changed in the lives of the residents of Tallinn as Master Goswin von Herike of the German Order adopted the early privileges of Tallinn. The town started to grow when country folk migrated to the town as it was in need of more working hands.

Tallinn went through much growth and turmoil from the 15th century right through to the 20th century. Tallinn was governed through the ages by the Swedish Crown and the Russian state until in 1991 Estonia regained its independence and Tallinn became the country's capital.

Tallinn Attractions

Top Attractions

Tallinn Town Hall The Gothic Town Hall was built on the central square of Tallinn around the beginning of the 13th Century. During the years 1402-1404 it was significantly rebuilt and the exterior that we see today is from this period. The basic room plan was kept as near to the old plans as possible as they are used for hosting receptions. The second floor where the Citizen's Hall is located is still the main floor. Here you will also find the Council Hall, the kitchen and chancery and where concerts and festive receptions are held, as they were during the medieval days. The exhibit hall which is open to citizens and visitors are the three-nave cellar hall.

St. Olav's Church The earliest information on the church is from 1267 and it was the tallest church in Medieval Europe. Not much is known about the building of the church, however it appears that there may have been a church on the exact location as early as the 12th century. The church was named after the Norwegian king Olav II Haraldson, who was canonised as a saint. St Olav is the protector of seafarers.

The Old Town The old town of Tallinn has been well-preserved in its medieval structure and setting. It has not lost any of its character as have other capitals of northern Europe. It has a web of winding cobblestone streets and properties which are from the 11th to 15th centuries. The most important buildings such as the state and church buildings from the Middle Ages have been preserved as much in their basic original form as possible. There are many merchants' and citizens' homes, barns and warehouses from the medieval period.

Party in Tallinn - your party organiser The best clubs, the best movida, the best activities. All you need for an unforgettable time in Tallinn. www.partyintallinn.com
submitted by Daniele, 11/02/08

Nimeta Bar Nimeta Bar means No Name Bar in Estonian excellent place for food, drinks ,live sports, top dj's!
submitted by Andy, 30/04/05

Tallinn Shopping

Tallinn has plenty of opportunities to spend money, especially in the Old Town where there are dozens of souvenir, antique and speciality stores. The main shopping streets in the Old Town are Viru, Muurivahe, Suur-Karja, Vaike-Karja and Kullassepa where you will just about anything includeing footwear and clothing.

The largest shopping centre is the Kriistine Centre and is situated in Kristiine. Here you will find everything that is for sale in Tallinn, there are cafes and restaurants as well as a large supermarket. There are also two department stores in the city centre and they offer everything from electronics to cosmetics. Here you will also find a large clothing section for men, women and children.

Tallinn Activities

Tallinn Zoo This zoo was founded on 25 August 1939 and a young lynx Illu was their first exhibit. Until 1940 the zoo extended its collection and decided to build a larger zoo to incorporate more animals, this was unfortunately delayed due to WWll and the annexure of Estonia by the Soviet Union. It was only 44 years later in 1983 that the zoo moved to its new location in the Veskimetsa district. The zoo has one of the best collections of sheep and mountain goats in the world. They have an amazing amount of eagles, vultures and a remarkable collection of owl and crane species. Although the other animal species at the zoo are limited, they have managed to assembled a fascinating collection and have achieved great success with their nurselings.

Children's gallery Kullo - Kuninga St This children's gallery is situated in a medieval building and has been holding exhibitions of children's art since 1983. The building is worth seeing and is full of surprises such as a unique 18th century painting which is located on the ceiling of the first floor. This painting 'Prudentia' was discovered when restoration work was being done recently. There are also concerts and theatre performances held in the cosy building.

Town Wall The Wall was three metres thick, sixteen metres high and four kilometres long and completely surrounded the city. It had 46 defence towers and during the 16th century was one of the most powerful defence systems in Northern Europe. The section of the Town Wall that is still intact is two kilometres long and encircles 26 of the original defence towers. With anyone, especially children, who have a sense of adventure, there are three towers and a section of the wall which is open to the public. You can climb up Nunna Tower from Suur-Kloostri and Vaike-Kloostri streets and cross the defence passage to the Sauna Tower and then proceed toward the Kuldiala Tower.

Tallinn Restaurants and Bars

The Estonian speciality is smoked fish, particularly trout. They have the weirdest sausages; these are prepared from fresh blood and wrapped in pig's intestine. Blood sausages as they are called and blood pancakes are served in Estonian restaurants. They also have a liqueur called Vana Tallinn, which is sickly sweet and very strong. No one seems to know what it is made from, but it is an essential part of any Estonia's table. It is best to have it in coffee or over ice with milk.

Tallinn Restaurants

Beer House Dunkri 5 - Located in a roomy beer cellar, the Beer House brews its own ales and serves a hearty pork and potato meal.

Buon Giorno Muurivahe 17 - If you're in the mood for good soup, pasta dishes and cheap specials this is the place to go.

Cafe Anglais Raekoja plats 14 - For a morning or afternoon inbetweener try the Cafe Anglais. They are a little expensive but they have excellent coffee and hot chocolate, and a really good range of fresh salads and sweets.

Olde Hanse Why not try something completely different and go for a medieval dinner. The Olde Hanse serves meals in the old medieval tradition, not only is it served by staff dressed in medieval costumes but the food such as fish, birds and fruit is prepared the medieval way. This is an experience that will be very hard to forget. This is a very popular restaurant and booking is essential.

Tallinn Bars & Clubs

Molly Malone's Möndi 2 - This large pub is situated just off Raekoja plats. It is the haunt of ex-patriots and a blend of tourists and locals. They frequently have live music by cover bands and a pub style menu.

Kloostri Ait Vene 14 - This club is quieter than most of the others, with cheap buffet meals, live folk and jazz music and a huge open fire.

Hollywood Club Vana-Posti 8 - This popular dance club in the Old Town specialises in commercial techno music. It is trendy and busy and is open only Wed Fri. No trainers are allowed.

Terrarium Sadama 6 - This tiny club is situated by the port and is popular with the dance crowd. They also have international DJs and are unfortunately closed from Sun Tues.

Guitar Safari Muurivahe 22 This is a popular club for dancing and live cover bands.

Tallinn children's activities

Tallinn Zoo This zoo was founded on 25 August 1939 and a young lynx Illu was their first exhibit. Until 1940 the zoo extended its collection and decided to build a larger zoo to incorporate more animals, this was unfortunately delayed due to WWll and the annexure of Estonia by the Soviet Union. It was only 44 years later in 1983 that the zoo moved to its new location in the Veskimetsa district. The zoo has one of the best collections of sheep and mountain goats in the world. They have an amazing amount of eagles, vultures and a remarkable collection of owl and crane species. Although the other animal species at the zoo are limited, they have managed to assembled a fascinating collection and have achieved great success with their nurselings.

Children's gallery Kullo - Kuninga St This children's gallery is situated in a medieval building and has been holding exhibitions of children's art since 1983. The building is worth seeing and is full of surprises such as a unique 18th century painting which is located on the ceiling of the first floor. This painting 'Prudentia' was discovered when restoration work was being done recently. There are also concerts and theatre performances held in the cosy building.

Town Wall The Wall was three metres thick, sixteen metres high and four kilometres long and completely surrounded the city. It had 46 defence towers and during the 16th century was one of the most powerful defence systems in Northern Europe. The section of the Town Wall that is still intact is two kilometres long and encircles 26 of the original defence towers. With anyone, especially children, who have a sense of adventure, there are three towers and a section of the wall which is open to the public. You can climb up Nunna Tower from Suur-Kloostri and Vaike-Kloostri streets and cross the defence passage to the Sauna Tower and then proceed toward the Kuldiala Tower.

Useful Tallinn Links

Tallinn Life
Travel Guide to Estonia's Capital

Featured Hotels in Tallinn

Know a thing or two about Tallinn ?

Please share your experiences and tips with your fellow travellers.
Your personal details and email address won't be published.

Fields with an * are required. Errors will be indicated in red