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23.7.2023 | Estonia

10 Free Things to do in Tallinn

Text Mark Taylor
Photos Andrei Chertkov, Victoria Olt Gallery, Mark Taylor

10 Free Things to do in TallinnSt Catherine’s Passage has featured in numerous movies.


1. Explore Old Town

Tallinn’s old town is recognised by UNESCO as the best example of a medieval walled city in northern Europe. From the imposing Fat Margaret gate, to the beautiful St Catherine’s Passage, you can find many places to stop and drink in the history of the city as you explore the back streets. The main thoroughfares of Viru street and town hall square also cannot be missed. 


Beautiful views await from the viewing platforms on Toompea.


2. City Walls and Viewing Platforms

Walking along the imposing yet picturesque city walls in Toompark, it is no wonder that no attacking force ever breached the defences. On top of Toompea (the highest part of the old town), you will also find two viewing platforms that are perfect for beautiful holiday snaps and selfies. There are a number of places where you can climb the city walls too, however, these have a small fee. 


Telliskivi is also full of cool graffiti.


3. Trendy Telliskivi

Is the new heart of the city for the younger generation. Starting with the renovated Baltiturg indoor market, to the indoor shopping street in Loomelinnak, there is plenty of shopping that can be done. The area is also full of cafes, bars, and restaurants, along with the well-known Fotografiska photo museum. 


The gardens of Peter the Great’s Palace in Kadriorg park are free to enter.


4. Kadriorg Park

Is the largest and grandest of Tallinn’s parks. In the 70-hectare park you will find the palace of Peter the Great, the residence of the Estonian President and the Estonian Art Museum (KUMU). The most popular places to walk in the park are the swan pond, promenade to the president’s palace and the Japanese garden.


The stage at the song festival grounds can hold up to 10,000 singers.


5. Lauluväljak

 Is one of the most iconic and historically significant places in Estonia. The festival grounds, which can hold up to 100,000 people, are home to the internationally renowned Estonian Song Festival. The outdoor venue is popular for concerts as well, with the likes of Michael Jackson, Elton John and Tina Turner all having performed there. 


The Alexander Nevski Cathedral was built in 1900.


6. Alexander Nevski Cathedral

This distinctive cathedral was the last to be added to Tallinn’s skyline in 1900, when Estonia was still part of Czarist Russia. The interior of the orthodox cathedral is decorated with colourful mosaics and icons. Many other churches and cathedrals in the city are also free to enter, however, you may have to pay to enter their museums or climb the towers.


The Patarei Sea Fortress was an imposing defence in its time.


7. Tallinn Culture Kilometre

This 2.5-long trail offers the chance to see Tallinn from a different perspective and period of history than mentioned so far. The route which travels along an old railway embankment starts at Linnahall, a Soviet era concrete building that featured heavily in the movie Tenet. From there it moves on past interesting street art to the Patarei Sea Fortress that was also the city prison until the turn of this century. The cultural kilometer continues on past the impressive Sea Plane Harbour maritime museum before ending in the newly developed Noblessnor port area where there are plenty of restaurants, cafes, bars, other things to do.


The Victoria Olt Gallery is the newest in Tallinn’s old town.


8. Free Galleries

 For art lovers, there is a good selection of free galleries to visit. In the old town, you will find Tallinn City Gallery and Victoria Olt Gallery. The second having the added benefit that it is also possible to buy the works of up-and-coming artists. Near the port, you will find the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM). Moving further out of the central city there is the T1 Gallery inside the mall of the same name, as well as the Lasnamäe Pavilion, which is part of Tallinn City Gallery.


The Kiek in de Kök bastion museum is the most-high profile museum that is part of Free Museum Sunday’s.


9. Free Museum Sunday’s

On the first Sunday of every month entry to museums run by the city of Tallinn is free of charge. There is one caveat though, you now need to register in advance online for the museum you want to visit. The museums which are part of the scheme are: Kiek in de Kök, Museum of Photography, Kalamaja Museum, Nomme Museum, House of Peter the Great, Vilde Museum, Mati Unt Museum, Tammsaare Museum, Tallinn Russian Museum,  Tallinn City Life Museum, Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM), and Lasnamäe Pavilion.


The viewing tower at Pääsküla Raba Bog.


10. Pääsküla Raba Bog

Estonia is a nation of forests and wetlands, with the latter taking up nearly 10 per cent of the country. With numerous longer and shorter routes around the bog (including along wooden boardwalks), as well as a viewing tower, it is a great place to get a small taste of Estonian nature without leaving the city. 


To learn more about this and similar topics
Free Museum Sunday Free Tallinn Kadriorg Park Lauluvaljak Museum Gallery Tallinn Tallinn Old Town Telliskivi

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