Best Things to Do in Tallinn in 2 Days
Are you planning your Tallinn itinerary and wondering about the best things to do in Tallinn in 2 days? Then read on – as you´ll find many of my travel tips here. Find out about the best places to visit in 48 hours (or a bit less) and more tips for your 2-day Tallinn itinerary.
Tallinn, Estonia’s capital, is a captivating blend of medieval charm and modern vitality. Its UNESCO-listed Old Town boasts cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and iconic landmarks.
Tallinn is one of the cities that have become incredibly popular, and it seems it is no longer a hidden gem. However, it is still not overrun by tourists like some other European cities. If you like to visit Tallinn but are not sure what to do in Tallinn, you are lucky as this post gives you tips on spending 2 days in Tallinn – the best things to do and see in Tallinn.
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TIPS FOR 2 DAYS IN TALLINN
Before talking about the best places to see in Tallinn in 2 days (or 1 day), here is some important travel information for Tallinn.
Why Visit Tallinn
Here is why visiting charming Tallinn in Estonia is a good idea.
First of all, after I had visited places like Hong Kong, Dubai, London, Paris, and Switzerland this year, it was one of the very few places that were more “affordable.” Compared to Germany (western Germany), the prices are okay, and visiting was a treat for my wallet.
Second, and probably even more important, Tallinn is cute and beautiful and one of the best places to visit in Eastern Europe.
Where to Stay in Tallinn
In general, I recommend staying in the old town or near it. The harbor is great, too (especially if you plan a trip to Helsinki), but in general, I suggest the old town area.
- I stayed at the 4* Hotel Hotel L’Ermitage, which is very close to the Old Town of Tallinn and a great place to stay, among others, because of the proximity to the Old Town.
- If you want to stay in a more luxurious place, check out this 5-star hotel in the old town. It is just a stone’s throw away from the Town Hall Square.
Get a Tallinn Card
I had the 72-hour Tallinn Card (which also comes as a 24-hour or 48-hour card). It is a popular card, and you can use it for public transportation, hop on and hop off buses, and many museums & attractions.
It turned out to be very handy, and I used it for public transport and some Tallinn attractions. Several sights were closed already in September, and I could not see them but doing the Maths, the Tallinn Card was still worth the money.
If you do not want to get a Tallinn Card, you can also book the hop-on and hop-off tour separately (great to use when visiting some of the Tallinn tourist attractions on my list).
Best Time to Visit in Tallinn
Estonia is located in the northeastern part of Europe – it can get cold in the winter months, and even in the summer months, hot weather cannot be guaranteed.
However, if you enjoy warm weather, then the best time to visit is between May and September.
It may get busy in July and August, and thus I normally advise visiting Europe in these months. There are festivals and if you do not mind crowds, then still go for July and August. Check out my guide on what to pack for Europe in summer.
If you hope for warm weather and want to avoid crowds (and have the benefit of lower accommodation prices), then plan a trip to Tallinn in May, June, or September.
December (and winter in general) in Tallinn is cold and snowy, with only a few hours of daylight (about 6 hours in December) with temperatures below freezing point. In December, you will also find a lovely Christmas market in Estonia´s capital. Check out my packing guide for Europe in winter.
How to Get Around Tallinn
Many attractions mentioned here are located close to each other. You can mostly get around Tallinn just by walking.
In other cases, you will need public transportation/car. However, I do not think you really need to rent a car or use taxis. I used public transportation to get to/from the airport to the city center and hop-on and hop-off buses to get to some attractions outside the town center.
It was all included in the Tallinn Card I had, so I did not have to pay any extra money for it.
WHAT TO DO IN TALLINN IN 2 DAYS
With 2 days in Tallinn, you will have enough time to see Tallinn´s main attraction, but you will not have time to take it extremely slowly.
DAY 1 IN 2 DAYS IN TALLINN
Let´s start the Tallinn itinerary.
St. Olav’s Church and Tower
This attraction is a good starting point for your Tallinn trip because it is located about 800 meters outside the old town.
St. Olav’s Church Tower was built in the 16th century. For some time, it used to be the tallest building in the world. Standing at 124 meters it is one of the most impressive buildings in the city.
The view, which you can enjoy after climbing 232 stairs to the observation platform, is very well known, and I wish I had not missed out on that view (especially because I have a thing for great views), but it was closed when I visited.
- The church entrance is free.
- There is an entrance fee for the tower. Free entrance with the Tallinn Card for the tower.
- From April to the end of October, the tower is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm (in July and August until 8 pm).
- The church and the tower are closed in winter.
From the church, head to this stop: the Town Wall. Parts of the wall were created in the 13th century and for some time it it became one of the largest and strongest defence systems in entire Northern Europe. It is one of the best-preserved fortifications – about half of it is still well-preserved including 1.85 km of the wall, 26 defense towers, 2 gates, and fragments of two front gates.
Some parts are open to the public (check opening hours before visiting) and so are several towers that offer nice views of the Old Town and Toompea. There are several towers you can climb but one popular place to start is the Nunna Tower. The best places to see the wall from the outside are the Patkuli viewing platform on Toompea and Tornide väljak (Towers’ Square).
- The entrance fee is just around 4 € (free with your Tallinn Card).
- From June until the end of August, it is – usually – open daily from 11:00 am to 6 pm.
- In April and May it is just open from Friday to Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm.
- From September to the end of March it is also only open from Friday to Sunday and closes at 4 pm already.
Close to the city walls is the Kohtuotsa viewing platform. Yes, the first part of the day is mostly about the views. Kohtuotsa offers panoramic views of the Old Town, which is a must-see in 2 days in Tallinn.
The Kohtuotsa viewing platform is on the northern side of Toompea Hill. In the summer months, you will also find a cafe here. Sometimes, artists perform music and it is a fun place to spend some time – especially on a sunny day. Take a break, enjoy the views, and also get your camera ready – it is one of the most Instrammable places in Tallinn so maybe it is good to be here early before it gets busy.
Here is also where you find the quote “The Times We Had” on the wall that has become a popular photo spot.
There are a couple of nice places with good views – however, this is probably the most famous and popular as it gives you a good impression of the city.
From St. Olav´s Church it takes about 15-20 minutes to get here on foot (it is a slight uphill walk) to get there on foot.
- It is open-air, free to visit, and open 24/7
St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Just after the viewing platform, it is time for the most stunning piece of architecture in Tallinn. It just takes a few minutes to get to St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. This church was just overwhelming, and it has become one of my favorite buildings I have seen on my travels that year.The Orthodox cathedral in Tallinn´s old town is the grandest and most opulent Orthodox church in Tallinn. It was built at the end of the 19th century – when Tallinn was part of the Russian Empire. The cathedral was dedicated to the Prince of Novgorod, Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky. It was he who led the famous Battle of the Ice at Lake Peipsi in the 13th century, which halted the German crusaders’ eastward advance.
The church’s towers’ hold Tallinn’s most powerful church bell ensemble, consisting of 11 bells, including the largest in Tallinn, weighing 15 tonnes.
You can also go inside and see its beautiful interior but you are not allowed to take pictures inside.
- Church is open from Monday to Sunday from 8 am to 6 pm
- Free to visit
Visit the Old Town
Then it is time to stroll the streets of the old town of Tallinn.
Tallinn might be most famous for its old town, and it is indeed very charming, so make sure to add it to your Tallinn itinerary (even if you only have one day). Here are most of the tourist attractions in Tallinn, and it is one of the best places to visit – it does not matter if you have one day in Tallinn or two days.
I have to admit that I got lost (and normally I am not THAT bad with maps). So, I probably missed out on several places despite my map, but I think I got a very good impression of this city’s beauty.
There are many cute small streets with little cafes, restaurants, and historic buildings, so the old town will probably be the first thing on your to-do list. If you visit some of Tallinn´s sights in the old town and just get lost in the streets, you can easily spend a full day in the old town,
Where to Eat in the Old Town
It is probably time for lunch by now – I visited Vegan Restaurant V for a late lunch and was surprised at how busy it was. Vegan food seems to be popular in Tallinn though meat and seafood are very typical. The food was not mind-blowing – despite the very good reviews.
But it was tasty, and the restaurant was very charming and cute. So “Terviseks” to good food and drinks in Tallinn (which means “cheers” in Estonian: if you want to learn to say cheers in different languages, read Laura´s post).
Town Hall Square
The Town Hall Square has been a market place and the center of Tallinn since the Middle Ages. When I visited a Russian concert took place which was quite interesting and fun. And apparently, it is not uncommon – in summer you will find outdoor cafes, it plays host to the Old Town Days and other medieval festivals, and it is a venue for open-air concerts, fairs, and more.
In winter, you will find Tallinn´s famous Christmas market here at the Town Hall Square.
The colorful buildings are pretty picturesque – as is the Old Town in general – probably one of the most Instagrammable places in Tallinn. Also, you will find some interesting buildings around Town Hall Square.
Unfortunately, the Town Hall at Town Hall Square was closed when I visited. However, the Town Hall is the oldest in the region (Baltic and Scandinavia) and dates back to the 13th century (its completion was in 1404). For 700 years Tallinn was ruled from the Town Hall and even now, it has its historical role of being the town’s representational building and a venue for receptions and concerts.
This Gothic-style hall is a popular tourist attraction in Tallinn.
- Entry fee about 5€
- In summer (July and August), it is open from 11 am to 4 pm for visitors to visit each room from the basement to the attic. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
- Also, it is open on several other dates – from 2nd January to 6th January from 11:00 am to 4 pm.
- On other days, you can request a tour but there is no guarantee it will be granted.
For an ideal 2-day Tallinn itinerary, I would not plan in more activities – while you could do more in one day, above mentioned Tallinn activities should be enough for a nice and relaxed day. I would plan just a dinner in the old town, walk the streets of the old town and end your day at the Town Hall Square.
DAY 2 OF 2 DAYS IN TALLINN
If you stay in Tallinn for longer than one day, you can add these places to your 2-day itinerary.
Tallinn TV Tower
I also visited the Tallinn TV Tower in Pirita, situated a bit outside the city center.
The TV Tower dates back to the 1980s and is the tallest building in the city. It is a lot about the views from there but you will also find exhibitions and interactive attractions about the tower. I was lucky that it was quite empty and there were no lines or crowds of people.
The tower itself stands at 314 meters while the viewing platform is at the level of 170 meters (558 feet). You can see the Baltic Sea as well as Tallinn and its green surroundings.
At the top, visit the interactive exhibition about genes and gene technology, enjoy a drink at the highest café in Estonia, or check out some of the other high tech displays. For an additional fee, you can also walk on the edge of the viewing platform (only from April to October) on the 22nd floor of the tower.
- I got there by using the Tallinn hop-on and Hop-off buses. The sightseeing bus stops in front of the TV Tower and hence does not include much walking to get there
- A ticket is included in the Tallinn Card (it does not cover the fees for the “Walk on the Edge” )
- The entrance fee (without Tallinn Card) is 13€
- From May until the end of September open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 12 pm to 7 pm
- From October until the end of April open from Wednesday to Sundays from 12 pm to 9 pm
TIP: On the way to the city center, the bus passed some quieter and green places – this is one of the best places to see in Tallinn apart from the old town. The green lounge surely makes a good place for strolls, and if you have more time, you could get out somewhere along the way to explore the green part of Tallinn.
If I had had more time, I would have spent an hour or more at the Pirita Promenade.
I would surely have enjoyed the place because of the nice views of the city skyline and the proximity to the water.Pirita Promenade @shutterstock
It is a 2 km paved pathway, great for walking, cycling, or skating – if you walk from Pirita to the city center, you´ll enjoy the beautiful Tallinn skyline. I definitely spent too little time here – but it is also another great free activity to do in Tallinn – and on sunny days, a fun thing!
Before I visited the TV Tower, I had stopped at Kadriorg Palace – one of the most beautiful sights in Tallinn.It is a colorful baroque palace, built in the 18th century, and definitely worth a visit.
There is also a museum that now houses the Art Museum of Estonia’s foreign collection, displaying hundreds of 16th- to 20th-century paintings by Western and Russian artists, as well as prints, sculptures, and other works.
I did not visit the museum but just admired the palace from the outside – and it was still worth the visit! You can also book an art tour to see more of the palace.
- Free with the Tallinn Card
- Opening hours: Tuesdays, and Thursdays to Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm, Wednesdays 10 am to 7 pm
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THIS TALLINN ITINERARY
Before you know it, your two days in Tallinn are over. With two days in Tallinn, you can immerse yourself in the enchanting Old Town’s medieval charm, exploring historic sites like Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Stroll along cobblestone streets, savoring local cuisine in charming cafes. Dive into Estonia’s rich cultural heritage at museums.
Conclude your short but fulfilling journey with a scenic stroll along the picturesque Gulf of Finland waterfront, leaving you with lasting memories of Tallinn’s unique blend of history and innovation.
This is my 2-day itinerary for Tallinn if you do not want to stress out. I hope you enjoy Tallinn as much as I did and get the see the best places in Tallinn.
So, hopefully, this 2 days in Tallinn itinerary, you can explore this beautiful city and see the best the city has to offer.