Tallinn is a beautiful seaside city with a rich history where guests are always welcome. We want to be kind to our city and we know that our guests are also conscious of how travel and consumerism affect our world. By making sustainable, well-thought-out decisions you can experience Tallinn in all its beauty and versatility and also help care for it.
Read more on making sustainable choices when visiting Tallinn in order to have an even better trip.
Arrival in Tallinn and travelling in the city
Tallinn is a compact city. It does not matter if you are arriving by ferry, plane or bus – you will find yourself in the city centre. But how to get to where you want to go?
Take public transport from the airport or bus station, walk to town from the harbour
The tram, which runs on electricity, stops right next to the airport and takes about 15 minutes to get to the heart of Tallinn. You can reach both the Old Town and the city centre from the bus station by hopping on a bus or tram. If you buy a Tallinn Card, public transport will be free!
If you arrived in Tallinn by ferry, you can walk to the Old Town from the port in about 15 minutes. Getting from one end of the Old Town to the other also takes about 10-15 minutes.
Tallinn is small enough for everything to be within walking distance but also big enough to always offer something new to discover. The popular sights, hotels and restaurants of the city centre and the Old Town are just a short walk away. The city is also built on a relatively flat area, making walking even more easy. Tallinn is also perfect for going on longer walks, as there is a lot to discover and pleasant places to stop and rest. There is also a lot to discover outside the city centre: Rocca Al Mare, Nõmme, Pirita, Kadriorg and Kalamaja. You could visit the exciting former industrial area of Kopli or explore the many urban nature areas of Tallinn.
Tallinn’s transport is green
Although it is convenient to walk around the city centre and Kalamaja, hopping on a vehicle may be required in order to reach more remote areas. Most of Tallinn's public transport vehicles run on electricity or gas. By 2025 we plan on eliminating buses running on diesel fuel completely. Therefore, using public transport for longer routes is a more sustainable option. If you wish to use a ridesharing service, but still want to be responsible about it, order an electric car from the Bolt application.
Sustainable electric scooters in Tallinn
In the warmer months, you can also rent an electric scooter powered by 100% renewable energy using the Bolt app. The local service provider Tuul also offers electric scooter rental. Gas-powered vans are used to collect the scooters from the streets to further reduce their footprint.
Sustainable accommodation in Tallinn
Tallinn has a wide range of accommodation for all tastes, including a selection of hotels and accommodations that put emphasis on sustainability.
Green Key hotels in Tallinn
Several hotels in Tallinn have joined the international eco-label Green Key, which gives companies an operating model for developing an environmentally friendly and sustainable workplace. The label indicates that the company is committed to reducing its environmental impact. By choosing companies with the Green Key label, you are being more responsible during your stay in Tallinn.
Good hotel practices: how to be responsible
Regardless of which hotel or accommodation you choose, you can also save the environment with your own personal choices. For longer stays, we recommend that you do not use the daily cleaning service if possible. If you do not need to wash your towels and bed linen every day at home, you probably do not need to do that in a hotel either. Do not leave electrical devices plugged in all day and keep the temperature of the air conditioner stable if possible.
Local and sustainable food in Tallinn
Restaurants in Tallinn are brilliant in terms of their high quality and versatility. Most fine dining restaurants in Tallinn use mainly local ingredients and it is commonplace for restaurants to change their menu seasonally so that the ingredients for the food are freshly available. Do not be afraid to ask a restaurant where they source their ingredients from!
We also recommend that you choose tap water over bottled water. Estonian tap water is clean and safe to drink. The vast majority of Tallinn’s residents drink tap water.
There are also several vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Tallinn for those who want to avoid animal products. Choosing a vegetarian option from time to time also helps to preserve the planet.
Did you know that Tallinn also has a zero-waste restaurant? The Fotografiska restaurant aims to make the most of raw materials in cooking and if anything does go bad, it is used as compost.
Public drinking water taps in Tallinn
In many parts of Tallinn, both in the city centre and in the surrounding areas, there are public drinking taps that you can use to quench your thirst and refill your water bottle. So, instead of buying bottled water from the store, take your favourite reusable bottle along with you on your journey around Tallinn. The locations of the water taps are marked on an interactive map.
Sights and excursions in Tallinn
How can you make sure you’re being responsible when visiting the sights? How to get the most authentic experience possible when visiting Tallinn? Easy, you just have to be smart about it!
With the Tallinn Card QR-ticket, you can visit museums paper-free
The Tallinn Card can be used to visit 50 museums and sights around Tallinn free of charge. In addition, you can use Tallinn’s public transport for free with the card. When buying a ticket from the Tallinn Card e-shop, you will receive a digital ticket so no paper will be used.
Book a local guide in Tallinn
A good way to explore Tallinn is to take a tour. Find local tour organisers or guides and book a city tour through them! This way you can have an authentic experience by seeing the city through a local guide. In addition, you will be supporting the local communities and people.
Support Tallinn’s museums, support local culture
An easy way to support Tallinn's culture is to visit its museums. Most of Tallinn's museums also support research related to the museum.
The Estonian Open Air Museum's summer programme “Everyday wisdom and sustainable living environment” introduces the sustainable and nature-friendly way of life of farmers and rural people in the 19th-century. Visitors are taught useful tricks and tips that may still be useful today. The Open Air Museum also involves the local community in its activities. For example, unused children's bicycles and child seats were collected from locals to use by children visiting the museum, making moving in the area of more than 70 hectares easier. In addition to everything else, the museum's researchers give practical advice to owners of old farm buildings who want to preserve and renovate their buildings correctly.
The Estonian Maritime Museum contributes to the research of maritime archaeology and naval warfare. Tallinn Zoo contributes financially to preserving species around the world, including the survival of the Amur leopard and the Amur tiger. Find out more on what your ticket money is used for from the museums' websites.
Shopping and authentic souvenirs in Tallinn
Tallinn has a lot of high-quality local products that are made in accordance with the principles of sustainability. Feel free to ask in the store how and from what products are made and give preference to Estonian businesses while staying in Tallinn.
If you are interested in local Estonian markets, you can find some in the city centre. The Baltic Station Market (Balti Jaama Turg) is located between the Old Town and Kalamaja, in the centre of Tallinn. There, in the food market, you can find fruit, vegetables, cheese and meat products from Estonian farms. On the second floor, there are several exciting vintage and antique shops for clothes, ceramics and art.
There is also the legendary Central Market, where you can find a wide range of food from meat to vegetables as well as interesting handicrafts. Local groceries and more can also be found just outside the city centre, in the Nõmme Market.
Although you are supporting our communities and economy by buying local products, it is worth thinking over your purchases. In order to reduce consumerism, we recommend that you consider whether a product is absolutely necessary before purchasing. Maybe you could use that money for some unforgettable experience instead?
More easy tips for a more sustainable visit
carry a personal water bottle
use reusable bags in shops
prefer map applications to paper maps
do not litter, and recycle your rubbish if possible
ask locals for recommendations
take your time and stay for longer – this way you can truly relax and get to know your destination better