Enjoying your time in Tallinn doesn’t necessarily require a large budget.
Tallinn offers something for everyone. It's a fascinating city with numerous historical landmarks; the city is home to most of the best restaurants in the country, it’s a great place for shopping and leisure. Read on to find out the best ways to enjoy your stay in the capital of Estonia without putting too much strain on your wallet.
A million-dollar view for (nearly) nothing
Instead of paying hundreds of euros to stay at Tallinn’s luxury high-rise hotels, you can get a magnificent million dollar view of the city for free – just visit one of the viewing points on Toompea Hill. Patkuli and Kohtuotsa viewing platforms offer gorgeous views to the Old Town and the sea. The Danish King’s Garden is another not-so-hidden gem where you can get a close view of the Old Town. If you’re feeling like spending some hard cash, then for a few euros you can climb the tower of St Olav’s Church and get an even higher view of the town.
If you’re looking for a view of the whole city, start heading east. Tallinn’s Old City Harbour roof promenade features a beautiful sea view. A walk on Pirita promenade will grant you a gorgeous view of the silhouette of Tallinn’s city centre and Old Town. Maarjamäe palace, sitting atop a limestone cliff by the sea, is also a great place to enjoy a view of Tallinn.
Simply walking the streets of Tallinn will allow you to see a number of the city’s attractions without even having to take a step into a museum. The Danish King’s Garden is connected to the legend of how the Danes got their national flag. You could try to find the famous peeping-tom on Pikk Street or sit by the Cat’s Well in Rataskaevu Street, which has a rather gruesome history. Sometimes a whole street can be an attraction, for example the fairytale St. Catherine’s Passage.
If you’re looking to see something interesting indoors, then the oldest pharmacy in Europe, Raeapteek, or Town Hall Pharmacy is situated right in Town Hall Square. The oldest café in Tallinn is not far from there, either. Maiasmokk café, established in 1864, is probably one of the most picturesque coffee shops in Tallinn. Don’t hesitate to walk in and admire its gorgeous painted ceiling.
For something completely different, the Eesti Pank Museum (Museum of the Bank of Estonia) is just a few steps outside the Old Town and entrance is somewhat ironically absolutely free.
Museums can be free?
Yes! For example, the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia in Kalamaja. The museum is open from April to December and is a great way to get acquainted with modern Estonian art.
Tallinn also has a great free treat for museum-lovers every month. The first Sunday of every month is Museum Sunday in Tallinn, which means that several museums in Tallinn open their doors for free!
If you happen to be in Tallinn on International Museum Day (18th of May), then most museums in Tallinn will be free to visit.
If striding through museums is your ideal way of spending a vacation, then the best way to keep your expenses to a minimum is to invest in the Tallinn Card. This city pass allows you free entrance to most museums in the city. It also grants you free use of Tallinn’s public transport.
Go on a free tour (but consider tipping the guide)
Not only is there a free guided tour in Tallinn every day, there are in fact several to choose from. You can get to know all the most important sights in the Old Town, or learn more about our soviet past, or if you want to feel especially immersed in your surroundings, there’s also a Medieval tour. All free tours begin in front of the Tourist Information Centre in the Old Town and although the tours themselves are free, the guides would appreciate a little tip for a job well done.
Tallinn has one of the best-preserved medieval walls in Europe, and there are several places to walk on and inside the stone walls surrounding our Old Town. One such place is the piece of wall by Helleman Tower, another section of the wall that can be visited is between Nunna, Sauna and Kuldjala towers.
Some museums offer a discounted price once a month. For example the Art Museum of Estonia has 3-Euro Wednesdays on the last Wednesday of every month.
Another good tip is to check out off-season ticket prices for museums and attractions in Tallinn. For example, Tallinn Botanic Garden and Tallinn Zoo can be visited for only 5 euros during autumn and winter.
Tallinn prides itself with its high-class restaurant scene. Fresh and seasonal ingredients, tasteful interiors and superb locations are what unite the best restaurants in the city. However if you’re looking for a quick bite, or don’t feel like spending over 10€ for a meal, Tallinn won’t leave you hungry.
Kolmas Draakon (“Third Dragon”) is undoubtedly the cheapest eating place in Town Hall Square. The tiny medieval-themed eatery can be found in the Town Hall itself and the most expensive food item on the menu will rob you of about 5 euros. The Elk Soup is practically legendary by now and should not be missed. However, if you’re completely broke you can scoop free pickles from a huge vat at the back of the room.
Kompressor, a student’s favourite, serves humongous (trust us on this one) pancakes with both sweet and savoury fillings. One pancake will surely fill the hungriest of travellers and what’s better – all pancakes cost less than 8 euros.
Sõõrikukohvik (“Donut Café”) is a classic budget eatery in Tallinn. If you’re not looking to buy Estonian-style donuts by the kilo (!), then you’ll surely find something to your tastes from their regular menu which serves soups, salads, pancakes and hot meals.
The Reval Café chain is another good option for a quick and tasty meal under 10€. You’ll find the cafés all around Tallinn, both in the Old Town and in Kalamaja. They also have an excellent selection of cakes and pastries, and good quality coffee.
Lido – a beloved Latvian bistro chain – has a large restaurant in Solaris centre, right at the heart of Tallinn. It offers a wide selection of meals, including vegetarian options. The food is cosy and the prices friendly.
Top tip: When in Tallinn on a weekday, take note that many places in the Old Town and city centre that might otherwise be quite expensive, have special lunch offers. Usually the meal is under 10 euros including water and bread.
Another top tip: Keep an eye out for food festivals and restaurant weeks, where top restaurants in Tallinn offer special set menus for a reasonable price.
There’s always something going on in Tallinn, but one of the best ways to experience our culture is attending some of our largest public events and festivals. In the summer, we invite you to the Old Town to see the area transformed during The Old Town Days, and later in the season, Tallinn Medieval Days. These multi-day events feature free concerts, workshops and performances. Reaching outside of the Old Town is The Tallinn Maritime Days, which opens up the seaside areas of the city.
Our award-winning Christmas market is the highlight of the winter season. Enjoy concerts, meet Santa Claus, and simply take in the fairytale magic of Tallinn in Christmas lights.