To experience everything Tallinn has to offer, you should visit its museums and tourist attractions as well as its numerous green areas. Tallinn has many lovely parks perfect for a picnic, light traffic roads running through unique city districts and stunning nature oases that might make you forget you are actually in a city.
The best way to explore Tallinn’s urban nature is to visit some of its well-known districts – for example, you can start off by going to Kalamaja and Kopli. You can then explore Kadriorg and Pirita and later go from Stroomi Beach to Rocca al Mare; don’t forget Nõmme, either!
Through Kalamaja to Kopli
A two-kilometre seaside walking and cycling trail, also known as the Beta Promenade, runs along the coastline from the Kalasadam harbour to the Noblessner harbour district. It passes several sights worth visiting, including Kultuurikatel (Creative Hub), the former Patarei Prison, and the Seaplane Harbour museum.
During the trip, nature lovers can enjoy beautiful, even unusual, views of the Gulf of Tallinn (viewing Tallinn from the Pirita Promenade on the other side of the city is more common). Good spots for enjoying the view include the shore of the Seaplane Harbour and the berth of the Noblessner seafront quarter, which is open to the sea.
The Kalamaja cemetery park is arguably one of the most charming parks in Tallinn. The magic of the park is best understood when you visit the place during different seasons. The flower seas of the spring time, the cooling shade of native trees in summer, and the golden autumn are equally enjoyable in the park. In a way, the playground of Kalamaja Park has become a community centre and offers a meeting place for all local families with small children.
Kopli also has several parks worth exploring. The large cemetery park of Kopli is a green area with good walking and cycling paths that is valued by locals. Kase Park, on the other hand, is wilder and smaller, with a large population of common alders.
Trams 1 and 3 take you to Kopli from the city centre. For the Seaplane Harbour and the Noblessner harbour district take bus 73.
The Paljassaare Peninsula, stretching from Kopli to the sea, is one of the most interesting natural maritime locations in Tallinn. Due to its mosaic landscape, the Paljassaare Conservation Area attracts many bird species with its good nesting places. This makes the peninsula the best bird-watching place in Tallinn. You can find one of Tallinn’s best swimming places in Paljassaare – Pikakari beach. Katariina Pier, located near the beach, gives a view of Tallinn’s silhouette from a slightly more unusual angle. Paljassaare offers various nature experiences in different seasons; June and July are the most diverse in terms of flora, and red raspberry bushes can be spotted by the sea at the end of summer.
You can get to Paljassaare from the Baltic Station (Balti Jaam) with bus 59.
Kadriorg Park is much more than a beautiful baroque castle, museums, and a swan pond. In its entirety, this park is every garden architecture enthusiast’s dream. It has almost everything you can imagine: from the orderly baroque gardens to free-form greenery, from the city’s largest rose garden to a national park, and even an elegant Japanese garden.
Nature lovers can appreciate the dignity that ancient lindens, ashes, and oaks add to Kadriorg Park. The north-eastern part of the park features an ancient oak grove, which is rare for an urban environment. The thickest oak tree in Tallinn grows in the grove. A small footpath leads through the oak grove. The park is filled with the singing of tit birds, finches, blackbirds, and greenfinches. The park is also the most important bat roosting place in the city. Five different species of bats live in tree hollows in Kadriorg Park.
The total length of roads passing through the park is over 16 kilometres, so when walking in Kadriorg, you can easily reach the recommended daily walking distance in addition to experiencing cultural and natural sights.
You can get to Kadriorg from the city centre with trams 1 and 3.
The new Reidi Road now leads from the city centre directly to Pirita along the seafront promenade. You can go to Pirita by bike or on foot, either alone or with the family. There are playgrounds and comfortable seating areas along the road. The silhouette of the city, one of the symbols of Tallinn, can be seen here in its full beauty. Views of the sea and the harbour, with its heavy ship traffic in summer, make Tallinn a unique maritime town.
Maarjamäe, a famous former summer resort, is located next to the Pirita Promenade. Maarjamäe houses the Estonian History Museum and the Film Museum, with a spacious courtyard and an outdoor exhibition of Soviet-era monuments behind the museum. A short walk away from Maarjamäe Castle is one of the most important memorial sites in Estonia, the Memorial to the Victims of Communism.
Pirita's two-kilometre-long sandy beach is the most famous beach of Tallinn during summer. It is also a great place to catch some rays in other seasons, especially in late winter.
In addition to swimming, sailing, and boating possibilities, the seaside area of Pirita also offers wonderful jogging routes. Just a 15-minute drive from the city centre, the jogging paths on both banks of the Pirita River are great for cycling, running, or walking, and skiing in winter.
Near Pirita, Kloostrimetsa features the most diverse green area – the Tallinn Botanic Garden, which is great both for seeing species-rich flora indoors and for taking an enjoyable walk in the outdoor rose garden, with its hundreds of rose varieties. The Botanic Garden is also a suitable place for a picnic. The landscape protection area of the Pirita River Valley starts right next to the Botanic Garden.
The best way to get acquainted with the area is to find a nature trail, which are numerous in the protected area. The nature trail of the Botanic Garden runs through forests and meadows. You will also find oaks and sacred groves by the road. As the trail runs partly on the territory of the Botanic Garden, a ticket to the Botanic Garden must be bought during the summer. Nearby is the Forest Cemetery (Metsakalmistu in Estonian), the last resting place of many prominent Estonian state and cultural figures.
Buses 1A, 8, 34A, and 38 take you to Pirita from the city centre. You can get to the Botanical Garden with buses 34A, and 38.
From Stroomi Beach to Rocca al Mare along the promenade or vice versa
The Stroomi Beach, also known as Stromka and located between Kopli and Rocca al Mare, has grown in popularity among the people of Tallinn year after year. The long sandy beach is full of holidaymakers on summer days, and the beach park is popular among picnic groups. Stroomi Beach, with its especially famous bird population, is also known for its diverse nature. The bird tower, a short walk away from the beach, boasts the best view of the bay. Another good bird-watching spot is located by the sea near the Rocca al Mare School. You can go to Stroomi Beach from Rocca al Mare on a light, two-kilometre road used by cyclists and pedestrians year-round.
You can get there from the city with buses 21, 22, and 42.
Known as the green district of Tallinn, Nõmme offers various outdoor experiences for nature lovers. One of the best places to enjoy fresh air in Tallinn is the 204-hectare Nõmme-Mustamäe Nature Reserve, which has also been named the “lungs of Tallinn”. It is also the location of Tallinn’s highest point at 64 metres above sea level. The area offers a great view of unique sandy areas and various types of forests. In Glehn Park, you can admire 24 natural springs within a one-kilometre expanse. If you wish to experience the nature reserve’s unique nature and landscape, you can cross any of its numerous hiking trails.
A popular spot for health walks and relaxing among locals, Pääsküla Bog is one of the largest green areas in Tallinn. The bog has over 300 plant and animal species, including 140 bird species. It has two hiking trails, one of which is also accessible by baby carriage or wheelchair. The longer trail has both a paved walk and a boardwalk, as well as an observation tower from which you can enjoy a stunning view of the bog.