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One Day in Tallinn: Helsinki to Tallinn Day Trip Guide

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If you’re visiting Helsinki, why not hop countries and spend one day in Tallinn, Estonia.

Nestled along the Baltic Sea, Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia. Often overlooked, this Baltic gem perfectly blends the past and present. Beyond its medieval charm, the city pulses with cultural vitality, boasting contemporary art scenes, vibrant festivals, and an emerging culinary landscape. 

In this day trip guide, you’ll find city highlights as well as food recommendations and general, helpful information. From iconic landmarks like St.Olaf’s Church to the colorful central square, Tallinn is a short journey away waiting to be explored. 

One Day in Tallinn, Estonia

helsinki to tallinn day trip guide

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The Best Time to Visit Tallinn

If you’re looking for mild weather and plenty of sunshine, the best time to visit Tallinn is during the summer months of June to August. There’s also a variety of festivals, events, and open-air concerts that take place during this season. 

However, if you want to experience the city in full blown fairytale mode with snow dusting the buildings and Christmas lights lining the streets, late November to December would be the time to go. 

tallinn, estonia

How to Get to Tallinn from Helsinki

To get from Helsinki to Tallinn, you’ll need to take a ferry.  

The scenic cruise across the Gulf of Finland takes approximately 2 to 3 hours, offering breathtaking sea views. There are several ferry operators with frequent departures heading to Tallinn. Depending on the ferry you choose, there may be a couple of eateries as well as a bar for you to enjoy on your journey. 

You can book tickets ahead of time online or at the terminal. 

ferry from helsinki to tallinn

Can you take a bus? Kinda.

You can board a bus in Helsinki that will then board a ferry to Tallinn. If you rather skip the middle part, just book a passenger ticket directly. 

How to Get Around Tallinn

Tallinn has plenty of public transportation options ranging from buses, to trolleys to trams. The network operates from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM daily. Tickets cost €2 for a one-hour ticket and €5.50 for a 24-hour pass.

If you opt to get the Tallinn card, public transportation is covered by the pass as well as some of the city’s sites and attractions. 

one day in tallinn, estonia

Where to Eat in Tallinn

Balti Jaama Turg

Balti Jaama Turg is a 3-level food hall with eateries, fresh foods and other retailers. No matter what you’re in the mood for, you’ll find something at this food hall. There are so many options from delectable sweets to international finds like tikka masala and baos. 

Restoran Olde Hansa

If you’re looking for a unique dining experience, check out Restoran Olde Hansa. Restoran Olde Hansa is a medieval-themed eatery serving traditional Estonian foods, complete with costumed staff and authentic period decor. 

I didn’t get a chance to check this out but I thought it was a unique thing to do in Tallinn worth mentioning. 

Kompressor

Another place I didn’t get to check out while in the city is Pub Kompressor. Known as the pancake pub, Kompressor serves up a variety of different crepes ranging from sweet to savory. The crepes range from 7€ – 9€ and from the pictures look pretty generous in size. If you’re looking for an affordable place to eat in Tallinn, this would be the place to check out. 

Things to do With One Day in Tallinn

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Showcasing stunning Russian Revival architecture, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is an iconic masterpiece in Tallinn. The cathedral sits atop Toompea Hill and features intricate ornamentation and domes. Make sure not to miss this historical and stunning fixture of the city. 

Price: Free

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

St Olaf’s Church

Standing since the 12th century, St. Olaf’s Church is the definition of medieval charm. The church’s majestic spire is easily spotted among the city’s skyline. If you’re visiting between April and October, you’ll be able to ascend the tower’s narrow staircase to the observation platform which offers panoramic views of the city. 

Price:  €5.00 (Free With Tallinn Card)

St Olaf's Church in Tallinn

Patkuli Viewing Platform

If you want to get an amazing view of the city, make your way to Patkuli Viewing Platform. Perched on Toompea Hill, the platform offers breathtaking views of the city’s red rooftops and medieval charm.

Patkuli Viewing Platform

Toompea Castle

Built between 1767 and 1773, Toompea Castle is one of the top things to see in Tallinn, Estonia. The castle once served as the residence for Estonian rulers and conquerors, but now serves as the home to the Riigikogu (the Estonian parliament). If you’d like to tour the castle, you can do so Monday – Friday for free. However, you’ll need to book ahead.

Cost: Free

Toompea Castle

Old Town

The part of Tallinn that you’ll want to see most is the Old Town. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Old Town is like walking into a fairytale. Nestled within well-preserved city walls, this enchanting area is filled with cobblestone streets and a mix of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance styled buildings.

Within Old Town, you’ll find Town Hall Square, or Raekoja Plats. The square is surrounded by colorful merchant houses and exudes a lively atmosphere with its cafe patios, market stalls, and street performers. During the holiday season, this is also where you’ll find the town’s Christmas market. 

Old Town in Tallinn, Estonia
one day in tallinn
things to do in tallinn, estonia

Attend a Festival 

Even though this is a day trip guide, I thought I’d share a couple of events that take place in the city in case your trip coincides with them and you want to check them out. 

Tallinn Music Week – Tallinn Music Week (TMW) takes place in April and features almost 200 artists and is considered to be the largest indoor music festival in the Baltics. 

Black Nights Film Festival – Taking place in November, Black Nights Film Festival is the largest film festival in northern Europe showcasing hundreds of feature and short films. 

For me, Tallinn is one of those places I probably would have never visited, and almost didn’t. We debated spending the money to take the ferry across, but figured it would probably be our only opportunity to visit Estonia. 

Town Wall

As I mentioned before, Old Town is surrounded by city walls and for a small entrance fee (€4.00) you can actually walk part of the wall. The small section you’ll have access to connects the Nunne, Sauna and Kuldjala towers and offers pretty view of the city along the way.

day trip from finland to helsinki

That being said, I’m glad we decided to go for it and spend one day in Tallinn. If you’ve found this post as you’re planning a trip to Finland, I hope it inspires you to set a day aside to visit the beautiful city of Tallinn. 

FAQS

How far is Tallinn from Helsinki?

Tallinn is roughly 51 miles (82km) from Helsinki.

Is there a ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn?

Yes, there is a ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn! Get your ferry tickets here

How long is the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn?

The ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn is about 2 hours long, depending on the weather conditions and vessel.  

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