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The Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) have a reputation of being European budget destinations – especially in comparison to their ultra-pricy Scandinavian neighbors. On our recent visit to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, we found that our small budget went a long way. Entry fees into most Tallinn sights were quite affordable – and we realized a huge cost-saving on Tallinn sightseeing with the Tallinn Card. However, during our time in the city, we also sought out Tallinn activities that didn’t cost at all and found these 5 fun and free things to do in Tallinn, Estonia.
Free Things To Do in Tallinn
Let’s jump right into our list of the 5 Best Free Things To Do In Tallinn!
#1 Toompea Hill Tallinn Viewing Platforms
There are two parts to Tallinn’s Old Town: Lower Town and Toompea Hill. Long ago, the hill provided strategic Tallinn lookout points for safeguarding the city below. Today, Toompea Hill is one of the most popular Tallinn attractions, including the two free viewing platforms – Kohtu and Patkuli – where visitors can gaze over the historic Tallinn Old Town rooftops and rising church steeples.
#2 Linnahall Soviet-era Structure
Along the harbor, just outside of the Tallinn Old Town, is Linnahall – a gigantic slab of Soviet-era concrete (originally named V. I. Lenin Palace of Culture and Sport). The massive structure, which can reportedly be seen from outer space, was built in 1980 for the Summer Olympics sailing events held in Tallinn. Until 2010, Linnahall housed an ice skating rink and concert venue, but now the building is covered in graffiti and mostly abandoned (although we heard plans for renovations are underway). Although access to the interior is forbidden, it’s free to tromp around the massive structure. Standing atop the concrete monolith provides sweeping views of the Tallinn Harbor and serves as a stark reminder of Soviet occupation in Estonia.
#3 Kalamaja – Tallinn Hipster District
Kalamaja is Tallinn’s edgy art district, frequented by local hipsters and visitors looking for a change of scenery from the medieval Tallinn Old Town. Once an industrial area of town, Kalamaja is now flourishing with creativity. Abandoned factories have been repurposed to house inventive Tallinn museums, cool cafes and craft beer bars. Stroll around Telliskivi Creative Hub and admire the Tallinn street art murals or walk The Culture Kilometer, which actually stretches 2.2 kilometers from the Linnahall building to the Seaplane Harbour Museum. Along the way is the free Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia.
#4 Lounge24 at Radisson Blu Tallinn
OK, drinks at Lounge24 are not complimentary (yet not incredibly expensive either) – but stepping onto the 24th floor, open-air deck at Radisson Blu is free! The spacious terrace offers stunning Tallinn city skyline views. Although we are certain they would like you to take a seat for a round of drinks (we stayed for a beer at sunset!), they don’t charge an admission fee, so you are free to take in the view, take a photo and then be on your way.
#5 Free Walking Tour Tallinn
Let a local guide lead you through Tallinn for free! The Tallinn Walking Tour offered by Freetour.com covers the top Tallinn tourist attractions led by informative, English-speaking guides. The daily 2-hour tour departs at noon from the Tallinn Tourist Information Center. Note: Although this Tallinn city tour is free, tips are likely deserved and certainly appreciated.
Bonus Tip: Save More With The Tallinn Card
As already mentioned, if visiting Tallinn museums and other city sights with entry fees is on your list of things to do in Tallinn, the Tallinn Card might save you money. Read about our day of Tallinn Sightseeing for more information.
Our Top Tips For Your Trip To Tallinn, Estonia
In addition to our free things to do, we have more travel trips for Estonia.
How To Get To Tallinn
We arrived in Tallinn by bus from Riga, Latvia and departed by plane to Amsterdam. When we need to find the best prices on airline tickets, we start our search at Skyscanner. It is also possible to travel to Tallinn by ferry, with the most popular route being the short trip over from Helsinki, Finland!
Where To Stay in Tallinn
During our visit to Tallinn, we stayed in a cozy Airbnb Apartment. We have found that staying in apartments is often less expensive than hotel rooms – with the added benefit of a kitchen and, usually, more space. Tallinn holiday apartments can also be searched on FlipKey (which is part of TripAdvisor) or on VRBO – Vacation Rentals By Owner.
However, for those who prefer staying in traditional accommodations, there are many Tallinn Hotels to choose from in – or close to – the city center. Check out these top-rated hotels (based on guest reviews!) for your upcoming trip: Schlossle Hotel or Hotel Palace.
Budget travelers can search for Tallinn Hostels – like Red Emperor Hostel or The Knight House. For a true bargain – and a unique experience – search for hosts on Couchsurfing, where travelers stay with locals for free.
Before You Go To Tallinn
- Tallinn is a walkable city…but only if you have the right travel shoes! Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes for your trip. I (Sarah) have traveled with these shoes by Columbia, Skechers and Reef. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell and Sanuk.
- We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos. We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures and is a slim and lightweight budget camera).
- It’s easy to get turned around in any foreign city…even Tallinn! Make sure to have a good Tallinn guide book (like this one from Lonely Planet) before arriving.
- Whether you pack for a trip with a suitcase or backpack, you will certainly also want a great day bag to organize and secure all of your essential, everyday travel items.
- If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip to Estonia, consider traveling protected with World Nomads.
We want to know: Is there anything you would add to our list of Free Things To Do in Tallinn, Estonia? Give us your best tips in the comments!
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