With its Old Town of medieval buildings and cobbled squares and a rich culinary, cultural, and social scene, Tallinn will delight foodies and party lovers, as well as history, art, and architecture buffs. Here are our tips for how best to fill two days in Estonia’s capital.
Also known as the Cathedral of St. Mary the Virgin, this medieval church sits at the center of Toompea hill. The interior walls are decorated with elaborate coats of arms from noble families from the 17th to 20th centuries, as well as intricate burial stones dating all the way back to the 13th century. Just inside the entrance, for example, is a stone slab dedicated to Otto Johann Thuve—a notorious drinker and womanizer often referred to as “Tallinn’s Don Jaun—who requested he be buried at the threshold so churchgoers would pray for the salvation of his soul.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Entrance into the Dome Church is free to the public, though a donation is highly encouraged.
- For a great view of the city climb the church’s baroque bell tower. There is a small fee.
- Entrance to the church and bell tower is restricted during service and concerts.
- Many tours of the city include a visit to Toompea Hill.
How to Get There
Since Tallinn Old Town (Vanalinn) is a pedestrian-friendly area of the city, it is easiest (and fastest) to walk to the Dome Church. From Old Town Square, follow Dunkri before a slight left on Rataskaevu. Make a right onto Lühike jalg and then take the stairs on the right towards Pikk jalg before turning left onto Pikk jalg. Turn right onto Piiskopi and a left on Kiriku plats.The church will be on your right. The 8-minute walk is mostly flat.
When to Get There
The church is open daily from May through September, and is closed on Monday October through April. Go online to check for opening times. Mass is held every Sunday at 11am, midweek prayer service is held Wednesday at 5pm, and an organ recital occurs on Saturday at noon.
Toompea Hill An important part of the city of Tallinn, Toompea rises above Tallinn Old Town on a mass of limestone. A short walk from the city center, Toompea comprises many of Tallinn’s important historical buildings including Toompea Castle, Dome Church, and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
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- Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
- Toompea Castle (Toompea Loss)
- Tallinn Legends
- Tallinn Town Hall (Tallinna Raekoda)
- Tallinn Old Town (Vanalinn)
- Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom
- Freedom Square (Vabaduse väljak)
- Tallinn Cruise Port (Tallinna Sadam)
- Seaplane Harbour (Lennusadam)
- Tallinn Song Festival Grounds (Lauluvӓljak)
- Kadriorg Palace
- Kadriorg Park
- Kumu Art Museum (Kumu Kunstimuuseum)
- Estonian Open Air Museum