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How to Plan a Day Trip to Tallinn from Helsinki

How to plan a day trip to tallinn from helsnki featured image

So you are planning a trip to Finland and Helsinki is part of your Finland itinerary. If you have a couple of days here I suggest going on a day trip to Tallinn, Estonia. It is budget-friendly, convenient and ever so charming! I visited Tallinn on a day trip from Helsinki in early March and had an amazing time visiting the best attractions in Tallinn. 

In the blog, I’ll share everything you need to know to take this Tallinn day trip. 

How to Travel from Helsinki to Tallinn

The most popular way to travel from Helsinki to Tallinn is by ferry. Ferries run frequently, making it easy to plan a Helsinki to Tallinn day trip. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Ferry Operators: Major operators include Tallink Silja Line, Viking Line, and Eckerö Line.
  • Travel Time: The journey takes about 2-3 hours, depending on the ferry.

It’s advisable to book tickets in advance, especially during peak seasons. Online booking is straightforward and often offers discounts. I took the Silja Line during my trip and totally recommend booking it for the best experience. 

Best Time to Visit Tallinn

Tallinn is a year-round destination, so no matter what time of the year you are planning this day trip to Tallinn from Helsinki, you are sure to have a good time. I went to Tallinn in early March and the weather was not too cold, perfect for exploring the old town. But if you must time your visit Tallinn has the most adorable Christmas markets and I suggest planning around that time for a completely magical Christmas experience.

Things to do in Tallinn in a Day

I suggested spending at least 5 hours on your day trip to Tallinn. To do that you should ideally take the morning ferry around 7:30 AM and the evening ferry at 7:30 PM. Upon arriving in Tallinn, you’ll immediately notice the city’s charming mediaeval architecture. I suggest taking a free walking tour, but in case that’s not available or you’d like to explore on your own I’ve got a suggested list of spots. 

Here’s a suggested itinerary for a day trip to Tallinn:

Morning: Explore the Old Town

Start at the Town Hall Square (Raekoja Plats)

Kick off your day in the heart of Tallinn’s Old Town. The Town Hall Square is surrounded by colourful buildings, lively cafes, and quaint shops. It’s the ideal spot to start souvenir shopping and visit the stunning 13th-century Gothic Town Hall.

Visit Toompea Hill

Just a short walk from Town Hall Square, Toompea Hill offers fantastic views of the city. While you’re there, don’t miss:

  • Toompea Castle: Home to the Estonian Parliament.
  • Alexander Nevsky Cathedral: A beautiful Russian Orthodox cathedral.
  • St. Mary’s Cathedral (Dome Church): The oldest church in Tallinn.

Midday: Museums and Cultural Experiences

Estonian History Museum

After exploring in the morning, dive into Estonia’s rich past at the Estonian History Museum. This is a great stop, especially if you’re not on a guided tour, as it covers much of the city’s historical highlights.

KGB Museum

Step into the shadowy world of Soviet espionage at the KGB Museum, located on the top floor of the Viru Hotel. This museum offers a stark contrast to the vibrant Tallinn you see today, with guided tours providing deep insights into the secretive operations of the Soviet intelligence agency. Make sure to book your guided tour in advance.

Afternoon: Strolls and Shopping

Kadriorg Park and Palace

Spend a relaxing afternoon at Kadriorg Park and Palace, a must-visit gem in Tallinn. Built by Peter the Great in the early 18th century, this exquisite baroque palace was intended as a summer residence for his wife, Catherine I. Today, it houses the Kadriorg Art Museum, showcasing an impressive collection of European and Russian art from the 16th to 20th centuries.

Telliskivi Creative City

For a taste of contemporary culture, head to Telliskivi Creative City. This trendy area, set in former industrial buildings, is brimming with art galleries, boutiques, and cafes. It’s an excellent spot for finding unique souvenirs and enjoying the local art scene.

Tips to Plan a Day Trip to Tallinn from Helsinki

Thinking about a day trip to Tallinn from Helsinki? Here are some handy tips to ensure you make the most of your time:

Start Early: Take the 7:30 AM ferry to maximise your time in Tallinn. 

Comfortable Footwear: Tallinn’s charming cobblestone streets are beautiful but can be tough on your feet. 

Currency: Estonia uses the Euro and is very digital, so your wallets and cards work just fine. 

Shopping: Everything is cheaper in Tallinn as compared to Helsinki. Especially the duty-free section on the ferry is much cheaper than the Helsinki airport duty-free. 

Are there Any Guided Tours in Tallinn?

Yes, there are many guided tours that you can take in Tallinn. I recommend booking them in advance to secure a spot

  1. Food and history walking tour
  2. Guided walking tour to the city
  3. Best of Tallinn 2-hour bike tour
  4. Secrets of the Soviets tour

How Much Does it Cost to Take a Day Trip to Tallinn from Helsinki?

A day trip to Tallinn would cost you around €100 – 150 per person. This includes the cost of taking the ferry, having 2 meals, entrance fee to most attractions and walking tour of the old town. Any shopping is over and above this cost. Here’s a breakdown of the expected costs:

  • Ferry Tickets 

Round-trip tickets typically range from €20-40, depending on the time of year and how early you book.

  • Meals 

Expect to spend about €10-30 per person for meals. Tallinn has a variety of dining options, from budget-friendly cafes to more upscale restaurants.

  • Attractions 

Entrance fees for attractions generally range from €5-15. Many of the city’s highlights, like the Town Hall Square and Toompea Hill, are free to explore.

FAQs on Taking a Day Trip to Tallinn

How long does the ferry take from Helsinki to Tallinn?

The ferry journey takes about 2-3 hours, depending on the operator and weather conditions.

Can I visit all major attractions in one day?

It is possible to see key attractions like the Old Town, Kadriorg Palace, and Telliskivi Creative City in one day.

Do I need to book ferry tickets in advance?

Yes, especially during peak travel seasons, it’s advisable to book your ferry tickets in advance.

Are there guided tours available in Tallinn?

Yes, numerous guided tours are available, covering historical sites, food experiences, and more.