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Best Day Trips from Tallinn

Published by: Bounce25 January, 2023
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Tallinn is an innovative Estonia capital blessed with impressive architecture, wonderful sights, and a rich cultural and dining scene. At the city’s beating heart is the Old Town, an atmospheric area surrounded by ancient city walls and spectacular old buildings. Its skyline is punctuated by old church spires and majestic castle towers, creating a fairytale-like setting. The center of this Baltic city is Tallinn Town Hall Square, which hosts many medieval festivals, fairs, open-air concerts, and more.

While your days will undoubtedly be filled with entertainment and activities in Tallinn, there’s more to see and experience beyond the vibrant capital. Whether you’re looking to immerse in the country’s cultural heritage and history or spend your day visiting islands and exploring nature, the best day trips from Tallinn have got you covered.

But if you decide to stay in the city or the unpleasant weather makes it difficult to venture out, you can always visit some of the best museums in Tallinn. With over 40 museums, art galleries, and exhibition venues, you won’t run out of places to visit while in town. Some historic sites don’t allow large bags, so it’s better to leave them in a safe storage facility in Tallinn to lighten your load and travel conveniently during your tour.

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How to get out of Tallinn

As the capital city of Estonia, Tallinn is the perfect base for exciting day trips across the country and the Baltic Sea. Thanks to the city's convenient and reliable transit system, you can make a day trip to many places from Tallinn with public transport. Its public transport network operates daily from 6 AM to 11 PM, with some lines running until midnight. You can also travel by ferry to get to its three major islands and other cities beyond. Tallinn Train Station is a transport hub for this part of Estonia as well.

But if you’re looking for maximum independence and flexibility, renting a car for a day trip can be your best bet. You control your schedule and time as you drive, stop at lovely places to take photos, and get anywhere you want.

From Tallinn to Naissaar Island

Add a tour of Naissaar Island to your summer day trips from Tallinn. This scenic island is one of the exciting destinations on the northern coast of Estonia, attracting its visitors with its alluring hiking trails, rich history, and clean sandy beaches.

The island is only 11 kilometers long (6.8 miles) and four kilometers wide (2.5 kilometers). The literal meaning of Naissaar is ‘Women’s Island,’ which, according to an 11th-century legend, comes from the lovely maidens who inhabited the island at one time, along with a group of beastly men.

Naissaar island is a nature reserve and a famous day-trip spot among travelers. Apart from the water adventures, you can enjoy a military ride, admire breathtaking lighthouse views, and visit underground tunnels and fortress ruins on the island.

How to get to Naissaar Island

The best way to get to Naissaar is through a ferry ride from Tallinn. Tallinn-Cruises has two daily trips to the island, each ride taking over an hour. Sunlines also operates a ferry connection between Tallinn and the island in summer from May to September. Your car can’t be transported by ferry, but you can take a bike with you.

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From Tallinn to Lahemaa National Park

The Lahemaa National Park, the most extensive national park in Estonia, is a must-visit for those into nature sightseeing and hiking. It’s one of Europe’s most important forest conservation areas, home to several large mammals. This includes bears, boars, foxes, lynxes, and moose, among many others.

Besides the forest, the Lahemaa National Park has seashores, historic manors, museums, and other attractions. It’s open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, daily from May 15 to September 15, and only on weekdays from September 16 to May 14. Admission is free of charge, so you’ll only need to pay if you get additional services or buy from one of the shops or restaurants in the area.

How to get to Lahemaa National Park

Laheema National Park is located approximately 70km east of Tallinn. Going to the location by car or taxi will take about 50 to 60 minutes. If you don’t have a car or want to save on travel expenses, you can take the bus instead. There are two routes available, but the recommended and cheapest way to get there is from Gonsiori to Vihasoo, then walking to the park. This route takes about an hour and 30 minutes.

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From Tallinn to Haapsalu

Estonians take their health very seriously, so don’t be surprised to find spas and saunas throughout the country. One of its charming little towns with a history as a spa resort is Haapsalu. The first mud spa in Haapsalu opened in 1825. Since then, the town has drawn in spa lovers worldwide.

This quaint town features a miniature town hall, narrow streets, and romantic wooden houses. On the seaside promenade, you’ll find Kuursaal, one of Estonia’s finest wooden buildings, where you’ll discover a deeply rooted spa culture. While in the old town, take your time visiting Haapsalu’s cathedral and castle, dating back to the 13th century. They form one of the country’s best-preserved medieval complexes.

How to get to Haapsalu

Driving a car or hiring a taxi is the fastest way to get to Haapsalu on a day trip from Tallinn. While there are no direct train services to the town, you can take a bus from Tallinn bus station to Niine in Haapsalu. Buses operate daily and depart every two hours. The journey takes a little over an hour and a half.

From Tallinn to Prangli Island

Prangli Island is another small island north of Estonia, comprising three villages of 100 locals. It’s famous for its distinctive centuries-old fishing village culture, untouched nature, and the 'tohu' mist, which results in a unique phenomenon in the sky during winter. The best activities at Prangli island are hiking, exploring, and sightseeing.

You can get a regular day trip tour to Prangli, including traveling, visiting the church, lunch, accommodation, and free time to explore the village. There are also group tours, including transportation, exploration, food, and accommodation. You can choose to stay for a day or two and book in advance.

How to get to Prangli Island

Before going to the island, you must first get to Leppneeme, about 20km north of Tallinn. You can go there by car or taxi only. Once at Leppneeme, take a one-hour car ferry to Kelnase Port. There are only three trips during weekdays, 9:00 AM, 3:00 PM, and 6:00 PM, though there are no morning trips on Thursdays. Weekend schedules vary, so check the Tuule Liinid OÜ website for more information.

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From Tallinn to Soomaa National Park

The Soomaa National Park is a wetland area most recognized for its fifth season. It’s when the lower forests, roads, and yards in the vicinity are flooded from the heavy rains or melted snow. As a tourist spot, visitors frequent the park for its many activities, making it one of the top day trips from Tallinn for nature lovers. This includes mushrooming, exploring the wetlands and snow, Stand Up Paddling (SUP), and canoeing, among many others.

How to get to Soomaa National Park

Soomaa National Park is 2 hours and 30 minutes away from Tallinn, requiring you to travel about 150km south. You can take the bus from Tallinna Bussijaam to Pärnu Bussijaam, transfer to another bus to get to Riisa, then ride a taxi for 20 to 30 minutes to the park. It would take more than four hours, but it’s the cheapest option.

If you want to get to the Soomaa National Park a bit faster, get on the train from Tallinn to Viljandi, then take a one-hour taxi ride. This equals around 3 hours but is relatively more expensive than going by bus.

From Tallinn to Viru Bog

Viru Bog is one of Estonia’s most accessible boglands. The trail is three and a half kilometers and has a lap of six kilometers long. It introduces visitors to the bog’s flora, eskers, heath forest, and former sand dunes. The boardwalk, which leads to the observation tower in the middle, is accessible to families with strollers and wheelchair users.

Viru Bog is just one of the many bogs in the country. They are typically shrouded in legends and myths and were often associated with supernatural events. But don’t worry about walking along this trail, as you’ll experience nothing but the joy of being out in nature and seeing the unique landscape.  

How to get to Viru Bog

This scenic destination is only an hour away from Tallinn or even less if you’re driving a car. For those who prefer public transport, you can take a bus from Kivisilla station in Tallinn and arrive at Loksa tee.

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From Tallinn to Paldiski

Paldiski is a little Baltic Sea port town northwest of Estonia, once a Soviet military base but now a popular tourist spot. It’s famous for its historic sites, including the Amandus Adamson Studio Museum, Pakri Lighthouse, Peter’s Fortress, St. George Orthodox Church, Lutheran and Orthodox Cemeteries, and the 1870 Train Station. You’ll also find ruins of abandoned Soviet bunkers, military debris, and other artifacts.

The best way to explore Paldiski is by going on a guided tour, and you can even choose to go on foot or by bus. The routes are programmed to last for two hours and will cover six sites in total, but this can be adjusted at your request. These tours are available all year round for a starting price of about $48.

How to get to Paldiski

About 50km west of Tallinn is Paldiski, requiring 40 to 50 minutes on the road to get to either point. You can take the train as an alternative, it’s cheaper but would take about an hour and 15 minutes. The most recommended way to travel from Tallinn to Paldiski is to take bus line 145 towards Sadama Tänav from Vabaduse Väljak to get to Rae Põik. It’s around the same price as taking the train but would only take an hour.

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From Tallinn to Rummu Quarry

Rummu Quarry is a submerged limestone quarry notable for its crystal clear light blue lagoon. It was formed from the mining of Vasalemma limestone and marble in the area in 1938 and turned into an ash hill, which eventually flooded, submerging the nearby trees and buildings.

While in Rummy Quarry, you can visit the beach and participate in biking, hiking, swimming, and camping. You can also stop by the nearby historical sights and attractions to add to your Tallinn day trips or half-day tour. These include the Paradise Monastery, Vasalemma Manor, and the abandoned underwater prison, the Murru Prison, which makes an unusual day trip from Tallinn. The quarry is open daily from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Individual tickets start from $5.3, while family tickets are available for $13.

How to get to Rummu Quarry

The fastest way to get to Rummu Quarry is by riding a taxi or driving to the location, 45km southeast of Tallinn, taking about 45 minutes. If you don’t mind spending a bit longer on the road, take the bus, as it’s more economical. From Vabaduse Väljak, get on bus line 146 towards Laimi. Once at the stop, you can walk to the Rummu Quarry, taking you approximately an hour for about $2 to $4.

Plan Excellent Day Trips from Tallinn, Estonia!

You have no excuse for a boring visit to the Estonian capital. Whether you’re here for work or leisure, take a day off for a tour around the city and a trip to the nearest town or village. Many unique and interesting places in Estonia are within easy reach of Tallinn, so you can easily travel there and back in a day. Alternatively, you can plan a night tour with a guide to see some of the country’s attractions in a different light.

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