From enjoying the stunning beaches of Pärnu to exploring the picturesque town of Otepää, here are the best day trips from Tallinn, Estonia

Estonia is genuinely one of my favourite countries in the world. I just love how it sneaks in under the radar – it’s a place that few talk about and even fewer visit. But for such a small country there is so much to do here, especially if you’re a lover of the outdoors.

The city of Tallinn is a hidden gem worth exploring for a couple of days. From its paved streets in the Old Town and the lovely Rotermann Quarter to the beautiful Kadriorg Park, the capital of Estonia is blessed with wonderful sights and unique architecture.

Besides its historical sights, Tallinn also has that modern 21st-century vibe. Whether you are looking for a hipster bar where they serve innovative cocktails or a trendy restaurant that offers Baltic cuisine, Tallinn has it all.

tours in estonia
Here are my 12 amazing day trips from Tallinn

However, if you wish to explore what lies beyond the capital, there are many seriously awesome day trips from Tallinn. I think getting out the city and into the countryside is the best thing you can do in Estonia and I can’t stress this enough – it is such a beautiful country!

With a number of Tallinn day trips to the beautiful Soomaa National Park or the 2-hour ferry ride to Helsinki, there is no shortage of exciting and unique places around the capital of Estonia.

So, if you’re heading to Tallinn, I really recommend a few of these places to visit! You can thank me later!

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1. Lahemaa National Park

lahemaa national park
Lahemaa National Park, Estonia

Located 50km from Tallinn, Lahemaa National Park is probably one of the most picturesque national parks in the country. If you wish to learn more about the Estonian culture and countryside, a visit to the oldest national park in the region should definitely be on your travel itinerary.

You can go hiking through thick forests, chill on sandy beaches, and even spot brown bears. One of my favourite things to do in Lahemaa National Park is to go bog swimming during summer. Just make sure you bring your swim shorts! You can also bring your own picnic here and really enjoy being a million miles away from anything.

A tour of Lahemaa National Park costs £52. This is for a full-day tour (7 hours) where you’ll learn all about rural life in Estonia and how beautiful the nature is there. The price includes all guides and transfers.

2. Rummu Quarry & Underwater Prison

rummu quarry estonia
Rummu Quarry, Estonia

You will find many Tallinn tours that include a visit to the Rummu Quarry & Underwater Prison. If you’ve never heard about this place, expect the unexpected! A rather unusual attraction in Estonia, Rummu is a flooded and an abandoned area where you can see an underwater prison from the Soviet times.

I suggest taking the night tour of Rummu on lighted rafts, as it is the best way to experience this place. The rafts have electric lights attached on their bottom part, which allows you to see all the submerged buildings here. You can also paddle around the lake during the daytime and this is a great spot in the summer.

A tour of Rummu Quarry and Paldiski costs £45. This is for a full-day tour (7 hours) where you’ll visit the coastal cliffs in Estonia, Soviet Paldiksi and Rumme Quarry. The price includes all guides, entrance fees and transfers.

3. Tartu

tartu estonia
Tartu, Estonia

Another fantastic place I really recommend is Tartu. This place is home to the oldest university in Estonia and is packed with attractions including the KGB museum and the Tartu toy museum which is an ideal place to visit when traveling with kids.

You can admire the traditional wooden architecture by paying a visit to the Supilinn neighborhood. It’s also a good idea to take a walking tour there to learn more about the area.

Tartu is also famous for its restaurants where you can find delicious Estonian delicacies like smoked sprats and selma on rye bread.

Travel time from Tallinn bus station to Tartu is around 2 hours and 30 minutes. 

4. Helsinki, Finland

helsinki finland
Helsinki, Finland

Did you know that you can reach the capital of Finland on the Helsinki Tallinn ferry in just 2 hours? That’s just one of the reasons this is one of the most popular day trips from Tallinn!

From enjoying Finnish saunas and visiting ancient museums to grabbing a drink at local bars, there is no shortage of activities to keep you entertained during your day excursion from Tallinn to Helsinki.

Admire the Suomenlinna Fortress, eat some local foods at the Market Square, or visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma to find an amazing contemporary art collection.

A return day trip ferry ticket costs £28 and you can get them here.

5. Soomaa National Park

soomaa national park
Soomaa National Park, Estonia

There are a few tours that can take you to the beautiful Soomna National Park in Estonia. Open all year long, this national park boasts many stroller accessible trails and has a very good infrastructure for getting around. There are plently of hiking trails too so make sure you bring your walking shoes!

Soomaa National Park is also one of the best places to go canoeing and kayaking. I think this was one of my fav activities while I was in Estonia and it was so peaceful too.

Bear in mind that the park is flooded during the rainy season and the only way to access it is by canoes or boats.

Oh and if you wish to come close to a beaver, there is a special Beaver Trail which you can take!

6. Prangli Island

prangli island
Prangli Island, Estonia

The nearest island to Tallinn, Prangli Island is a true Estonian paradise located 30 km from the capital. The locals here have their own dialect, there are nice sandy beaches to enjoy, and the seafood is delicious.

What I like most about this place is that there is no massive tourism here, so you can enjoy the beauty of the island and have some peace and quiet at the same time. Make sure to visit the fishermen villages to learn more about the culture of the island and go for a walk through beautiful pine forest paths. St. Laurentius Church is also worth checking out.

An all-inclusive day trip to Prangli Island costs £78. This is for a full-day tour (9 hours) where you’ll explore the beautiful islands off Estonia’s coast an learn all about the way of life here. The price includes all guides, entrance fees, transfers and an Estonia lunch too.

7. Haapsalu

haapsalu
Haapsalu, Estonia

Situated on the west coast of the country and just 90 minutes away from Tallinn, Haapsalu is a cute resort town where you can relax in the sun and enjoy some of the best white sand beaches in Estonia.

There is also the Estonian train museum at the Haapsalu train station, which is one of the best train museums in the region.  It’s an ideal attraction for travelers who are into technology and mechanics.

To learn more about the history and culture of Estonia, visit the fabulous Haapsalu Castle. I really enjoyed the castle (I love a good castle) and the views from the top of the walls are ace too.

8. Pärnu

parnu
Parnu, Estonia

No summer day trips from Tallinn are as good as a visit to the city of Pärnu. Honestly, this place comes to life as soon as the sun comes out in the summer.

From the lovely beaches and activities like windsurfing and kayaking to tasty foods at local restaurants, there is lot’s to do and see in Pärnu. You can go for a walk along the promenade, rent a bike and go cycling, or just laze on one of the beaches and enjoy the relaxing vibe of this city.

Every two hours, there are buses from Tallinn to Pärnu and the ride is about two hours long.

9. Otepää

otepaa
Otepaa, Estonia

I also like traveling to Estonia during the winter season and the small town of Otepää is a place that I somehow always get back to. Thanks to its slopes and tracks which are ideal for snowboarding and skiing, this town is located a 3-hour drive from Tallinn and offers ice skating on Puhajarv lake.

Surrounded by valleys and forests, Otepää is also beautiful during the summer. You can go biking through the forest, swim in the lake, or enjoy various water sports. Hiking along the river is one of the main activities so again, make sure you bring your walking shoes.

10. Jägala Waterfall and Historic Harju County Tour

jagala waterfall
Jagala Waterfall, Estonia

The Jägala Waterfall and the magnificent Harju County is a true hidden gem of Estonia. On this tour, you’ll have an opportunity to discover mystical Bronze Age graves in Rebala, check out an ancient Estonian sanctuary and medieval Christian chapel at Saha, and see the lovely Jägala waterfall.

For best views of the bay and some excellent seafood dishes, make sure to stop by the Ruhe seaside restaurant for lunch and dinner.

A tour of Jaegala Waterfall and the historic Harju countryside costs £43. This is for a half-day tour (5 hours) where you’ll discover the natural beauty of the Jägala waterfall. The price includes all guides, entrance fees and transfers.

11. Naissaar: Soviet Military & Coastal Folk Heritage Day Trip

naissaar
Naissaar, Estonia

Soviet Military & Coastal Folk Heritage Day Trip on Naissaar Island is a great tour to discover an ex-top-secret Soviet military base. I really liked the sailor’s graveyard here, as well as the sea mined stockyard. As the name suggests, it’s a stockyard of old giant seamines – quite scary really!

The tour also includes a visit to an old Swedish church and a visit to a lovely sandy beach. After all the sightseeing, a buffet lunch is available. If you’re into your history I would say this is the tour for you.

A tour of Naissaar costs £43. This is for a full-day tour (7 hours) where you’ll explore the top-secret Soviet military base and see mines stockyard. The price includes all guides, entrance fees, transfers and there’s a delicious lunch too.

12. Kihnu Island

kihnu island
Kihnu Island, Estonia

The last place on my list of day trips from Tallinn is an island that celebrates its women. Welcome to Kihnu Island, a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity island that consists of four villages.

Although there aren’t any hotels here, the island is very popular with tourists because of the community’s culture. The thing is that men usually work off the island, while women stay here and do everything from farm work to making handicrafts and fishing.

If you are looking for a different sightseeing opportunity and wish to learn about the traditions and culture of the women of Kihnu, a day trip to this island is simply a must.

Which of these Tallinn day trips would you go on? I would love to know what you’ve got planned for your trip to Estonia so let me know in the comments below!

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