Dangers & Annoyances
Tallinn is generally relaxed and unthreatening, but the huge numbers of tourists it attracts naturally encourage the opportunistic and unscrupulous.
- Watch your belongings in especially crowded places such as Town Hall Square. Well-organized pickpockets and bag-snatchers do operate.
- If pressed, Tallinners might name Lasnamäe, beyond Kadriorg, as a more-dangerous part of town, but it's no Bronx in the 1980s.
- Drunks can be a problem – especially Brits on stag dos.
If you're in Tallinn for more than a fleeting visit, and are keen to see the sights, the Tallinn Card (www.tallinncard.ee) is a godsend. You'll pay €25/37/45 for a 1-/2-/3-day adult card (children pay €14/19/23) and get free entry to over 40 sights and attractions (including most of the big-ticket ones), unlimited use of public transport and plenty of other discounts on shopping, dining and entertainment. Single tickets to Tallinn's myriad museums, bastions and other diversions are increasingly dear, so you won't need to visit many to start racking up the savings. You can buy the Tallinn Card online, from the Tourist Information Centre, or from many hotels.
Embassies & Consulates
Emergency & Important Numbers
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Tallinn holds the monopoly on visible gay life in Estonia, with a few unobtrusive venues south of Old Town. The main regular celebration is Baltic Pride, which rotates between Tallinn, Rīga and Vilnius every year, usually in June. Tallinn's turn falls in 2017 and 2020.
- X-Baar This long-standing bar is the mainstay of the city's gay and lesbian scene, attracting a mixed crowd of mainly local men and women. It's a relaxed kind of place, with a snug bar and a large dance floor.
Wi-fi is ubiquitous in cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels, and some hostels, hotels and libraries have terminals you can use. Many squares and other public places in Old Town also have free public wi-fi: see www.visittallinn.ee for a map of coverage.
Tallinn's bitter winters and balmy summers mean that opening hours of businesses and attractions can vary considerably throughout the year, and some places close entirely from October to March. We've provided hours indicative of high summer (June to August) when most places are open, and working hours are longest:
Banks 9 or 10am–5 or 6pm Monday to Friday
Shops 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, 11am–5pm Saturday and Sunday
Shopping Centres 9am–9pm
Tallinn Tourist Information Centre A very well-stocked and helpful office. Many Old Town walking tours leave from here.
Travel with Children
Tallinn’s Old Town, with its evocative medieval streets, picture-book fortifications and ancient houses, is pure eye candy for the under-12 crowd – although those cobblestones can be hard work if yours are still in pushchairs. Tallinners welcome kids almost everywhere; many restaurants have separate children’s menus and most larger hotels have play areas and child-minding services.
Children will particularly enjoy the Estonian Open-Air Museum, the zoo, Pirita's beaches, Kalev Spa Waterpark, Nõmme Adventure Park and the seasonal Harju Ice Rink. There’s a large playground in Kadriorg Park and another in Hirvepark, downhill from Toompea.
- Nuku The state puppet museum has lots of historic puppets behind glass but plenty to play with too. There's a Cellar of Horrors full of 'evil and scary puppets' (including a vampiric rabbit), a dress-up room, a shadow theatre and windows into the workshops where the puppets are made.
- City Train Kids and weary adults love this cheery blue little road train, which winds a 20-minute circuit through Old Town in summer.
The more appealing and venerable parts of Old Town Tallinn are sadly not friendly to wheelchairs. Cobbles are the least of it – it's the stairs that link Toompea and the lower town, wind up many towers, and take visitors down into dank bastions and cellars that are the real obstacles. Some buses and other public conveyances are equipped to deal with disabled passengers; many are not.
It is law, however, that all new buildings in Estonia must be accessible to all, so shopping centres, newly developed museums and ferry ports won't be a problem. Some tour operators run accessible walking tours that may be an option: Sage Traveling is one.