Plenty of visitors to the northernmost Baltic State set their sites solely on the capital of Tallinn and fail to plan a full Estonia itinerary to see other parts of the country. And while Tallinn does have a lot to offer, it’s worth spending 5 days in Estonia, 7 days in Estonia or even more to really get a feel for the country.
Estonia has a lot to offer visitors from charming towns to gorgeous beaches to lush national parks. And though the country is small, there is quite a lot to see that if you only have around a week to spend in the region, you should definitely consider planning a dedicated Estonia itinerary rather than trying to cram in other Baltic cities like Riga or Vilnius instead.
If you’re interested in travelling beyond the picture-perfect city of Tallinn and getting properly off the beaten path in Europe, then spending one week or more in Estonia is an excellent choice for you. This itinerary will take you to some of the highlights of this country to help you get a great feel for this beautiful Baltic nation.
How Many Days in Estonia?
Many travellers in the planning stages of their trips wonder how many days to spend in Estonia in order to cover a lot of ground but not feel rushed.
And the answer to this can really depend on what you’re after. If you only have a few days, plan to spend your time in Tallinn. In order to do the city justice, you will need to spend at least two days exploring the city itself and plan to spend another on a day trip to the surrounding area.
If you have 5 days in Estonia, this is where you can venture out a bit further and explore a little bit more. If you want to explore another Estonia city, consider visiting the second-largest city of Tartu, which is vibrant and absolutely charming.
You could also opt to, instead, head to Estonia’s largest island of Saaremaa and explore this gorgeous place. Or, if it’s the beach you’re after, consider adding a couple of days in Parnu to your itinerary
If you have one week in Estonia, then you have a lot more flexibility to visit a number of places. In fact, this would be the recommended amount of time to spend here (if not longer). Though you still won’t be able to visit everywhere of interest in the country, you will be able to cover a lot of ground and really get a good feel for the country.
Of course, there are so many places to see and enjoy in Estonia that you can certainly spend more than one week. However, if you want to get a lot of the destination and you do only have a limited amount of time to play around with, five to seven days can be just fine.
Getting To & Around Estonia
If you are only planning on visiting Estonia, it is likely that you will be arriving into the capital city of Tallinn. Tallinn is home to its own international airport that, while small, serves a number of different European destinations and some that are further afield.
It’s also entirely possible that you’re arriving to Estonia via ferry. Tallinn’s port has direct connections with Helsinki, Finland and some of the Finnish Islands among other destinations. The port of Paldiski (about 50km west of Tallinn) has connections to Stockholm, Sweden as well.
Estonia is also well-connected by bus to neighbouring Latvia, so it is very easy to visit both countries as part of a longer Baltics itinerary.
Once in Estonia, you do have a few options on how to get around. If you are only spending 5 days in Estonia and plan to only visit Tallinn and Tartu, you can definitely do that while relying solely on public transport. Estonia has a broad bus network that is easy to use and very convenient. You can browse schedules here.
If you follow the 7-day Estonia itinerary, you may find it easiest to do this if you have your own car, though this isn’t entirely necessary. For those who want a lot of flexibility and want to get off the beaten path even further, then renting a car and planning an Estonia road trip is probably going to be your best option. This also allows you to be able to make some stops in between destinations, as well.
If you do want to hire a car while in Estonia, we suggest browsing Rentalcars.com to compare prices across a range of different rental companies.
5 to 7 Days in Estonia Itinerary
Day 1 – Tallinn
Begin your Estonia in the beautiful capital of Tallinn. While the Old Town is very popular with tourists, it’s worth spending some time here (especially in the morning or evening before or after the cruise ship crowds have dispersed) to really take in its splendour. Known to be one of the most well-preserved medieval old towns in Europe, it’s sure to take your breath away.
Spend a few hours exploring the old town and learning about the history of this side of the city before heading outside of the old town to explore the trendy Kalamaja neighbourhood. If you want to see an alternative side of the city (and find a great place for a meal), make sure to head to the Telliskivi Creative City, as well.
Where to Stay in Tallinn
Citybox Tallinn – If you’re looking for a good mid-range option, this centrally located hotel is a great choice. Situated within easy walking distance of Tallinn’s Old Town, harbour, Telliskivi and Kalamaja, they have a range of clean and comfortable rooms on offer and a number of other amenities to ensure your stay is a great one. Click here to see their availability
Savoy Boutique Hotel – If you’re after a splurge in Tallinn, this is a wonderful luxury option located in the Old Town. This boutique hotel has a number of lovely rooms available all within easy distance of the top attractions in Tallinn. there are also countless other amenities to ensure you want for nothing in the Estonian capital. Click here to see their availability
Bob W Telliskivi – For those who are after their own space in the Estonian capital, these apartments are a great option. Located near hip Telliskivi Creative City, they have a few fully-furnished apartments that can suit a variety of visitors. They’re also situated within easy reach of Tallinn’s top sites. Click here to see their availability
Fat Margaret’s Hostel – If you’re travelling solo or on a budget, then this hostel is an excellent choice. Located on the harbour within easy reach of the city’s top attractions, there are both dorm and private rooms on offer. There are also great common areas – including an on-site sauna and hot tub! Click here to see their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Tallinn!
Day 2 – Tallinn
On your second day in Tallinn, take this time to dig a bit deeper into the Estonian capital. Begin your day wandering around the harbour and visit the imposing Linnahall centre. This structure was built for the 1980 Olympics and it is an excellent example of Soviet-era architecture – and it is particularly striking against the medieval Old Town.
To learn more about the Soviet Union in Estonia, make sure to visit the Patarei Prison museum – also located along the harbour. This museum is set in a former prison, is very well-curated and a haunting reminder of the horrors that occurred here.
Moving a bit further along the harbour, you will find the Seaplane Harbour Museum, which is another popular place to visit in the city.
And if you’re looking for a place to unwind after your day of exploration, then head to the Põhjala Brewery taproom to drink some locally brewed craft beer in a cool setting.
Day 3 – Lahemaa National Park
Spend your final day in Tallinn on a day trip to nearby Lahemaa National Park and the Jägala Waterfall. While this trip is certainly easiest done when you have your own car, there are both organised trips such as this full-day tour and public buses available as well.
Lahemaa National Park is only about forty minutes outside of Tallinn and is perhaps best known for being home to the Viru Bog.
Here you can go on an easy 6km loop walk along the bog and enjoy the unique ecosystem and natural beauty. We also recommend stopping to view the nearby Jägala Waterfall and heading to the village of Võsu and admiring the beach.
Day 4 – Tartu
On day four of this Estonia itinerary, it’s time to hit the road and visit the country’s second-largest city of Tartu. This small city is often overlooked, but it is absolutely charming and well worth exploring.
Spend your first day in Tartu wandering around the lovely old town. Take in the top sites, climb the tower of St John’s Church and even visit the Tartu Botanical Garden before strolling along the beautiful Emajogi River.
Then, wander a bit away from the Old Town to the Karlova neighbourhood. This is a cool, alternative place with lots of art and some beautiful wooden houses.
Here, you can find the trendy Aparaaditehas complex, which is reminiscent of Telliskivi in Tallinn. This former Soviet widget factory has a lot of shops and restaurants that are worth visiting.
Where to Stay in Tartu
Hotel Soho – If you’re looking for a good mid-range option in Tartu, then this boutique hotel is a great choice. They have a number of clean and comfortable rooms on offer and there is also breakfast included in the nightly rate. Click here to see their availability
Riia Kvartal Apartment – If you’d like to have your own place while visiting Tartu, then this one-bedroom apartment is an excellent choice. Centrally located, the flat is fully furnished and a great place to base yourself when exploring Estonia’s second city. Click here to see their availability
Looming Hostel – For those travelling solo or on a budget, this hostel is a good option. Located across the street from Aparaaditehas, they have both dorm and private rooms on offer, good common areas, and a nice roof terrace. It is also possible to purchase breakfast at an extra cost. Click here to see their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other accommodation options in Tartu!
Day 5 – Tartu
On your second day in Tartu and your final day in the country (if you’re only spending 5 days in Estonia), take the time to dig a little bit deeper in the city and visit a couple of museums.
The first museum that we would recommend would be the KGB Cells Museum. Similar to the Patarei Prison museum, this is a former Soviet prison where you can get a harrowing overview of the effects of the regime on residents of Tartu.
If you’re looking for something that is fun and interactive, then head to the Estonian Printing and Paper Museum which is located in the Aparaaditehas complex. This is another fascinating museum and entry also includes a guided tour where you can make some of your own prints.
Day 6 – Saaremaa
If you’re able to spend 7 days in Estonia, make your final destination in the beautiful country be the lovely island of Saaremaa.
As the largest of Estonia’s islands, there are a lot of things to do in Saaremaa that make it a really worthwhile place to visit. There are also countless wild beaches and beautiful forests to relax in, so it is a great place to unwind after a busy week in Estonia.
You can reach Saaremaa via car ferry from the coastal town of Virtsu. While it is helpful to have a car here, you can also get a bus from Tartu to Kuressaare, the largest town on the island.
Plan to spend your first day on Saaremaa exploring some of the highlights of the island for instance, taking in the Kaali Crater, driving down to the Sõrve Lighthouse or simply wandering around Kuressaare and visiting the town’s beautiful Medieval castle.
Where to Stay on Saaremaa
Ekesparre Boutique Hotel – If you’re after a luxury option on the island, this boutique hotel is a fantastic choice. Located in the centre of Kuressaare, this is claims to be the island’s oldest hotel. They have a range of plus rooms on offer and it is a great place for couples looking for a romantic getaway. Click here to see their availability
Stuudio 17 – For those who are after their own space which visiting Saaremaa, this one-bedroom apartment is a great choice. Located in Kuressaare, the flat is fully furnished, located on a quiet street and has everything you would need for a comfortable stay. Click here to see their availability
Guesthouse Laurits – This cosy guesthouse is an excellent place to stay if you’re after a good, budget-friendly option on Saaremaa. Situated in Kuressaare, they have a handful of clean and comfortable rooms on offer, are pet friendly and have a shared kitchen where you can prepare your own meals should you wish. Click here to see their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Saaremaa hotels!
Day 7 – Saaremaa
On your final day in Estonia, take the time to explore a bit more of Saaremaa before grabbing a later ferry and heading back to Tallinn. You could take the time to visit the gorgeous Tuhkana Beach on the north of the island or visit the imposing Panga Cliffs.
Once you’ve made it back to the mainland, consider making a pit stop in the lovely town of Haapsalu on the coast. This is the jumping-off point for heading to Hiiumaa island, however, the town is absolutely lovely and worth exploring in its own right.
Haapsalu’s old railway station has a fascinating collection of defunct trains to view and the city centre has an interesting medieval castle to explore. The main town is also very charming and there are plenty of great places to eat in the town, as well.
From Haapsalu, it is about 1.5 hours driving to get back to Tallinn.
Have More Time in Estonia?
If you have more than a week in Estonia, then there are plenty of ways you can occupy your time. If you’re looking for a seaside getaway, then make sure to spend a couple of days in the lovely city of Parnu which has a lot to offer visitors.
Alternatively, you could also opt to explore Estonia’s third-largest city of Narva, which is located in the east of the country close to the Russian border.
And if you are interested in visiting some more islands, hop on a ferry to Hiiumaa to explore even further.
There is so much to see and do in Estonia beyond Tallinn that it is so worth trying to plan at least a week in this beautiful country. No matter how long you have to spend here, however, you are sure to leave with lasting memories.
When planning a Estonia itinerary, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a travel insurance policy so you’re covered for any unfortunate events! We like WorldNomads and use them for our trips – click here to get a quote from WorldNomads.
Are you planning a trip to Estonia? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!