The Ultimate 5 to 7 Days in Estonia Itinerary

Last Updated on

by Maggie Turansky


Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may make a small commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our privacy policy.


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 at least 5 to 7 days in Estonia 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 trip rather than trying to cram in other Baltic cities like Riga or Vilnius instead.

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. 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. 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.

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.

Lahemaa National Park in Estonia
Lahemaa National Park in Estonia

Getting To & Around Estonia

If you are only planning on visiting Estonia, you will likely be arriving into the capital city of Tallinn. Tallinn is home to its own international airport that, while small, serves several 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.

Beautiful Tallinn from Patkuli Viewing Platform
Beautiful Tallinn from the Patkuli Viewing Platform

5 to 7 Days in Estonia Itinerary

Day 1 – Tallinn

Begin your Estonia trip 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 UNESCO World Heritage Old Town either independently or on a walking tour and learning about the history of this side of the city. Some of the highlights include the Town Hall Square, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Patkuli Viewing Platform.

Afterwards, head outside of the old town to explore the trendy Kalamaja neighbourhood which was traditionally the home of local fishermen but has been transformed in recent years to be a hip area full of cafes, bars and boutique shops.

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.

Street art in Telliskivi
Street art in Telliskivi

Where to Stay in Tallinn

Citybox Tallinn – If you’re after 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.

Savoy Boutique Hotel – This boutique hotel has several lovely rooms available all within easy distance of the top attractions in Tallinn.

Bob W Telliskivi – Located near hip Telliskivi Creative City, they have a few fully-furnished apartments that can suit visitors who prefer self-catering facilities.

Fat Margaret’s Hostel – Located on the harbour within easy reach of the city’s top attractions, this hostel has both dorm and private rooms on offer. There are also great common areas – including an on-site sauna and hot tub!

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Tallinn!

Tallinn's City Walls
Tallinn’s City Walls

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.

Moving a bit further along the harbour, you will find the Seaplane Harbour Museum, which is another popular place to visit in the city.

Once you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite, head to Balti Jaama Turg. This is a local market which combines both grocery shopping and local food stalls that make for a great lunch spot. If you’re interested in learning more about the food scene in Tallinn, consider booking this food tour.

And if you want 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.

Balti Jaama Turg
Balti Jaama Turg

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.

Võsu beach
Võsu beach

Day 4 – Tartu

On day four of this 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.

The Aparaaditehas Creative Complex
The Aparaaditehas Creative Complex

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 clean and comfortable rooms on offer and there is also breakfast included in the nightly rate.

TartuKodu Riia – 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.

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.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Tartu!

Tartu's main square
Tartu’s main square

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. 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 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.

Finally, for a those wanting to explore more of the history and culture of the country, head to the Estonian National Museum.

The eerie KGB Cells Museum in Tartu
The eerie KGB Cells Museum

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.

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 Meteorite Crater, driving down to the Sõrve Lighthouse or simply wandering around Kuressaare and visiting the town’s beautiful Medieval castle.

Sõrve Lighthouse
Sõrve Lighthouse

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.

Stuudio 17 – For those who are after their own space when 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.

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 are pet friendly and have a shared kitchen where you can prepare your own meals should you wish.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Saaremaa hotels! 

Kuressaare Castle
Kuressaare Castle

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.

Haapsalu Railway Museum
Haapsalu Railway Museum

Have More Time?

If you have more than a week in Estonia, then there are plenty of ways you can occupy your time. If you’re after for a seaside getaway, then make sure to spend a couple of days in the lovely city of Parnu on the Baltic Sea.

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.

Parnu Mud Baths
Parnu Mud Baths

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.

Are you planning a trip to Estonia? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

Like It? Pin It!
Avatar photo

Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie

Comments

  1. Heading to estonia Summer 2024 for 3 weeks. This blog has been fantastic for helping us plan our route. We hope in 3 weeks to get a more in depth feel for the country and have time to properly explore.

    Reply
    • I’m so happy that you’ve found our website helpful! I think 3 weeks is a great amount of time to spend – you can see A LOT of the country. I’d highly recommend heading to an island – we absolutely love Saaremaa and highly recommend it 🙂

      Reply
  2. Hi Maggie,
    Loved your blog! My husband and I are headed to Estonia and are staying in Tallinn, Taagepera and Parnu. We have 8 days to travel and sightsee.
    I’m having trouble finding a private driver that can crive us through the country also acting as a tour guide. Was hoping you might have a name of someone or a company that would act as our guide. Thanks for any help you can give me. Debbie

    Reply
    • Thanks for your kind words, Debbie! Unfortunately, we don’t work with any private drivers so I’m not able to help you there 🙂

      Reply
    • Hi Maggie,

      I found a site that gave me all Estonia!! We are headed to Tallinn from Nov 8-13 (which leaves us four full days). Is it worth going to Laheema and the falls at this time of the year? I also thought about renting a car for two nights to go both here and then another excursion (whether it be the Tartu or Narva. You did take the option of going to Helsinki off the table for a day trip as I feel like it would be rushed.

      Reply
      • Hi Scott – I think it’s definitely still worth it to head to Lahemaa. It will be chilly but certainly will still be beautiful. Personally, I would recommend heading to Tartu because it’s a really nice little city. I haven’t been to Narva so I can’t offer any advice on that end 🙂

        Reply

Leave a Comment