Rummu quarry is a submerged limestone quarry, created in the late 1930s. Excavation was performed by Murru and Rummu prisoners until late 1990s. Later, when excavation stopped, the quarry quickly filled with the water and formed a lake. On 31 December 2012, the prison has been closed permanently. Today, Rummu quarry is a popular beach and cliff diving spot (only instead of cliffs people jump from the overflown buildings). By the way, this is neither safe nor allowed!
Various hiking and boat sailing activities are organized here, such as illuminated raft sailings, fat bike trips and hiking. Rummu quarry is also very popular among divers, because the water is crystal clear and there is a lot to explore at the bottom (left machines, trees, buildings etc).
One of my personal favorite one Day Trips from Tallinn Estonia is the folk capital of Estonia – Viljandi. This town is different from the rest of the country. In fact, you will hardly find a place more popular among culture and folklore lovers. In summer, it is one of the most visited festival destinations in Estonia thanks to a folk music festival held here every year. I enjoy spending time, walking the narrow cobblestone streets, spending time by the lake or admiring well preserved castle ruins. The town is home to Viljandi Culture Academy and many talented young artists made Viljandi their home.
Additionally to castle ruins, you can visit Viljandi town museum, Estonian Traditional Music Center, hire a boat on the lake or see a play at Ugala theater. The trip to Viljandi can be easily combined with a short hike at the Soomaa National Park.
Lahemaa National park
Located only one hour drive from Tallinn, Lahemaa National Park is a true fairy tale land and an easy Day Trips from Tallinn Estonia. With so many different places to visit, you can easily spend there one whole day. Start out early and head to Viru Bog trail for a scenic walk in the woods and bogs. Wooden walkways make it possible for baby strollers as well as wheelchair users. In the middle of the trail there is a watch tower with amazing view in every direction.
After the hike, head to Sagadi manor – a gorgeous 18th century manor with a park featuring cross-shaped pond. Next, head to Altja – traditional fisherman village on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Finish your day in Võsu or Käsmu – both very welcoming and relaxing. Võsu has great beaches, while Käsmu is a so called “captains village” with many beautiful houses, it is known as a place where many intellectuals and artists have stayed in the past.
Rakvere castle ruins
Impressive medieval ruins right next to the town of Rakvere are a must on your eastbound road trip in Estonia. The castle can be seen from the Tallinn-Narva highway and is a huge tourist magnet in summertime. As for the ruins – there isn’t a lot left. However, it is kept busy through costumed actors, various medieval themed workshops, traditional housekeeping and animals as well as war themed activities (cannon shooting).
Visiting the castle can be a fun activity for young and old, since you can actually participate and try “hands on” various medieval crafts. Among other attractions, people enjoy visiting wine cellar, a torture chamber, a death room and a hell, a Red Lanterns Street, a medieval brothel, a barber’s shop, and an alchemist’s workshop.
A visit to Prangli island is the easiest day trip from Tallinn, as this island is the closest to Estonia’s capital. It is North Estonia’s only permanently inhabited island, has unique nature, traditions and hospitable local people. You will experience endless forests, spectacular sandy beaches and local fishing villages. Prangli island can be reached by a regular ferry, ticket price is 6 EUR/person/one way.
Tuhamägi adventure park
A day full of adventure is guaranteed in the Tuhamägi adventure park. Whether you are visiting in summer or winter, there is always plenty to do. Located 1 hour and 30 minute drive from Tallinn, this is an ideal destination for thrill seekers as well as families with children. In summer, Tuhamägi is a family park with mining, electric boats, various playgrounds for kids, discgolf, buggy trail, mountain cars and zipline.
In winter, skiers and snowboarders from all over the country come here to enjoy one of the best slopes in Estonia. Ski center is equipped with ski rental, cafe, 2 ski lifts and 5 different slopes for both beginners and advanced skiers. The longest trail is 700m long, which is a lot for such a flat country like Estonia. If skiing and snowboarding is your thing, I recommend having a look at this article on various Estonian skiing and snowboarding places.
Kohtla-Nõmme mining museum
Even such small country like Estonia has it’s own mining site. The Estonian mining museum is located in the Eastern part of the country where most mining sites used to be located. After a quick safety instructions, you will be guided underground and experience how it feels like to be a miner. The underground part of the museum consist of the 1 km long tunnels. The experience is quite unforgettable. We even got to ride a small underground train!
If you visit in summer, jeep safari around the nearby artificial landscapes is a must. The ride is quite bumpy and full of adrenaline. Don’t worry though – the drivers are very skilled and will guarantee your safety! If jeep safari is not your cup of tea, various hiking and mountain biking options are also available.
The advantage of having 3800km of coastline is, unsurprisingly, great beaches. In fact, Estonia has several beach towns. The most famous of all is, of course, summer resort Pärnu. When summer finally arrives, pale skinned folks make their way towards the beach hotels and enjoy the sunshine. Estonia is obsessed with beach culture – surf schools, water sports, pool parties and other fun activities are on almost each citizen’s “to-do” list. No other town offers more of them than Pärnu.
For the last couple of years, Pärnu has been home to the largest Dance music festival called “The Weekend”. It has been both impressive and devastating, but definitely the busiest weekends Pärnu had seen all year. No wonder rumors say the festival may be shut down.
Although summer is, without doubt, THE time to visit this town, other seasons may be just as fun. Pärnu offers many interesting weekend break possibilities for SPA holiday makers (here is one example). Shoulder season usually means attractive prices, making it an ideal destination for families with children.
If you are interested in military history, it’s hard to find a better place than Naissaar island. This island was throughout the history a home for military bases of the first Russian Tsar and later USSR governments. Today, a visit to Naissaar is an interesting day trip into the past. Ticket price is 13€/one way, boats leaves from Tallinn (Kalasadam).
Tartu is the second largest town in Estonia and it is famous thanks to its 17th-century University of Tartu, museums and laid back atmosphere. The city is very well connected to capital with regular bus and train connections, making it an ideal one day trip destination. Moreover, Tartu has its own airport. No matter what time of the year you visit, you will find something to do here. The old town is filled with cafes, restaurants and art shops. Ahhaa science center is a cool place to visit with children. Lately, Estonian National Museum has opened its doors and is very impressive and worth a visit.
After checking out old town and a few museums, we recommend taking a walk along the river Emajõgi or taking a photo next to the Kissing Students fountain. Tartu has a lively nightlife with various bars located in or around the old town.
Paide castle ruins
Originally, Paide Order Castle was built in 1265, using white limestone as material. Tall Hermann Tower was destroyed by the retreating Red Army in 1941 and restored in 1993. Today, the tower hosts historic exhibition through the decades in Estonian history. Don’t forget to get all the way up to the rooftop cafeteria! Paide is a small town right in the heart of Estonia and is an easy stop on your way to Tartu.
Just like Naissaar, Aegna was is part of the military history. Once a heavily controlled area, today this island is a nice getaway from busy Tallinn. Located just a few km off the coast of Viimsi, you can easily reach Aegna by regular ferry boats. Today, this island is a peaceful place where nature and history meet. Clean beaches, pine forests and almost no humans!
A day trip to Saaremaa is possible, but not very reasonable. In order to fully enjoy the island, at least 2 days are needed. The trip from Tallinn to Kuressaare (the largest town on Saaremaa) takes approx. 3,5 hours and requires ferry crossing. The ferry actually arrives on Muhu island, Saaremaa can be reached via a dam. The landscapes are quite unique, with lots of junipers, less trees and strong winds. Saaremaa is famous for its windmills, there is a cool windmill village on the northern coast.
Kuressaare is a small, but very cosy town with lots of SPA hotels, tasty restaurants and impressive medieval castle serving as a museum. The town is located on the Baltic Sea, with many interesting activities in and out of town. One of the popular attractions on the island is seal watching, visiting Kaali crater, Panga cliff, Vilsandi National park. Even in winter you can have a great time spending the weekend on this beautiful island.
Hiiumaa is another big island on our list that is best visited over two days. Ferry trip takes approx. 40 minutes. Compared to Saaremaa, Hiiumaa is much smaller and with less infrastructure. You won’t find any fancy hotels there, but lots of wild beaches, incredible nature and very tasty fish restaurants. Hiiumaa is one of the coolest places to go camping as there are lots some very nice camping spots.
Among the best attractions are Kõpu, Tahkuna and Ristna lighthouse, Surfing beach, Suuremõisa mansion and wild nature, of course. Whenever I visit Hiiumaa, I always buy some smoked fish. You can get it from local fishermen or at one of the seaside restaurants (my favorite is Lest & Lammas).
Narva & Narva-Jõesuu
All the way to the East, right next to the Russian border, lies a town called Narva. Historically, this town has been a border town. Today, everybody traveling to Russia overland is passing through and crossing the bridge over to Ivangorod. However, there is more to it than simply the border – Narva fortress is one of the largest and most impressive ones in Estonia. Visiting the fortress and the museum are among the most popular things to do here. From the walls of the fortress you can spot sister fortress on the Russian side.
If you travel north, along the Narva river, you will reach Narva-Jõesuu – famous Baltic Sea resort with many SPA hotels and beautiful beaches.