Sitting on Estonia’s northern coast, the capital, Tallinn, is pulsing with energy and packed with charm. The city of 450,000 is famed for its impressive Old Town, one of the best-preserved medieval town centres in Europe. This centuries-old district of merchant houses, Gothic churches, winding lanes and other historical attractions is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Away from Old Town’s cobblestone streets, the city has a modern feel, with off-beat architecture and redesigned factory zones providing space for the buzzing dining and nightlife scene. Dozens of sights and museums dotted around Tallinn showcase the local heritage for visitors, who are also welcomed with a full array of festivals and events taking place all year round. With such an outstanding range of experiences on offer, it’s no wonder that Tallinn has seen its popularity as a conference destination grow year after year.
Old Town will always be Tallinn’s biggest tourist draw, but several diverse areas – some emerging just in the last decade – have earned spots on the city’s not-to-be-missed list and make a visit all the richer. Notably, the newly reclaimed industrial areas of Rotermanni, Telliskivi and the Noblessner port are now trending as cultural hotspots where startups, design galleries, restaurants and pubs occupy spaces that were until recently derelict warehouses. Some are home to farmers’ markets and flea markets by day, while at night they’re magnets for young locals enjoying a night out. Visitors looking for a more relaxing experience can explore the wooden-house neighbourhood of Kalamaja, take a stroll through leafy Kadriorg Park to get a taste of Russian imperial architecture or enjoy the sea views from the newly-built Reidi Tee promenade.
Convenient distances and quick travel
One major advantage Tallinn holds is its compact layout, which means that most sights, attractions, hotels and restaurants are within easy walking distance of one another. Even getting into the centre from the Tallinn airport is quick – it’s just a 20-minute tram ride away and public transportation is free for international delegates, with prior arrangement. If walking and public transportation aren’t an option, one can always travel by Bolt taxi or E-scooter, Estonia’s home-grown alternative to Uber.
There are over 7,300 hotel rooms in Tallinn. The bulk of the city’s accommodation is made up of a mix of large, world-class business hotels clustered just outside Old Town and charming boutique hotels built in the 14th and 15th-century merchant houses of Old Town itself. In both cases, the facilities are typically fresh and state-of-the-art as the city is still a relatively young destination. Many of the hotels come with spa facilities included in the room price, which can be a special treat for business travellers.
Tallinn offers a variety of top-notch event venues all guaranteed to leave a lasting, positive impression. In addition to excellent, traditional-style options, the list includes some uniquely memorable choices: a century-old power station, early 20th-century seaplane hangars, a former submarine factory Nobel Foundry, the Tallinn TV tower, classical concert halls, an opera house, various museums, sports halls and more. The city’s largest conference facilities are the Alexela Concert Hall and the Tallinn Creative Hub, both located in the city centre close to most hotels. For those organising smaller conferences, we recommend looking into the purpose-built facilities in the city’s many superb conference hotels. For more information, please see our ECB member hotels and venues and Tallinn Meeting Venues.
See also our blog post Palaces and Submarines: Tallinn’s Museums as Event Locations
Universities and research institutions
The Estonian capital is home to several well-respected universities and research facilities that organise a number of international scientific/academic conferences each year. The bigger names include the Tallinn University, the Tallinn University of Technology, the Estonian Academy of Art and the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.
Great options for social programmes and incentives in Tallinn and beyond
Those looking for ways to spice up their event and give their delegates some amazing local experiences are spoiled for choice in Tallinn. There are plenty of social programme options available, everything from Old Town walking tours and street art tours to going for a healthy morning run, hiking through a peat bog, meeting local fashion designers, singing in a choir, making handicrafts, taking cooking classes… the list goes on. For ideas and inspiration please take a look at our Group Activities section.
See also our blog posts:
Finding souvenirs, fashion or even just a replacement phone charger is never a problem in Tallinn as the downtown area is filled with shopping centres and department stores. These are typically open 9 AM to 9 PM, even on Sundays. One of city’s largest shopping malls, Ülemiste, is conveniently located right next to the airport.
Assistance for setting up conferences and events
If you’re putting together any sort of meeting or event in Tallinn, you can rest assured that you won’t have to go it alone. Both the Estonian Convention Bureau and the Tallinn Convention Bureau are here to offer assistance in every aspect of the setup work, whether it’s finding a suitable venue, choosing a local partner, picking the perfect programme idea or getting hold of a great caterer.
For more inspiration:
- 10 Great Ways to Spend Your Time in Tallinn
- Must see and do in Tallinn
- The best restaurants in Tallinn