Many European cities feature historic centers that have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but few are as well preserved as Tallinn’s Old Town. The city has made centuries-old buildings accessible where possible, with prominent structures like the Toompea Castle, Fat Margaret Tower, and St. Olaf’s Church providing wheelchair access. Modern attractions including the Vabamu Museum, Tallinn TV Tower, and Estonia Theatre are also wheelchair-friendly. In this attractions guide, you’ll find helpful information about the accessibility of the most popular things to do in Tallinn.
Toompea Castle (Estonian Parliament)
Toompea Castle is a 9th-century fortress that has served as the seat of the Estonian Parliament since 1922. The castle complex is open to the public, including an outdoor garden with views of the surrounding city.
Visitors can tour the castle’s various chambers and admire the grandeur of the building’s Baroque and Rococo architecture. Guided tours in English are offered free of charge on Fridays at 11 a.m. and do not require advance registration. The guided tours offer visitors an opportunity to learn about Estonian history and culture through exhibitions held within the castle walls. Additional information on tours and conditions of entry are provided on the Parliament’s website.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is an ornate Russian Orthodox cathedral that opened in 1900. Located on Toompea Hill across the street from the Toompea Castle and the Estonian Parliament, it is one of the most iconic landmarks in Tallinn. The cathedral boasts stunning onion domes and intricate mosaics, and its lavish interior is decorated with gold and precious stones. Visitors can learn about the history of the cathedral and the Russian influence on Estonia’s culture through exhibitions held within the building.
Wheelchair access to the cathedral appears to be possible via a wheelchair stair lift at the western entrance. A phone number to call for assistance is provided, however the person who answered did not speak English and did not come to assist me in its operation. Because I was traveling alone, I had no one to send inside to ask for assistance directly. It was disappointing to be unable to enter the cathedral and it seems unacceptable that access would be denied to a church!
Hill of the Harju Gates and Freedom Square
The Hill of the Harju Gates is a scenic overlook located in the heart of Tallinn’s Old Town. From here, visitors can enjoy stunning panoramic views of the city’s historic landmarks. Adjacent to the hill is Freedom Square, a large public plaza that features several monuments, including a monument to the War of Independence. The square is a popular spot for events and festivals throughout the year.
The Cross of Liberty and the Monument to the War of Independence memorializes those who lost their lives in the Estonian War of Independence in 1918-1920. The large cross that appears there was modeled on the Cross of Liberty, a military decoration created to honor those who had served during the war. Wheelchair access is possible to both the upper and lower areas, and a visit here pairs well with a trip to the Toompea Castle, located only a short distance from the hilltop.
Kiek in de Kök Museum
Housed in a 15th-century tower, the Kiek in de Kök Museum is a fascinating attraction that showcases Tallinn’s military history. The museum’s exhibits include medieval weaponry, and visitors can explore the tower’s original artillery. The name of the museum, which means “peep into the kitchen,” comes from the fact that soldiers stationed in the tower could see into nearby kitchens.
The museum interior is not wheelchair accessible due to stairs and its narrow underground bastion tunnels, however a visit to the courtyard in front of the museum is worthwhile — decommissioned cannons are on display, and the museum sits on a ledge that overlooks the Old Town.
If you are able to leave your wheelchair behind and navigate the stairs, you can learn more about the museum and its exhibits on the Kiek in de Kök website.
Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom
The Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom is a poignant and informative museum that tells the story of Estonia’s 20th-century occupation by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Although the museum is small in size and does not appear in any travel guide books, It was among my favorite activities during my Tallinn trip.
The museum’s exhibits are interactive and feature personal accounts of life under occupation, as well as a tribute to Estonia’s struggle for independence. Visitors can learn about Estonia’s past and reflect on the importance of freedom and democracy. All exhibits at the Vabamu Museum are wheelchair accessible.
Additional information is available on the Vabamu Museum website. The cost of admission is 13 € for adults, however wheelchair users and others with “severe disabilities” receive free entry along with their carer.
Estonia Theatre, Home of the Estonian National Opera and Symphony Orchestra
The Estonia Theatre is a cultural gem of Tallinn and a must-visit attraction for music and theater lovers. The ornate theater features performances by the Estonian National Opera Company and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, as well as ballets and other shows. The building first opened in 1913, but sustained heavy damage during the March 1944 Soviet air raid on Tallinn. The theater is renowned for its excellent acoustics and stunning interior, making for a truly memorable experience.
The theater was rebuilt following the Second World War, and has recently been recognized for being an environment that is “open and accessible to everyone,” including wheelchair users. Ramps and elevators provide access to the building’s various levels, however wheelchair seating spaces are limited in the performance hall. Visitors with disabilities are advised to contact the ticketing office to advise of accessible seating needs. Additional information is available on the theater website.
Tallinn Town Hall Square in the Old Town
The Tallinn Town Hall Square is a picturesque and historic spot located in the heart of the Old Town. The square is surrounded by colorful, medieval buildings and is a hub of activity. Visitors can enjoy outdoor cafes and street performers, as well as explore the nearby Town Hall, which dates back to the 13th century. The square is also home to several festivals and events throughout the year.
Cobblestones pave the square, and most of the surrounding buildings and restaurants do not offer barrier-free entry, however street dining is widespread and some elevated dining platforms provide wheelchair access. During my visit to Tallinn, I enjoyed numerous meals in the square while people watching and appreciating the beautiful surroundings.
Viru Gate is a 14th-century gate that is one of the most famous landmarks in Tallinn’s Old Town. It was constructed as part of Tallinn’s defensive wall, which featured a total of 8 gates. Although much of the original fortification has been dismantled in the centuries since, the Viru Gate is well preserved and serves to mark the dramatic transition from Tammsaare Park to the historic Old Town.
The gate can be viewed from the street, or from an elevated viewing platform (from which this photo was taken) in the adjacent public park. It’s an area typically full of activity, but the crowds disperse as evening approaches. Wheelchair access to the viewing platform is possible via an entrance nearby the Viru tram stop on Pärnu mnt. road.
Estonian Maritime Museum
Housed inside a 500-year-old fortification tower known as “Fat Margaret,” the Estonian Maritime Museum showcases Estonia’s rich maritime history with exhibits and interactive displays on shipbuilding and navigation, as well as a collection of historical ships and boats.
The museum is wheelchair accessible with an elevator and a series of ramps to provide a barrier-free route throughout. Access to the tower’s rooftop is also possible, where visitors can enjoy views of the cruise port, sea, and the city’s Old Town quarter.
It was only after I left Tallinn that I realized I had missed half of the museum — its sister location, the Seaplane Harbour, includes 20th century seaplanes, ships and submarines, including the historic Russian icebreaker Suur Tõll, which is moored next to the museum. The museum website provides additional detail on the exhibits featured at the Fat Margaret and Seaplane Harbour locations. Ticket prices start at 15 €, however wheelchair users and others with “a profound or severe disability” receive complimentary admission along with their carer.
St. Olaf’s Church
St. Olaf’s Church is an impressive Gothic church located in the heart of Tallinn’s Old Town, about two blocks from the Maritime Museum. Originally constructed in the 12th century as a Roman Catholic Church, St. Olaf’s burned down and was rebuilt a number of times throughout its history. It is currently used by a Baptist congregation in Tallinn.
The tip of the church’s spire reaches a height of 407 feet and some allege that the church may have temporarily been the world’s tallest building, from 1549 to 1625. Wheelchair access to the church interior, with its intricate Gothic arches and a baroque pulpit, is possible via a door on the left side of the church. Admission is offered free of charge to disabled visitors.
Estonian Museum of Architecture
The Estonian Museum of Architecture is a fascinating museum housed inside of the former Rotermann Salt Storage building. Located across the street from the Metropol Hotel just outside the city’s Old Town, the museum showcases the history of architecture in Estonia and the surrounding region. The museum’s exhibits include models, drawings and photographs of historic buildings, as well as information on contemporary architecture in Estonia. Admission to the museum is available for 8 €, with wheelchair access provided via a ramp at the front entrance. Additional information is available on the museum website.
Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral
Construction on the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul was completed in 1845. The church is located a short distance from Tallinn’s Town Hall Square. The cathedral’s interior features intricate Baroque decorations and paintings, along with an impressive collection of religious artifacts and a rare 15th-century altarpiece.
The cathedral is wheelchair accessible via a metal ramp with handrails at the front steps. While there are many other impressive churches in Tallinn, this one has an important history as during the time of Swedish rule (1561-1710), Catholicism was outlawed and its houses of worship were repurposed. Following Sweden’s loss in the Great Northern War and the subsequent influence of Russia, the Catholic faith was restored and the community began to flourish. The construction of what is now a cathedral marked an important development in the restoration of religious freedom in Estonia.
Tallinn TV Tower
With its antenna spire reaching a height of 1,030 feet, the Tallinn TV Tower (Tallinna Teletorn) is the tallest in Estonia, and taller than any of the traditional buildings in the country. As someone who enjoys visiting the world’s tallest buildings and towers, the Tallinn TV Tower was a must-visit attraction for me.
The tower opened in 1980 and had been purpose-built to aid in the carriage of TV and radio transmissions during the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics. An exhibit on the ground floor of the tower details the tower’s construction, and also describes a 1991 event in which Soviet troops attempted to suppress the Singing Revolution independence movement in Estonia. It’s an interesting history, and complements what I had learned at the Vabamu Museum.
From the observation deck at a height of 557 feet, visitors can take in a 360-degree view of the city of Tallinn and the Baltic Sea, or enjoy a bite to eat in the cafe. The observation deck is accessible via an elevator, and there is an accessible bathroom located there as well. The cost of admission for adults is priced at 17 €, but wheelchair users and others with profound disabilities receive free entry. For more information and to plan your visit, see the Tallinn TV Tower website.
Tammsaare Park is a peaceful green space located in the heart of Tallinn, about a block from the iconic Viru Gate and entrance to the Old Town.
The park is named after the Estonian writer Anton Hansen Tammsaare and features walking paths, gardens, and a large pond. Visitors can relax and enjoy a picnic on the grass or take a stroll through the park’s winding paths. In the summer months, the park hosts outdoor concerts and festivals, making it a lively hub of activity in Tallinn.