Known for its rich culture offerings, Tallinn never fails to deliver. This summer offers a fun-packed schedule of festivals and events taking place throughout the vibrant city.
Tallinn is an enchanting city of rich heritage. Most people who visit will head straight to the Medieval Old Town, in which much of the culture is shaped around. However, there is also a contemporary side to the city. These contrasts are best seen on the city skyline, where new architecture stands side by side with charming historic buildings.
The best way to get an insight into the Estonian capital’s culture is through the numerous festivals taking place during the summer months. Events showcase music across many genres, maritime shows or motorcycle rallies, or even literature. Some festivals even link us to the medieval past, through folk culture with song and dance.
Here is a pick of happenings taking place in Tallinn over this summer:
Tallinn's II Flower Festival23rd May – 29th August
Established in 2009, Tallinn Flower Festival opens on the 23rd May. An evening ceremony and concert will start the festivities of the busy entertainment programme of flowers, music and art. The landscaped themed gardens are set against the perfect backdrop, outside the walls of the medieval town in the Square of Towers, Tornide väljak.
Tallinn Old Town Days24th May – 1st June
Tallinn has one of Europe’s most beautiful medieval old towns. This has been celebrated since 1982, with a packed schedule of activities. The festival kicks off with a spectacular concert at Town Hall Square. Throughout the week celebrations are centred around themed days including a children’s day and a medieval day, where knights compete on horseback with swords and bows. Street performers, artists and musicians also fill up the streets of the old town.
International Literary festival HeadRead 28th May-1st June
A full schedule of literary events is on offer at the HeadRead Festival in Tallinn. Meet and listen to authors, contribute to discussions on current issues, take part in seminars and poetry readings. Enjoy literacy walks, cafes and film screenings.
Harley-Davidson FH-DCE Super Rally 5th-9th June
This year, Tallinn hosts the 40th anniversary of the annual Harley-Davidson Super Rally. Clubs from all over Europe will descend on the city with over 15,000 Harleys expected to be parked at the Song Festival Grounds, along with tens of thousands of bike enthusiasts. If you are attending make sure you try a special edition super rally beer, made just for the occasion.
XXVI Song Celebration and XIXX Dance Celebration 4th - 6th July
This unique festival has become a huge cultural celebration amongst the Estonian people. The theme, song and dance, plays an important role in everyday life and every five years Tallinn puts on a show to remember. Thousands of local and international performers join together clad in colourful costumes in a fantastic display of folk art. The event is so important to the heritage of Tallinn that it has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List for the celebration of Baltic song and dance celebrations.
Beer Summer (Õllesummer)9th – 12th July
Eastern European beers are popular the world over. Join Õllesummer, the largest beer festival in the Baltics and sample hundreds of beers from Estonia, and all over the globe. Local restaurants and bars take to the city’s streets to set up stalls in Tallinn Song Festival Grounds, all adding to the atmosphere. You will also have the chance to complement your drinks with tasty local cuisine, and enjoy show rides or concerts from local and international artists such as Bastille, Hurts and The Bootleg Beatles: the perfect way to spend a Tallinn summer.
Medieval Days10th - 13th July
Although Tallinn Old Town Days touch on the medieval heritage of the city, this festival is fully devoted to it. The Medieval Days are an important celebration of Estonian folk art and culture. Meet merchants and take part in music and dance workshops at the medieval market place. A procession marks the start of the festival followed with old town excursions and theatre shows. There is also plenty to keep the kids occupied up on Niguliste Hill.
Tallinn Maritime Days18th – 20th July
On a slightly different theme, Tallinn Maritime Days celebrates everything to do with the sea. The highlight is perhaps the grand sea battle in Tallinn Bay involving five historic ships. There is also a regatta, harbour concerts and theatre performances, tugboat dance show, sailing trips and even a fish gutting and soup making contest. Watch Tallinn harbour come to life with sail boats, steamboats and tall ships, including Estonia’s own S/S Admiral.
Rooftop Cinema Summer months, May - August
Katusekino offers a unique opportunity to sit back on the rooftops of Tallinn over the summer months and enjoy a film. Enjoy the evening summer sun, the big screen and popcorn as you watch a wide range of films from timeless classics, cult and horror films and documentaries. Films start in coordination with the sun setting between May and August. The Rooftop terrace offers a cosy atmosphere with a café and bar and comfy seating, including beanbags. The food this year will be served by chefs from MoMo Japanese Restaurant. Arrive early to get the best seats.
These are just some of the festivals of this summer. Further Cultural Highlights include the summer solstice, cultural festivals and music covering several genres including choir, organ, opera and ballet. The Radisson Blu Sky Hotel, Tallinn, located in the edge of the historic Old Town places you close to the main happenings in the city this summer. No matter when you visit there will be no shortage of events taking place.
Which Tallinn festival would you most like to go to?