Known for its rich cultural offerings, Tallinn never fails to deliver. This summer offers a fun-packed schedule of festivals and events taking place throughout the vibrant city.
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 in the city skyline, where new architecture stands side by side with charming historic buildings. But 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 Flower Festival
Established in 2009, Tallinn Flower Festival opens on the May 25th. 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 a perfect backdrop, outside the walls of the medieval town in the Square of Towers, Tornide väljak.
Tallinn Old Town Days
Tallinn has one of Europe’s most beautiful medieval old towns. This has been celebrated since 1982, with a packed schedule of activities. Tallinn Old Town Days kicks off with a spectacular concert at Town Hall Square. Throughout the week celebrations are centered 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
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.
Beer Summer (Õllesummer)
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!
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 Days
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, harbor concerts and theater performances, tugboat dance show, sailing trips and even a fish gutting and soup making contest. Watch Tallinn harbor come to life with sail boats, steamboats and tall ships, including Estonia’s own S/S Admiral.
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!