St Olaf’s Church Tallinn was once the tallest building in the world. Now a huge part of Estonia’s history, here’s all the info for visiting.
St Olaf’s Church is located in the town centre of Tallinn.
If you’re staying in the city, almost everything is within walking distance.
If you’re not up for walking there is public transport operating around the city such as buses, trolleys and trams.
You can purchase a Tallinn card in order to have unlimited transport as well discounts on city attractions during your stay. Or, you can buy a single-ride paper ticket from the driver in cash – exact change only.
For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.
Tower Observation Platform: €3 Adults, €1 Children
St Olaf’s Church Tallinn Opening Times
Daily: 10am – 6pm.
The church is only open from 1st April – 31st October.
The church and observation platform are closed in winter.
Best Time To Visit St Olaf’s Church Tallin + Tips
St Olaf’s Church is closed during the winter, so it’s best to visit during the spring or summer months. You will then have the added bonus of, hopefully, some nice weather.
You also have more chance of great views from the tower observation platform on a fine day.
This is also the time of year when Estonia holds lots of festivals.
For an inexpensive way to get all the information on attractions such as St Olaf’s Church you could get the Tallinn Self-Guided Audio Tour.
Also, if you are interested in learning more about Estonian history, the fascinating Estonian Open Air Museum on the outskirts of the city is a great option.
What To Pack
History Of St Olaf’s Church Tallinn
St Olaf’s (or St Olav’s) church, built in the 12th century, was originally used as a centre for Tallinn’s Scandinavian community before Tallinn was conquered by Denmark in 1219.
The church is named after the Norwegian king Olav II Haraldsson, also known as Saint Olaf, 995–1030.
St Olaf’s 159m spire, was said to be the tallest building in the world at one time. Although, after being hit by lightning quite a few times and having several rebuilds, the spire now stands at a shorter 123m.
In fact, an old local legend claims that St Olaf’s Church was built with such a tall spire so as to be a clear marker and attract more merchant ships to the town of Tallinn.
Over the years, St Olaf’s Church has been home to many different religious groups. However, since 1950, it has been home to a Baptist congregation who continue to meet regularly at St Olaf’s.
Interestingly, from 1944 until 1991, the Soviet KGB is said to have used St Olaf’s Church spire as a radio tower and surveillance point!
What To Expect At St Olaf’s Church Tallinn
The original St Olaf’s Church has undergone many changes over the years. With lots of renovations and extensions making it the grand structure that you see today.
It is highly respected and regarded as one of the finest medieval symbols of Tallin
If you are really into the history of St Olaf’s and Tallinn, the Medieval Tallinn 2-Hour Old Town Walking Tour will be just up your street!
Unfortunately, the church was not open when we visited. It is free to look around and we would have loved to have seen inside.
Additionally, in the summer, for a small fee, visitors can climb a winding staircase to the tower’s observation platform to enjoy spectacular views across the city.
Although, be warned, there are a total of 232 steps leading up to the observation platform!
Luxury – OldHouse Apartments
Located in Tallinn’s Medieval, provides accommodation in stylish apartments with free WiFi.
Each apartment has awith a flat-screen TV, a bedroom and a fully with a refrigerator. A stove, a microwave, a dishwasher, a toaster, a coffee machine, a kettle and kitchenware.
Each apartment come with a bathroom and either a shower or a bath.
A hairdryer and free toiletries are provided. There is also a minibar in most apartments.
Mid-Budget – Convenient Central Apartment
Convenient Central Apartment is located in the Kristiine district of Tallinn.
1.4 miles from Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, 1.5 miles from Town Hall Square and 1.6 miles from Estonian National Opera.
The accommodation is 1.2 miles from Toompea Castle, and guests benefit from complimentary WiFi and private parking available on site.
The apartment is located on the ground floor and comes with 1 bedroom, a flat-screen TV and a fully equipped kitchen that provides guests with a microwave, a fridge, a washing machine, an oven and a stovetop.
Budget – Red Emperor Hostel
Located in Tallinn’s beautiful Old Town and 550 yards from the Town Hall Square, Red Emperor Hostel offers accommodation with free Wi-Fi and 24-hour front desk.
Free luggage storage is available.
The rooms at Red Emperor are colourful and feature wooden furniture and views of the city.
Shared bathroom facilities are in the corridor.
The hostel comes with a common lounge, guest computers, a shared kitchen bar with draught beers and giant Jenga game, pool table and other entertainment.
For more places to stay in Tallinn. you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.