To get to Tartu, to see main things and to go back to Tallinn the same day is possible. Tallinn-Tartu bus goes about 2,5 hour. It is always better when to leave Tallinn at about 8-9 AM and come back the same day at evening.
Tartu is second largest city in Estonia, quite different from Tallinn. If talking about Tartu-Tallinn differences, for me Tartu was more new in architecture, with much smaller old town, more green places and nicer atmosphere (not so touristy, more "local").
Only 1.5 hours by road from Tallinn is the city of Haapsalu. Its a nice day trip! Some of the locals call it the “Venice” of Estonia. I doubt that the city deserves this title, but never mind.
The dominating landmark is the impressive 13th century Bishops Castle. Its surrounded by a 10 metres high wall that is more than 800 metres long. Inside the walls is a huge Roman-Gothic cathedral. Its the largest single knaved church in northern Europe.
Each August, when the moon is full, Haapsalu´s the biggest annual event takes place, known as the Days of the White Lady. The legend holds that long ago a young priest was having a secret affair with a local woman, and would sneak her into the castle dressed as a choirboy. When they were found out, the woman was sealed up alive in the castle wall as punishment. During the festival musical, sports and other cultural events are staged within the ruins of the castle. Afterwards the crowd is waiting for the White Lady to show up, what she usually does! Its not an x-file but an architectural trick!
Probably visiting major tourist destination in Estonia (Tallinn) you want to visit also other places in Estonia.
Decide to go to the East - to Narva city on the border of Russia. Narva is one of the largest and oldest cities in Estonia.
In middle ages Narva was a city of kingdom of Sweden. Main attraction of Narva is a beautiful castle and bastions., Narva river and view to the Ivangorod stronghold on Russian side.
You can go there by bus, train or car from Tallinn.
Traveling to Tallinn in winter you can feel that you want to do something but cold winter Tallinn doesnt offer activies... It is a reason to do a trip to place called Kohtla-Nomme to the Centre of winter sports. Mountain activities offered there are mountain skiing, snowtubing, snowboarding. The ticket, equipment rental is not expensive.
Slopes are lighted in evening time.
In summer and all-year activities avaliable in Kohtla-Nõmme (also in Sirgala) are extreme rides, hikings in extremesafari (industrial landscape, underground mine)...
How to get there from Tallinn?
- train Tallinn-Narva (stop in Kohtla-Nõmme)
- bus to Kohtla-Jarve or Johvi and local bus.