Estonia: detailed travel guide

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Estonia: detailed travel guide

Estonia is one of the brightest, most versatile and diverse countries in northern Europe. Situated on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea and washed by the waters of the Gulfs of Riga and Finland, Estonia offers tourists an incredible selection of natural landscapes, ancient monuments and architectural wonders. Millennia of history, cultural traditions, lively and fascinating, historic cities, castles and fortresses from the era of the Crusaders, museums and elegant estates-muse of the time of the Empire. 2500 islands, virgin forests and National parks, lakes, swamps, meteorite craters and hundreds of kilometers of beaches – this is all Estonia!

Combined with the latest technological advances, Estonia offers a unique cocktail of experiences where all the ingredients are perfectly matched. Excursions, entertainment, historical routes, shopping and gastronomic wonders, spa hotels and the best beaches of the Baltic Sea – whatever plans you go on vacation, Estonia will certainly bring them to life.

Old Tallinn

Old Tallinn

Despite its modest size, Estonia can surprise even the experienced traveler. It is easily accessible from anywhere in Europe – by air, by land and by water. Tallinn, the delightful and ancient capital of Estonia, and the main cities of Sweden and Finland are only hours apart. Guests from Warsaw will be delivered by a comfortable bus, and residents of St. Petersburg need not be late for the evening train. Breakfast can be ordered in the heart of Tallinn.

Magic Tallinn, a real teleport city, a time machine in action.

The entire old town is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as an example of conservation in northern Europe.

From a bird’s eye view, its shape repeats the heart – this is probably why it regularly steals hearts from impressionable tourists!

To leave your own there, it is enough to climb one of the observation platforms, there are many of them in the city.

And then walk the whimsically twisted streets, admiring the ancient fortress walls, towers and underground passages – the Tallinn fortress is more than 700 years old, and it is also considered the standard of medieval architecture.

In addition to the fortress, the historical part of Tallinn will offer ancient temples, medieval mansions, museums and, of course, restaurants – to tastefully celebrate your acquaintance with the city, you have a choice of 1001 restaurants. Many of them have earned the laurels of the best in northern Europe.

The second most important city in the country is Tartu. It is considered the intellectual capital of Estonia, it is not for nothing that its foundation is attributed to Prince Yaroslav the Wise. The most ancient university, the most picturesque ruins of the cathedral, the most beautiful Botanical Garden and the most “advanced” museums are located here. Another reason to visit Tartu is fairs, festivals and other entertainment events. Thanks to the university and student fraternity, it is also the funniest city in Estonia.

Castle in Narva

Castle in Narva

In Narva, Rakvere and Põltsamaa, fans of ancient fortresses and majestic castles should take a ride.

Life here is quiet and unhurried, and only occasionally the city peace is disturbed by music festivals and historical reconstructions.

For the sea and the sun, you have to go to Pärnu.

The “summer” capital of Estonia, stylish and bright, will offer its guests spa hotels, health resorts on the shores of the Gulf of Finland, a pretty port with yachts and the Old Town from the times of the Hanseatic League.

But the main thing for which tourists come here is eight kilometers of sandy beach, the best in the country.

Those who love everything at once should visit Haapsalu. One of the most famous spa resorts, renowned for its traditions and admirers, Haapsalu also has a worthy historical dimension.

The medieval castle and old cathedral, the vibrant Old Town, the Seaside Promenade – the culture here is perfectly combined with vacation motives.

And, of course, you cannot leave Estonia without seeing its islands. Choose the largest and most beautiful island of Saaremaa and its capital, old Kuressaare. The local Episcopal Castle is considered the most harmonious in the country, and the climate is one of the best on the coast.

In short, why would you not come to Estonia – to have fun, improve your health, or intellectually enrich yourself, your vacation is waiting for you great. Estonia will take care of this!

How to get to Estonia

Estonia is one of the best options for a weekend or full-fledged vacation. Judge for yourself – close, beautiful, sincere. There is no language barrier. Another important plus is the convenience of transport links. And whichever way of travel you choose – plane, train, bus or ferry, Estonia will offer it to you.

Aircraft

Tallinn airport

Tallinn airport

If you are considering only direct flights, you need to move between capitals. Flights Moscow – Tallinn are offered by Sheremetyevo Airport, with daily departures. Moscow air harbors Vnukovo and Domodedovo also organize flights to Tallinn, but they fly less frequently from here.

If you agree to a transplant, then you have an excellent choice. You can make a long stop in Riga, Helsinki or Warsaw, and instead of one country, see two. A ticket with hand luggage included in the price can be bought for 10,000 rubles. The flight time will be from 2 to 8 hours.

All international flights arrive at Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport.

The airport is convenient and modern, and has a good location, from here it is only 4 km to the center of Tallinn and 5 km to the passenger seaport.

Getting from here to any part of the city will not be difficult, both by taxi and using public transport.

Bus number 2 carries passengers from the airport to the center and back, a bus ticket costs 2.5 euros. However, keep in mind that buses run from 7:00 to 00:00, only taxis are available at night.

However, travel on it is quite inexpensive, and will cost you about 7-10 euros. All taxi cars are equipped with meters.

Bus

Perhaps no less convenient way to get to Estonia is by bus. There are many daily flights between St. Petersburg and Estonian cities, provided by Simple Express, Ecolines, BalticShuttle. Both the timing and the range of services “on board” are impressive – depending on your wishes, you can choose both business class and economy travel options.

One of the best bus services on the market is Lux Express. It guarantees about 20 flights St. Petersburg – Tallinn every day, buses run around the clock, and you can choose any departure time that suits you. On the way, you will be offered Wi-Fi, hot drinks, water, and if necessary, borrow a blanket or headphones. Each seat is equipped with an individual screen, as well as a socket for recharging gadgets.

Travel time to Narva will be 2.5 hours, to the capital of Estonia – 6 hours 30 minutes. Not at the peak of the holiday season, you will find a ticket for 10 euros. The most convenient way to book and pay for travel is on the Lux Express website. Thus, by the way, you can save a lot. You do not need to print anything, registration is electronic, you only need a passport to board the bus.

A train

All trains arrive at the Tallinn Railway Station. Its location is another bonus for travelers, from here within walking distance are the Old Town and the seaport of Tallinn, the most popular tourist locations. With heavy luggage, you can use the tram, routes 1 and 2 are great.

How to get to Estonia from neighboring countries

Tallinn bus station

Tallinn bus station

When traveling in the Baltics and Northern Europe, be sure to include Estonia in your itinerary.

It is especially easy to get here from Lithuania and Latvia using one of the many bus routes.

Buses run around the clock, and you can get there both with a more convenient morning flight and a budget night one.

Night moving is suitable for traveling from Lithuania.

Its ancient capital, beautiful Vilnius, is 8.5 hours from Tallinn – just enough to get enough sleep.

On the way, you will be offered warming drinks, Wi-Fi and watching movies so as not to get bored.

The ticket price starts from 10 euros.

You will get from Riga much faster. Beauty Riga is located next door, only 4 hours away, and tickets are inexpensive. Having thought about the trip in advance, it is quite possible to buy a ticket for the promotion for a pleasant 5-9 euros.

Ferry service

This is exactly the case when the situation obliges – Tallinn, one of the most beautiful capitals of the Baltic, receives many international water trips every day.

The most convenient, fastest and most affordable option is the ferry from Helsinki. There are several ships daily on the Estonia – Finland route, the journey will take about 3 hours. The standard price of such a cruise is on average 15-17 euros in one direction, however, on sales days, which happen quite often, you can save a lot. With a little luck, the ticket will cost you only 3-7 euros.

Cruise ship in port

Cruise ship in port

Another great weekend option is to see Stockholm. A liner leaves every day for the wonderful capital of Sweden, from Tallinn it leaves at 18:00, arrives in Stockholm in the morning at 10:15. Don’t forget about the time difference – all times are local. In Stockholm, you can walk until 16:30, at which time boarding begins, and the liner departs at 17:30. The next morning the ship arrives in Tallinn at about 11 am. From here, it is easy to get to the city, to the bus station and to the airport by bus number 2.

A cruise in an economy class cabin will cost about 59–65 euros. However, do not forget that this price can be divided between two fellow travelers, this includes a round trip, and a cabin with all amenities for 2 nights is at your complete disposal.

All cruise options can be explored, selected in advance and paid for on the Talink website. To check in for boarding, it is advisable to arrive at the port in advance.

Travelers from St. Petersburg can also take a ride to Tallinn by sea. True, such a trip will take more than 2 days, because on the way you will first go to Helsinki, then you will see Stockholm.

The cruise, depending on the class of the cabin and the popularity of the season, costs from 90 euros and more. Additional options such as meals on board, transfers and excursions are charged separately.

Estonian history

Estonian history is a journey of thousands of years. This northern country managed to preserve the traditions and customs of its ancestors, the Viking sagas and tales of overseas kings, while remaining a modern European state.

Estonia: the beginning of the beginnings

Historical evidence of life on these lands can be found already in the 9th millennium BC. The appearance of the first people on the territory of modern Estonia is associated with the end of the last known ice age. According to archaeologists, the oldest site of primitive people appeared on the banks of the Pärnu River, not far from the city of Sindi, approximately in 9500 BC. There are several such settlements, all of them belong to the Kund culture.

This ancient cultural layer existed until the 5th millennium BC and is named after the Estonian city of Kunda. Its influence spread to the eastern Baltic states, Poland and southern Finland. The settlements of hunters and fishermen used stone tools of labor and defense, which are found in many archaeologists, right up to the Mesolithic period.

Over the millennia, cultural layers have changed, and along with them – the traditions of the peoples inhabiting these lands. Already in the third millennium BC, the inhabitants of the settlements began to raise livestock, and by the first millennium this trade became the main activity of the settlers.

The path to the emergence of statehood

Three thousand years ago, the inhabitants of the territories that make up modern Estonia chose a sedentary lifestyle. As a rule, the new settlers preferred coastal territories, and here the first settlements were built, fortified and defended. Their traces can be found to this day on the island of Saaremaa, these are Ridala and Asva, as well as the settlement of Iru near Tallinn.

At the same time, sea and land contacts with neighbors begin to develop. This period is designated by archaeologists as the culture of stone burials. It is associated with the resettlement of the ancestors of the Germans from Scandinavia.

Estonia at the beginning of our era is the land of agriculture and animal husbandry. Already in the early Middle Ages, customs, a traditional way of rural life appeared, which Estonians managed to preserve to this day. Many historic villages still exist today.

The early Middle Ages are an important period in the formation of Estonia. New, fortified settlements are being built, a system of administrative registration of territories has been formed, and the unit of measurement is taken as a small farm – a typical family farm. There are still many of them in Estonia. The entire territory of the state is divided into 8 regions and counties, these are Virumaa, Läanemaa, Rävala, Saaremaa, Sakala, Ugandi, Harju County, Järvamaa.

By this period, an early feudal model of society was formed, where elders ruled the lands. The main Estonian epic, which tells the story of the medieval giant giant Kalevipoeg, was written just in the spirit of that time.

Tartu city

Tartu city

In the same historical period, around 1030, the campaign of Prince Yaroslav the Wise began to the northern lands. He founded the city of Yuryev, present-day Tartu.

A little later, local tribes recaptured Tartu, and in the following centuries, the ancient Estonians on the one hand, and the inhabitants of Pskov with Novgorod, on the other, regularly “exchanged pleasantries.”

Such raids on neighbors were considered in the order of things, one of them even went down in history. It is known that Estonians were in conflict with the Scandinavian Vikings, especially in this confrontation the inhabitants of the largest Estonian island – Saaremaa.

Possessing a solid fleet at that time, the Oeselians, that is, the islanders, kidnapped the Norwegian Queen Astrid and her son Prince Olaf.

Subsequently, it was canonized, and one of the most outstanding examples of medieval architecture in Estonia, St. Olaf’s Church, was named in its part.

Also, the Estonian Vikings are credited with the destruction of the Swedish capital of Sigtuna, this happened at the beginning of the XII century. Visiting the island of Saaremaa, you can see with your own eyes the treasures of the Vikings, which were found here in many.

The early Middle Ages: from the Crusaders to the Reformation

The beginning of the Middle Ages in Estonia is associated with the spread of Christianity. The faith of Christ came to these lands later than to central Europe, and if at the beginning these were missionary movements, then the planting of a new religion took place with fire and sword. Various organizations – the Teutonic Order, the Pope, German archbishops, Denmark and the Kingdom of Sweden – advocated for the introduction of Estonia to Catholicism. Pagan ancestor cults have always been very strong in these parts, so it was decided to take extreme measures – the Northern Crusade. In history, he remained under the name of Livonian.

Dome Cathedral in Tallinn is one of the oldest in Estonia

Dome Cathedral in Tallinn is one of the oldest in Estonia

The crusaders reached the Estonian lands in 1208. And in 1217 the battle of Viljandi took place, where the Estonians were defeated. Two years later, the territories of northern Estonia were conquered by the Danes, the south of the state began to belong to the German Order of the Swordsmen.

As a result of the conquests, these lands went under the control of the powerful Livonian Order, which by that time had occupied a solid part of the modern Baltic.

At the same time, the Danish king granted Tallinn, which was considered a pearl among cities, the privileges of the Lubeck city law.

According to these laws, the capital of Estonia, like other cities of the Hanseatic League, was governed until the beginning of the twentieth century.

The conquered lands were transformed into bishoprics, some of them were subordinate to the supreme authority in Riga, others were ruled by Denmark.

Of course, this did not take into account the interests of the local population, and conflicts were inevitable.

The most famous uprising was St. George’s Night, which marked the beginning of the Peasant War of Liberation.

The riots, which the Danish authorities could not cope with, forced them to sell the land to the Teutonic Order. The era of German rule in Estonia began.

The German landlords wielded tremendous power here for the next 700 years. The territories of modern Estonia and Latvia are called Livonia – a medieval community of interconnected small principalities that were part of the German church territories of the Holy Roman Empire. The feudal system, formed in medieval Estonia, put German knights and Catholic bishops at the pinnacle of power.

The rights and freedoms of local residents were constantly violated, right up to the introduction of serfdom. Taxes and taxes reached unprecedented levels, and all administrative and judicial power belonged to the German magistrates. At the same time, the Estonians themselves, who made up the majority of the population, remained predominantly peasants and did not have personal freedom.

Medieval warehouse houses

Medieval warehouse houses

In large cities, merchant guilds and communities of artisans were formed, and Rewal – modern Tallinn, Dorpat, now it is the city of Tartu, Pernau, familiar to us as Pärnu, and Viljandi were part of the powerful Hanseatic League. This commercial and defensive association of merchant guilds and trading cities quickly became a monopoly in northern Europe.

Traces of those times are still easy to find on the streets of Tallinn.

Walking through the Old Town, pay attention to the medieval warehouses, equipped with hooks sticking out above the attic for lifting loads.

Perhaps due to the eternal conflict of interests of the trading cities with their merchants, and the Catholic clergy, represented by the German bishops, the Reformation movement in Estonia received support.

The middle of the 16th century was accompanied by riots, where ordinary people went out to revolt against the Catholic clergy.

One of the manifestos of the Reformation, which was supported by local residents, was the holding of services and the publication of books in Estonian.

Middle Ages: from the Livonian War to the Russian Empire

The sixteenth century turned out to be a turning point – the Livonian Order, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Russian Tsar, Sweden and the Danish kingdom started a major conflict over the division of territories. It remains in history as the Livonian War. Estonia became one of those lands for which they fought. Both the population and the economic component of the cities suffered greatly during the hostilities, and as a result, the state was divided between Sweden, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Denmark.

Later, by the middle of the 17th century, all the territories of modern Estonia ceded to the Kingdom of Sweden. The foundation of the University of Tartu, one of the oldest in Europe, dates back to this time. An important event took place in 1632, at the direction of the Swedish king Gustav II Adolf.

Until the end of the 17th century, the economic stability of Estonia was ensured by trade. Large cities – Narva, Tallinn, Tartu, stood at the crossroads of trade routes, through which goods went to Europe or Russia and back. The agricultural sector also functioned well, and crafts developed.

The Northern War changed the balance of power in the region. It ended in 1721 with the surrender of Sweden, and the Estonian lands came under the control of the Russian Empire.

Estonia as part of Russia

Most of the Baltic territories in the middle of the 18th century ceded to Russia. Northern Estonia turns into Revel Governorate, and southern lands, together with Latvia, formed Livonia. Emperor Peter the Great restored the rights of the German nobility; they constituted a solid layer in the highest authorities. In matters of religion, complete freedom was also allowed for both the Lutheran faith and the Russian Orthodox Church.

Orthodox Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky

Orthodox Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky

In the spheres of culture and education, progress was observed, books, newspapers and magazines were published in Estonian, educational societies were actively working, defending the rights of the people, and literacy of the population was almost universal.

The population size has also recovered, undermined by wars and epidemics.

An important historical milestone was the abolition of serfdom by Tsar Alexander the First. It happened in 1816.

In the middle of the 19th century, Estonia, along with the rest of the empire, entered the era of capitalism.

The industry developed by leaps and bounds, mechanical engineering, textile and agricultural industries formed the basis of the economy.

Success in the economic field and the development of educational programs contributed to the birth of the Estonian national movement.

Towards a free Estonia

Activists of the national movement, formed at the end of the 19th century, demanded equal rights for Germans and indigenous people, Estonians, whose interests were infringed upon. These societies united writers, educators, journalists, and representatives of the intellectual elite. They fought not only for legal rights, but also for the restoration of traditions such as the Song Festival, ethnographic festivals, the first Estonian theater. However, despite these bold attempts, Russians and Germans remained the economic and political elite of society.

On the wave of patriotic movements, as well as revolutionary provocations, strikes and unrest broke out throughout Estonia. The tsarist government responded with harsh repression, but the uprisings continued in 1916, leading to the 1917 revolution. The interim government was entrusted with the management of the former Estland province.

Riots continued, this time between Estonian nationalists and Bolsheviks. However, now the First World War intervened in the plans of the future Soviet government. Estonia remained neutral in this conflict, demanding independence.

The wish came true on February 24, 1918 – finally Estonia became a free state.

The first Estonian republic existed until 1940. The Second World War, its sad consequences, and the subsequent incorporation into the USSR lasted for almost fifty years.

Tallinn's old town renovated for the 100th anniversary of independence

Tallinn’s old town renovated for the 100th anniversary of independence

Estonia regained independence in 1991 with a rally known as the Singing Revolution.

Over the past thirty years, the state has been actively developing.

Estonia is a member of the UN, the European Union and NATO, a technically advanced and very progressive country.

The system of electronic elections exists and is actively used here, and Skype was invented.

In 2002 Tallinn hosted the Eurovision Song Contest, and in 2018, the anniversary year for Estonian independence, many museums, palaces and cultural sites were renovated in the country.

In the same year, the European Best Destinations Association recognized the Tallinn Christmas market as the most beautiful in Europe.

And regardless of political trends, the time of the year and the weather outside the window, this beautiful, diverse, and such a close country is always waiting for you!

Climate and weather in Estonia

Several factors influence the Estonian climate. The proximity of the Baltic Sea, the Gulf Stream, Atlantic cyclones, temperate continental regions, fifteen hundred islands – this combination can be safely called unique.

The warmest month of the year is July, the coldest is February.

However, the transitions between seasons are smooth and comfortable, and the residents of the country are unfamiliar with both severe frosts and sweltering heat.

Winter in Haapsalu

Winter in Haapsalu

Estonia, located both on the mainland and on the islands, is surrounded by water on three sides. A large part of it is swamps, and the sea and the unusual natural relief create their own microclimate. The weather in Estonia is most often described as humid and cool, rather mild.

Winter in Estonia begins, as it should be – in December. As a rule, snow falls at this time, which greatly decorates the landscapes, and there is a light frost, conducive to walks.

It is one of the most popular tourist seasons of the year and is the time to celebrate Christmas and New Year.

January and February are colder and frosty, there is a lot of snow, however, the air temperature rarely drops below – 6 … 8 ° C.

The weather is conducive to winter fun – ski slopes, skating rinks in parks, sledging, fishing are open.

Estonians are a very athletic nation, and most of the time, joining their winter walks is completely free.

Spring does not come to Estonia until the second half of March. At this time of the year, frosts are still possible, mainly at night, but the sun is peeping more often.

April is also a cool month; May is considered more successful for a visit to the country. Spring can be seen in all its glory – in blooming parks, in meadows outside the city and bright city flower beds. Walking around Old Tallinn, do not deny yourself the pleasure of sitting at a table at an outdoor cafe – in May such gatherings in the air are already quite comfortable.

If the purpose of your visit is to see Estonia in summer, plan your trip in July. June is more like a warm spring than our usual summer. Although the month is quite sunny and not too rainy.

The best time to visit Estonia is June and July

July is considered the warmest, sunniest and driest month of the year, the air temperature warms up to + 22 … 24 ° C. + 30 ° C in Estonia is an abnormal heat, such temperature cataclysms do not happen often.

Despite the rather hot daily temperatures for Estonia, summer nights remain cool.

Summer Tallinn

Summer Tallinn

This feature of the local climate dictates to tourists their own rules for collecting luggage – a light jacket or sweater is required even in the middle of summer.

July and August are perfect for exploring Estonian cities and relaxing on its beaches.

The water temperature off the coast of Tallinn is usually around + 20 ° C, in rare cases warming up several degrees higher.

Another good season to visit Estonia is autumn.

September usually welcomes guests of the country with dry, warm and sunny weather.

This is a great time for both city walks and outdoor recreation. The first frosts and rains come with the onset of October, and although the average temperature is at around + 10 ° C during the day, the mood is spoiled by prolonged precipitation.

It is especially cold and wet in November, this is the time of the true northern autumn, with fogs and falling snow. A warm hat and mittens are a must, or, alternatively, you can keep warm at the numerous spas, as well as at Christmas markets, which also start in November.

Estonian cities and regions

The territory of Estonia, divided in the 13th century by the knights of the Livonian Order into 8 historical regions – Maakondas in Estonian, today, with the recognition of independence, has been divided into 15 counties. Almost all of them, to a greater or lesser extent, are of some interest to travelers.

Northern Estonia

The history of the country in stone can be studied in the regions of Harju, Lääne-Viru County, Ida-Viru County. Here you will find ruins of ancient castles, noble estates from the time of the empire, palaces, and all this against the backdrop of sand dunes and seemingly pristine coniferous forests. The main cities of the north of the country are the capital Tallinn, the seaside Paldiski, Maardu with its own lake.

Streets of Old Tallinn

Streets of Old Tallinn

In addition to the beauties of ancient Tallinn, with its amazing fortress and streets of the Old Town, Harju County attracts with its excellent preservation of medieval buildings.

Temples and fortresses, historical landowners’ estates – manors, the Vasalemma palace and park complex.

The views are also in order here – 17 landscape zones protecting unique natural monuments, including karst fields, heaths, springs, swamps, picturesque coastal cliffs.

Lääne-Viru County is famous for the ancient megaliths in Lahemaa National Park, on the coast of the Gulf of Finland.

Noble estates, the “village of captains” Käsmu, where the first ship of Estonian production was launched, the family estate of Admiral von Krusenstern, as well as a tour of the Neeruti National Park – you will not have time to get bored. Don’t miss Rakvere Castle – built in 1226 by the Danes, it is perfectly preserved for its advanced age.

Ida-Viru County will appeal to nature explorers. Sea ledges – klint, the highest waterfall in the country, the Oru landscape reserve, the most interesting in Estonia, the Alutaguse adventure park, the beaches of Lake Peipsi and the opportunity to kayak on the Kurtna lakes.

Western Estonia

The western regions of Estonia – Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Pärnumaa and Läänemaa, this is an opportunity to have a great vacation by the sea, combining vacation with viewing architectural masterpieces. It is in this region that sea resorts, spa centers, mud baths and sanatoriums are concentrated.

Saaremaa county is located on the largest island in Estonia and encompasses the islets nearby. They are loved by fans of sea sports – surfing and kiting, thanks to their windy weather. And in the holiday season, you can go swimming with seals, organized by the employees of Vilsandi National Park. Do not miss the Kaali meteorite crater, which is filled with water of an unusual jade hue. The lake is round in shape, 100 meters in diameter, and you can swim in it in summer.

Castle in Kuressaare

Castle in Kuressaare

The capital of the county is Kuressaare. There is a sea harbor, an airport, and the Episcopal Castle, one of the most beautiful in Eastern Europe.

The Old Town has also survived in Kuressaare, with colorful historical buildings.

Hiiumaa is also loved by surfers and beach goers.

The second largest island in Estonia offers tourists a picturesque coastline with a total length of 310 km, wind and waves for fans of sea activities, as well as hiking trails.

You can walk, for example, to the Kõpu lighthouse – the most ancient navigational landmark in the Baltics.

The largest county in Estonia is Pärnumaa. Its capital, the seaside port city of Pärnu, is considered the main Baltic resort in Estonia. Perfect sandy beaches with white dunes surrounded by pine forests are found here.

Neighboring Läänemaa attracts visitors thanks to the county capital, the ancient city of Haapsalu. Famous for the traditions of mud therapy – the first clinic in the country was opened here, he has not lost his “qualifications” even now. On the seaside promenade, don’t miss the old Kurhaus – a beautiful wooden building from the 19th century with a concert venue. And in the center of the city you will find a 13th century bishop’s castle, whose ruins are very majestic.

Central Estonia

The center of the country is especially attractive during the warm season. Gardens are blooming, historic estates are opening their doors, and landscape parks are inviting guests. The counties of Raplamaa, Viljandi County and Järvamaa offer many interesting walks.

For example, in Raplamaa it is suggested to visit the “Golden Ring of Raplamaa Manors”. The program includes noble estates, ancient churches, historical manors, which are now open as centers of crafts. Hikers should pay attention to the limestone plateau in Maryamaa parish.

The county of Viljandi is visited for the sake of the main town – Viljandi, with a very ancient and venerable history. The first settlements here date back to the 5th century BC, the Viking Age. Written references to the city date back to 1154, and in the 12th century the first permanent settlement appeared on the site of Viljandi. At the beginning of the XIII century, these lands were conquered by the Order of the Swordsmen, and already in 1224 a stone fortress was erected here, which at that time was considered the largest in the Baltic. The fortress and the city were called Fellin, under this name they were part of the Hanseatic League. Picturesque ruins have survived from the castle.

Järva County will appeal to both nature lovers and history buffs. Here you can visit the historic Albu estate, and then go for a walk in the Kõrvemaa landscape reserve. Bird watchers will especially appreciate this park; here you can watch rare black storks and golden eagles.

Eastern Estonia

The legendary shores of Lake Peipsi are the birthplace of the Tartumaa and Jõgevamaa regions. The historical battles of the Russian-Swedish, as well as the Livonian War did not pass unnoticed; numerous castles and fortresses in the east of the country have survived to this day in the form of picturesque ruins.

Alatskivi Palace

Alatskivi Palace

Tartumaa County is a citadel of knowledge and scientific progress. Tartu, the main city of the region and the second most populous in the country, boasts a rich history. One of the oldest in Eastern Europe, Tartu was founded by Yaroslav the Wise in 1030 as the city of Yuryev. In addition to the university, one of the oldest in Europe, Tartu is famous for theaters, museums, architectural monuments, and pretty streets of the Old Town.

The surroundings of Lake Peipsi, located nearby, will be an excellent competitor to seascapes.

You can come here for a whole vacation and not have time to see all the interesting places in the area – old manors, the famous “Onion Route” – a historical route through museums and castles, the beautiful Alatskivi Palace.

The amazing glacial landscapes of Jõgevamaa county take us back to the time of the epic about the exploits of Kalevipoeg, the giant warrior.

Mysterious protected forests, lakes, huge boulders, as if forgotten here by a strong man – everything breathes with legends.

One of the most interesting places in the county is the town of Põltsamaa. Once there was the capital of the Livonian Kingdom, with its own castle, which welcomes guests in the city center to this day. By the way, Põltsamaa is also considered the wine capital of Estonia – fruit and berry and fruit wines are produced here, arranging colorful festivals and fairs in summer.

South Estonia

In winter, the southern regions of Valgamaa, Võrumaa and Põlvamaa are especially popular with Estonian residents and visitors. The best ski resorts are located here, and the hilly terrain is favorable for snowmobiling and sledging. Valga County is also popular with professionals – it hosts the qualifying rounds of the European Championships and the World Cup in cross-country skiing. In summer, the freestyle jumps are used as an observation deck.

Põlvamaa will appeal to fans of ethno-tourism. There are settlements and villages that have preserved the traditional way of life, and all this against the backdrop of marvelous nature. National parks offer hiking trails of any degree of difficulty; you can walk along swamps, cliffs and canyons.

An additional highlight are meteorite craters, there are four of them in the area. Moreover, the diameter of the deepest is about 80 meters.

Võrumaa county will definitely appeal to wildlife researchers. The main pride of the region is the Hinni canyon, a mysterious valley that gives rise to the Rõuge trail. Having passed it to the end, you will see the pasture of the indigenous abodes of these places – the reindeer.

The largest lake in Estonia and the highest point of the country, Suur Munamägi Hill, 318 meters high, is also waiting for you on the route.

What to see in Estonia

Estonia should definitely be included in your travel itinerary for all tourists who are interested in the heritage of ancient architecture, modern design ideas, natural and cultural wonders. Historical monuments from the early Middle Ages to the era of the latest technology get along well in this country, making up an interesting tandem.

Traditionally, they begin acquaintance with the wonders of ancient and beautiful Tallinn. Its Old Town will leave an unforgettable impression, and the old fortresses, noble estates, temples, castles scattered around the country will give you a vivid journey. In every town in Estonia you will find your own flavor – this small country is so rich and generous in beauty.

Historic cities

If the main thing for you in a country is to see its capital, Tallinn is perfect. For more than 860 years of history, it has changed many names and hypostases, was a merchant port city, a Danish fortress, and the pearl of the Hanseatic League. The Swedes, the German burghers, and Peter the Great personally were noted here – the extremely well-located lands have served as a bone of contention for many centuries. Today, this small, but culturally and historically rich city has become one of the tourism capitals in northern Europe.

Old Tallinn

Old Tallinn

Be sure to stroll through the winding streets of Old Tallinn – many mansions, palaces, temples have long celebrated their 500th anniversary.

Take a look at the towers of his magnificent fortress – the oldest and most impressive in Estonia, go up to the observation platforms.

Experience history in museums or in beautiful streets where it is alive and authentic.

And be sure to celebrate your visit in one of the restaurants of national cuisine, there are a great many of them, and the food is excellent everywhere!

Having explored Tallinn properly, you can go to get acquainted with the cultural capital of Estonia, the old Tartu.

Even more ancient than the main city of the country, Tartu was founded in 1030 as the city of Yuryev, with the light hand of the Russian prince Yaroslav the Wise.

Tartu also managed to visit Dorpat and Tarbatu, and a member of the Hanseatic League, and a city of knowledge. The local university, founded in 1632, is one of the oldest in Europe.

Tartu also has the Old Town, with cobblestone pavements, the beautiful Town Hall Square, churches that are in use or stand in picturesque ruins, and a solid selection of museums.

Thanks to the university and the student community, this city is considered the funniest and youngest in Estonia.

Kurhaus in Haapsalu

Kurhaus in Haapsalu

A completely different atmosphere, more peaceful, reigns in Haapsalu. The city in this place has existed for at least 800 years and then Haapsalu served as the seat of the bishop, the head of these lands. The main building of those years, the Bishop’s Castle, has survived to this day.

Be sure to stroll through the pretty streets of the Old Town, lined with colorful wooden mansions.

Haapsalu has long been known as a spa resort; the first spa opened its doors here as early as 1824.

Since then, Haapsalu has been loved by fans of spa treatments from all over the world, celebrities such as PI Tchaikovsky and monarchs have come here to heal.

Walking out onto the Primorsky Promenade, known since the days of Tsarist Russia, you definitely won’t miss the Kurhaus – a carved wooden palace built in the 19th century.

In warmer months, you can not only admire it outside, but also have a coffee on its outdoor terrace.

Fortresses and castles

Everyone knows that Estonia is a country with a very ancient and rich history. Numerous cultural reincarnations could not but leave their mark here, thus a great many castles, fortresses and palaces are scattered throughout the country.

You can start your acquaintance from Tallinn. The Tallinn, or Revel, fortress wall is considered the pearl of northern Europe, it is an example of medieval architecture.

The walls of Tallinn

The walls of Tallinn

Erected no later than the beginning of the 13th century, it has been perfectly preserved to this day – you can admire it from the side, look into the towers that are open to the public as museums or art galleries, take a walk through medieval transitions.

Be sure to visit the Great Sea Gate and the Fat Margaret Tower, the most spectacular tower in Tallinn’s fortress wall. It is now open as a Maritime Museum with an excellent collection of rarities.

Viewpoints with vivid views of the heart of the city are also found here.

If you want to see a real medieval citadel, like in the movies about knights, go to Rakvere.

The first stone buildings of the settlement date back to the 13th century, the era of Danish rule. They built a castle to protect the conquered territories.

In addition to the walls, towers and the old courtyard at the fortress, an interactive museum is open, where you can not only view medieval finds, but also see them in action. In summer, Rakvere often hosts historical reconstructions, festivals, and the city of craftsmen.

You can inspect both the wine cellar and the torture chamber, the barber’s office, the alchemist’s laboratory. There is a tavern at the fortress that offers authentic medieval dishes. But the main thing why you should come to Rakvere is the true spirit of the Middle Ages.

One of the most beautiful citadels in Estonia is Narva Castle.

Castle in Narva

Castle in Narva

This medieval fortification in the city of Narva dates back to 1329, the first written mention of the fortress dates back to it.

For almost 700 years of history, the castle belonged to the Livonian Order, Sweden, Russia, Germany, but it was built by the Danes.

Despite its considerable age and damage during World War II, the castle is considered to be the best preserved in Estonia.

It often hosts historical festivals and national holidays.

The main architectural dominant of the citadel is the Long Hermann Tower, 51 meters high.

It is divided into 8 floors and is open to the public; now it houses a museum and an observation deck.

The Bishop’s Castle in Kuressaare is perhaps the most picturesque fortress in Estonia. Located on a star-shaped island, the castle is connected to the mainland by several bridges. The fortress was built by the knights of the Teutonic Order, for the protected residence of the bishops and the conversion of the surrounding lands to Christianity.

In terms of the integrity of the architectural complex, the castle is considered one of the most interesting ensembles in northern Europe. Now it houses a history museum, introducing the amazing culture of these island lands. In the warm season, festivals, quests, archery, and artisan workshops are organized for the entertainment of visitors.

Temples and cathedrals

Modern Estonia can hardly be called a religious country, with all the variety of sacred buildings. Churches and temples here are more likely historical monuments that tell the epic saga of the formation of this ancient northern culture.

The best stories will be told by the Dome Cathedral. One of the oldest temples in the country, the first mention of it dates back to 1233, the cathedral, in addition to its impressive appearance, also attracts with its interior decoration.

Ancient marble tombstones, epitaphs of the nobility, and a luxurious organ have been preserved here.

Epitaphs at Tallinn Dome Cathedral

Epitaphs at Tallinn Dome Cathedral

Dome Church has played a leading role in the life of Tallinn for many centuries. Already in 1240 the temple was consecrated as a Catholic cathedral in Northern Estonia, later, during the Reformation, it became Lutheran.

Now this temple-museum is interesting to visit for fans of all religions, especially if you come in good weather – the view from its 69-meter bell tower is dizzying!

No less impressive is the Oleviste temple, erected in 1267 in honor of the Norwegian king Olaf.

The architectural dominant of Old Tallinn – its spire once soared at a height of 159 meters, and until the 17th century this temple was considered the tallest building in the world!

The Oleviste Tower at all times remained a reference point both for ships in the port and for tired travelers. Today its spire is somewhat smaller, 124 meters in height, but even now it surpasses most buildings in Tallinn.

In the warm season, it is worth going up to the observation deck of the tower (although it will require a lot of effort), and assess the city from the height of the flight of birds.

A completely different architectural style, era and religion is represented by the Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky. The main cathedral church of the Orthodox religion, it was erected in 1900 under the Russian Empire.

An elegant and richly decorated temple is located in Tallinn, on Toompea Hill, next to the presidential palace. Its kokoshniks, carved platbands and domes can be seen from afar. The towers of the cathedral delight the surroundings with bell ringing. 11 bells, including the largest in Tallinn, weighing 15 tons, can be heard before the service begins. Be sure to look inside, the interior of the cathedral is also nice, decorated with icons and colorful mosaics.

Church of St. John in Tartu

Church of St. John in Tartu

If you reach the city of Tartu, be sure to visit the Church of St. John.

This very ancient – built in the XIV century, the basilica, is considered one of the best examples of northern red brick Gothic in all of Europe.

Despite centuries of history and restoration, the temple looks very authentic.

The church is very beautiful both outside and inside. A special highlight in its decoration is the unique terracotta figurines.

Large and small statues and decorative tiles, some of which are 700 years old.

During the heyday of the temple, there were more than 1000 such sculptures, and although many have been lost to our time, the temple has retained interesting architectural elements.

Be sure to visit the observation deck in the tower of the cathedral, which offers an excellent view of the historical part of Tartu.

Natural wonders

You cannot leave Estonia without getting to know its amazing northern nature. National parks and nature conservation areas occupy a fifth of the country here. Walk along eco-routes – the longest is 820 km, appreciate the mysterious beauty of swamps, pine forests, spend the night under the stars.

The most famous nature reserves in the country are Lahemaa National Park, Soomaa National Park, Matsalu National Park, Vilsandi National Park. It is better to leave for a walk along them for a couple of days, however, if you do not have time, there are many interesting directions for active recreation near Tallinn.

Keila-Joa walking trail

Keila-Joa walking trail

You might also like the Keila-Joa Nature Loop Trail. Its length is 3 km, the route runs along the banks of the Keila River, and passes through a park with many stairs and suspension bridges.

The rapids of the Keila River form a waterfall, and the Keila-Joa Walking Park serves as a natural backdrop for the beautiful Fall Castle.

At the beginning of the walking trail, there is an information board telling about the route. Here you will find 8 interesting objects, with a description of natural attractions, and the history of the park.

Any traveler can easily master the trail. It is suitable for both adults and families with children.

There are benches along the trail if your feet need rest, and in summer you can have an outdoor picnic.

When you come to Tartu, don’t miss the Alatskivi Landscape Reserve.

It was created to protect the unique nature of the region in 1964. Here you can explore the nature conservation center, walk the hiking trail, see the Oak of Faithfulness and the Alatskivi Castle, the legendary Lodge of Kalevipoeg, the hero of the Estonian epic, watch birds, or relax on the shores of Lake Peipsi.

Jagala waterfall in winter

Jagala waterfall in winter

Arriving in Estonia from May 15 to September 15, you will have a unique opportunity to participate in an unusual adventure – to see with your own eyes a seal colony in its natural environment. The tour takes place on the island of Hiiumaa and allows guests to appreciate the wild, untouched nature of the Baltic Sea.

Jagala waterfall is located about 30 km from the capital – one of the most beautiful in Estonia.

Its height is about 8 meters and its width is more than 50 meters – it is the widest waterfall in the country.

In summer, the flow of water looks very powerful, but in winter landscapes there is a special charm.

In frosts, all this seething mass of water turns into a sparkling frozen wall of snow icebergs and ice floes – it looks impressive.

A short descent allows you to come closer to the water, see giant icicles and blocks of ice up close.

While exploring Tallinn, take your time and take a ride to the Jagala waterfall, in winter its surroundings look magical and look like the scenery for the fairy tale about the Snow Queen!

What to do in Estonia

Tourism is considered one of the most promising industries in Estonia, and this trend has only grown over the years. Easy transport accessibility, dozens of liners with travelers that arrive at the port of Tallinn every day, “neighbors” from Helsinki and St. Petersburg who come to visit for the weekend – this country beckons with all facets of hospitality.

Cultural programs, excursions, outdoor activities, beach holidays, ecotourism, winter sports and summer hikes – there are no reasons to come to Estonia. All year round you will find things to do here.

Resorts of Estonia

There are a lot of coastal towns in Estonia where you can relax and improve your health. One of the most historically important in the entire Baltic region is the city of Haapsalu, known for its health resorts since the time of the Russian Empire.

The first spa clinic opened here in 1825. At one time, important persons, including members of the Russian royal family, were admirers of this wonderful town on the seashore.

Haapsalu seaside promenade

Haapsalu seaside promenade

The Russian aristocracy loved to come to Haapsalu for the summer, appreciating it for its mild climate. The city is still waiting for tourists with joy – here you can relax in a spa hotel, restore health, walk eco-paths or go on a bike trip.

In winter, it is worth taking a steam bath or ice skating in Haapsalu – it all depends on your preferences.

Despite the popularity of Haapsalu, Pärnu is still considered the main resort of the country. It even got the title of the summer vacation capital of Estonia.

If you plan to see Estonia in the summer, be sure to include this city in your itinerary! Pärnu has a substantial number of sanatoriums and spas, the country’s largest water park, the Tervise Paradiis water world, and many beaches and beach clubs. There is even a private beach for women only.

The central beach in Pärnu is excellent, one of the largest in the country. It is located within walking distance from the historic city center, and it is easy to combine their visits. Since the beach is located on the shores of a shallow bay, the water here warms up quickly. On fine summer days, it is better to come in the morning – there are usually a lot of people who want to enjoy the sun’s rays.

The beach in Pärnu is great for families. There are swings and playgrounds for children, fountains delight the eye. It is surrounded by parks, creating a pleasant microclimate, and nearby there are many cafes where you can dine. Here you can also buy soft drinks, as well as the necessary beach equipment. For beach sports lovers, there is a volleyball court, a small football field and even a mini golf course. During peak season sports events are often held on the beach.

While walking along the embankment, pay attention to the Kurhaus. Built at the end of the 19th century as a concert venue, today it has found a second life. Now the largest tavern in Estonia is located within its walls, offering guests branded drinks and snacks.

Beach in Narva-Jõesuu

Beach in Narva-Jõesuu

The small town of Narva-Jõesuu is very popular among the residents of Narva, located only half an hour away, as well as among our compatriots from St. Petersburg.

The resort is famous for the largest sandy beach in the country – its length is an impressive 12 km!

For spa fans, there are sanatoriums and hospitals here, and those who want to save a little can rent a cottage or rent a room in a guest house – there are a great many of them in the town.

The most unusual and inaccessible resort in Estonia is Kuressaare, the capital of Saaremaa.

To come here on vacation, you have to cross the whole country, cross the strait by ferry and drive through the island.

The reward for such a long journey will be the special atmosphere of the town, relaxation in excellent modern spas and the beach of the resort – one of the best sandy beaches in Estonia.

The water near the coast warms up quickly and thanks to the shallow, smooth entrance, this beach is great for families with children.

The beach has everything you need to relax, including a swing and a playground. Guests of the resort can enjoy an excellent view of the towers of the ancient castle, opening from the beach.

Beach holidays in Tallinn

Tallinn, in addition to its magnificent historical center and many attractions, can offer its guests a beach holiday. Officially having five beaches, four of which are sea, the city is also famous for its seaside promenades, which are pleasant to walk along, sports paths along the coast, and pleasant green recreation areas.

Yachts in the Pirita area

Yachts in the Pirita area

The first on this list is Pirita Beach. The longest, largest and most popular beach in the capital is located in the eponymous district of Pirita, not far from the city center.

The Pirita promenade offers an excellent view of Old Tallinn and the seaport with docking ships, and even if the weather is not conducive to swimming, this place is worth a visit.

The beach is 2 km long, and usually there is enough space for everyone. The coast is sandy and clean, on fine days it is pleasant to swim in the cool waters of the Baltic (the water temperature rarely exceeds + 20 … 22 ° C), or just to sunbathe, take a walk, listening to the cries of seagulls, admire the city from the water.

The beach has everything for a comfortable stay.

Stromi Beach is often called Stromkoy by locals, and mainly families with children come here.

The beach is located at the park of the same name, where you can relax in the shade of trees, have a picnic or play football. There are playgrounds and entertainment for children, a barbecue area for adults.

Fans of outdoor activities will love the Rocca al Mare promenade, which will lead you to the open-air ethnographic museum, as well as beach volleyball courts and a football field – Estonians are a very athletic nation.

Recreation area at the Rocca al Mare Museum

Recreation area at the Rocca al Mare Museum

The beach in Kakumäe is smaller and quieter than the rest of the city’s beaches. Located far from the center, it is loved by families with small children.

In shallow waters, the water warms up quickly, the entrance to the sea is gentle, soft sandy. The beach also has a beach volleyball net and a snack bar.

The fourth beach in Tallinn is a lake beach located on the Harku reservoir. People come here more for outdoor recreation than swimming. It is pleasant to walk around the lake, play minigolf, learn to surf. You can also rent a boat and ride on the lake surface.

Pikakari Beach is the newest in the city. It will appeal to fans of waves and depth, as well as fans of historical panoramas – there is a picturesque pier Katarina nearby. The waves are provided by liners passing on the horizon, which also greatly adorn the picture of the coast.

Eco-holiday in Estonia

Nature is one of the main values ​​of Estonia. In this small country, you will see mountains and lakes, beaches and national parks, swamps and virgin forests.

You can start your acquaintance from the island of Hiiumaa. There is a biosphere reserve with a unique ecosystem, protected by UNESCO, historical lighthouses with amazing views of the surrounding area, hiking trails and juniper fields. The islanders carefully cherish their ancestral traditions for hundreds of years, knowing how to live in harmony with nature. The food here is also very tasty – everything is only local and environmentally friendly.

People come to Vilsandi National Park, located on the island of Saaremaa, to admire seals … and orchids.

The reserve is two-thirds in the sea with islands, and it is here that one of the largest gray seal rookeries in Estonia is located. Bird watchers will also like Vilsandi Park – you can see thousands of seabirds here.

But a special highlight of the park is more than 30 species of orchids growing in the park. They can be enjoyed while walking on the hiking trails.

Swamp lake Tolkuze

Swamp lake Tolkuze

When you are in Pärnu, be sure to take a walk along the Rannametsa-Tolkuse nature trail.

The route passes through a pine forest, sand dunes, goes to Tolkuse bog, past lakes, and climbs to the crest of the highest dune in Estonia, Tornimäe.

Its height is 34 meters, and the dune is equipped with a tower with an observation deck.

Another very unusual eco-route is the Onion Route.

Located in the Peipsi Lake area, it combines three cultures and many historical and architectural monuments.

Lake Peipsi, which separates Estonia and Russia, has created a natural landscape, local traditions and way of life. Thanks to the lake, there are good soils for growing special varieties of onions, and the depths of the reservoir are still rich in fish.

In winter, Lake Peipsi is no less interesting – you can go underwater fishing or order an extreme ice safari.

Three cultures of Lake Peipsi – the traditions of Estonian peasants, the customs of the Baltic Germans and the community of Russian Old Believers are very closely intertwined here. You can get acquainted with them both in museums and walking, talking with local residents.

The Alatskivi hiking trail is accessible by bus, on foot or by bicycle, it all depends on your free time.

Soomaa National Park

Soomaa National Park

There are five seasons in Soomaa National Park.

The fifth season is called here the time of large floods, high water, which formed the unique microclimate of the reserve, its flora and fauna.

During this period, in spring and early summer, you can rent a boat with a guide and go to explore the waterways.

Both the Estonians themselves and the guests of the country come to see the amazing natural relief of the reserve.

However, this should be done with caution – you can meet a wolf, a lynx and a brown bear.

In the protected forests and nature is virgin inviolable.

Winter fun

Winter is a great time to visit Estonia. While Tallinn’s Old Town, Tartu or Pärnu are smartening up for Christmas, the countryside, forests and national parks are covered with a blanket of snow.

Winters in Estonia are not harsh, but cool. You need to dress warmly, and you can go for a walk.

There are many opportunities for active recreation here – you can ski and ice skate, do snowboarding, go downhill on sledges.

Estonians also love Finnish sleigh rides, as well as winter hiking, where the whole family goes on weekends.

In Tallinn, you will find many walking trails, both within the city limits and in woodlands and parks.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see the frozen waterfalls and the ice-bound coastline.

Take a trip through national parks, such as a Finnish sleigh ride in Taevaskoda. A thermos with a warming drink will not be superfluous in such a walk.

Excellent skiing tracks await you in Tähtvere, in Lähta, 15 km from Tartu, in the Väike-Munamägi ski center and in Kuremaa. You can ride here for free.

If the winter is snowy and cold, you can go on an unusual journey. Along the frozen sea and ice road – these are officially allowed only in five countries of the world, experienced drivers will take you to the islands of Vormsi, Hiiumaa or to Noarootsi parish. This truly northern adventure will be remembered for a long time!

Holidays and festivals in Estonia

Estonia, as a country with a rich history, is famous for the diversity of its cultural life. Many festivals and holidays loved by locals and guests of the country are rooted in the distant past, events that have survived in legends.

Medieval days in Tallinn

Medieval days in Tallinn

A vivid example is the Days of the Middle Ages. They are held annually in July in the old towns of Estonia, accompanied by a striking historical reconstruction. On the streets and ancient squares you can admire the processions of artisans guilds, master classes on medieval professions, and a fair of colorful goods.

May is a great time to visit Tallinn. At this time, you can take part in a bright theatrical performance that captures the whole city – the Days of Old Tallinn.

The townspeople dress up in medieval costumes, decorate their homes, and the whole city buzzes and celebrates.

You too can become part of this fun frenzy if you visit the capital in mid-May.

The Old Tallinn Days were first celebrated in 1982. The main goal of the festival was to acquaint Estonian residents and guests with the traditions and history of the city.

Every year the creators of the festival come up with a motto under which the celebration takes place, and surprise guests with an entertainment program.

Exhibitions, thematic excursions and master classes, theatrical performances – which is just not there. Stone cutters, glassblowers, bakers and blacksmiths will demonstrate their skills, knights will fight in duels, and cooks will give tasty food. The festival lasts a week, not letting the guests get bored.

In the middle of July the Baltic People’s Festival awaits you. It was first celebrated in Lithuania in 1987, but a year later Estonia and Latvia joined it. Now the holiday is taking place in each of the countries in turn.

The festival is very popular with hundreds of participants and thousands of spectators. Folk art groups, representatives of folklore, dance ensembles perform at the venues. Here you can also see works of folk craftsmen, a show of masters of applied arts.

At the beginning of August, the city of Narva organizes the historical festival “Narva Battle”. It is dedicated to the decisive battle between Russia and Sweden in the Northern War. Every year the centuries-old fortress brings together participants from all over northern Europe, members of historical clubs.

The artists are dressed in military uniforms identical to the eras of Peter the Great and Charles XII in order to repeat this historic battle themselves. Reconstruction takes three days. Participants of the holiday live in a tent city, according to the rules of wartime, and, just like hundreds of years before them, they conduct recruitment and training exercises.

You can shoot a musket, walk around the fair, learn medieval craft.

The most mystical holiday in Estonia, the White Lady Festival, awaits guests in August. His homeland, the city of Haapsalu and the ancient Bishop’s Castle, annually remember the country’s most famous ghost, the mysterious White Lady.

Legend has it that on the August full moon, the White Lady appears in the chapel. If the lady does not honor the holiday with her presence, you can always hear the legend in the theatrical production “The White Lady”. And, of course, buy souvenirs to commemorate the festival, because these days Haapsalu turns into one big fair.

And of course, the Tallinn Christmas Market is the culmination of the year. The fabulous Town Hall Square with a fair in the center of ancient Tallinn awaits guests from November 15 to January 7.

The tradition of the celebration dates back to 1441 – it was then that the inhabitants of the city established the first elegant spruce. Estonians are sure that they were the founders of this beautiful ceremony.

Tallinn Christmas market

Tallinn Christmas market

A Christmas tree, sparkling with lights and festive toys, is in the center of the fair, surrounded by houses with treats, souvenirs, handicrafts – from sweaters and warm hats to jewelry.

A whole Christmas town, cheerful and noisy, is spread out these days at the walls of the old Town Hall!

The little ones will be delighted by the merry-go-rounds and the festive train, as well as the mini-residence of the Estonian Santa Claus – here his name is Jyuluvana. You can get an appointment with Grandpa on weekends, it is better to come with a spare time, usually there are a lot of people who want to visit the wizard.

For adults, the festival has prepared an excellent show program, performances by musicians, food stands, gifts and musical numbers.

It is not for nothing that in 2018 the Tallinn Fair on the Town Hall Square was chosen as the best in Europe, the title was awarded by the authoritative association European Best Destinations. The organizers are committed to keep the brand!

Excursion routes in Estonia

Tallinn is not the whole of Estonia yet. And there is no better way to get acquainted with the culture and history of this country than to go on a journey through historical cities, ancient fortresses and national parks, architectural monuments. At the same time, thanks to the small territory of Estonia, a trip even to remote islands and protected forests will not tire you, taking no more than 6-7 hours.

Route 1 – Tartu Capital of Culture

While vacationing in Estonia, visiting Tartu must be included in the compulsory program. More ancient than the official capital, Tartu, thanks to its numerous museums, scientific centers and the country’s main university (and one of the oldest in Europe), is deservedly considered a cultural capital. And thanks to the student fraternity, it is also the youngest and funniest city in Estonia!

Tartu Town Hall Square

Tartu Town Hall Square

The historical center of Tartu, which began to be rebuilt in the fifteenth century, can be viewed in 2-3 hours. It is worth starting from the Town Hall Square, whose history began in the distant XIII century.

It was rebuilt many times, changed its image and purpose, one thing remained unchanged – fairs.

If you come here during Advent, the fair is a great place to have fun and refreshments.

The Town Hall itself, with the Kissing Students fountain located in front of it, has long become a symbol of the city.

In it, if you go around the mansion from the side, there is an Info Center for tourists – here you can get any useful information about Tartu for free.

After a short stroll, you will see the University of Tartu, an alma mater for almost 20 thousand students. At dusk, it is beautifully illuminated, and during the day you can visit it with a guided tour.

It is nice to combine it with a walk in the Tartu Botanical Garden, which is considered one of the best in the country and the oldest in the world. The botanical garden was founded by the university students of botany, and is still used by them as a scientific base.

Tourists are interested in a beautiful well-kept park, exotic tropical greenhouses, a palm alley, a rock garden and a rose garden, where you can enjoy the beauty of nature and take a break from the bustle of the city. A visit to the park is free, a visit to the greenhouse is paid separately.

Visit the Tartu Observatory Built in the nineteenth century, it is still considered the main scientific astronomical center in Estonia. Anyone can visit it, and this visit will be a real adventure.

As well as a walk through the picturesque ruins of the Dome Cathedral.

One of the main attractions of the region is over 700 years old and during the Middle Ages it was the largest cathedral in northern Europe.

However, during the Livonian War, the temple was destroyed and since then has not been used for its intended purpose. Part of the building has been restored, it houses the exposition of the University Historical Museum.

Also, for an additional fee, you can climb to the observation deck, and a walk between the ancient vaults will be completely free.

Another magnificent temple in the cultural collection of Tartu is the Church of St. John.

The red-brick Gothic church was built in the XIV century and is considered one of the oldest churches in Estonia. In addition to its external beauty, the temple keeps a real gem – a collection of medieval terracotta figurines.

Only a part of the exhibition has survived to this day, where many sculptures are about 700 years old. There is an observation deck in the tower of the temple, which offers an excellent view of the historic center of Tartu.

We arrived in Tartu with children – most likely, you will enjoy Ahhaa Science and Entertainment Center and Aura Water Park.

And if the water park gives you the opportunity to relax and have a good rest, the Ahhaa complex will provide unforgettable emotions.

Ahhaa is a unique phenomenon within Estonia.

Opened in 1997, the ultra-modern complex introduces visitors to the achievements of scientific progress in a light form.

Here you can look at the observatory, get acquainted with anatomy, fly in an air simulator, watch a performance in a scientific theater. It won’t be boring for sure!

While vacationing in Tartu, take some time to visit Alatskivi. About an hour by bus, and you will see the most romantic castle in Estonia, snow-white, as if floating above the ground.

In addition to getting to know the interiors of the castle, you can stroll through the surrounding park, learn about the culture of these places and the traditions of the Onion Route.

Route no. 2 – Keila-Joa and Fall Castle

If you have only a few hours of free time, visit Keila-Joa and Count Benckendorff’s estate, the beautiful Fall Castle. You will spend about an hour on the way from the capital; in the warm season it is worth coming here for the whole day.

Fall castle

Fall castle

The pride of the reserve, the Keila-Joa nature trail is a total of 3 km. The route is comfortable and well equipped, equipped with benches, suspension bridges, recreation areas. The path runs along the banks of the Keila River, whose rapids form a waterfall.

And yet the main point of attraction for travelers remains the romantic noble estate Fall, built in 1833. From the outside, the mansion looks like a medieval castle, but this impression is deceiving.

Fall was erected for the Benckendorf-Volkonsky noble family and their distinguished guests. Once the estate was visited by His Imperial Majesty Nicholas I, and here for the first time the hymn “God Save the Tsar” was performed.

The second life of the castle began in 2010 – the new owner, after a large-scale restoration, turned it into a museum. Guests can admire the magnificent interiors and dine in the castle restaurant.

On weekends, solemn tea parties are held here, to the sound of a piano. If you wish, you can even spend the night in the historic interiors – a hotel is open at the castle.

Walking the paths of the hiking trail, admiring the waterfall, peeking into the museum, having lunch in a beautiful restaurant – Fall Castle and the Keila-Joa walking trail are a great weekend idea!

Route 3 – Saaremaa and Muhu islands

On the Estonian land, rich in islands – there are about 2500 of them here, Saaremaa and Muhu are considered the most beautiful and popular. This is not surprising, since Saaremaa is the largest island and Muhu is known for its idyllic landscapes.

Walking around Saaremaa and looking at windmills, neat houses by the sea and dense forests, it is not easy to believe in its “dark” past. In the Middle Ages, this island was a pirate base and a place of fierce fighting. In memory of that era, the Kuressaare fortress, one of the most beautiful in Estonia, has been preserved in Saaremaa.

Kuressaare - the capital of Saaremaa

Kuressaare – the capital of Saaremaa

Fans of everything mysterious should visit Kaali meteorite crater – the oldest meteorite crater in Europe, Panga cliffs and Vilsandi lighthouse.

Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the hiking trails of the Viidumäe Nature Reserve and the Vilsandi National Park with hundreds of thousands of migratory birds and wild orchids.

The Angla Upland is home to the region’s most spectacular windmills, and Kuressaare, the island’s capital, is attractive not only as a place with history, but also as a spa resort.

Compared to the vibrant Saaremaa, Muhu Island is quieter and more secluded.

Its symbols are the fishing village of Koguva, the Juugu cliff, and one of the oldest churches in Estonia, the Church of St. Catherine.

Pay attention to the doors – they are decorated with magical symbols, and this is a long tradition. Families with children will be interested in visiting an ostrich farm and an equestrian sports farm.

Hungry – go to the Liiva shopping center, here you can have a snack – try the famous bread from Muhu, as well as buy souvenirs.

Getting around the country

The phrase “public transport in Estonia” most often refers to buses. Despite the fact that trains run in the country, taxi services operate, domestic flights and passenger ferries are organized by water between the “mainland” and the islands, the bus remains the number one transport. The main passenger flows are delivered by buses, and often for remote villages the bus is the only way to get to the central cities.

Buses

Intercity buses run between all major settlements, minibuses will deliver from the center to the suburbs. Tallinn also has trolleybuses and trams as urban transport, and the routes of some of them are in great demand among tourists.

Lux Express bus

Lux Express bus

The main intercity directions are Tallinn – Tartu, Tallinn – Pärnu, Tallinn – Narva. By buses it is easy and simple to get to neighboring countries, for example, to see St. Petersburg, Riga, Vilnius.

Tickets can be purchased both at the ticket offices of bus stations and on the websites of transport companies such as Ecolines and Lux ​​Express.

Travel between the capital and the city of Pärnu will cost 4 euros, if you buy a ticket in advance, you will get to Narva for 6 euros, and you can see the majestic Kuressaare castle for at least 12 euros.

One-time tickets can be purchased at bus stops, in special kiosks, or from the driver.

The average fare in the country is 1.5 euros, in Tallinn 2 euros. To save money, it is more profitable to purchase a day ticket for 1, 3, 5 or 30 days.

Public transport in Estonia runs from 05:30 to 23:00, sometimes a little longer. Accordingly, after taking a walk in the evening, keep in mind that the only option to get home is by taxi.

It is more profitable to call a car in advance and use the services of official drivers. Their cars are equipped with meters, and they will not add too much to the fare.

Electric trains

Traveling by rail is not as popular in Estonia as bus travel. An exception to this rule is commuter trains, which will deliver to your destination without traffic jams.

There is a regular train connection between Tallinn and Tartu, Pärnu, Narva and Viljandi. It is better to check the timetable and cost of tickets on the official website of the Estonian Railways.

Water transport

Water transport plays an important role in travel around the country, passenger ferries – Estonia is a country of 2500 islands.

Ferry between islands

Ferry between islands

On a regular basis, ferry services connect the mainland with the island.

For example, with the island of Saaremaa, small islets near Tallinn, with the island of Piirissaar on Lake Peipsi.

It will take you 25 minutes to get to Saaremaa, and a ride on Lake Peipsi in an hour and a little over 3 euros.

Navigation is open from May to September, in winter ice paths are more common.

While vacationing in Tallinn or Pärnu, do not miss the opportunity to take a pleasant boat trip. She will be a worthy company for sea cruises to neighboring capitals, Helsinki and Stockholm, which are so popular in Estonia.

Aircraft

Domestic flights are also common in Estonia. Not as inexpensive as travelers and residents of the country would like, they cannot yet compete with buses and ferries. However, this type of transport is popular.

You can quickly get from Tallinn to Saaremaa, seaside Tartu, or Ruhnu by plane. There are airports in five cities in Estonia – Tallinn, Pärnu, Tartu, Kuressaare, Kärdla, as well as on the Ruhnu island.

Language

When going on vacation to Europe, many travelers think about the issue of communication. There is no need to worry about this in Estonia, Russian is considered the second most common language, it is spoken by most of the population. Despite the fact that he does not have an official status, most likely there will be no difficulties with communication.

The main thing – do not hesitate to ask for help, you will definitely be answered and prompted. Despite the stereotypes about the cold Baltic mentality, Estonians are very friendly and open people. In extreme cases, English will come to the rescue, it is common in large cities and service sectors.

Many people in Estonia understand the Russian language, as a rule, it is easy to negotiate with hotel workers, bus drivers and taxi drivers, waiters in cafes, sellers of souvenir shops. In 99 cases out of a hundred you will be understood and prompted, also in Russian you can contact the emergency services, the police and an ambulance.

In the event that you cannot explain yourself in Russian, English will help out. Most of the population, especially young people employed in the tourism business, speak the international language to a greater or lesser extent.

The most widespread language is Russian in the east of Estonia, in the Ida-Virumaa county. This part of the country borders on Russia, and Russian is considered the main language of communication.

Cities such as Narva and Kohtla-Järve speak almost entirely Russian.

There should be no problems with communication in Tallinn either – the percentage of the Russian-speaking population is also high here, and the staff of the tourism sector is friendly and open to communication.

The same is the case in Haapsalu – the resort is interested in restoring the flow of tourists from Russia.

The hotel staff speaks Russian, and the spa clinic websites create convenient Russian-language versions for travelers from our country.

A little more difficult with Russian in Pärnu and Tartu. The Russian-speaking population is small here, the main flow of tourists comes from Finland.

However, here, too, the staff of tourist locations will try to help a traveler from Russia, the main thing is to remain polite, and there will certainly be communication points.

Estonian culture

Estonia, having passed a centuries-old historical path, managed to maintain a connection with its ancestors. Despite its modernity and technical innovation, it is a land of vibrant folklore traditions, national holidays, ancient Estonian culture and fairy tales that have survived from the era of the legendary northern kings.

Hanseatic days in Pärnu

Hanseatic days in Pärnu

In Estonia, the spirit of paganism and close connection with nature are still alive, the northern sagas of ancient sailors are passed from father to son, as well as the recipes of local cuisine. In the summer, music festivals are organized – for example, at the Song Festival Grounds in Tallinn, preserving the original folk traditions. Another interesting holiday is the Hanseatic days in Pärnu, where guests and residents of the city are transferred for 3 days to the era of the Hanseatic merchant union.

The rhythmic verse and the special traditions of folk songs are considered a striking example of Estonian culture.

Estonians are proud of their collection of folk songs – one of the largest in the world. It has 133,000 songs. You can get acquainted with representatives of this culture on the Kihnu island.

The worship of nature, the spirits of the forest and swamps, the worship of trees and the earth has even deeper historical roots.

Ancient Estonians endowed them with magical powers as sacred objects of worship. The forest has always been considered a source of vitality and a sacred place for the Vikings.

Traveling around Estonia, you will be amazed at how vibrant and versatile this country is. The intertwining of various cultures on the shores of Lake Peipsi, the religious and culinary customs of Russian Old Believers, Estonian peasants and Baltic Germans in the east, and unique island traditions in the west.

Tiny fishing villages with exactly the same way of life as they were 200 years ago, and the spa resorts of Haapsalu and Pärnu, famous for their ancient history.

In the north of Estonia, you will find excursions in the footsteps of medieval merchants and, of course, the capital Tallinn – a city of museums, galleries, theaters and historical reconstructions.

Birgitta Festival

Birgitta Festival

The Birgitta festival will introduce classical music within the walls of the ancient monastery, and Christmas organ concerts are held in the temples-museums Dome Cathedral and Niguliste.

They will create the magic of the holiday for all visitors.

The most interesting museums in the country are located in the central cities, Tallinn and Tartu.

There are about 250 museum exhibitions in Estonia in total, and they cover everything from the history of the country and cities to foreign artists.

The most unusual and striking in the country are the Seaplane Harbor Maritime Museum, the Estonian Ethnographic Open Air Museum, the KUMU Art Gallery, and the Kadriorg Palace and Park Ensemble.

It is easy to guess that the main cultural life of Estonia is in full swing in its capital. Festivals, concerts, lively shows by local and foreign artists. The best theaters of the country, both state and commercial, are concentrated here. The performances are held in Estonian and Russian.

Food and drink in Estonia

Not all travelers know about this, but Estonia is a land of gastronomic discoveries. Forests, sea and generous land provide a rich harvest of mushrooms, game, fish, berries, vegetables, cereals and honey. Local, seasonal products are the main principle of Estonian healthy eating.

In spring, young greens, radishes and sheep’s cheese appear on the table. In summer – potatoes and vegetable salads, mushrooms and fish dishes. In the fall, forest berries, mushrooms ripen, orchards are pleasing to the eye. The saying “every vegetable has its own time” in Estonia has become synonymous with good taste in cooking!

Favorite Estonian side dish - stewed cabbage

Favorite Estonian side dish – stewed cabbage

The cold autumn-winter season makes you think about hearty, warming, energizing dishes. Game appears on the tables, which is found in abundance in the local forests, and it is not at all difficult to taste the meat of roe deer, deer, wild boar or even bear in Estonia.

Popular and pea and bean soups, sauerkraut soup with smoked meat, as well as stewed cabbage – an excellent side dish for meat.

If you want something typically Estonian – order mulgikapsas. Sauerkraut, pork and pearl barley will combine in one plate.

Or mashed potatoes with barley – unusual, but very satisfying.

At Christmas, it is customary to bake pork or goose, as well as all kinds of sausages. A popular local option is blood sausages with lingonberry jam.

Regardless of the season, Estonians love dairy products, homemade cheese, cottage cheese and natural yoghurts.

Kama, a cereal porridge served with yogurt or sour cream, is popular for breakfast. It’s satisfying and very healthy.

Seafood deserves a special mention. Not only traditional sprats and sprat, whitefish, flounder and perch have also conquered the counters. Want to try a local delicacy – you might like lamprey. It is served fried and pickled, the most economical option for tasting is to buy a jar of fish in the supermarket, complete with rye bread. At the restaurant, order eel fish soup – an Estonian specialty.

Traditional Estonian drinks – beer, fruit wine, homemade sweet liqueurs, strong schnapps, and berry compotes. For beer lovers, many small breweries have opened in the country, and dessert fruit options from the Põltsamaa region are especially recommended.

Fans of something stronger should order Vana Tallinn liqueur, the most famous alcoholic beverage in Estonia. It is good both with coffee and desserts, and by itself.

In order not to be mistaken when choosing a restaurant, refer to the White Guide restaurant guide. Its experts rate restaurants on the skill of the chef, originality of presentation, quality of service and interiors, updating the experience every year.

In Tallinn, a regular favorite is the Noa restaurant.

Everything seems to be fine here. An airy building on the seashore, with the silhouette of the capital outside the window, was specially built for the restaurant.

In fine weather, you can sit out on the terrace, tasting the local chef’s masterpieces to the sound of the waves. By the way, a part of the restaurant is called “NOA’s Chef’s Halfway”, and has its own menu and rules.

Despite the rather high price tag, a table should be ordered in advance even on weekdays. And get ready to enjoy, because Noa has been setting gastronomic trends in Estonia for many years!

Gourmets are advised to drop by the Farm restaurant. Located in the very heart of the Old Town, it offers a modern take on the familiar Estonian cuisine. Light and very comfortable interior, spacious hall, open kitchen, the menu contains only traditional dishes in a new interpretation. Try it, maybe some flavor mixes will surprise you.

If you want to enhance the medieval atmosphere of Tallinn with culinary discoveries, there are plenty of restaurants, taverns and cafes to choose from. The assortment here is literally for every taste and budget.

Starting from the “Third Dragon” inn, loved by tourists, located in the Town Hall building, where you can have a snack for a couple of euros, to the respectable medieval restaurant Olde Hansa.

This is the original home of a wealthy merchant, “grown” into a restaurant from an old warehouse. The menu includes dishes prepared according to recipes from the times of the Hanseatic League, with authentic products. The dinner is accompanied by a medieval orchestra with musical themes from the 15th century.

The main competitor, the Peppersack restaurant, is located opposite it. The warehouse that sold the most spicy commodity in the world – spices, has almost 700 years of history.

It is named after the merchant who owned the house, Hans Peppersak, nicknamed “Pepper Bag”.

Now the restaurant has several rooms that have preserved the original medieval ceilings, stairs, frescoes on the walls.

You can have a hearty lunch or dinner while watching a knight’s tournament (they take place on weekends, and it is better to book a table in advance), as well as drink coffee at a local coffee shop.

Shopping in Estonia

Estonia, in addition to its historical, architectural and gastronomic appeal, can offer tourists quality shopping. The prices here are not overpriced, the choice is excellent, the sales happen regularly, and the shops offer original goods marked “Made in Estonia”.

The largest selection of shops, markets, shopping centers and huge malls, of course, in the capital. Tallinn shops are open daily from 9:00 to 21:00.

Souvenir shops in the Old Town of Tallinn are also waiting for guests seven days a week, especially during the peak tourist seasons. The main Baltic market is open daily from 7:00.

The sales seasons in Estonia coincide with the rest of Europe. All shopaholics in the country are active twice a year, in winter, in January-February, and in summer, from mid-July to the end of August.

For the best choice, head to Ulemiste Keskus, Estonia’s largest shopping center.

A good assortment will be provided by the Viru Keskus and Stockmann shopping centers, the boutiques of the innovative Rottermani quarter, and the Solaris shopping center, located a 2-minute walk from the Old Town.

Here you can not only shop, but also buy groceries, have fun, and also have an inexpensive snack.

If you arrive between November and January, be sure to check out the holiday markets. You will find the brightest and most cheerful in Tartu and Tallinn Town Hall Square – last year it was awarded the title of the best Christmas market in Europe.

Souvenirs, warm handicrafts from mittens to sheepskin vests, ceramics, the famous Baltic amber, common magnets and exotic sausages from bear or elk – the choice is really impressive.

Prices will also delight any wallet. Buy a magnet for euros, a Tallinn memorial house for 5, an excellent warm hat for 10 euros.

Jewelry with amber, a unique souvenir from a northern country, look for both 10 euros and 110 euros. It all depends on your preferences.

In addition to good shopping, the fair is worth checking out for entertainment, concerts and music, and of course the snack stalls.

Estonia is also famous for its handmade goods – for sweaters with national patterns, leather belts, knitted gloves with reindeer, look into Katarina Lane. Many medieval houses here are open today as creative workshops.

It is a big omission to leave Estonia without sweets. The country’s main chocolate mogul, the Kalev factory, has been making great chocolate for over a century. Classic and unusual options, marzipan bars, gourmet handmade sweets.

The cost of the tiles is quite affordable, starting from 1 euro. A successful sweet souvenir that will definitely delight your friends and family!

Sweet liqueur, for example, Kannu Kukk, is perfect for chocolate; you will recognize it by its branded bottles with a rooster. It will add a pleasant touch to your evening coffee, just like its main rival, Vana Tallinn.

The classic Vana Tallinn is one of the gastronomic symbols of Estonia. Strong liqueur based on rum with hints of herbs, cinnamon and vanilla, citrus oils, honey.

It is used both in pure form and as an additive to coffee or in cocktails. Liqueur is produced in 4 variations, strength in 35, 40, 45 and 50 degrees.

Prefer lighter dessert versions – look for a 16-degree cream liqueur, Orange Cream and Chocolate Cream.

Communication in Estonia

Availability of mobile communications and communication means is one of the main issues facing tourists planning a trip. It is good that in Estonia, a technically equipped and advanced country, there are no problems with choosing the type of communication. Guests of the country have an excellent opportunity to save money, always staying in touch with family and friends – for this, it is enough to purchase a SIM card from one of the local mobile operators.

You will need a local SIM card if you are relaxing with a large company, as well as for calls around the country, to book a hotel or to book an excursion, for example. Also, Internet access is necessary for those traveling by car for the constant operation of the navigator and displaying the situation on the roads.

There are three major players in the Estonian cellular market – Tele2, Elisa and EMT.

Mobile communications throughout the country are working fine. It is more convenient for a tourist to purchase a basic set of communication services, it is called a Starikomplekt. The package price is only a couple of euros and, as a rule, they are automatically credited to your user account.

You can replenish your card balance in all possible ways. For example, at the checkout in a supermarket, in so-called R-kiosk points and, of course, in customer service centers. You will receive a card with an erasable field or a check with a number that must be entered and the money will be credited to your account.

Perhaps you do not need access to the Internet often, but rather from time to time. Then a wireless Wi-Fi network will suit you, especially since in Estonia there is complete order with it.

Wireless internet is available almost everywhere here – free and with high connection speeds.

In hotels and restaurants, tourist information centers of large cities, in the historic center of Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu, there will be no problems with access to the world wide web.

Moreover, often free access to Wi-Fi awaits you in completely unexpected places – in parks, squares, on the beach or in the forest.

On buses, especially on long-distance flights, there is always access to the Internet, as well as at the airport and train stations.

Safety

Estonia is a very safe country. All you need to do is follow the generally accepted laws of courtesy and good manners to make your vacation in this northern country a great one. The main thing is, do not hesitate in any incomprehensible situation to ask for help from ordinary passers-by or police officers. There should also be no language barrier, many Estonian citizens speak Russian to one degree or another.

The only danger in Tallinn is getting lost in its narrow streets

The only danger in Tallinn is getting lost in its narrow streets

However, in large cities of the country such as Tallinn and Tartu, especially in their historical, tourist-favorite part, one should be careful about personal belongings. In crowded places, do not leave bags and wallets or expensive equipment unattended.

At night, you should avoid questionable bars, remote areas on the outskirts, poorly lit parks. However, this advice is relevant in any city in the world.

When dealing with Estonians, try not to engage in controversial topics of politics and history. You shouldn’t find out what your new acquaintances think about the Soviet occupation and their views on the past.

Praise their beautiful country – and you will win over your interlocutor in advance!

An important tip – do not cross the road in a place not intended for this. Local drivers are not used to violators and may not have time to brake.

When traveling in Estonia in winter, be sure to purchase flickers – special reflective elements.

In conditions of short daylight hours, this detail is absolutely necessary and can be in the form of a badge, a keychain, a luminous insert on outerwear, a sticker that glows in the dark.

The result is the same – a pedestrian with such a bright accent on clothes is much better visible to the driver, which is important during a gloomy northern winter. This greatly reduces the risk of accidents on the road.

Where to stay in Estonia

Of course, if you want, you can lower your entire salary, and even more than one, on a luxury vacation in Estonia. But at the same time, here you can have a great rest and quite inexpensively – it all depends on your capabilities and preferences.

Adventure lovers will love the campsites. Here you can put up a tent and spend the night under the northern stars or sit on the river bank. The level of security in the country allows you to relax and enjoy nature.

Hektor Design Hostel

Hektor Design Hostel

Do not mind having fun, but if you prefer to rest with comfort, a comfortable bed and a hot shower – choose hostels. They are often cozier and more soulful, and certainly more fun than in expensive pretentious hotels.

In general, hostels in Estonia are a great option for a vacation. It is inexpensive, comfortable, clean and pleasant to live here.

In Tallinn, consider 16eur – Fat Margaret’s, a stone’s throw from the Fat Margaret Tower or TRIBE THEORY – Entrepreneurs for Startups and Digital Nomads, 100 meters from the Oleviste Temple. Both regularly receive the hottest travel recommendations.

Have you always dreamed of living in the presidential suite? While vacationing in Estonia, it is easy to make this dream come true.

Drive to Tartu, Kersti Kaljulaid, the President of Estonia herself, stayed at the local Hektor Design Hostel.

Fans of luxury leisure should pay attention to the Radisson Blu Sky Hotel. Located in the business district of Tallinn, it offers tastefully decorated rooms with magnificent views, excellent service, many additional services, as well as the Lounge24 rooftop bar with panoramic views of Tallinn and the sea.

A beautiful historical mansion with antique interiors, polite staff, elusive aura of the old era and at the same time the comfort of a five-star hotel will offer Luxury Art Nouveau Hotel Villa Ammende in Pärnu.

It doesn’t matter if you come overseas in summer or in the cool season to see the Old Town of Pärnu, all the most interesting sights will be within walking distance.

The rate also includes breakfast and a magnificent view from the window.