Estonia is a small country in the Baltics region of Europe, just north of Lativa, south of Helsinki, Finland, and to the west of Russia. People in this country do not consider themselves to be eastern Europeans but rather northern Europeans. Their history, language, and culture are similar to that of Finland and not to the Eastern Europeans to the south. English is widely spoken and almost all of the younger population speaks English. Around a third of the population is ethnic Russian.
Estonia: The Facts
Land Area: 17,500 sq miles 0r 45,000 sq km
Capital And Largest City: Tallinn
Independence: 1991 (From The USSR)
History Of Tallinn
The city center of Tallinn is very scenic and boasts a wealth of old buildings and churches. The city's history can be traced back to the Vikings. When the Vikings first came, the Estonians were mostly living in small scattered villages around the region, so the Vikings founded the city to trade from. In fact, the Vikings founded a number of cities across Europe including Kiev in Ukraine and Dublin in Ireland.
- When To Go: Summertime Or Late Spring
- How Long To Spend In Estonia: 7 Days To Explore Tallinn, Hike Trails, And Explore A Couple Islands
Estonia is quite far north, so the best time to go is in the summer. This will give you the best weather as well as longer daylight hours. In the winter, the weather will be cold and the days short. There isn't much by way of mountains in Estonia, so it's not much of a skiing destination (the highest point in the whole country is only about 1,000 feet).
Estonia is beautiful and covered in forests. There are lots of trails all through these forests with lots of shelters/cabins for you to camp freely in nature if you choose to (highly recommended for nature lovers). The country is only small and it's flat. So much of the time when you're out and hiking in the forests you will still have full reception.
Estonia boasts a number of stunning islands to go and visit and these are all serviced by frequent ferries that you can walk or drive aboard. The main islands are Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Kihnu, Ruhnu and Vormsi. They are quiet and chill places to relax if you are looking for a Baltic getaway.
Saaremaa: The Facts
Fun Fact: Estonia's Largest And Most Populated Island
Main Settlement: Kuressaare
Attractions: Kuressaare Castle in Kuressaare, Kaali Meteorite Craters, Mihkli Farm Museum
When To Visit: Summer
Estonia has much of Europe's wildlife that has been driven extinct elsewhere on the continent. The wild animals you could spot in Estonia include the grey wolf, lynx, brown bear, red fox, badger, wild boar, moose, red deer, roe deer, beaver, and otter. With marine life, it has the grey seal and the ringed seal.
What To See And Do In Estonia
One of the must-do things in Tallinn is to take the ferry to Helsinki, Finland. Both Finland and Estonia are part of the Schengen Zone and they both use the Euro. This can even be a day trip if you would like.
Taking The Ferry To Helsinki, Finland
Ferry Timetable: Regular Throughout The Day
Ferry Companies: Viking Line; Tallink, Eckero Line
Crossing Duration: 2.00-2.15 Hours
Facilities Onboard: Bar, Restaurant, Casino
Price Per Foot Passenger: $15.00-$40.00 (Without Cabin)
Tallinn is a stunning place to explore. It is only a small city so it doesn't take long to see and explore the beautiful old city center. The city only has a population of just over 400,000 (around a third of the country's population). Part of the city is built on a hill, so you can have a stunning view of the city.
Things To See And Do In Tallinn
Visit: The Aleksander Nevski Katedraali (a massive Russian Orthodox Church), and Eesti Vabaõhumuuseum (open-air museum of a traditional Estonian farm and village)
Do: Join A Free Walking Tour Of The City Center, and dine at the outdoor seating in the Old City Center
The Estonian Song Festival is one of the most important events in the country. This is one of the largest choral events in the world and a time of national rejoicing and celebration. It is held every five years and the first festival was back in 1869. The last Song Festival was held in 2019.
Estonian Song Festival: The Facts
Number Of Choirs: 1,000
Number Of Participants: 30,000
Next Festival: July 2024 (put it in your calendar!)
Estonia shares cultural and linguistic ties with Finland. While Finland is world-famous for the sauna - Estonians claim it as their tradition. Enjoying a traditional Estonian sauna is an absolute must when visiting Estonia.
Additionally, one of the best things to do is find an Airbnb out in the countryside in a traditional straw-thatch roofed homestead. If you go in the winter, staying at these cozy old homes will be one a time worth remembering. As you head to the islands, stay at the coastal town of Haapsalu.
What To Do In Haapsalu
Visit: Haapsalu Castle and Ants Laimaa Majamuuseum
Do: Take The Ferry To The Islands
In short, Estonia is one of Europe's small gems and definitely worth a visit. It may not have the international reputation as places like London, Rome, or Paris, but it is no less worth a visit.