Estonia — Attractions
Be sure to explore Tallinn’s old city, which is considered to be one of the most well preserved and the most beautiful towns in Europe. It is known for its exceptional architecture, with remnants of the Soviet rule in one corner and fascinating prehistoric buildings in the next. Estonia is also blessed with glorious beaches, coastal cities, and unparalleled natural attractions. Otepaa is a must for winter sports lovers, as it offers some of the best ski slopes in the region, from child-friendly trails to challenging downhill runs.
Old Town Tallinn
The historic old district of Estonia’s capital is one of the most engrossing places you will ever set foot on. Everything you would want to see can be found here, from remnants of the Soviet wars to ancient sites, stunning castles, beautiful cathedrals, and many interesting monuments. The cobblestone streets take you back in time, lined by beautiful centuries-old monasteries, historic memorials and inspiring structures like the Toompea Castle, Toomkirik (oldest church) and the defense wall. Rataskaevu Street is of particular interest, the oldest in Tallinn (700 years), as well as the stunning watchtowers and viewing platforms that offer breathtaking views of the sweeping countryside.
Address: Tallinn, Harju County, Estonia
Outside of the old town, many other interesting attractions await, ranging from museums to lovely suburban areas that are excellent for lazy afternoon walks. Worth noting are the botanical garden, the Tallinn Zoo and the Open Air Museum, which showcases 19th century rural life. The Prita district is known for its beautiful sandy beach and yachting center, but is also a great place for cross-country skiing, biking, and jogging.
Address: (Tourist Information Center) Kullassepa 4/Nigulste 2 (I-2)
Dubbed a student center, trendy Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia and popular for its lively bar scene. It boasts dramatic architectural landmarks especially in the old district. It is also home to beautiful churches built in the 12th to the 13th centuries. Parks dot the town, along with great examples of ancient constructions. The area is home to the scenic Emajõgi River, in addition to stunning ancient and modern architectural marvels. Address: (Tourist Information Center) Raekoja plats, 50089
Situated in the northeast, Narva is a true reminder of destruction. Little has been restored in this gray area, but what has survived after the bombings during early battles are worth visiting, as they offer a hint of the city’s pre-war glory. Among the most striking features is the Narva Castle, which sits on the banks of Narva River. The Town hall is also among the few buildings that survived wartime.
Address: (Tourist Information) Puskini 13
This laidback and quiet town comes alive during the snow season as many tourists (local and foreign) flock in. It is often described as Estonia’s winter playground, and it features some of the highest drops, as well as small downhill slopes to make skiing fun for all ages. More than its seasonal charm, the town has a pristine, postcard-worthy lake known as Puhajarv (literally, the “Holy Lake”).
Address: (Tourist Information/Town Hall) Lipuvaljak 13
If Otepaa is synonymous with winter, Parnu is your Estonian summertime paradise on a coastal strip and lovely beach. The town is known for its therapeutic mud baths, luxurious resorts and an interesting cultural house known as the Chaplin Center, which is found in the town’s former communist headquarters. It is a wonderful destination year round, but is especially popular in the warmer months.
Address: (Tourist Information) Munga 2
Frequented for its beaches and mud baths, this quaint town has one distinct feature—a 13th century castle that served as the seat of the medieval bishopric.
Address: (Tourist Information) Posti 37
Lahemaa National Park
The most notable of Estonia’s many national parks; Lahemaa is 600 square miles of forests, bays and peninsulas. It lies some 31 miles from the city of Tallinn, and is ideal for travelers interested in nature tripping and wildlife. Almost 50 percent of the country is covered in forests, so it is no surprise that its wildlife is impressive. Some come here specifically to spot unique species, from moose to brown bears, boars, otters, foxes, lynxes, gray wolves, and deer. Ecotourism is a thriving industry, with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.
Address: St. Petersburg Road, Estonia
Exceptional beaches line the coastal areas of Estonia with some of the best being Kakumae, Lohusalu and Vaana-Joesuu, all of which can be found west of the capital. Piorita and Rohuneeme (east of Tallinn) are also worth noting, as well as Haapsalu’s Africa Beach. Even Lahemaa National Park offers some beautiful sandy shores, such as Vosu and Kaberneeme.