Estonia — Overview
Estonia may be the smallest of the Baltic States, but it is packed with charms and attractions that can make a holiday truly memorable. From well-preserved castles hailing from times long gone to the cosmopolitan buzz of the capital, it is no wonder this country never fails to make it to the list of the most amazing places to visit on earth.
No longer a hidden gem, Estonia’s splendor is on the radar of the most passionate travelers. Don’t worry, though—the crowds of holiday seekers do not diminish the beauty and allure of this country. Estonians have managed to preserve their own cultural identity despite their country’s 700-year history of colonization under the Germans, the Danish, Polish, Russians, and the Swedish.
When not reveling in Tallinn, tourists are out in the lush forests, the coastal trails, or up on the hills for terrific skiing. There are plenty of opportunities to explore and hunt game. Interestingly, wild forest animals in Estonia help maintain the biodiversity of other natural areas across the EU through various repopulation programs.
Estonia is fairly easy to see on your own or with a group. There is an extensive transportation system, and the roads (especially on the countryside) are in very good condition, making driving a pleasant experience. Aside from the historic and cultural pulls of the city, the forests are home to extensive national parks, including Lahemaa, Vilsandi and Somaa, which are perfect if you are looking for outdoor pursuits. Long winters also give way to great workouts at this popular Cross-Country Skiing World Cup venue.
Tourism boomed after independence was restored, which attracted foreign investments. Accommodation options were upgraded and excellent hotel choices, large and small, as well as pension-type establishments can be found even outside Tallinn and other major cities. There are more than 300 campsites throughout Estonia, perfect for adventure seekers who love to sleep under the stars.
Tallinn is the main international gateway to Estonia, and it boasts excellent flight, rail and ferry connections to and from various other Baltic destinations. The main airport, Lennart Meri Tallinn, has plenty of connections to major European hubs like London, Liverpool, Amsterdam, Moscow, Brussels, Helsinki, Stockholm, and many others. International rail and bus services are also available, as well as ferries to Sweden, Finland and Germany.
- Explore the magnificence of Tallinn’s old town, castles, churches, parks, and monuments
- Hit the lovely Parnu Beach and Africa Beach in Haapsalu
- Visit Estonia’s second city, Tartu, a vibrant university town with lovely parks and stunning old churches, a hip nightlife and exceptional riverside areas
- Breathe in the medieval air of Narva and its gorgeous old quarter
- Admire the coastal scenes of Pladiski town
- Ski at Otepaa, the best winter playground in the country
- Embark on a summer exploration around Parnu
- Discover the unspoiled islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa
- Enjoy a wilderness excursion around Lahemaa National Park, with mile after mile of peninsulas, bays and verdant forests
- Go river, lake or ice fishing on Estonia’s Northern Pike