Land of spas and historically fascinating medieval cities, Estonia attracts many visitors also with its reasonably priced shopping and nightlife possibilities. This small Northern European country also has a charming countryside filled with possibilities for outdoor-loving people. Today’s modern Estonia carries a colorful history with Russian, German and Scandinavian influences.
Historical towns, charming countryside and spa services: Estonia’s attractions
The most popular travel destination in Estonia is its seaside capital Tallinn, which is a charming mixture of old Hanseatic, modern and Soviet-style architecture. The most popular sight of this lively city of half a million inhabitants is its historical Old Town covered with medieval buildings and cobblestone streets, and soaked in friendly atmosphere. In addition to its historical sites, Tallinn attracts many also with its reasonably priced shopping opportunities and with lively nightlife that offers something for everyone.
Countryside spas. Other popular Estonian attractions are its fascinating spa resorts left over from the Soviet era, when they served as destinations for health holidays organized by the government. Estonian spas are most often located in charming settings in the middle of the green Estonian countryside and offer great opportunities for relaxing holidays. The most famous spot for these resorts is found on Saaremaa Island in Western Estonia off the Baltic Sea coast. A fascinating island filled with peaceful countryside, charming beaches, and coniferous forests, Saaremaa is the number one destination for summer holiday in Estonia. The most famous place in Saaremaa is its capital Kuressaare. The nearby island of Hiiumaa offers more rural settings and scenic beaches.
Sport and nature destinations. In addition to Tallinn and Saaremaa, also Parnu with its popular health spas and sandy beaches, Otepää with its popular winter sports center, or the historically interesting university town Tartu are power cards in the rising tourism industry of Estonia. The many Natural Parks in Estonia are a showroom of marshy flatlands, curving rivers, and old-growth forests of Estonian nature. Touring in the small towns and in the countryside of Estonia is an interesting experience also because of the welcoming atmosphere of the local people, and because of the by western standards cheap prices for the most often quite comfortable tourist services. Except for small crime such as pick-pocketing and car theft, Estonia is a quite safe destination, especially outside Tallinn, where most of the crime in the country takes place. However, always keep an eye on your belongings when traveling in Estonia. Many Estonians speak English, and German and Russian are also commonly understood.
Practical information for your trip to Estonia
Estonia has a maritime climate with moderate summers and relatively cold winters.
Average monthly high temperatures during the Estonian summer (June- August) are around 20 degrees of Celsius, whereas wintertime with its three-month (December-February) period of below zero temperatures is much colder. The best time to travel to Estonia for summer activities is from May to September, and for skiing between January and early March.
How to get there. Located in Northern Europe and bordering Russia and Latvia, Estonia is an easily reachable country. The main airport of Estonia is located in Tallinn, offering good connections to main European airports. You can also travel to Estonia by ferry from Finland, Sweden, or Germany, or by road or train from Russia or Latvia. For moving inside the country, rental car is the best option except for the cities, where also buses and taxis run efficiently. Most roads in Estonia are paved but can be in quite bumpy condition.
Former Soviet country. After centuries of Danish, Swedish, German, and Russian rule, Estonia gained independence from Russia in 1920. During the Second World War, Estonia was conquered by both Germans and Soviets, and it remained occupied by the Soviet Union after the war. Estonia regained its independence in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. The legacy of all these cultures is in many ways visible in modern day Estonia. Look at the architecture, the traditions, or the people of Estonia, and you will understand that Estonia’s multidimensional roots are an important part of the charm of this small Baltic country.