When to visit this neglected European destination and what to see there

Estonia is a small country in the Baltic region of Europe, just north of Lativa, south of Helsinki, Finland and west of Russia. The people of this country do not see themselves as Eastern Europeans but rather as Northern Europeans. Their history, language and culture are similar to that of Finland and not of Eastern Europeans to the south. English is widely spoken and almost all of the younger population speak English. About a third of the population is of Russian descent.

Estonia: the facts

Landing area: 17,500 square miles 0 or 45,000 square km

Population: 1,330,000

Capital and largest city: Tallinn

Independence: 1991 (From the USSR)

Tallinn history

Tallinn city center is very picturesque and full of old buildings and churches. The history of the city dates back to the Vikings. When the Vikings first arrived, Estonians mostly lived in small villages scattered across the region. The Vikings therefore founded the city to trade. In fact, the Vikings founded a number of cities across Europe, including Kiev in Ukraine and Dublin in Ireland.

  • When should we go: Summer or late spring
  • How long to spend in Estonia: 7 days to explore Tallinn, hiking trails and explore some islands

About Estonia

Estonia is quite far to the north, so the best time to go is in summer. This will give you the best time as well as longer daylight hours. In winter, the weather will be cold and the days short. There aren’t many mountains in Estonia, so it’s not much of a ski destination (the highest point in the whole country is only around 300 meters away).

Related: A Travel Guide To Europe: 20 Must-See Places

Estonia is beautiful and covered with forests. There are lots of trails through these forests with lots of shelters / huts so you can camp freely in the wild if you want (highly recommended for nature lovers). The country is small and flat. Most of the time when you are hiking in the forests you will always have a full reception.

Estonia has a number of beautiful islands to visit and these are all served by frequent ferries that you can walk or drive on board. The main islands are Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Kihnu, Ruhnu and Vormsi. These are quiet and relaxing places to unwind if you are looking for a Baltic getaway.

Saaremaa: the facts

Population: 31,500

Fun fact: The largest and most populous island in Estonia

Main rule: Kuressaare

Attractions: Kuressaare Castle in Kuressaare, Kaali Meteorite Craters, Mihkli Farm Museum

When to visit: Summer

Estonia has a large part of the European fauna which has disappeared elsewhere on the continent. Wild animals that you can observe in Estonia include the gray wolf, lynx, brown bear, red fox, badger, wild boar, moose, red deer, roe deer, beaver and otter. Along with marine life, it has the gray seal and the ringed seal.

Related: 9 Small Towns in Europe That Should Be On Your Travel Bucket List

What to see and do in Estonia

One of the must-see things in Tallinn is taking the ferry to Helsinki, Finland. Finland and Estonia are part of the Schengen zone and both use the euro. It can even be a day trip if you want.

Take the ferry to Helsinki, Finland

Ferry timetable: Regular throughout the day

Ferry companies: Viking line; Tallink, Eckero line

Duration of the crossing: 2.00-2.15 Hours

On board facilities: Bar, Restaurant, Casino

Price per passenger foot: $ 15.00 to $ 40.00 (without cabin)

Tallinn is a beautiful place to explore. It’s only a small town, so it doesn’t take long to see and explore the beautiful old city center. The city has just over 400,000 inhabitants (about a third of the country’s population). Part of the city is built on a hill, so you can get a great view of the city.

Things to see and do in Tallinn

Visit: The Aleksander Nevski Katedraali (a huge Russian Orthodox church) and the Eesti VabaƵhumuuseum (open-air museum of a traditional Estonian farmhouse and village)

Do: Take a free downtown walking tour and dine outside of the city center

The Estonian Song Festival is one of the most important events in the country. It is one of the largest choral events in the world and a time of national rejoicing and celebration. It takes place every five years and the first festival dates back to 1869. The last song festival was held in 2019.

Estonian Song Festival: the facts

Number of choirs: 1000

Number of participants: 30,000

Public: 80,000

Next Party: 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 while visiting Estonia.

Plus, one of the best things to do is find an Airbnb in the countryside at a traditional thatched-roof property. If you go there in winter, staying in these cozy old houses will be unforgettable. As you make your way to the islands, stay in 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 little gems and is definitely worth a visit. It may not have the international reputation of places like London, Rome or Paris, but it is still worth a visit.

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