Estonia lies along the Baltic Sea, just below Finland. Tallinn, Estonia’s capital is only about 40 miles south of Helsinki, across the Gulf of Finland. One of the best-preserved Medieval Old Towns in Northern Europe is Tallinn. It has been included in the List of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Old Town of Tallinn is a romantic network of crooked cobblestone streets, preserved authentically from the Middle Ages. Churches and convents, passageways and courtyards, imposing merchants` dwelling houses, shelters, and parks give a sense of the true medieval spirit underlying the Old Town up to now. But not only Tallinn attract tourists to Estonia – picturesque National Parks, gorgeous Manor Houses, beautiful Saaremaa Island, summer capital of Estonia – sea resort Parnu, historical city Tartu with the oldest university of the Baltic States and many other interesting sites, attractive for tourists.
Territory: 45 227 sq.km
Population: 1,36 million
Capital: Tallinn (402 000 people)
National language: Estonian
Climate: temperate, characterised by warm summers and fairly severe winters. The weather is often breezy and humid due to the proximity of the Baltic Sea. Average temperatures range from 20.9° C in summer (usually July is the hottest month) to - 8°C in winter.
1 January New Year's Day
24 February Independence Day
March/April Good Friday
1 May May Day
23 June Victory Day
24 June Midsummer's Day
20 August Re-Independence Day
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Boxing Day
National currency: EUR.
Estonia's rich history has left it with a wealth of tourist attractions: castles, church, fortresses, and ancient Estonian hill forts and stone tombs. The highlight of any trip to Estonia is its capital city, Tallinn, with its fabulous medieval Old City. Tallinn's Old City is Unesco Heritage Site, and rightly so.
Unlike most European cities, which have ancient buildings mixed in between modern ones, Tallinn's Old City is complete.You leave bustling modern life behind when of cobblestones and dim alleys, sputtering torches and secret stairways. The Old City holds new surprises around every corner, even for its old inhabitants. Now you can watch workmen peel back the layers of plaster on the medieval buildings and uncover statuary and intricate stone embellishments hidden during Soviet times. Tallinn also makes an excellent base for exploring Northern Estonia, with its exotic Russian influences, great national park, Lahemaa, and regal manor houses.
Ethnographical Open Air Museum Rocca-al-Mare
The Open Air Museum owns the largest collection of national architecture in Estonia. Nearly 100 farm buildings nestle on 84 ha of forest on the shore of the Kopli Gulf. Exhibits installed in the buildings guides you through 150 years of farming history.
The Lahemaa National Park is situated in Nothern Estonia, 70 km east of Tallinn. Tourist attractions include different places of architectural and historical value: the surrounding buildings, large parks and ponds of the Manors of Palmse, Sagadi, the village of Altja with old fisher's houses.
The leading city of Southern Estonia is Tartu. As Tartu was repeatedly leveled at the ground by different conquering armies, its old city is younger than Tallinn's and is neo-classical in design. Yet relics of its pagan past can also be found alongside church ruins and Catherine the Great's gunpowder cellar (now a restaurant) in leafy Toomemägi park, just behind the town square. Tartu is a fun daz-trip and convenient base for exploring southern Estonian town and villages such as Otepää and Voru, with their rich folkloric history.
Pärnu, on Estonian's west coast, heralds itself as Estonia's summer capital. Indeed, Estonian parliamentarians no doubt wish it truly was.
The town's placid white sand beaches, parks, and charming old city beckon to local and foreign tourists alike. Further north, the sleepy beach resort, Haapsalu, is an appealing sojourn on the way to the islands.
Saaremaa & Hiiumaa
The western islands of Saaremaa and Hiiuma also sing a siren song to travelers. Though the two are quite close together, they share different feelings to them. Hiiumaa is wilder, more silent and enigmatic. It is perfect for those who want to "get away from it all". Saaremaa, though also wild and pristine, is better known for being the most "Estonian" place in all of Estonia. As both islands were isolated during Soviet times, they were less affected by Soviet rule than the rest of Estonia.
In Saaremaa you can find wooden windmills, stone cottages with thatched roofs, the remains of ancient hill forts, and of course the Bishop's Castle -the best preserved medieval castle in the Baltics.