Estonia; to many a mysterious country in Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland . A little pearl with more than a thousand islands, primeval forests and beautiful lakes. Estonia used to be part of the Soviet Union and is full of the most beautiful castles, churches and fortresses built on hills. The capital, Tallinn, is bustling and known for its well-preserved Old Town, many museums and a gigantic observation deck. Read on and discover why a holiday to Estonia should definitely be on your bucket list!
1. Tallinn is the best preserved medieval city in Northern Europe.
Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, is a great place to visit. It is lively and yet quiet. In addition, this city is bursting with beautiful monuments such as old churches, medieval buildings, city walls and towers. In fact, it is the best preserved medieval city in Northern Europe and that is saying something! During a city trip to Tallinn you can also enjoy delicious food and drinks in the many cozy cafes and restaurants, and shoppers will also get their money’s worth. If you’re short on time, do a guided city tour to see all of Tallinn’s most beautiful sights!
2. Estonia has more than 2000 beautiful islands.
There are too many islands in Estonia to list and most of them are full of charm and history. The most popular Estonian islands are Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Kihnu, Ruhnu and Vormsi . The West Estonian archipelago is part of the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve , thanks to its unique setting and tranquility . Visit some of these special islands and experience Estonian culture like no other. Enjoy delicious food and admire the most beautiful arts and crafts of the islanders that are inspired by nature. Most islands can be easily reached from the West Coast by ferry. Check the sailing times carefully before departure to avoid disappointment!
3. It is a small, compact country and is perfect to travel
Estonia is the smallest country of the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are often mentioned in the same breath), and is slightly larger than, for example, Denmark or the Netherlands. During a holiday in Estonia you can make use of a well-developed road network and precise train and bus connections. And because the country can be traversed in just a few hours, it is a perfect country to travel through. As mentioned before, most islands are also easily accessible from the mainland. Those further afield can be visited by domestic flights from Tallinn.
4. The food is divine and fresher than fresh
You may not immediately be able to imagine the food culture in Estonia, but trust us; you will be pleasantly surprised! The most typical products in Estonia are rye bread, pork, potatoes and dairy products . The inhabitants of Estonia are also real “season eaters”; they only eat what is available at the time and what tastes best. Traditional Estonian meals and drinks are closely linked to the history of the Baltic States and many of the regional dishes date back to the Middle Ages. They are also strongly influenced by the Scandinavian neighboring countries. The result; savory, healthy and fresh dishes bursting with flavour!
5. You will still find untouched, rugged nature
Relatively speaking, Estonia has a low population density, which automatically means that there is a lot of room for untouched nature. No less than three quarters of the country consists of dense forests and swamps. The air you breathe in Estonia is almost nowhere else in Europe so clean and you notice it right away! As a true nature lover you can really indulge yourself here in the beautiful nature parks and on the rugged coast. Hiking and cycling trails are up for grabs and canoeing is also a popular pastime in Estonia. So be the first to pack your sporty clothes for your holiday to Estonia; you will need it!
6. The tourist is rare
Although many trips are organized by tour operators where Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are visited in one holiday, few people really choose Estonia as a holiday destination. (Apart from a city trip to Tallin). And because this country is often forgotten by tourists, it is still wonderfully quiet. So you don’t run after hordes of visitors when you admire beautiful sights and that is a relief! Especially when you are used to a holiday to Italy, Spain or France… This way you can completely relax and fully enjoy a well-deserved holiday in Estonia.
Of course it is not the main reason to go on holiday somewhere, but how nice is it to travel around in a cheap country? Compared to the Netherlands, Estonia is a lot cheaper in almost all areas and that means that you can enjoy undisturbed. In Tallin, the costs are slightly higher than in the rest of the country, but that makes sense. In general, you pay around €20-45 euros for an average hotel room, €10-35 euros for a two-course dinner and €3 euros for a beer. In addition, most of the main attractions in Estonia are free to enter. And you can also travel for just a few euros on public transport. Nice take away, right?
8. It’s full of historical places
Due to its rich and profound history, there are a myriad of top historical sites in Estonia that you can visit. These literally drip with history and take you back in time. Some of the most beautiful and important historical sites are the Pirita Monastery and the Castle Toompea (Tallin), the Sangaste Castle, the town of Haapsalu, the Caves of Helme and the Barclay de Tolly mausoleum . Besides these famous cultural places, the whole country is full of similar sights. Also visit the cultural cities of Parnu and Tartu or the former fishing village of Altja.
9. You can have a great beach holiday there
Estonia is not only a top holiday destination for culture lovers, but beach fanatics will also be happy here. The country has many beautiful beach destinations that are wonderful to visit in the summer months. With over 3,700 kilometers of Baltic coast and a few large lakes, Estonia has plenty of beautiful beaches to explore. Most of them are wonderfully quiet; from within the city limits of Tallinn to the small villages.