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Estonia Travel Guide

Introduction to Estonia

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Estonia is a country located in Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland. With its rich history, diverse landscape and vibrant cities, Estonia is a destination that offers something for everyone. From the charming old town of Tallinn to the rolling hills and forests of Lahemaa National Park, to the sandy beaches of Pärnu, Estonia is a country that is sure to delight and surprise you. Whether you are interested in history, nature, or modern city life, a visit to Estonia is sure to be an unforgettable experience. This travel guide will help you make the most of your trip, by providing you with information about the country's top attractions, cultural experiences, and local cuisine.

Getting around Estonia

Estonia offers a variety of transportation options for visitors, making it easy to get around the country and explore all that it has to offer.

Public Transportation - The public transportation system in Estonia is reliable and affordable, with buses, trams, and trolleys running frequently in cities like Tallinn, Tartu, and Pärnu. The most convenient way to pay for public transportation is with a rechargeable card called "Pilot".

Taxi - Taxis are readily available in Estonia, and can be hailed on the street or booked in advance. It's always best to agree on the fare before starting your journey.

Car rental - Renting a car is a great option for visitors who want to explore the countryside and visit remote areas. Major international car rental companies are available in Tallinn, as well as local providers.

Bicycle rental - Bicycles can be rented in many cities and towns in Estonia, making it a fun and eco-friendly way to get around. Popular destinations such as Tallinn, Tartu, and Pärnu have well-developed bike paths and trails.

With these transportation options, you can easily and comfortably explore all that Estonia has to offer.

Accommodation

Estonia offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit every traveller's needs and preferences. From charming boutique hotels to cosy guesthouses and modern apartments, there is something for everyone. Tallinn, the capital city, is known for its mediaeval charm and offers a wide selection of accommodations within its historic Old Town. Here, you can find beautifully restored hotels that capture the city's rich heritage. For those seeking a more tranquil experience, Estonia's countryside is dotted with idyllic farm stays and countryside retreats, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the country's natural beauty while enjoying warm hospitality.
If you're looking for a unique and immersive experience, consider staying in one of Estonia's many traditional wooden cottages. These cottages, often nestled in scenic rural areas or near the coastline, offer a chance to experience the country's traditional way of life. Imagine waking up to the sounds of nature, surrounded by lush forests or picturesque seaside views. Many of these cottages have been lovingly restored and feature modern amenities while retaining their authentic charm. It's a wonderful way to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and embrace the peacefulness of Estonia's countryside.
For budget-conscious travellers or those seeking a social atmosphere, Estonia offers a range of hostels and guesthouses. Tallinn, in particular, has a vibrant hostel scene, with stylish and affordable accommodations located near the city centre. These hostels provide comfortable dormitory-style rooms as well as private rooms, making them suitable for solo travellers, families, or groups. They often have communal areas where travellers can mingle, share stories, and make new friends from around the world. If you're seeking affordability without compromising on comfort and a sense of community, Estonia's hostels and guesthouses are a great option.
Whether you're looking for a luxurious hotel in Tallinn, a tranquil countryside retreat, or a budget-friendly hostel, Estonia offers a wide array of accommodation options to suit every traveller's style and budget. Take your pick and enjoy a memorable stay while exploring the country's rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant culture.

Sightseeing

Estonia is a country with a rich cultural heritage and breathtaking natural scenery, making it a fantastic destination for sightseeing. Here are some of the top activities and attractions to consider during your visit:

Tallinn Old Town
The old town of Tallinn is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the best-preserved mediaeval cities in Europe. Visitors can wander the cobbled streets, admire the colourful buildings, and visit the many museums and galleries.
Lahemaa National Park
This stunning park is located just a short drive from Tallinn and offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, cycling, and boating. Visitors can also visit historic manor houses, explore traditional fishing villages, and admire the natural beauty of the park's forests and bogs.
Tartu
Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia and is known for its lively university culture, charming old town, and beautiful parks. Visitors can visit the Tartu Art Museum, explore the historic centre, or relax in one of the city's many cafes.
Pärnu Beach
Pärnu is a popular summer destination and is known for its long sandy beach, lively promenade, and various water sports activities. Visitors can sunbathe, swim, or take a boat trip along the coast.
Matsalu National Park
This park is located on the western coast of Estonia and is home to a variety of unique wildlife and bird species. Visitors can take a guided tour, go kayaking, or simply admire the beauty of the park's marshes, bogs, and forests.

Whether you are interested in history, or nature, or simply want to relax and enjoy the local culture, Estonia has plenty of sightseeing activities to offer.

Outdoor activities

Estonia is a nature lover's paradise, offering a wealth of outdoor activities that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the country's stunning landscapes. One of the highlights is exploring Estonia's extensive network of national parks. Lahemaa National Park, located near Tallinn, is a perfect choice for hiking enthusiasts, boasting picturesque coastal trails, dense forests, and charming historic manor houses. Those seeking a unique experience can visit Soomaa National Park, known as the "land of bogs," where you can go canoeing through wetlands and witness the magical beauty of Estonia's untouched wilderness.

Cycling enthusiasts will find Estonia to be a haven for bike tours. The country features a well-developed network of cycling paths that take you through diverse terrains, including coastal routes, peaceful countryside landscapes, and charming historical towns. One popular route is the Baltic Coastal Hiking Trail, which stretches along the country's picturesque coastline and offers breathtaking views of the Baltic Sea. Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or a casual rider, Estonia's cycling trails provide an excellent way to explore the country at your own pace while enjoying the fresh air and scenic beauty.

For adventure seekers, Estonia offers thrilling opportunities for water sports. With its extensive coastline and numerous lakes and rivers, the country is ideal for activities like kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding. Explore the calm waters of Lake Peipus, the fourth-largest lake in Europe, or venture out to the coastal areas and experience the exhilaration of sea kayaking. Additionally, Estonia is known for its windsurfing and kitesurfing spots, where enthusiasts can ride the waves and feel the rush of adrenaline. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced water sports enthusiast, Estonia's waterways provide ample opportunities for an unforgettable outdoor adventure.

Estonia's natural beauty and diverse landscapes offer endless possibilities for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you prefer hiking through pristine national parks, embarking on a cycling adventure, or engaging in thrilling water sports, Estonia has something for everyone. So, pack your outdoor gear, embrace the fresh air, and embark on an unforgettable journey through Estonia's captivating outdoors.

Food & drink

Estonian cuisine is a delightful fusion of traditional and modern flavours, reflecting the country's history and natural abundance. A must-try dish is the traditional Estonian black bread, known as "leib." Made from locally grown rye, this dark and dense bread is a staple in Estonian households. Pair it with some smoked fish, such as Baltic herring or sprat, for a classic Estonian snack. Another beloved dish is the hearty and comforting "kama." This traditional Estonian porridge is made from a mixture of roasted barley, rye, oat, and pea flour, and is often enjoyed with buttermilk or kefir.

Estonia is also famous for its forest delicacies. During the summer and autumn months, you can explore the forests and indulge in the abundance of wild berries and mushrooms. Lingonberries, blueberries, and cranberries are commonly used in jams, desserts, and even savoury dishes. Mushrooms, such as chanterelles and boletes, are often foraged and incorporated into traditional Estonian dishes like mushroom sauce or mushroom soup. These wild ingredients add a unique and earthy flavour to the cuisine, providing a true taste of Estonia's natural bounty.

When it comes to beverages, Estonia boasts a vibrant craft beer scene. The country is home to numerous microbreweries and brewpubs, where you can sample a wide range of locally crafted beers. From traditional lagers and ales to experimental and innovative brews, Estonian craft beers offer something for every beer enthusiast. Don't miss the opportunity to try some of the unique flavours, like spruce tip beer or juniper-infused brews, which showcase Estonia's connection to its natural surroundings.

To satisfy your sweet tooth, indulge in some traditional Estonian desserts. A popular treat is the "kohupiimakook," a delicious cheesecake made from curd cheese. It has a light and creamy texture, often topped with fresh berries or a drizzle of honey. Another delightful dessert is the "kannel," a layered pastry filled with sweetened cottage cheese or jam. And, of course, no visit to Estonia is complete without trying the famous "küpsisetort" or biscuit cake. Made from layers of biscuits and creamy fillings, this beloved dessert is a true crowd-pleaser.

Estonia's culinary landscape is rich with traditional flavours and unique ingredients. From the hearty and wholesome dishes to the innovative craft beers and delectable desserts, Estonian cuisine offers a delightful culinary adventure. So, be sure to explore the local markets, seek out traditional eateries, and indulge in the gastronomic delights that await you in Estonia.

Shopping & souvenirs

Handmade woollen textiles
Wooden crafts & utensils
Ceramics & pottery
Jewellery made of silver & amber
Food items like marmalade, honey, & traditional sweets
Estonian liquor such as Vana Tallinn or herbal liqueurs
Books or related to Estonian folk tales and legends
CDs or recordings of traditional Estonian music
Hand-painted postcards

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