Europe Places Travel Guide -> Estonia: Europe Places

Toompea Castle, which protected Tallinn Old Town from war over the centuries
Photo: Toompea Castle, which protected Tallinn Old Town from war over the centuries

Estonia: Europe Places

Estonia on the North East Europe Map.

With half of the country covered with forests and a long coastline and more than 1500 islands on the Gulf of Finland, Estonia is an unique place to visit in Europe. In its key position on this part of the East Baltic Sea between East and West, it was important as a trading centre and to those who wanted to control it, from both sides of the divide.

As a consequence, there is a lot of history to explore here. Along with its unique culture, there are cultural treasures, castles, national parks, islands and beautiful wooded countryside to explore.

National parks and reserves protect more than eighteen percent of the land and some thirty percent of the coast. Wildlife, much of it now extinct in the rest of Europe, still roam these places, birdlife abounds, both migratory and Estonian.

Places to Visit

Tallinn

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is located on the northern coast of the country.

Southern Estonia

Tartu, in the south east of the country, is the second largest city and a university town, with one of the oldest in north Europe. They celebrate here with festivals and concerts through the year, with its large student population there are numerous theatre plays to enjoy here as well. With a varied and interesting collection of museums, an avid interest in the arts and culture, Tartu has plenty on offer for the visitor.

Pärnu, also in the south and on the coast, is a resort city with beaches to enjoy. As a resort city, there are plenty of night clubs and concerts, the summer sees big party crowds and outdoor festivals. However the city has a long history, dating back to 1251. The Hanseatic festivals held here every year celebrate this with music, authentic costumes, tournaments and games and traditional foods.

Viljandi is famous for the Viljandi Folk Music Festival and the Viljandi Culture Academy to not only Estonians but visitors from all over Europe. Other festivals include the Young Dance Festival, Hanseatic Days and the Winter Folk Dance Festival. The city is also known for its lush green parks, the Viljandi Castle and historic churches.

Coast

Along the long coastline of Estonia, you will find sleepy fishing villages, beaches to relax on and holiday and spa resorts.

Noarootsi

The coastal region of Noarootsi was very much a Swedish area from the 1200s till 1939, when the Soviet Army occupied the country, turning it into a border buffer zone and most Swedes left.

Later, when the Soviet Union collapsed many of the original occupants of the zone were able to return in 1980. Today, most people here still speak Swedish and Estonian.

Kayaking, hiking, birdwatching and horseriding are popular in the region of Noarootsi. There is a museum in Haapsalu that explores the settlement of the region by the Swedes over the last thousand years.

The Islands

On the many islands off the coast, you can experience nature at its best, much of it pristine. Kayaking, sailing, fishing or bird watching are some of the things to do here. Saaremaa Island has a wonderful and restored castle to explore.

Accommodation in Estonia

Convenient for those on a budget, there are lots of budget hotels in Estonia, but also hostels and bed and breakfasts. There are also luxury spa hotels and beachside resorts.

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Photo: Toompea Castle, which protected Tallinn Old Town from war over the centuries

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