When we had the possibility of visiting Estonia, we were fascinated by the number of things to see and do there.
A big thanks has to go to Estonian Tourist Board for this chance.
First of all, Estonia is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Hence it’s bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia and to the east by Russia.
Why you should choose this northern country for a holiday?
Most of all, Estonia’s capital Tallinn is the best preserved medieval city in Northern Europe.
In addition, the territory consists of a mainland and more than 2000 islands in the Baltic Sea.
Finally, this amazing country is almost 50% forest.
Therefore it’s a perfect destination for a weekend or more getaway.
The first impressions
I came to Tallinn with little knowledge of the place.
When I told my family about my travel plans, the general perception was rather modest. A cold place with few to no sights.
So when me and my girlfriend took the bus from the airport to the city center, we were positively surprised. Obviously Tallinn is a cold city but is also very green. Plus, quite everything could be reached by foot in the center because it’s not so big.
Secondly, Estonia is a world leader in technology and this can be seen almost everywhere.
The ID card, which effectively acts as an online passport, plays a key role in almost every innovative e-service. It can authenticate identity, pay for public transportation and for parking, vote online and also provide a digital signature. There are more than 600 e-service for Estonian citizens.
Consequently it’s not surprising that wireless internet is almost everywhere in Estonia, and almost always free and speedy. Wi-fi access points can be found in most public locations like parks, squares, restaurants, airports, trains, bus stations and also in remote location such as beach or forest.
In conclusion, this development is felt when you approach the city. It was our first sensation.
Tallinn – the capital of Estonia
Tallinn is the capital of Estonia and it’s an exciting mix of old and new. It’s small but not boring: there are lots of things to do and see.
As I have already said, the Old Town is one of the best preserved town centers in the world.
But just outside the ancient walls you’ll find the city’s business centre with modern towers and luxurious hotels, glamour nightlife districts and big shopping centers.
The center of the Old Town is the Town Hall Square. As we went in November, we found lots of Christmas market. When the snow arrived, the atmosphere was absolutely perfect. In here you can find The Town Hall, the oldest in Scandinavia and in the Baltics. The stone building is dated back to 1322 but the one you see nowadays has been renovated in the 15th century. During the summer, visitors can go upstairs in the tower and enjoy a beautiful view of the city.
A large part of the Old Town sits on a hill known as Toompea. Nowadays it is the center of the country’s government and the location of its Parliament. But beyond its political significance, Toompea Hill is simply a beautiful place to visit: most of the buildings date from the 18th and 19th century and due to the elevation there are different arranged platforms for breath-taking views of the rest of the city.
In this area you can find Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, a richly decorated orthodox church.
Its architectural style is visibly in contrast with the rest of the city. Just so you know, it was built in 1900, when Estonia was part of the Russian Empire.
Nowadays it is Tallinn’s largest orthodox cupola cathedral. I Love its silhouette!
Things to do in summer in Tallinn
We didn’t have to possibility to go to the beach of Pirita. In summer I think it’s a cool place for having a walk in its long promenade.
Going to the top of TV Tower: perfect for enjoying great views of the city and the Gulf of Finland. Its viewing deck is 170 meters above the ground and offers an astonishing 360 degree panorama.
The same for going upstairs in the tower of different churches located in the Old Town City.
Unfortunately all of these attractions were closed in winter but we will visit them in summer one day.
On the northern coast of Estonia there is Lahemaa National Park. It’s the perfect destination for a day trip out of Tallinn.
Hence in Lahemaa you will find stony and sandy seashores, picturesque bogs, pine and cliff forests, rivers that cut into the limestone cliff. Obviously perfect for nature watching lovers.
Lahemaa is one of Europe’s most important forest conservation areas, where many large mammals live.
In particular, we visited Viru Bog. I don’t know how to describe the scenery because it was unique.
With a 3.5-kilometre trail marked passing through the forest, you can enjoy the typical landscapes of Lahemaa National Park.
There is also a viewing tower that provides a scenic overview of the bog terrain, with its sand dunes and flora.
While in the south of the national park, there is Kõrvemaa. It’s a natural area where finding moose, wild boars, brown bears, lynxes, foxes an other wild animals is quite easy.
During the last day, we decided to visit a pretty small city located along the coast in the south.
Its a medieval city with a romantic atmosphere. Famous for being the summer holiday destination, you can also do different activities from water skiing to kayak and many more.
In summer days, having a walk along its beach promenade is a great thing to do.
In fact, there are lots of restaurants, cocktails bars, cafés and bath houses.
Needless to say we loved this amazing country.
In here you can find some tips about restaurants we tried when we were in Tallinn, for tasting some delicious food prepared with genuine and local ingredients.