Estonia is one three countries that completes the Baltic States. It is a flat country where half of the landscape is farmland. There are many forests cultivated for the country’s timber, paper and furniture industries. Peat bogs cover some areas. Estonia also includes over 800 islands scattered along the Baltic Sea. Estonia declared itself as an independent nation when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. It was part of Russia for more than 50 years. Today, Estonians are totally free to enjoy their national culture and traditions.
These are the top ten not to be missed places when in Estonia.
Tallinn Old Town
The atmosphere of the
Tallinn Old Town
is basically medieval, clean and very romantic. It is rich in monuments, the colorful facades of old buildings, the oldest pharmacy, museums and a cathedral that stands out for its medieval style architecture that is absolutely fascinating. Admire the sight of colorful little houses with peaked roofs and stand close to each other along its cobblestone streets. The city of Tallinn is a fascinating mixture of old and new. It is a small city but the tourist areas are safe and can be easily explored on foot.
A walking tour starts
from Toompea, the hill that dominates the two churches where the three most beautiful lookout are located and then down to the big square with the cross dedicated to the heroes of the war of independence (1918-20) and a brief stop at the square Town Hall where most tourists gather and shop.
The Christmas market is held in the central square during the festive season
Starting from the Town Hall Square, it is easy to find a typical market of dolls, linen tablecloths, fur hats, ceramic houses, and souvenirs. You can continue through the narrow streets bordered by the old city walls where it is easy to come across locals dressed in medieval costumes
It is well maintained and offers the opportunity to warm up with some good cups of hot coffee and fine dining places. The walk into the town is nice and has some beautiful scenery as well as a visit to the outer walls and several towers called the “Merlin”. Do not miss the hill of Toompea and a look from the top of a bell tower of the historic center during sunset.
Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour
The Lennusadam Museum
in Tallinn is located in the former seaplane hangar next to the sea shore. The highlight of the museum is the original submarine called “Lembit” whose interiors can be visited as well. It is a museum full of curiosity and interesting information to discover. From the visit to the submarine you will see all kinds of naval material, you can pass the buoys, the various sailing boats, torpedo, war equipments, and control rooms along with fun or simulated interactive games designed for kids. In short, it is everything located in a renovated hangar with a nice bar where you can have lunch. It is nice to visit the submarine, simulate the flight by plane, and get dressed as a captain and many more.
The museum traces the history of the Estonian Navy and has as its centerpiece a real submarine that you can visit to know what is inside to see how the sailors lived. There are several indoor attractions for the amusement of children. The whole exhibition is held in a dark bluish light that the entire addition is expressed successfully. It is framed with matching soft music and submarine sounds like from the movies. Also interesting is the area outside the sea. There is a playground for the kids and a freighter which can also be visited.
Parnu Beach Promenade
is a resort town in the Southwestern part of Estonia 118 km. from Tallinn the capital city. It’s nice to see the town and its main street and the promenade along the beach especially when there are not many visitors and the silent presence of the Baltic Sea rules. It is very wide, clean, quiet, tidy, and with a nice long beach. There are water sports to explore plus it has good facilities and lots of bed and breakfast places to stay on. The sea is very calm, almost like a mirror and the color of the water is simply indescribable. The whole environment on the ground is very well maintained and enhanced.
The promenade is well finished. It has its own unique atmosphere; it is a very pleasant place to stroll in the immediate vicinity of the beach. The beach has a very good tourist infrastructure, from the lifeguard, showers and changing rooms by the bench to rest. The promenade is the best option as well as the water sports equipment rentals. Beach together with the nearby park – this is probably the best place in town. The beach is well equipped, has cabins, children’s swings and even wood flooring, which can drive quite close to shore buggy. Close to the beach there is a cafe, toilets, children’s rental cars, inflatable city and a chic playground for children.
Tartu Old City
Old City of Tartu
has many beautiful buildings, alleys, and a characteristic hill from where you can admire a magnificent sunset. Despite the very low temperature, you can go and wander through the streets of this city. Noteworthy are the attractions of the small university within the small town. In addition to the university itself, you can visit the town hall, the square and the main hill, where the ruins of a seventeenth-century church still stands. Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia which is more known as a university city. It is 180 km away from Tallinn (2-3 hours by bus).
The Central Square of Tartu’s Old Town was the center of the city from the Middle Ages under the name of Raekoya Square. It is said that most of the execution of sinners or criminals have been done here in the past. Almost all of the most interesting structure in terms of architecture in Tartu are concentrated in the Old Town, or on a nearby hill, the rest is basically a row of faceless Soviet-style apartment blocks. The most beautiful places are; it’s Town Hall Square, St. John’s Cathedral and the Assumption Orthodox Cathedral.
Tartu Toy Museum
Tartu Toy Museum
is housed in two historic wooden houses with a rich exhibit of toys that are beautifully decorated and equipped with inscriptions. There is a game room for children and a lovely gift shop where the staff is very friendly and maintains the museum. In one house there are exposure puppets that are housed in the basement of the mighty medieval brick vaults.
The vaults are so low, so before descent the staff offers bright plastic helmets. The museum is interesting not only for children but also for adults who can see a wide collection of childhood toys. There are postcards and exhibits that follow the kid friendly theme. Each one is creatively presented and creates a cozy and lovely atmosphere. The collection began since the 18th century. In the nearby courtyard, guests can play outdoor games.
A huge playroom can also be found inside the huge museum where kids can find the great toys of all time like; railroad tracks, old dolls, wooden blocks, or toys that even their own parents were once fascinated with. It’s a great place to be young or feel young once again to see the favorite toys of every Estonian’s childhood memory. It is very informative and an ideal place to know all about the past through the use of toys. Museum admission is free for kids.
Castle of Rakvere
is interesting because of the various activities that can be done in its grounds and surroundings. To best explore it hire a guided tour of the castle and enjoy the archery, walk on stilts, and the delicious mulled wine. Make your way into the dark dungeons and discover lots of surprises that you can see there. In the exhibit hall of swords you can try and hold a sword in a lot of different instances like; sabers, Dagi, swords, and rapiers. Climb up an old narrow spiral staircase to the ramparts where the knights use to hold court. The atmosphere is very friendly and open to tourists. It is interesting for children from 6 years and up.
You can touch everything, to try, to play and interact with other tourists about each displayed item. You can also do horseback riding on the grounds, bake bread, feed the rabbits, play a game of chess, and visit the torture chamber room where the guide will tell you everything in detail. There are lots to do and accomplish within a one day tour. There is a blacksmith at work who made horseshoe on the spot. And there are all kinds of small animals that freely roam around. The restaurant in the castle serves less obvious dishes for a fairly small price. While you’re in Estonia, Rakvere is really a must.
Narva Knight’s Fortress
Narva Knight’s Fortress
is a well maintained castle with a good circular observation deck on the tower and an interesting museum within its walled fortress. It offers a nice view of the Ivangorod Castle (a fortress across a river) and the city of Narva. You can cross from one castle to another (with the border crossing boat ride) that takes only 20 minutes.
The palace was recently restored and leaves a very good impression. Entrance to the castle is free, but for visiting the museum in the castle and climb the tower Herman will have to pay for a ticket.
The ticket entitles you to visit all the exposure in the castle building (there are both permanent exhibition telling the story of the castle, town, and time). A complete educational tour is in the North yard where guests can have or attend an arranged workshop which employs blacksmiths, potters, lace makers and other artisan skills training. In the hall is the administrative office, a gift shop, wardrobe shop and free toilets. On the left side of the entrance to the fortress there is a restaurant bar and art gallery.
is a small and friendly town on the shores of the Gulf of Finland but still forms part of Estonia. On this attraction there are several spas, restaurants and cafes, and the nice clean beach. Vacationing here is considered a pleasure. You can get there from Narva main city center by bus or taxi from private traders for very little money.
Take the bus #31 that will stop on its terminal on Pushkin Street, Narva and within 20 to 30 minutes you will enjoy the cold waters of the Baltic Sea. Water temperatures can drop up to 15 degrees with biting cold winds that came from the drifting snow. However, no one is allowed to swim when it gets too cold during such months (June to August).
Kuressaare Episcopal Castle
of Saaremaa City is a powerful example of Estonian defense architecture that is surrounded by the lake. The lookout points in the tower shows the beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. Inside an interesting museum dedicated to the history and life of the island of Saaremaa from the Middle Ages until the Soviet period and the present day. There are many halls with themed exhibitions which you can climb and explore.
In one of the spans between the halls, there is a small entertainment section with a mini abyss from which guests can hear periodically the sounds of recorded terrible screams. It’s a good place to learn what and how Estonia looks like during World War 2.
Polva – Taevaskoja Nature Trail
Nature Trail of Taevaskoja
is a perfect day to spend with friends and where one can greatly commune with nature in total peace. There are tall trees that seem to never end, clean water coming out of the source, ancient beliefs, mushrooms, blueberries, the sacred stones, the calm and serenity. There are places for picnicking and a boat ride experience on the ancient lake. If you love nature you must not miss this place in the city of Polva.