Estonia is part of North Eastern Europe’s lowland country. It borders on the Baltic Sea, northern Finland’s gulf, southern Latvia, and eastern Russia. Estonia has a flat, unharmed landscape consisting of more than 1,500 islands and more than 1,000 lakes, with more than 7,000 rivers and streams. Almost half of its landscape is covered by forest and woodland.
Estonians have fiercely defended their culture during decades of Soviet influence. Today, this culture is celebrated everywhere. Fabulous food, beautiful medieval towns and a sense of joyful independence distinguish Estonia.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the enchanting Old Town of Tallinn is known as Europe’s “Medieval Pearl.” It is ringed by one of the best-preserved medieval fortifications in Europe–nearly two kilometers of city walls, with twenty towers–which have kept it remarkably well intact.
Walk along the narrow, paved streets, past medieval homes and churches, to the Luhike Jalq Gate of the 15th century, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and Raekoja Plats–the square that has been the heart of the city since the markets began here in the 11th century. It’s a stunning spot, surrounded by colorful merchant houses and dominated by the Gothic city hall. It is reputed that the square was the site of the first Christmas tree back in 1441, and is presided over at Christmas time by a huge pine tree and busy festive market.
Your trip to Tallinn will take you through Parnu, a beautiful, colorful seaside resort that attracts holidaymakers from over 50 countries. This internationally renowned health resort–where visitors come to enjoy the health benefits of its mud baths–is known as the summer capital of Estonia and is full of white sandy beaches, beautiful parks, and beautiful buildings and monuments.
When you travel to Estonia, you will experience that Tallinn is a beautiful and idyllic city, where especially the old town is incredibly charming and cozy. Everything is within walking distance in the area, which is within the old city walls – which is also where the city’s sights are located. With its approx. 400,000 inhabitants make up Tallinn 1/3 of the country’s population, who live on an area slightly larger than Denmark.
Shifting sand dunes and uncrowded beaches make Lake Peipus an excellent summer option with villages such as Alajõe, Kolkja and the lakeside town of Mustvee promising picturesque picnic spots and worship spots for Russian Old Believers. Straddling Estonia and Russia, Peipus Lake was once the Soviet preserve, but now more in tune with walkers and waders than with KGB radio.
Saaremaa is the largest island in the western Estonian archipelago and slap bang in the middle of the migratory bird flight path, meaning it is filled on either side of the summer with feathers. A ferry takes travelers from the mainland to nearby islands where forest and coastal cycle paths lead to lighthouses, meteorite craters, and beaches, accompanied by pointed junipers and traditionally smoked plaice.
One of the largest national parks in Europe, Lahemaa preserves northern Estonia’s wetlands and forests. Viru bog is one of the most accessible in the country with a 3.5 km boardwalk that leads to a viewing tower from where marsh, heat, and bogs can be viewed from above.
There are four impressive manor houses hidden in the forests and Käsmu, on the coast, offers beautiful bays and maritime heritage.
For someone who enjoys skating or ice fishing, Estonia can be a great place to visit in winter. The winters may get very cold, but the summers remain quite mild thanks to the North Atlantic Gulf Stream. During the months from May to September, the best time to visit Estonia, July is usually the warmest month of the year.
Estonia is one of the 3 Baltic countries with a common Danish, beautiful myth:
The common story arises when Dannebrog fell from the sky during the battle of Lyndanisse. According to legend, it happened on June 15 in the year of the Lord 1219 – a date that we in our time mark as a national anniversary in Denmark.
The Danish relationship with Estonia is also visible with the capital’s name, Tallinn, which directly translated means the Danish city. In this “Danskerby” is also the Toompea hill. It is on the Toompea hill that Valdemar Sejr built a large castle to be able to defend Tallinn against enemies, which is an obvious excursion destination when traveling to Estonia.
According to Estonia’s national epic – Kalevipoeg – the hill was created by Linda, who was married to Kalev. When Kalev died, Linda chose to build a burial mound in honor of her beloved husband. It was hard work dragging rocks up to the 50 m high hill, and at one point Linda sat down and cried over Kalev’s death – and her tears formed the great lake in Tallinn – Lake Ülemiste. Toompea Hill today houses important buildings such as the Parliament and the magnificent Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. It is also from here that you get some great views of Tallinn and the many church towers that adorn the city skyline.
Driving through the Estonian landscape is very reminiscent of Denmark, both in terms of nature, climate, wildlife and plant species. However, almost half of the country is covered by forest, there are more than 1,500 lakes and Estonia’s highest point, Suur Munamägi, with its 318 m just beats our own Himmelbjerg. The Estonian cuisine is very similar to the Danish with bread and even rye bread for breakfast. The Estonians have the same weakness for rye bread as us Danes, however, they are most often baked without seeds. For dinner, pork, beef, poultry, potatoes, cabbage, sauces and vegetables are eaten.
Estonia, officially the Republic of Estonia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe.
Visit the Baltic countries
Intro to the Baltic
Area: 45,339 km²
President: Kersti Kaljulaid
Population: 1.312 million (2015) World Bank
Official language: Estonian
Travel to East Europe
Estland, officielt Republikken Estland, er et land i den baltiske region i Nordeuropa.
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