With an area of 45,339 square kilometres, Estonia is the most northerly and smallest of the three Baltic nations. The population is 1.3 million people out of which about 70% are ethnic Estonians with a large minority of Russian-originated people (29.7%). The official language is Estonian but English and Russian are also widely used. The currency is Euro (EUR).
The largest cities in Estonia are Tallinn, Tartu, Narva, Kohtla-Järve and Pärnu. Tallinn, the capital, is the tech capital of Europe with great internet access and modern infrastructure. It combines medieval charm with urban vibrancy and it stands out as a top destination for European travellers. With cobblestone streets lined with colourful buildings, excellent restaurants, old churches and trendy bars it provides a great balance between being historical and contemporary.
Tartu is Estonia’s second-largest city located on the banks of River Emajõgi. It offers visitors different attractions such as exclusive cafes, an old town centre, historical monuments, parks and museums. Narva on the other hand stands out for its well-preserved old town with baroque buildings by the castle walls. While Kohtla-Järve offers some beautiful scenery combined with spa resorts in its surroundings; Pärnu is known throughout Estonia as a coastal resort town with sandy beaches that enter into numerous bays east of Tallinn.
In terms of outdoor pursuits, Estonia offers plenty of activities for nature lovers. Lahemaa National Park covers over 725 sq km with stunning forests, wildlife and many manors to explore making it one of the most compelling tourist destinations in the country. Nature reserves can also be found all over from Soomaa National Park to Keila Joa Waterfall where visitors can observe forests almost unchanged since Paleo-Age. In terms of culture and arts, there are many open-air concerts in the summertime as well as lively theatres with year-round productions in cities like Tallinn and Tartu.
Climate-wise, summers in Estonia tend to be warm with temperatures up to 24°C while winters might reach below -30°C depending on region and season. Springtime around April marks the start of pleasant temperatures while autumn settles around October time guaranteeing sunshine until mid-November when winter descends quickly to usher in the Christmas season.
Estonian cuisine borrows heavily from neighbouring countries like Sweden and Russia but many classic dishes have a unique spin that can only be found here such as veal potato pancake (Kartuleib), smoked bear meat and black pudding served with stewed fruit among other delicacies.
When it comes to prices, Estonia is considered affordable when compared to western cities but slightly more expensive than its Baltic neighbours so it’s best to check for updated information on websites before travelling.