Although the smallest of the Baltic countries, Estonia (Eesti) makes its presence felt in the region with its lovely seaside towns, quaint country villages and verdant forests and marshlands, all of which set the scene for discovering many cultural and natural gems. Yet Estonia is also known for magnificent castles, pristine islands and a cosmopolitan capital amid medieval splendour. It's no wonder Estonia is no longer Europe's best-kept secret.
Tallinn, Estonia's crown jewel, boasts cobbled streets and rejuvenated 14th-century dwellings. Dozens of cafés and restaurants make for an atmospheric retreat after exploring historic churches and scenic ruins, galleries and boutiques. By night, stylish lounges and youthful nightclubs offer a glimpse of the city's sexier side. Some visitors have a hard time escaping Tallinn's undeniable allure, but outside the capital, the bucolic landscape hides numerous attractions. Lahemaa National Park in Northeastern Estonia has lush forests and beautiful coastal trails. South of Estonia's cosmopolitan spiritual centre, Tartu, is the hilltop town of Otepää with its laidback atmosphere and lovely ski trails. Handsome beach towns, spa resorts and medieval ruins lie scattered about the western shores of the country. Further west lies Estonia's biggest island, Saaremaa and on it the towns of Angla, Karja, Triigi & Tuhkana, where iconic windmills, 19th-century lighthouses, unspoilt beaches and yet more medieval ruins transport visitors to another time.
Covering vast swaths of Estonia, forests, wooded meadows and under-appreciated bog form the backdrop to numerous activities. Hiking over wooded trails, horse riding along coastline and canoeing over flooded forests can link you to the ancient wilderness. There's also great bird-watching, cross-country skiing in winter and swimming in crystal-clear lakes and rivers in summer. This all makes a nice prelude to a sauna, one of the national pastimes.
Ready to go?
These tours & activities make it easy:
Best places to stay in Estonia
Forget the Med: five stunning stretches of coast in northern Europe
Travellers flock to the Mediterranean shores of Italy, France and Spain, but for deliciously different places to dip your toes, look a little further north on your map of Europe. You’ll need a sweater if you visit outside the summer, but the views, dunes and magical history are worth a slightly paler suntan.
Estonia destination guides
One of Europe's most enchanting cities, Tallinn is a heady blend of medieval and modern, with narrow, cobbled streets set beneath the spires of 14th-century churches, and a wild mix of restaurants, cafés, boutiques and nightclubs hidden in the...
Ten hidden gems of Europe
There’s no place like Paris, Barcelona or Rome - but Europe has untouched corners that match the big hitters on beauty and charm, and with far fewer tourists. Take the road less travelled with these ten hidden gems of Europe. 1.
Helsinki Day Trip from Tallinn
While in Tallinn, take some time to explore the dynamic, vibrant city of Helsinki on this day trip! Famous for its modern architecture, Helsinki boasts interesting attractions like magnificent pipe-constructed Sibelius Monument and Temppeliaukio Church, built on a rock with a copper-covered.
Tallinn Shore Excursion: Tallinn Hop-on Hop-off Tour
No matter what cruise ship you arrive on, this is the perfect do-it-yourself shore excursion in Tallinn. See Tallinn’s essential sights on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour. You'll see historical and modern sights of Tallinn in a comfortable and secure environment, with full commentary provided.
Top 10 Eastern European getaways
For years Eastern Europe was the undiscovered half of the continent - but things have changed. The diverse highlights of Eastern Europe are now drawing travellers by the trainload. Here are our top 10 Eastern European getaways. 1. Julian Alps, Slovenia The Julian Alps form Slovenia's dramatic northwest frontier with Italy.