Estonia is an Eastern European country situated near the Baltic Sea. With its captivating cities, dramatic landscapes, and fascinating cultural heritage, Estonia is an ideal destination for travelers of all ages and interests. In spite of the fact that it is the most traveled to of the three Baltic States, Estonia is still a place that is considered relatively uncommon and off the beaten path in Europe.
And it's unjust! Put Estonia on the map with Julien of Adventure Junkie's six compelling arguments for why you should visit the country. This once part of the Soviet Union is home to a fascinating history, quaint architecture, and nature that has been remarkably conserved.
Discovering something new and having experiences that you definitely wouldn't have in the majority of other nations are both possible in Estonia, a country that is a veritable treasure trove of opportunity. Here are some of the top 10 things to do in Estonia to make your visit truly memorable.
You should spend as much time as possible exploring Tallinn's Old Town, whether your trip to Estonia is a whole vacation or a one-day stop on a Baltic cruise. It was home to wealthy merchants from Denmark and Germany in the 13th century and is one of the world's best-preserved Hanseatic town centers.
In 1997, the Old Town, with its medieval churches and cobblestone streets, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Start your journey at one of Europe's oldest continuously operating pharmacies, Raeapteek. It has fascinating exhibits of old medical tools and techniques that look like they belong in a museum.
The moat-ringed Kuressaare Episcopal Castle has stood tall since the 1380s, making it one of the best-preserved fortifications in the Baltic region. You can spend the entire day exploring the castle's many unique spaces, including the convent building, and taking in the Gothic atmosphere; a lot of stairs; central garden; cloister; refectory; as well as the bishop's residence, where eleven Baroque wood carvings are on display.
Through displays of one-of-a-kind artifacts, such as more than 2,000 antique coins from as far back as the 1620s, the on-site history museum reveals what life was like when this castle was in use many centuries ago. Traditional activities like archery, pottery making, musical performances, and firing are also available for tourists to watch and participate in.
Interesting to both sea fans and ordinary travelers, the Lennusadam Seaplane Harbor is one of the most mind-blowing spots to visit in Estonia. In a historic seaplane hangar with the world's first high-volume, columnless, thin-shell concrete dome, this award-winning museum in Tallinn houses approximately 200 authentic maritime artifacts and vessels.
The museum's permanent collection includes the remains of the oldest ship in Estonia, a 100-year-old steam-powered icebreaker, and a submarine from the 1930s in this attraction.
Pärnu is just a two-hour drive from Tallinn. It has a beautiful beach and the atmosphere of a small town. When you're ready to kick back, unwind, and take in the sun, Estonia is the place to be. Take advantage of the opportunity to tour the beautifully preserved 1265-era historic town. You can get in touch with a knowledgeable guide at the tourist information center to take you on a tour of Pärnu.
You'll see a house that dates back centuries and belonged to the town blacksmith; a statue of the architect from Estonia, Olev Siinmaa; antique maps; hidden passages; as well as memorials to Johann Voldemar Jannsen, known as the "father of Estonian journalism" and the founder of one of the country's oldest and still-published newspapers.
The Estonian National Museum is well-known not only for its arresting architecture but also for its fascinating permanent exhibits on Estonian history and culture. The building, which opened in 2016 on a former Soviet military base, was designed to look like an airfield taking off into space. It is a conceptual art piece. It is especially impressive at night due to the lighting.
The main permanent exhibit, "Encounters," gives visitors a glimpse into the everyday lives and culture of Estonians from the Ice Age to the present day. The Finno-Ugric people are the focus of the other permanent exhibit at this museum, Echo of the Urals. It features a stunning display of everyday items like cooking utensils and cultural clothing. The museum's high-tech installations make the experience even more interactive.
The country's Matsalu National Park is known as one of the best places in Europe to watch birds. It is designated as a protected natural area for nesting, molting, and migrating birds, including the magnificent white-tailed eagle.
Its 48,610 hectares are also home to other species. More than 22 protected plant species and ten endangered mammals can be found in the park. In Haeska, Keemu, and Kloostri, as well as other areas of the park, a number of bird-watching towers offer tourists a panoramic view of this stunning landscape. There are also a few hiking trails that take you through coastal pastures, wetlands, and meadows.
Typa is a private museum and studio in Tartu, that continues this cherished tradition. Typa, which used to be known as the Estonian Print & Paper Museum, has a collection of historical printing and paper-making equipment on display that will rekindle your love of the written word. Visitors will be awestruck by a stunning collection of letterpress alphabets in every design imaginable.
You can also try your hand at making paper from pulp, printing a manhole cover design on a T-shirt, creating a linocut print, making a notebook using a hand press that is 150 years old, and more at Typa's workshops.
The alpaca petting zoo at Alpakafarm in Pärnu has attracted tourists. Visitors are invited to touch the fluffy, soft coats of these popular animals and learn about them at the farm. You can also interact with adorable Cameroon goats, which are a type of pigmy goat.
You can also interact with well-trained llamas and guanacos, which are a relative of llamas that are known for their calm demeanor and thick eyelashes. The farm shop has authentic alpaca souvenirs, fluffy toys, sweaters, and toasty slippers that you can take home after you meet the animals.
Few other locations in Estonia offer as many opportunities for sightseeing as the Narva River Promenade. The nearly one-kilometer-long waterfront walkway follows the Narva River's western banks, which serve as the natural border between Russia and the European Union.
The bastion walls and the 14th-century stone Hermann Castle can both be seen to the west. To the north of the promenade, the Narva harbor is prominent. Additionally, the Joaorg recreation area, which features a beach house, is open to tourists in the south. Bikes, sunbeds, volleyballs, and badminton sets can all be rented from this location.
The 3,000-square-meter AHHAA Science Centre features hands-on exhibits that visitors can interact with, rather than putting them behind glass. This makes science fun and magical. In the Hall of Technology, visitors can navigate a mirror maze, ride a bike over an elevated rope, and take selfies while blowing up a balloon.
The numerous creatures of the world are the focus of the Hall of Nature. Among the amusing displays in that permanent exhibit is a 6,000-liter tank housing a colony of 20,000 wood ants and schools of tropical fish.
Estonia is a fascinating country with a captivating culture and a variety of activities to explore. With its many attractions, from historic sites to beautiful landscapes, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are looking for adventure or a cultural experience, Estonia has it all.
Experience the best of what the country has to offer with these top 10 things to do in Estonia.