April 21, 2024

5 Great Reasons to Visit Estonia

Estonia, one of the Baltic states, has a lot going for it. Many people never venture further than the capital Tallinn, but that’s a real shame. If you are thinking of exploring Estonia on your next holiday, read on for some inspiration and a few great reasons to visit Estonia this year.

It is Cheap!

Flights are likely to be the most expensive portion of your holiday, particularly if you want to fly from a regional airport. However, if you have flexibility around dates and can fly from London Gatwick, Air Baltic offers very competitive rates on direct flights. On the date we checked, return direct flights were available for £82.

Budget accommodation is also available. Beds in a hotel are typically around £30-40 per night. Airbnb accommodation is a bit more expensive but there are cheaper options on offer. Rooms in hostels are only a few Euros a night and some even provide a free breakfast.

If you are happy to camp, Estonia is the destination for you. Wild camping is permitted in Estonia, as long as you follow certain rules, such as not causing damage or camping on farmland. Download the Caravanya app to search for suitable camping spots.

In terms of other costs, such as food, drink, and other miscellaneous expenses, the UK is 73% more expensive than Estonia. If you’re careful, your money should go a lot further during your trip! Estonia is also cheaper than other popular tourist destinations, including Spain, Italy, and France. Note that prices in Tallinn are more expensive, but once you head out into rural Estonia, things will be much cheaper.

The Amazing Scenery

At the very top of our reasons to visit Estonia is the amazing scenery. The country is famous for its vast forests and around 50% of the land is covered by forest. Not surprisingly, this has a positive effect on air quality and you’ll be amazed at how fresh the air is away from towns and cities. The large expanse of forest also provides a home for many creatures. You may bump into wild moose, deer, brown bears, and even wolves.

Estonia has many ecologically diverse and beautiful natural habitats. Bogs are prevalent in Estonia and bog land makes up one-fifth of the surface area. You don’t need to worry about getting wet feet in bog country, as there are boardwalk pathways across many areas of wetland. There are even bog tours if you would like to learn more about this fascinating habitat. And for travellers who like to step outside their comfort zone, bog swimming is a thing…yes, really!

The Islands

There are more than 2,000 islands off the coast of Estonia.

Some of the most popular include:

  • Visit Saaremaa Island if you’d like to see some huge craters where meteors struck thousands of years ago. The largest crater in the Kaarli meteor field is a whopping 22 metres deep. It costs nothing to explore the site but the small museum nearby does charge an admission fee. Saaremaa is a short ferry ride from the mainland. As well as the meteor craters, the island is covered in lush forest and has a beautiful beach; this makes it very popular with visitors. Kuressaare Castle is a must-see. Finally, Saaremaa is a top wellness centre with several spas on the island.
  • Hiiumaa is known for its historic lighthouses; the oldest is Kopu. It’s a lovely island to visit if you want a rural idyll away from people. Stay for a few days and go swimming off the coast. Locals swear the water has health-enhancing properties.
  • Muhu can be reached by ferry or a bridge from Saaremaa Island. Explore the island on a bicycle, visit the handicraft shops, and enjoy the coastal village of Koguva.
  • Vormsi is steeped in history and was once mainly inhabited by Swedes. Come to Vormsi if you want to get back to nature. You can wander the island on foot or hire a bicycle. This island is best known for the large number of ring crosses.
  • Ruhnu has around 60 inhabitants, so it is very peaceful and the perfect location for a tranquil day out.
  • Kihnu is a UNESCO World Heritage site, where locals stick to the traditional way of life.

Many of the islands off the coast of Estonia are uninhabited. If you want a truly wild getaway and like the idea of wild camping, why not sail out to one and live like Robinson Crusoe for a few days?

The History

Everywhere in Estonia, there are traces of ancient history. At various times, Estonia has been colonised by foreign invaders, including the Vikings, and much later, the Russians.

The capital, Tallinn, is a wonderful mix of medieval and modern. Because it is on the coast, you can enjoy the city at the same time as having a seaside holiday.

The Old Town in Tallinn is a wonderful example of a Hanseatic town centre (Hanseatic towns were formed in the 12th and 13th centuries by German colonists to protect their trading interests), and the medieval street plan is still mostly intact. For this reason, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Explore the ancient cobbled streets and step inside medieval churches that have barely changed for centuries. Many of the houses and warehouses date back to the Middle Ages, and if you are an imaginative sort, it isn’t difficult to pretend you have fallen through a crack in time, all the way back to the 13th century.

The most important sites in the Old Town are on Toompea Hill. These include Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. The outside is famous for its bright colours but the inside is also richly decorated. The views from the top of the hill, and from Toompea Castle, are spectacular, and well worth the climb up from the lower Old Town.

Other sites of note in the Old Town include the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin, the Danish King’s Garden, and Saint Olaf’s Church with its distinctive spire.

Tartu, the hipster capital of Estonia, has an equally impressive heritage. There is an ancient citadel, a neighbourhood comprised of wooden houses, a ruined 13th-century cathedral, and a wonderful pink and red town hall dating back to the 18th century.

If you love history, these reasons to visit Estonia should give you the push you need!

Outdoor Fun

Estonia has plenty to offer if you love outdoor sports. Cycling and hiking are popular during the summer months and there are four National Parks to explore on foot or two wheels. Soomaa National Park is especially popular with hikers; you can wild camp there but be on the lookout for bears, wild boar, lynx, and elk.

There are lots of opportunities for canoeing and kayaking, especially in the spring when large tracts of land flood and the forests are underwater.

Horse riding is another way to see Estonia from a new perspective. You can explore the islands and the mainland on horseback. Enjoy trotting and cantering along forest paths and over deserted beaches; Muhu Island has many popular horse riding trails.

Fancy trying windsurfing? You can rent equipment from shops on the west coast or even book lessons. Paddleboarding and waterskiing are also available.

In the winter, Otepaa turns into a ski resort. As well as two mountains to ski down, it also has the advantage of being one of the cheapest places to ski in Europe.

These five reasons to visit Estonia should be more than enough to persuade you to book flights and accommodation ASAP. Once you see this amazing country, you won’t be disappointed.

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