Destination: Estonia

WHY VISIT ESTONIA

Estonia is located less than 100 km Finland, and its small size does not prevent it to offer the traveler a lot of charm and authenticity. Between tradition and modernity, you will discover full of originality sites.

First, of Tallinn, the capital, which has retained its medieval appearance, between spires and turrets, paved streets where one loses. Nevertheless, it has constructions in modern architecture, comfortable hotels, art galleries, which contrast with the wealth of historical traces of the city, whose perfectly preserved city wall.

You can see also the Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevski Cathedral; Toompea Castle, the seat of parliament; the Estonian art museum housed in a former mansion of the 18th century; Baroque Kadriorg Palace and its park abounding lilac, chestnut, and oak trees; instead of the City Hall full of cafes and restaurants in the summer.

The island of Hiiumaa is twenty kilometers of land, and you may appreciate its peaceful environment and its coastline, especially the ornithological reserve of the Bay of Kaina. Saaremaa, a little further south, is the largest island of the country, but it has kept its wild appearance because of its small population and is the much sought shot by tourists.

Do not miss the national parks: the Lahemaa, in the north, is the most extensive, and you will discover cliffs and deep forests, lakes, waterfalls and mansions, beautiful villages, and fishing port. That of Soomaa houses marshes where legend has it that witches lurk, but you will however be able to camp and fish there without fear, and even take classes to learn how to build your boat and leave with!

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Finally the island of Abruka, as beautiful as tiny, sparsely populated, houses the zoological and botanical reserve that opens only in summer and offers horseback riding and guided tours.

Source: http://www.thebesttimetovisit.com/

WHAT TO SEE IN ESTONIA

Top destinations in Estonia are:

  • Tallin
  • Tartu
  • Lahemaa National Park
  • Kuressaare
  • Soomaa National Park
  • Narva
  • Haapsalu
  • Toila
  • Pärnu
  • Saaremaa
  • Laulasmaa
  • Narva-Jõesuu

WHEN TO GO TO ESTONIA

Weather in Estonia

The best period to visit Estonia is from June to August.

The best time to visit the Baltic States is late spring or summer when there’s usually enough fine weather to allow you to stroll around the cities and make significant forays into the great outdoors. On the whole, though, the only thing that’s predictable about the Baltic climate is the deep, dark winters – in all other seasons, the weather can be changeable in the extreme.

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Summers are relatively short (roughly mid-June to late August), and although you may well experience a string of hot, dry days during this period, showers and chilly nights are equally likely. Remember to pack a waterproof jacket and warm sweater alongside your T-shirts.

Temperatures cool down rapidly from mid-September onwards, although autumn can be an extraordinarily beautiful season in which to visit, with the golden brown leaves of deciduous trees contrasting with the dark-green pines.

The first snowfalls can come as early as mid-November and by early to mid-December winter sets in with a vengeance. Average daytime temperatures can remain below zero right through until March, plummeting to minus 15–20°C in, particularly cold spells. Winter can of course be a magical time, with lakes, rivers, and large expanses of the Baltic Sea freezing over, and crunchy snow cover adding an air of enchantment to medieval city centers. However, rural areas can be difficult to get to without a four-wheel-drive vehicle (only the main highways are snowplowed), and you’ll have to be well togged up in order to endure anything but the shortest of walks. Wherever you are in winter, some form of hat or head covering is absolutely essential.

Even when the spring thaw sets in, the countryside can remain grey and barren until well into April (or even May in northern Estonia), when a sudden explosion of color transforms the landscape. The countryside takes on a green lushness, drawing cattle and horses out from their winter barns, while city-dwellers indulge in a frenzied stampede for the pavement cafés.

Source: http://www.roughguides.com/

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Following a list of typical festival and celebrations of Estonia

January

Parnu Contemporary Music Days. This is a three-week-long festival that offers lectures, workshops, and exhibitions alongside concert performances.

February

Tallinn Baroque Music Festival. The festival first took place in 1989, and now has a firm place on the music calendar, with around 20 concerts in Tallinn and Tartu.

March

Estonian Music Days. This annual event is organized by the Estonian Composers Union, with a strong focusing on new Estonian composers, but also not forgetting some of the classic works of the past.

April

Jazzkaar. This festival sees two weeks of Jazz concerts held all across Estonia. Visitors will find excellent concerts taking place, from mainstream Jazz to Rap Jazz. This festival attracts some world-class performers.

Harpsichord Days. Harpsichord Days is a week-long festival that is dedicated purely to the harpsichord, including performances, exhibitions, and lectures.

May

Evgeny Mravinsky Festival. This festival was established in 1995 in honor of Evgeny Mravinsky, the famous conductor. The festival takes place in Narva where Mravinsky used to visit on holidays.

June

Beach Party Festival. Taking place in Otepää, the Beach Party Festival is a music festival that often sees well-known international acts. There are the main stage and a number of smaller ones, such as the dance tent.

Midsummer (St John’s Day). This festival traditionally marks the end of agricultural work in the spring and includes various folk dancing and cultural celebrations, such as leaping over bonfires

Old Town Days. Old Town Days include a variety of events with folk music, traditional dancing and street markets as Tallinn celebrates its medieval heritage.

July

Õllesummer Festival. Õllesummer is a five-day musical festival taking place at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds. The program showcases the best in Estonian music with rock, jazz and reggae played alongside traditional Estonian music.

Pärnu Jazz Festival. Various jazz performances take place in the town of Pärnu.

August

TARTuFF – Tartu Film Festival. This week-long festival is a relatively new event in the Estonian calendar. The first festival screened 40 films in an outdoor setting, all of which had a strong European flavor.

Street Theatre Festival. This is one of Estonia’s most interesting festivals, with amateur theatre groups from Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, and Russia staging performances on the streets and in the parks and squares of Tallinn.

Re-Independence Day. The people of Estonia celebrate the restoration of independence in 1991 with a day of celebration and reflection.

September

Trialogos. This cultural festival focuses on music but includes various other lectures and events.

October

Tartu Early Music Festival. This week-long festival in Tartu focuses on medieval European music, but also has some events with Oriental and Arabic influences.

November

Black Nights Film Festival. The Baltic’s biggest film festival usually begins in November and runs for about three weeks. There is always a good mixture of Estonian films, International films, animation, and films for children.

Ariel Festival of Jewish Culture. This short festival began in 2004 and offers a range of concerts, lectures, and films, looking into various aspects of Jewish culture.

December

Christmas Market. There is a great atmosphere in Tallinn over the festive period and in the Tallinn Town Square, there is a great market, with seasonal music playing.

HOW TO REACH AND TRAVEL THROUGH ESTONIA

by plane, the main airports are:

by train

by car

GENERAL INFORMATION ON ESTONIA

health tips & vaccination: none

local currency: European euro

local time zone: GMT+2 (+3)

electricity: type C and type F (230 V – 50 Hz)

mobile phone operators:

WHAT TO DO IN ESTONIA

typical food in Estonia

  • Sült (jellied veal).
  • Valmistusained (Sauerkraut, usually served with Verivorst, black pudding sausage).
  • Täidetud vasikarind (roast stuffed shoulder of veal).
  • Rosolje (vinaigrette with herring and beets).
  • Verivorst (blood sausage).
  • Kiluvõileib (sprat and egg sandwitch).
  • Mulgipuder (Potato and groats porridge typically served with bacon).
  • Kohuke (freshly pressed sweet curd covered in chocolate or caramel).
  • Black bread
  • Saku beer
  • Eesti Kali (a fermented drink made from bread).

souvenirs from Estonia

  • Handicrafts dishes, glass, pottery or knitwear
  • Chests and wooden toys and woodcrafts
  • Wool sweaters of the jacquard
  • Linen hats, pants, and shirts
  • Embroidered tablecloths
  • Amber and silver jewelry
  • Soviet memorabilia
  • Klarett spiced wine, Vana Tallinn liqueur, Johvika cranberry-flavored liqueur

SIMPLE DICTIONARY

Hello: Tere

Goodbye: Hüvasti

How are you?: Kuidas sul läheb?

Thank you: Aitäh

What is your name?: Mis su nimi on?

How much is it?: Kui palju see maksab?

Sorry: Vabandust

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