Southern neighbors Estonia’s strengths are the affordable price level, beautiful nature attractions, atmospheric cities and delicious food.
Estonian spas and beautiful cities are easy and inexpensive holiday destinations for Finns. For many Finns, Estonia means Tallinn and its old town, but a day cruise alone is not enough to truly experience the southern neighbor.
A small and diverse country
According to countryaah, Estonia is located on the shores of the Baltic Sea in the Baltics. The country’s actual border neighbors are Latvia and Russia, but the nearest neighboring capital to the Estonian capital, Tallinn, can be found in Finland. It is only 85 kilometers from Helsinki to Tallinn.
Estonia has an interesting history from medieval knights and Hanseatic traders to the scenes of World War II. Over time, the region has been dominated by Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Poland and Russia. The country last became independent in 1991 with the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Short for EE by abbreviationfinder, Estonia is especially known as a city and spa holiday destination. By far the most popular travel destination in Estonia is the capital Tallinn, and the most famous attraction in the whole country is the Old Town of Tallinn. The old part of Tallinn is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe.
In addition to Tallinn, Estonia’s well-known travel destinations include Tartu, Narva, Pärnu and Haapsalu. Estonia is also suitable for a bike or car trip thanks to its interesting countryside and flat roads. The Estonian archipelago is also worth a visit.
Tallinn is the diverse capital of Estonia.
The climate is slightly warmer than Finland
The climate of the southern neighbor is not very different from the Finnish climate. In both countries there is a clear variation in seasons and four seasons. The winter in Estonia is shorter and milder than in Finland, and spring comes to Estonia earlier than on the other side of the Gulf of Finland.
Estonia has a temperate climate, meaning that summers are warm and winters are mild. The warmest month of the year is July, when the average daily temperature hurts to twenty degrees. In winter, snow cover in Estonia is usually obtained throughout the country. The coldest month is February, when the average temperature is a few minus degrees.
There is a slight regional variation in the Estonian climate, as the climate on the coast is milder due to the Baltic Sea than inland.
Cities and spas
The most famous and popular travel destination in Estonia is Tallinn, the capital of the country. Tallinn is a great place for both a quick cultural or shopping trip and a holiday with the family. Tallinn is especially atmospheric before Christmas, when artisans and mulled wine traders set up their stalls on the Town Hall Square.
Tartu, the second largest city in Estonia, is charming with its beautiful buildings and cheap pastries. Less than two hundred kilometers northeast, Narva is pulsating with Russian-speaking life. The summer city of Pärnu, on the other hand, is known for its sandy beaches and spas.
People travel to Estonia primarily for city holidays, but the country also offers opportunities for active trips, beach holidays and car trips. The archipelago in particular is a great destination for an active trip to Estonia with bike tours and hikes, while the unspoilt coastline provides a good setting for a beach holiday. The distances in Estonia are quite short and the traffic behavior is somewhat safe, which is why car travel makes sense.
The islands offer nature and history
Half an hour and a half ferry ride from the mainland, the atmosphere changes. Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, the largest islands in Estonia, are known for their friendly inhabitants and wonderful nature. More and more Finns have ended up acquiring a holiday home or summer cottage from these beautiful landscapes.
Untouched forests and impressive shores are torn apart by windmills and medieval structures, which are excellent destinations especially for cyclists. Those traveling on foot or by car can rent a ride on arrival.
In the islands, the original Estonian culture has been well preserved. In little Kuhnu, one can still see women wearing national costumes while performing the normal jobs of rural life. On the island of Muhu, you can visit the protected old buildings of the village of Koguva. In Saaremaa, you can enjoy a holiday amidst rugged cliffs, windmills, poppy fields and medieval churches.
The price level is still affordable
Compared to Finland, Estonia is still an affordable country, although prices have risen sharply since the country joined the European Union. Tallinn is more expensive than the rest of the country, although there are restaurants and hotels in the capital that are affordable for the Finnish budget.
The most significant price difference between neighboring countries is in services that are clearly cheaper in the southern neighborhood. Affordable treatment facilities for those who enjoy spa and beauty treatments can be found, especially in the beach town of Pärnu, Haapsalu and Tallinn.
Neighboring people receive special treatment
Finns are treated slightly differently in Estonia than other visitors. A special bond is already created by language that is almost impossible for others to understand.
In Tallinn, Finns are mainly perceived as valuable shopping travelers, who are happy to be served in Finnish. Outside the capital, proficiency in the Finnish language is rarer, and at least young people do not know the secrets of the family language better than Finns in Estonia.
Outside of major tourist destinations, tourists often have to refresh their own Estonian language skills or resort to a dictionary. Fortunately, the English skills of young Estonians are often excellent, and in some places they do well in Russia as well.
FLIGHTS, ACCOMMODATION AND MOVEMENT IN ESTONIA
The most convenient way to get to Estonia is by boat, but if you want to see something other than the capital from the country, it is better to continue the trip by train or car.
Flights and cruises
The cheapest and safest way to get across Estonia from the Gulf of Finland is by boat, which travels several times a day. Cruise ships crossing the Gulf of Finland travel all year round, and the journey from Helsinki to Tallinn takes 2.5 hours.
The most significant operators are Eckerö Line, Tallink Silja and Viking Line . Boat ticket prices range from a few euros to a few tens of euros, and there is an additional charge for the car and bicycle. Cruise prices are easy to compare with Rantapallo’s cruise search .
Several Finnish travel agencies organize combined bus and boat trips to Estonia. Trips range from a quick spin in Tallinn to thorough manor tours. For southern Finns, tours of Estonia are often easier to reach than domestic trips to the north, so it’s worth checking out the offices on offer.
There are also direct flights from several Finnish cities to Tallinn. It is only four kilometers from Tallinn Airport to the city center.
Hotels and accommodation
There are accommodations for many tastes in Estonia. It offers everything from top hotels to spas and hostels to campsites, but a quality-conscious traveler will choose a historic mansion in beautiful surroundings.
For example, a hotel night in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, costs about 50–100 euros per night, depending on the desired level.
Renting a holiday home or apartment is suitable for the independent traveler. The apartments are rented not only from the countryside but also from Tallinn’s medieval value quarters.
Getting around convenient with your own car
The most convenient way to get around in Estonia is by car. The car can be brought on board, so that the goods also pass there without any worries. Renting a car is also easy. The speed limits are not much different from the Finns, and with the exception of the center of Tallinn, you can drive quite calmly on the roads.
Of the public transport, the bus is the best choice. From Tallinn, buses to other parts of the country leave from the bus station on the outskirts of the city center, which can be reached on foot from the city center by bus or tram. Travel tickets are cheap compared to Finnish prices, for example, a trip of less than three hours to Tartu will lighten your wallet by less than ten euros.
Tallinn’s infamous taxis have cleaned up in recent years. Thanks to furious campaigning, the rear window of every taxi should now read the mileage rates, and if necessary, the driver must give a receipt for the trip.
Estonia is a small and flat country, so it is an easy destination for cyclists. In some places, despite the low travel speed forced by poor roads, you can see a lot in less than a week. For those traveling by car, the country will soon become small, but it is easy to continue south from Estonia via Via Baltica.
Those traveling with their own means of transport should take the opportunity to depart in interesting places where organized trips do not normally take place. Worth seeing are the collective farms that rise empty along the roads and the beautiful mansions of Southern Estonia, not to mention the island destinations.
ESTONIAN TRAVEL DESTINATIONS
Haapsalu, favored by Finns, is known above all for its spas.
Tallinn pampers the tourist
Tallinn is one of Finland’s favorite destinations in Estonia. The most significant attraction in Estonia is the Old Town of Tallinn, which is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Northern Europe. Its thick stone walls hide churches and narrow alleys whose dim cafes invite for a chocolate cake.
In contrast to the history of the Old Town, the Estonian capital also offers modern architecture. Alongside the huge Soviet buildings, spectacular glass towers have risen at a rapid pace in recent years, reflecting the city’s new image as a destination for shoppers and those looking to be pampered.
Decay romance is also flourishing in Tallinn, and the former Kalamaja industrial area, for example, has quickly become one of the city’s most popular travel destinations.
Saaremaa, the largest island in Estonia and the second largest in the Baltic Sea, is known not only for its name-bearing waltz, but also for its dark title bread and archipelago nature. There are also many spas in Saaremaa, and even Estonia’s first spa was once established in Saaremaa.
Saaremaa is located in the Baltic Sea west of Estonia. In Saaremaa, it is worth exploring the island’s capital, Kuressaare, the Kihelkonna bell tower and the ruins of Maas Castle, as well as the spectacular Panga cliff.
Estonia ‘s summer capital Pärnu is known for valkeista sandy beaches and spas. Situated on the shores of the Baltic Sea in southwestern Estonia, Pärnu is an idyllic coastal town offering wooden houses, flower plantations, parks and small shops.
Summer is in high season in Pärnu, when Finnish tourists flock to the city’s pedestrian street and beaches. However, you can also travel to Pärnu’s spas well in winter. For example, Pärnu has its own Christmas market.
Pärnu is a popular summer cottage town, where many Finns have also bought holiday homes or cottages.
By the sea to Haapsalu
Haapsalu is one of the most famous spa towns in Estonia with a long history. The first spa in this city on the western edge of Estonia was established as early as the 19th century.
Haapsalu is especially known for its mineral-containing mud, the beneficial effect of which can be tested in many spa treatments. In addition to mud, you can also swim in the adjacent Baltic Sea in Haapsalu.
In addition to the sea and mud, the city has other things to see. The most famous sights of Haapsalu are the ruins of the Bishop’s Castle and the wooden lace ballroom.
THE BEST OF ESTONIA
Kuressaare is the capital of Saaremaa, and its main attraction is a spectacular castle.
The best spa destinations in Estonia
- A tour of Tallinn’s Old Town
- Dinner at a top Estonian restaurant
- Island jumping off Estonia
- Pampering treatment at the Estonian spa
- Active holiday in Estonian nature