Estonia is marked by distinct seasons and the time that you choose to explore Estonia tourism will determine your itinerary. The best time to visit the country is between May and August when the days are warm and long. You can enjoy a plethora of outdoor activities including cycling, beach-hopping and hiking. This is also when most of the country is in a celebratory mood owing to the series of festivals that take place during this time. Though summer in Estonia is warm, one should always be prepared for unexpected rains.
September to October is considered shoulder season to explore Estonia tourism and is a wonderful time for budget travellers to plan their trip. The rush of tourists is waning and you can get good discounts on your hotel and flight bookings.
The festivals of Christmas and New Year's is also a great time to explore Estonia tourism owing to the number of activities you can participate in during that festive season. But, Estonia is especially cold during the winters and harsh winds make it impossible to enjoy an outdoorsy trip.
If you are planning to explore Estonia tourism, you need a Schengen visa. If the intended stay in Estonia is up to 90 days, one has to apply for a C-type visa. On the other hand, if you only have to visit Estonia and no other country, then a Schengen visa has to be applied for with Estonian representation. The Embassy of Estonia recommends VFS Global to apply for the visa.
For the visa application, you will need to submit the following documents:
The visa application fee is generally between Rs.4000 and Rs.5000 and you can expect to receive your visa within seven to ten days.
In many ways, Tallinn is the soul of Estonia tourism. The capital city, it is the administrative and cultural centre with a world of history in its streets and monuments. Exploring Tallinn can take up to two days so it’s best to start your tour of Estonia tourism from here. In fact, the proximity of Tallinn to other places worth visiting will make it easier for you to plan your trips.
Broadly divided into two – Upper Town and Lower Town, Tallinn is primarily known for its welcoming local culture and the variety of activities it offers travellers. Before mapping your Estonia tourism itinerary, you should head to the local information centre. In fact, most travellers head here before exploring Estonia tourism owing to the wealth of information one can gather. The local information centre offers freebies including city maps, museum tour passes, discount coupons for museum walks and an extremely useful Tallinn card that is used for museums and other historical monuments.
A free walking tour takes place every day to help travellers explore the city. The walk starts from the local tourist information centre and you should schedule a spot in your Estonia tourism itinerary, especially if you are on a budget trip. Rotermann Quarters, Kadriorg Park, Russalka Memorial, Freedom Square and Toompea Hill are some of the places that you can’t miss in Tallinn when exploring Estonia tourism.
Parnu is the unofficial summer capital of Estonia tourism and attracts locals and tourists owing to its pristine beaches and relaxed vibe. If you want to take a break from traditional sightseeing trips and simply want to unwind, we highly recommend including the city in your Estonia tourism itinerary.
The largest resort town in Estonia, Parnu is also home to numerous spas, health retreats and historic bathhouses. If you are travelling with little ones, you can also explore indoor and outdoor water parks which are a big attraction in Estonia tourism. The best way to spend time in Parnu is on its beaches. The white sand beaches and shallow waters are just perfect for sunbathing, walking, cycling and relaxing. Adventure enthusiasts can also try water skiing and yachting when in Parnu. If you are planning to spend more than a day in this beach resort, we recommend booking in advance to avail great deals on resorts and hotels.
If you want to explore the intellectual hub of Estonia tourism, make your way to Tartu. Tartu is the student capital of Estonia and home to the oldest university in the country. Students from all parts of the country call Tartu home and you can’t help but fall in love with the youthful vibe of the city.
Walking is the best way to explore all the important sites in Tartu and we recommend reserving an entire day in your Estonia tourism itinerary to enjoy the city. Besides the cute cafes and the majestic university building, we recommend heading to the Estonian National Museum when in Tartu. The museum offers insights into Estonia’s conflicted past and also traces the growth of the country into a developed nation. You can get information on a self-guided walking tour at the local information centre. The walk is estimated to be for two and a half hours but if you wish to take regular stops, we recommend keeping aside an entire day to explore the city.
Owing to the cultural vibe of the city, there’s always an upcoming event that you can check out. You can enjoy a play in the morning followed by a musical performance in the evening. The country’s young talent calls Tartu home, so you can imagine the nature of conversations in cafes and restaurants. Heated debates and unapologetic laughter fill alfresco cafes and you need to experience the nightlife to believe how exciting it is. We recommend including Toomemagi, St.John’s Church and Town Hall in your itinerary to experience the city like a local.
Spend a couple of days at Saaremaa and Muhu Islands
Saaremaa is Estonia’s largest island while Muhu is the country’s third-largest island. A perfect example of a classic European holiday, a visit to Saaremaa takes you away from the busy city life. You can relax at a spa, enjoy delicious meals at an open-air cafe or explore the diverse flora and fauna the islands promise.
The unique landscapes that Saaremaa and Muhu offer are huge attractions for nature lovers who are exploring Estonia tourism. Viidumäe Nature Reserve and Vilsandi National Park feature on all itineraries and are a special treat for bird watchers and animal lovers. The unique flora that both these national parks offer seems too good to be true and you just can’t get enough of the spellbinding views.
If your idea of exploring a new place is walking through its streets, then you are going to be pleased with picturesque landscapes that will surround you everywhere you go. We definitely recommend adding Panga Cliff to your itinerary for breathtaking views. For those who enjoy exploring unique places, we suggest including a visit to Kaali Meteorite Crater Field, that is said to be the first scientifically proven meteorite crater in Europe.
For those who can’t imagine a good holiday without spending time at the beach, we suggest visiting Järve Beach, which is a great spot for sunbathing. Some of the other places that you can include in your Estonia tourism itinerary are Bear Lake, the hot springs of Puhatu, Abruka, Ruhnu, Viirelaid and Vilsandi. History lovers should also make note of attractions such as ruins of the Maas Castle, Sõrve Lighthouse, Mihkli Farm Museum and the old town of Kuressaare.
Estonia is a dream destination for those who are exploring Europe. Like the rest of the continent, it offers travellers various accommodation options. Here is a short guide to help you find luxury, mid-budget and budget hotels in Estonia.
Luxury hotels in Estonia
Mid-budget hotels in Estonia
Budget hotels in Estonia
Estonian culture has been deeply influenced by a number of cultures but surprisingly the food of the country remains authentic and true to its roots. While ingredients have been borrowed and recipes have been modified, the taste and the preparation process remains the same.
Estonians are particular about the taste of their food and the freshness. The use of local ingredients is a must and most restaurants and cafes stress on this fact to attract travellers and locals. Meat jelly, cheese crème, roasted potatoes, lingonberry jam, sauerkraut and blood sausages are some of the most popular dishes that you must try when exploring the restaurants in Estonia tourism.
Here is a short list of the best restaurants and cafes that are must-try:
Estonia has an extensive network of roads and buses are the easiest way to explore Estonia tourism. All the major cities are well connected and you can simply book your bus tickets online. This is the easiest and cheapest means of transport.
If you want to explore smaller cities, you can easily rent a bicycle or include a few walking tours in your Estonia tourism itinerary. Most cities also offer cars on hire and it’s quite an experience to drive through the surreal landscapes.
Estonia is on the list of places to visit for all kinds of travellers. Whether you are travelling on a budget or are looking to enjoy a luxurious trip in Estonia, there are ample accommodation options available. These are the kind of costs that you can expect.
Luxury travellers can expect to spend between Rs.10,000 and Rs.15,000 per day.
Mid-budget travellers can spend between Rs.3500 and Rs.5000 per day when exploring Estonia tourism.
Budget travellers can expect to spend between Rs.1000 and Rs.2500 per day.
Which are the best national reserves that are part of Estonia tourism?
The most-sought national parks that are part of Estonia tourism are Lahemaa, Karula, Matsalu, Sooma, Vilsandi and Otepaa National Parks.
Name the most attractive tourist attractions that are part of Estonia tourism.
There is much to explore in Estonia tourism and some of the places that you shouldn’t miss are Viljandi, Soomaa National Park, Rakvere Castle, Hiiumaa, and Tallinn.
Which are the activities that I should include in my Estonia itinerary?
Visiting national parks, cycling tours and heritage walks are some of the permanent activities in all Estonia tourism itineraries. Some other activities that you can include are skydiving, kayaking and canoeing and a museum tour of all the beautiful museums dotting the country including Estonia Open Air Museum.
Name the best restaurants in Tallinn.
The best restaurants in Tallinn are Puri, Leib, Kaks Kokka, Rae Meierei, Art Priori and Noa’s Chef Hall.
What should I pack for my Estonia trip?
The most important thing that one needs to remember about Estonia is that the weather can change unexpectedly and you must always be prepared. Here are the three essentials for your Estonia visit.
Name the best spa resorts in Estonia?
The best spa resorts that are part of Estonia tourism are Swissotel, Hedon Spa and Hotel, The Three Sisters, Nordic Hotel Forum, Vihula Manor Country Club & Spa and Hotel Tallinn Viimsi Spa.
Suggest three travel tips for those exploring Estonia tourism.
The most important travel tips for those exploring Estonia tourism are
Name the best historical sites in Estonia?
Estonia tourism is a delight for history lovers. With an intriguing past, the country is home to numerous historic monuments that should be part of your Estonia itinerary. Some of the best places are Kuressaare Castle, Pirita Convent, Barclay de Tolly Mausoleum, Niguliste Museum, and Narva Castle.
When is the best time to visit Estonia?
The best time to explore Estonia tourism is between May and August when the country is warm. You can include a number of activities in your itinerary during this time. September to October is also a good time to visit for those who are travelling on a budget.
Name the best budget hotels in Estonia.
The best budget hotels that are part of Estonia tourism are Metropol Spa Hotel, L'Ermitage Hotel, Dzingel, Hotel Palace by TallinnHotels, Revelton Suites and Rija Old Town Hotel.
Written by Kirat Sodhi. She is a proud mom of three cats and lives for lemon tea, a good book and spontaneous travel plans.