Travel around Glorious Beaches and Medieval Towns in Estonia

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1 NarvaI-e1355972819264The Republic of Estonia lies in Northern Europe in the Baltic region and is bordered by Russia and Lake Peipus to the east, the Baltic Sea to the west, the Gulf of Finland to the north and Latvia to the south. The Estonian coastline consists of ports, unspoilt beaches, charming fishing villages and spa resorts.
Coastal holidays in Estonia include sailing, relaxing at spas and enjoying quiet beaches. Parnu is famous for its music festivals, restaurants and night clubs. In the summer the Town of Parnu becomes rather busy as holiday makers and locals flock to the beach.
Estonia boasts a shallow coastline of more than 1,300 kilometers along the Baltic Sea. The coast in this area is dotted with over 1,500 islands. The Island of Hiiumaa is part of the West Estonian archipelago, lies north of Saaremaa and is famous for its unspoiled nature and lighthouses.

Hiiumaa Island

Hiiumaa Island

Kärdla is the largest town on Hiiumaa and is served by Kärdla Airport, with regular flights to and from Tallinn. There are also several ferry departures daily crossing from Rohuküla to Heltermaa. Once you are on the island, you can rent a bicycle and explore the bicycle path from Kärdla towards Kõrgessaare.
Saaremaa is the largest island and home to a well-restored medieval castle in its only city, Kuressaare. In Saaremaa you can enjoy homebrewed beer and admire the beautiful stoned fences and windmills.
Saaremaa’s largest spring is the Pühatu Springs located on the Kuressaare-Võhma road behind Pähkla village. Ensure to also visit the oldest lake on Saaremaa. Karujärv is located near the town of Kärla. Cabins and camping sites are available at the lake.
The Panga cliff is worth seeing. The cliff is located on the northern shore of Saaremaa in close proximity to Panga village. Panga cliff reaches almost twenty-one meters and is the highest of the Muhu and Saaremaa cliffs. Panga cliff was a place of worship and sacrifice for the ancient Saarlanders.
The Kaali meteorite craters are considered to be the most unique geological object in Estonia and are also known as Holy Lake. There is archaeological evidence that it was a place of offering for many centuries.
Some of the small Estonian islands are great for bird watching, fishing, sailing and canoeing. Other important islands include Muhu, Ruhnu, Vormsi and Kihnu. Ruhnu has one of the best beaches, Limo Beach, for swimming. The beach is well-known for its “singing” sand. The island is also famous for a rare native breed of sheep, known as the Estonian Ruhnu.
Matsalu National Park

Matsalu National Park

Estonians are known for their love of nature and the country is home to several nature reserves. Matsalu National Park is situated in Lääne County and is the largest nature reserve in Estonia. The park covers Matsalu bay, Kasari River delta and the surrounding areas.
Every spring, thousands of Greylag Geese, Tufted Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, Barnacle Geese, Goosanders and Bewick’s Swans pass Matsalu. In autumn, almost 23,000 Common Cranes use the wetland as stopping ground.
Top Tourist Attractions in Estonia
The top tourist attraction in Estonia is Tallinn’s Medieval Old Town. Tallinn’s Medieval Old Town was built in the late middle ages by crusaders of the Teutonic Order (a German military religious order). It is one of Europe’s best medieval towns.
The Old Town of Tallinn is an outstandingly complete and well-preserved medieval city on the coast of the Baltic Sea. Toompea is the upper town with the cathedral and the castle. The Old Town retains the most important features of a medieval northern European trading city and archaeologists found that a trading post and a fort on the limestone plateau have existed since the late tenth century.
Tallinn’s Medieval Old Town

Tallinn’s Medieval Old Town

In 1219, the Russians built the first church, dedicated to Saint Nicholas, in Toompea and at around the same time they also strengthened the fortifications. The town was sold to the Livonian Order, who was responsible for rebuilding the Long Hermann Castle. You can view the well-preserved burgher houses in Town Hall Square that used to be living quarters.
The Cistercian nunnery of Saint Michael and the Dominican Monastery of Saint Catherine survived within the walls. Saint Nicholas Church suffered destruction in 1944, but was carefully reconstructed and now serves as a museum. The city is surrounded by huge walls and features gates, towers, narrow cobblestone streets and staircases. The hill with its amazing buildings is an absolute “must see.” The remarkable Old Town was declared the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Another top tourist attraction in Estonia is the Rotermann Quarter in Tallinn located between the Viru Square, the Old Town and the port. Some of the old buildings stand next to modern architecture. The Rotermann Salt Store is home to the Estonian Architecture Museum and has been placed under heritage protection. The Rotermann Quarter also boasts the Coca Cola Plaza, an eleven-screen multiplex cinema.
Rakvere Ordu Castle is located about twenty kilometers south of the Gulf of Finland in Rakvere, a town in northern Estonia. There are guided tours available at the castle. The largest animal statue in the Baltic Countries can also be seen in Rakvere on the edge of Vallimägi hill. The four-meter high Tarvas statue of an aurochs, the ancestor of domestic cattle, was made by Tauno Kangro out of bronze and weighs about seven tons.
Estonian Cuisine
Leivasupp

Leivasupp

Dairy products, pork, potatoes and black bread are the most typical foods in Estonia. Estonians love fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit from the garden. Conserving vegetables, fruit and mushrooms are popular in the countryside. Many types of food in Estonia are similar to the Russian cuisine such as hapukoor, referred to as Smetana in Russia.
Black rye bread is eaten with almost every food in the country. A typical traditional meat often starts with sausages and meat served with potato salad. Leivasupp is a popular soup made of apples and black bread and served with cream, sugar and cinnamon.
Kali, a traditional Estonian drink, is popular and similar to Russian kvass. Berries and apples are often used to produce fruit wine.
Visa Requirements for Estonia
For information about the visa requirements for Estonia you can contact the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Estonia joined Europe (EU) in 2004. EU citizens, Americans, Australians, Canadians, and New Zealanders do not need visas to visit. However if you do need one, you at least have the consolation that an Estonian visa is valid throughout most of Europe as Estonia is now in the Schengen area. Equally if you have started your tour in another Schengen country, the visa it issued is valid for Estonia too.

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