This country is dubbed The Baltic Tiger due to its location on the Baltic Sea, adjacent to Nordic Council countries. If we ask Estonia’s inhabitants who they think they are, their answer would be clear: Nordic. A small Baltic country that impresses every visitor with its beautiful landscapes, historic buildings and highly-developed economy. What’s worth seeing? And how much will it cost?
Estonia is one of the youngest European countries. Its Independence was gained in 1918, but after World War II was occupied by Russia. It became an independent country once again in 1991 after issuing the Estonian Sovereignty Declaration in defiance of Soviet rule. In 2004, Estonia joined the European Union.
In Estonian culture, local influences adopted from Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Russia have created an interesting cultural variety. Scandinavian elements date back to the early Middle Ages, when the area of present-day Estonia was often "visited" by Vikings. After the advent of Christianity, Danes and Germans gained considerable influence on Estonian lands. In fact, the name of the capital, Tallinn, can be translated as "the Danish City." Of course, loaned Russian words came from the times when the country was a part of the Soviet Union. Today, Russians are the most numerous national minority in Estonia.
Unique monuments in cyberspace
This small Baltic country with a population less than that of Chicago is considered to be one of the most modern countries in Europe. Estonian programmers contributed to the well-known and popular Skype messenger. Ninety-eight percent of the country has access to Wi-Fi, and most aspects of Estonian life has become cyber. Internet voting has been around for a few years, and setting up your own online business takes less than half an hour.
Following new technologies closely and even setting new trends goes hand in hand with a strong respect for history, tradition and nature. Using the medieval old town of Tallinn as our example, which since 1997 has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Its buildings are considered to be some of the best preserved and renovated in the world. The capital of Estonia suffered numerous devastations during World War II. However, the medieval fortifications have been meticulously rebuilt and are now eye-friendly for both tourists and locals alike. Among the renovated monuments there are towers: the Megede and Paks Margateeta, or the Sea Gate. Tallinn is famous for its sacred monuments and palaces (according to many guides, the most attractive is Kardiorog). The Estonian capital is not only an open-air museum. Nearly half a million inhabitants occupy the harbor, the country's cultural center, and attend clubs, concerts and events until dawn.
Estonia does not begin and end in Tallinn
There are a number of national parks in Estonia; Lahemaa, Matsalu, and Soomaa. Many tourists consider the latter as the most attractive. The melt from the vernal equinox creates the fifth season of the year - the water level is raised a few meters throughout almost all of the park's area. This gives visitors the opportunity to admire Sooma from a kayak. Of course, the park also has a lot to offer outside of this extra season, including the stark landscape of the Baltic forests.
In Tartu, the second largest Estonian city, among many monuments, the wooden districts of Suupilinn and Karlova sit majestically. It is also worth it to visit the largest island of more than 1.5 thousand Estonian islands. Saaremaa attracts tourists who wish to visit its historic bishop castle and see meteorite craters (the largest is about 100 m in diameter).
In the visitestonia.com online guide for those who want to explore Estonia, the most interesting places and practical advice on how to travel around Estonia, where to sleep, eat, and the prices can be found.
Not super cheap, but still not expensive
There are several ways to get from Poland to Estonia - by car, by bus or by plane. Flights to Tallinn are offered by Air Baltic. Return tickets can be bought for 516 PLN (data: Google Flights). However, this offer includes a transfer in Riga. The direct bus journey plus return from Warsaw to Tallinn is offered by Eurolines and costs about 40 euros.
Estonia is an EU member country. It’s worth exchanging currency for your trip before leaving home. When looking for the best exchange rates, checking online currency exchange services first is recommended. Cinkciarz.pl gives their customers many support tools in addition to profitable exchange rates, such as their innovative currency alert tool. “This tool allows you to exchange currency when the rate reaches the desired value. Thanks to this, we are able to exchange currency in an even more attractive way,” encourages Piotr Kicinski, Cinkciarz.pl vice-chairman. Savings will be more valuable as in Estonia you pay more for similar goods and services as Poland.
When choosing accommodations, you can consider renting a room in one of the hostels, which are the cheapest accommodation available. The preferred accommodation provider is balticbookings.com. On this site you can find double rooms in the center of Tallinn for as low as 17 euros. When looking for restaurants, it’s always best to get an idea of where locals usually go. Most of these types of restaurants offer local specialties at good prices and cost around 3 euros.
For this cost analysis, we will focus mainly on Tallinn. This city offers a “Tallinn Card.” Free entry to more than forty tourist attractions of the capital of Estonia, free travel by public transport, as well as numerous discounts in the city can be found on the visittallinn.ee site. The card can be purchased for 24, 48 or 72 hours (paying 25, 37 and 45 euros, respectively) and can be bought online. Please note that the card must be booked at least three days before the arrival.