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Travel Directory / Europe / Estonia

Estonia Travel Guide

Estonia's past has been one of constant struggle for independence from its larger and more powerful neighbors. Russia saw that acquiring Estonia from Sweden will secure them a strategic and economic advantage in the Baltic region. In 1721, the Treaty of Nystadt was signed which transferred rule of Estonia to the Russians. Estonia gained its independence in 1991 when the Estonian Communist Party voted in favor of full autonomy from the Soviet Union.

Estonia is the most northerly of the Baltic States. It is bordered by the Baltic Sea to the west and north, Latvia to the south and the Russian Federation to the east. The land is mostly untouched and sparsely populated with dense forestation and more than a thousand lakes and islands. It even has the longest coastline of all the Baltic States.

Places to visit in Estonia:
Tallinn is the capital of Estonia and holds more ancient history than any other Baltic capital. Its numerous historical and architectural buildings date back to the 14th and 15th centuries and the old town center's medieval town hall is marked by the oldest steeple in northern Europe. From the Toompea Castle, situated at the top of a cliff, one can see magnificent views of the narrow streets and the roofs and spires of the town as well as a view of the City Walls which still stands today.

Kadriorg Park which contains Peter the Great's palace is a favorite recreational park and a must visit for any tourist. The Open Air Museum is a place that offers visitors a hint of rural living in the 18th and 19th century Estonia.

Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia and lies along the Emajogi River about 176 kilometers from Tallinn. The city boasts of medieval architectural buildings such as the Vyshgorod Cathedral, the Town Hall, a very old school and the University's Botanical Gardens.

Narva is considered one of the oldest towns in Estonia and even mentioned in the chronicle of Novgorod. Well worth the visit is the town's Herman Castle which is the oldest architectural shrine and holds within it the city museum.

Another town worth passing over is the town of Pärnu which is about two hours away from Tallinn. It is a small town established in the 13th century and is situated along the banks of the Pärnu river where it meets the Gulf of Riga. The town is a known seaport and health resort and its biggest attraction are its theater and 2 mile long sandy beach which are both popular with the locals.

There are also the small towns which are worth the stop over. One of them is Haapsalu which is a famous resort since the 19th century and is a perfect getaway for a romantic walk along its tree-lined streets and views of beautiful wooden houses. For those who want to experience the old world charm of windmills, fishing villages, stone churches and a castle, the town of Hiiumaa is the place to be. Mustvee is also worth a visit to see Kuremäe, the only convent in Estonia.