Estonia has been near the top of our travel wish-list for awhile now. In today's guest post, Tracy Zhang of Just In Time Travels shares seven reasons why she loves the country.
When I told my friends about my month-long trip to the Nordic, more than a handful of them urged me to add Estonia to the itinerary. What would a small country like Estonia have to offer me after seeing the riches of Scandinavia? I thought, naively.
In a way that I could not have anticipated, I felt drawn to Estonia the moment I set foot in the country. Falling hard for the delicious cappuccinos and the beautiful medieval castles in Tallinn’s Old Town, I ended up spending two more weeks in Estonia than originally anticipated. For those unfamiliar with the country, here are 7 reasons why you should definitely visit this little gem.
1. Location location location
Tallinn, the country’s capital, is just a ferry ride away from Stockholm and Helsinki, making this destination the perfect addition to a trip through Scandinavia. Trains also run between Tallinn and St. Petersburg and Moscow for those traveling to/from Russia.
2. Historical Place
Estonia’s previous place in the Soviet Union has left the country with a distinct historical post. Today, old Soviet buildings and vehicles are still ubiquitous. Estonia is a must visit for history and war-buffs alike.
3. Show me the money
Compared to many other European countries, and especially to its Scandinavian neighbours, this eurozone member is very cheap to travel to and stay in. For example, a coffee in the touristy Old Town costs between about 1-2 euros, and you can dine at a fine restaurant for 10 euros an entree.
4. The beach scene
Estonia’s white sandy beaches are a popular spot for tourists and locals in the summer. Estonia’s beach scene is also far more than tanning by the water; from sailing to windsurfing, Estonia offers plenty of water activities for those seeking an active holiday.
5. Cultural richness
Its nordic and medieval history, contrasted with the folklore traditions of its ethnic minorities, provides Estonia with a colorful and rich cultural diversity. What is more interesting is how the Estonian culture has adapted and evolved with the German, Russian, and Swedish occupation.
6. Island hopping
Did you know that Estonia has more than 1500 islands? Life seems to slow down the moment you set foot on the islands, the most visited of which are Saaremaa, Kihnu, Ruhnu, and Vormsi. Island life has also preserved traditional ways of living and is home to many ethnic minorities.
7. Road tripping
The small size of the country makes Estonia a perfect destination for a summer road trip. From Tallinn, Tartu - the country’s second largest city after its capital and the oldest city on the Baltic - is just a 2 hour drive away. On the way there, enjoy Estonia’s beautiful meadows and forests, which is home to a myriad of wildlife including bears, lynx, deer, and elk.
Tracy is a 22 yr-old travel photographer from Canada. She has travelled to 30 countries and loves to capture the natural beauty and cultural essence of her destination. You can follow her travel stories on her blog: www.JustInTimeTravels.com and her Twitter @tracyzhangphoto.