Estonia, the birthplace of more tech unicorns than any other country globally, isn’t just about billion-dollar startup companies. We’re talking about a nation filled with nature’s wonders, secluded paradises, and heritage sites recognized by UNESCO. Beyond its 1.3 million inhabitants, Estonia offers a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be explored. Here’s a list of the top 10 experiences for your next visit.
Converse with Spirits in Tallinn’s Historic Heart
The best way to unearth Tallinn’s Old Town’s rich history is through guided walking tours. Explore the city’s medieval charm, learn about its Gothic designs, and the Hanseatic tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages. Beware, though, for the area is rumored to be home to wandering ghosts. A special tour focusing on legends and ghosts will reveal Estonia’s stormy history, filled with tales of the past.
Relish Estonian Cuisine in a Medieval Setting
Want to dine like a prosperous Hanseatic merchant? Olde Hansa restaurant in Tallinn serves dishes from recipes that go back 700 years. Enjoy your meal in a medieval-themed hall while listening to 15th-century tunes performed by wandering minstrels. Talk about a dinner party with a twist!
Taste Unique Flavors at the Baltic States’ Pioneer Craft Brewery
The craft beer scene in Estonia is bubbling with excitement! At Põhjala Brewery in Tallinn’s historic Noblessner district, you can sample beers with a zing of grapefruit or a touch of roasted caramel. Afterward, explore Telliskivi Creative City, a transformed industrial site now bustling with art galleries, indie stores, eateries, and the renowned international photography museum, Fotografiska Tallinn.
Experience Olympic Sailing without the Medals
Though Estonia has never been an Olympic host, it’s no stranger to the Games. The 1980 Moscow Olympics’ sailing competitions were conducted in Tallinn’s Gulf of Finland. Embrace this slice of Olympic history at the Tallinn Olympic Sailing Center in Pirita or embark on a sailing adventure in Tallinn Bay. Let the wind guide you!
Dive into a Universe of Art and Design
With over 40 art museums, Estonia is a hub for art enthusiasts. Stroll to the Tallinn Design House in the Rotermann Quarter and wander along Stalkers Path, as seen in the sci-fi classic “Stalker.” End your art journey at the new PoCo Pop & Contemporary Art Museum, showcasing works from Basquiat to Warhol.
Explore the 2024 European Capital of Culture: Tartu
Travel south from Tallinn to discover the vibrant university town of Tartu, the European Capital of Culture for 2024. Participate in numerous events that highlight Estonia’s rich history and culture. In summer, sail the Emajõgi River on unique medieval vessels designed locally. It’s a journey through time!
Peer into the Heavens
At Tartu Observatory’s Stellarium, understand why Estonia is emerging as a notable player in the European space sector. Discover Estonia’s satellite projects, such as ESTCube, and get a glimpse of the nation’s space achievements.
Venture Back in History at Estonia’s Main Museum
The Estonian National Museum is a time machine to the past. Here, uncover the folklore, traditions, and customs of the Finno-Ugric people. From exhibits to hands-on classes in needlecraft, the museum offers a comprehensive look into Estonia’s rich heritage.
Traverse Estonia’s Wilderness
Fancy walking across a whole country? Estonia’s extensive hiking trails make it possible. For the ambitious, the 500-mile Peraküla-Aegviidu-Ähijärve route awaits. Be sure to go between early July and late October, and consider hiring a guide, especially if mushroom hunting is on your agenda.
Birdwatch in Matsalu National Park
Matsalu National Park is a sanctuary for bird enthusiasts. Watch rare and common birds migrate and nest during spring and autumn. Climb the park’s birding tower near Matsalu Bay, and you may spot rarities like the capercaillie or the broad-billed sandpiper.
So there you have it, from unicorns (the startup kind) to medieval delights, Estonia is a gem waiting to be explored. And remember, this is just the beginning. Check out our Explorer’s Guide for more Estonian adventures.
By Erkki Peetsalu, an experienced writer and the longstanding editor of the Estonian edition of National Geographic Magazine. Feel free to grab a copy for your next unicorn hunt!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword: Estonia
What are the top attractions in Estonia?
Estonia offers a diverse range of attractions, from its historical sites to its natural beauty. Highlights include exploring Tallinn’s Old Town, dining at the medieval-themed restaurant Olde Hansa, tasting craft beers at Põhjala Brewery, sailing like an Olympian in Tallinn Bay, exploring over 40 art museums, visiting the European Capital of Culture in Tartu, peering into the cosmos at Tartu Observatory’s Stellarium, diving into Estonia’s history at the Estonian National Museum, hiking across forested trails, and birdwatching in Matsalu National Park.
Where can I experience Estonia’s medieval history?
You can delve into Estonia’s medieval history by taking guided walking tours of Tallinn’s Old Town to learn about its Gothic architecture and Hanseatic legacy. Additionally, Olde Hansa restaurant in Tallinn offers a unique medieval dining experience with 700-year-old recipes and 15th-century music.
What opportunities are there for nature lovers in Estonia?
Nature lovers will find plenty of opportunities to explore in Estonia. The country offers dozens of walking trails that extend across its length, including the 500-mile Peraküla-Aegviidu-Ähijärve hiking route. Matsalu National Park in west Estonia is one of Europe’s most vital waterfowl resting areas and offers birdwatching opportunities.
How is Estonia making a name in the tech industry?
Estonia is recognized for having more tech unicorns, or startup companies valued at more than a billion dollars, than any other country in the world. It’s a sign of the nation’s robust and innovative tech scene.
Where can I explore Estonia’s contribution to art and design?
With over 40 art museums, Estonia is a significant player in the international art world. You can visit the Tallinn Design House in the Rotermann Quarter and the new PoCo Pop & Contemporary Art Museum to explore Estonian-made souvenirs and contemporary art from artists like Basquiat to Warhol.
What unique dining experiences are available in Estonia?
Olde Hansa restaurant in Tallinn provides a unique dining experience, where you can enjoy dishes made from 700-year-old recipes served in a medieval-style dining room. Additionally, Estonia’s craft beer scene, particularly at Põhjala Brewery, offers unique and locally crafted beer flavors.
Can I engage in water activities in Estonia?
Yes, you can channel Estonia’s Olympic sailing history at the Tallinn Olympic Sailing Center in Pirita or join a boat trip to nearby Tallinn Bay. There’s also an opportunity to ride unique medieval vessels designed for inland waters or a Viking ship in the Emajõgi River.
Where can I learn about Estonia’s space industry?
A tour of Tartu Observatory’s Stellarium, the largest astronomical observatory in Estonia, will allow you to learn about Estonia’s emerging role in the European space industry and explore projects like ESTCube, the prototype of Estonia’s first satellite.