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Located in the Baltics with a portal to the open vast sea of the Baltic Sea, Estonia has been one of the most underrated countries in Europe one must not forget to see.
Gifted with lush nature in summer and beautiful snow-covered cobblestones in winter, you’ll be amazed by how many places to visit in Estonia there is.
Pay a visit to its small yet charming medieval capital city, Tallinn, and its surrounding islands where you’ll see and experience a different way of life. That said, don’t be afraid to go to the south of Estonia, where you’ll find yourself surrounded by nature as far as your eye can see!
And last but not least, immerse yourself in their culture as you learn about their history and tradition along the way.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Here’s the list of the top places to visit in Estonia
- 2 Check out these activities in Estonia
- 3 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Here’s the list of the top places to visit in Estonia
Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia and the largest city that takes a big part in Estonia tourism. To be more specific, this medieval capital is quite small but has a lot to show and in fact, has quite a few places that are worth seeing.
One of these places is hidden underneath Tallinn’s old town – It’s a labyrinth of 17th-century tunnels that have more than 380 secret passageways. Unfortunately, these passageways were opened for the public only in 2010.
Nevertheless, another impressive place to visit is its old town where you’ll surround yourself with a medieval fortress that is included as the first choice in the places to visit in Tallinn list and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, perfect for those who enjoys history and medieval architecture! This medieval 1.9km long fortress is well-preserved and open to visitors any time of the year.
Also, it has 20 observation towers that offer you a fantastic view of compact Tallinn neighborhood and Baltic Sea. Not but not the least, if you’re planning to visit Tallinn, you must also know that it is the port of destination where you can embark on a Baltic cruise to see the rest of the beautiful Baltic countries. These are often luxury cruises that will indeed give you an experience of royalty whilst immersing yourself in different cultures along the way.
Learn more about Tallinn:
- 22 Best Things to Do in Tallinn: What to Do in Tallinn in 2019 (Estonia)
- Best Day Trips from Tallinn: National Parks & Nearby Towns (Estonia)
Tartu is one of the largest cities and best places in Estonia. A famous student city and a home for one of the oldest Northern Europe’s universities. If you plan to visit Estonia, Tartu must be in your places to visit in Estonia list because of its uniqueness, youthful spirit, and intellectual nightlife.
It has an impressive museum of KGB cells that are all in the basement of Tartu’s ‘Grey House.’ This museum is always included in Estonia points of interest list because of its well-preserved interior of basement cells.
To be added, Tartu has lots of museums, cafes, theatres, and concert halls – it’s a complete bohemian paradise and the perfect destination for old-school lovers. The city is Estonia’s landmark of scientific and creative culture.
If you are thinking of spending your holidays, Pärnu is another best place in Estonia for that. Pärnu has beautiful white sandy beaches, numerous restaurants and cocktail bars, and relaxing spas. There is a saying that summer in Estonia isn’t summer if you don’t go to Pärnu since it has ‘the best sun in Estonia.’
Despite being a summer travel destination, this part of Estonia is a beautiful medieval city that has famous historical bathhouses that can be enjoyed even during winter.
The city specializes in historical mud baths that can only be enjoyed, and its famous mud bathhouse was constructed in 1926-1927, but the history of the mud bathhouses can be traced back to 1836, in fact, it was extremely popular during the Soviet occupation, but after Estonia got its independence the mud bath house stopped operating.
However, in 2014, Pärnu’s government decided to reopen the mud bathhouse that became the number one destination of the city. That said, a visit to this lovely city is best spent with your loved one for a romantic getaway to relax and enjoy.
Viljandi town is one of the historical places to visit in Estonia. The town is the capital of Viljandi County that is located in southern Estonia. It has an impressive castle ruin that was once among the largest castles in the Baltic region, and another interesting thing about Viljandi is that the majority of buildings are wooden, and the architecture perfectly fits with Lake Viljandi scenery.
There is a scenic trail around the lake that leads to the observation point, which has a beautiful view of Viljandi town. If you are thinking about the best time to visit Estonia’s Viljandi, it would be the mid-autumn when trees around the lake are colorful or sunny summer when the most of the medieval fairs take place in the town.
To sum up, Viljandi town is a perfect place for both culture and nature lovers.
Haapsalu is a small seaside town on the west coast of Estonia and is one of the best places in Estonia and the most famous tourist attractions in Estonia amongst locals and tourists alike.
Famous for its wooden buildings, narrow streets, restaurants and spa culture, and mud spas, which was opened in the early 1800s. To be added, Haapsalu mud spas developed medical tourism in Estonia that brings lots of tourists not only in Haapsalu but also in other Estonia’s cities.
Also, if you are traveling to Estonia in the summer, make sure to visit Haapsalu since it’s the host of many international summer festivals that are named as the best summer festivals in Northen Europe.
Kihnu Island is one of the unique Estonia destinations and is loved by many travelers because of its colorful culture. Kihnu’s unique culture is included in the UNESCO cultural heritage list.
The island has beautiful rural architecture and beautiful seaside scenery. Also, since most of Kihnu people are fishermen, there are quite a few seafood restaurants where you can try a wide selection of freshly caught fish and other traditional Estonian food. Actually, there isn’t much to see if you are interested in modern buildings or spectacular nightlife.
However, if you want a perfect getaway from busy city noise and get to know better Estonian culture, Kihnu is definitely one of the must-visit places to see in Estonia.
Lahemaa National Park
If you are thinking about where to visit in Estonia during sunny summer days, Lahemaa National Park is the best choice. The national park is located on the northern coast of Estonia and offers a variety of activities such as hiking, water sports, nature watching and etc. Lahemaa National Park is home to moose, wild boars, brown bears, and foxes.
There are beautiful pine and cliff forests, rivers, seashores full of sand and stones that make you fall in love with the park. Unfortunately, the national park is quite flat, and the highest point is only around 115m above sea level. However, you still need strength to hike to the highest point.
Also, Lahemaa national park has lots of trekking trails that lead around the national park through the highest point. Of course, if you are visiting the park in summer, don’t forget to rent a camping pod and enjoy the park for a few days.
Learn more about other National Parks in Europe:
Hiiumaa is the second largest island in Estonia that is admired for its scenery. The island is often included in the best Estonia scenery list that is made by Estonian travel guides. Hiiumaa is well-known for historical lighthouses (one of them is one of the world’s oldest lighthouses that was built in the 16th century), unspoiled nature, and beautiful rural areas.
Also, it is one of the tourists’ most favorite Estonia’s winter places since, during winter, an island has the longest ice road in Europe. Hiiumaa Island is loved by surfers, sailors, nature lovers, holidaymakers, and hikers. It’s a perfect place to relax your mind and body at any time of the year while traveling around Estonia.
Matsalu National Park
If you search for things to do in Estonia, you will definitely find Matsalu National Park in one of the lists. Special for it is foremost known as one of Europe’s best national park for bird watching. The national park covers more than 400km² of land and coast that makes the park one of the largest national parks in Estonia.
Matsalu is widely loved by hikers (it offers hiking trails for experienced and beginner hikers), holidaymakers and nature lovers. Another good thing about Matsalu is that it’s easy to get around the national park by bicycle or on foot.
It’s highly recommended to take hiking trails, especially during autumn when trees become a colorful parade, to see the true beauty of Matsalu.
Saaremaa is the largest island in Estonia. If you aren’t sure what to do in Estonia, the island is the best place to experience the country’s rural areas, relax in nature and learn more about deep local culture. Saaremaa people still live in traditional stone houses, wear colorful traditional costumes, and speak in dialect.
The island has an impressive nature: lots of parks, high cliffs, large trees, rare butterflies, wild orchids, and unique lowlands. The most famous Saaremaa’s miracle of nature is the Kaali meteorite crater that is the biggest in Europe and open to tourists all year round.
The island is mostly associated with delicious Estonian sour and sweet bread, homebrewed beer, and old windmills. To sum up, Saaremaa definitely is one of the unique landmarks of Estonia.
Narva is the third-largest city in Estonia that is located near Russia and Estonia border. The city is famous for being the number one tourist’s destination during Estonia’s winter and summer.
In the winter, people enjoy sightseeing and snowy scenery from 51 meters high Long Hermann tower. While during summer, tourists spend their time in Narva-Joesuu resort. That said, Narca is also famous for the well-preserved medieval castle that is called Hermann Fortress and was built in the 15th century.
Also, not to mention, Narva is unique since it offers visitors to experience Russian and Estonian cultures mix that can only be felt in the city: restaurants in the city serve Russian and Estonian traditional food; there are lots of buildings that reflects Soviet era’s architecture style.
Tuhala is a small village in northern Estonia that has only 105 people living in the village. It’s famous for the largest Estonia’s area of karst that has several underground rivers and sinkholes called the Boiling Witch’s Well.
A periodically rising spring that overflows during high-water of Tuhala river and the brownish water overflows at a speed of 100 liters per second that makes the Boiling Witch’s Well a unique natural phenomenon not only in Estonia but also in whole Europe.
Also, this phenomenon lasts from one day and up to three weeks. In 2012 Tuhala’s Witch’s Well was voted as the wonder of Estonia.
Soomaa National Park
Soomaa National Park is located in the Pärnu and Viljandi County. The national park is famous for its flood or Estonia’s fifth season when the water from melted snow or heavy rain floods all the lower land, including roads and yards. Soomaa National Park offers lots of outdoor activities such as hiking trails, culture historic site study trails, and canoeing.
Canoeing is the most popular activity in the park since you can canoe on the flooded area and explore the park better and faster. Since Soomaa National Park is often called the land of bogs, it offers lots of bog walks – you walk on wooden boards and observe unique flora and fauna of the park.
It’s highly recommended to visit the park during the flood season because you can see it when it’s the most unique.
Rakvere is a town in northern Estonia. It’s the fifth largest town in Estonia that is located close to the coast and Lahemaa National Park. Rakvere is famous for its Tarvas statue that is the largest animal statue in Baltic countries; Trinity church that dates from the 15th century; an impressive 13th-century castle ruins.
The town has many restaurants that offer traditional Estonian food made in a unique way. Also, it has a few old-school nightclubs that are popular among town’s visitors. Although Rakvere is an old town, its town hall square is the most modern town square in Estonia.
The town is very famous as a rural holiday destination since it offers beautiful scenery and rural spa relaxation.
If you are searching for the best place to stay near lakes in Estonia, Harjumaa is the best place in Estonia for that. One of Estonia’s counties that are located in northern Estonia, Harjumaa County is famous for its shoreline, rivers and beautiful lakes.
In fact, it has five lakes: Lake Ulemiste, Lake Maardu, Lake Lohja, Lake Klooga, and Lake Harku.
The county’s lakes are a good place to enjoy natural Estonia’s scenery and explore nature. Also, Harjumaa is well-known for its two-largest permanently active waterfalls: Jagala and Keila Waterfalls. The county has amazing shorelines with the highest coastal cliffs that have an average height of 30 meters.
If you are seeking for an adventurous trip, you definitely have to visit Harjumaa County.
Check out these activities in Estonia
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Founder of Pretty Wild World and one of the leading experts in Europe travel, the Nordics, and Scandinavia Destinations.
Evan Kristine has been mentioned in big publications such as The Huffington Post and the Thought Catalog has been sharing her useful travel tips and hacks to the world for more than five years now.
Nowadays, she is a full-time traveler exploring and documenting her journey around the world providing you the next best travel idea for your great next adventure.