Properly exploring the most stunning places in Estonia could take a lifetime as this gorgeous country on the Baltic Sea coast is crammed with gorgeous national parks, historic towns, quirky castles, museums, art galleries, and areas of outstanding natural beauty. But, to get you started on your adventure, we have listed but a handful of stunning places in Estonia well worth a visit.
Estonia’s gorgeous capital city of Tallinn is the perfect mix of ancient and modern and a well-deserved UNESCO World Heritage Site and probably the first place you will visit in Estonia. The medieval Old Town within the city walls is the city center and one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe and the ideal place for a stroll. Be sure to enjoy the unrivaled view at the top of Toompea and be sure to pay a visit to the 14th-century Town Hall in the town hall square and the 19th-century Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
Step outside the Old Town into the Telliskivi neighborhood and you will find yourself surrounded by hip cafes and thrift stores. Be sure to check out Kadriorg Park and the harbor. There are also plenty of museums and art galleries where you can get your culture-fix.
Lahemaa National Park
The largest of the national parks in Estonia, and one of the biggest in northern Europe, Lahemaa National Park is an area of outstanding beauty and ecological diversity. The name translates as “Land of Bays” and has its northern border on the Baltic Sea. The park is the perfect destination for cyclists and hikers wishing to encounter wildlife including red deer, lynx, boar, wolves, and bears. There are a number of campsites throughout the park as well as fishing villages and four manors open to visitors with first-class restaurants and spas. Lahemaa is just an hour’s drive from the capital meaning it is the ideal destination for a day trip.
Soomaa National Park
A vast natural reserve made up mostly of wetlands, melting snow, and heavy rainfall feeds Soomaa National Park and makes it the ideal destination for those seeking adventure and nature lovers. By far the best way to explore the area is by canoe, but there are also numerous trails for those who prefer to hike in the summer or put on their snowshoes in winter. The marshlands and swamps mean large areas of Soomaa are inaccessible and home to a healthy population of beaver, elk, wild boar, deer, wolves, and bears. It is a good idea to check the weather before planning a visit to this spectacular sanctuary as high winds can make make your trip less enjoyable.
Dating back over 700 years, Hermann Castle is the main attraction in Nava in the far east of Estonia and one of the country’s best places to visit. The ancient fortress has been ruled by the Russians, the Germans, the Swedes, and the Danes over the years until it finally ended up with the Estonians. Extensively damaged by bombing during World War II, the castle was renovated over the last few decades. The walls of Narva Castle are now home to a marvelous museum and workshops where visitors can participate in learning about traditional Estonian arts and crafts.
From the top of the Tall Hermann Tower are spectacular views over Narva, as well as the Ivangorod Fortress on the other side of the river in Russia. The small city of Narva has long been a cultural melting pot and offers a rich history and a stunning mix of medieval architecture, Baroque, and Soviet architecture.
Known as the summer capital, the coastal resort city of Parnu is a popular destination for Estonians taking a summer holiday and one of the places to visit for anyone traveling to Estonia. Rolling dunes of pure white sand make the beaches a major attraction. The promenade along the seafront is the perfect place for a stroll, a bike ride, or some rollerskating both during the day and at night when it is lit up. Parnu is a laid-back destination with numerous spas, cocktail bars, and restaurants. More adventurous visitors might enjoy canoeing, water skiing, and yachting.
Matsalu National Park
A must for bird lovers, Matsalu National Park is one of the most important resting places for waterfowl traveling between western Europe and the Arctic. Situated on the Kasari River Delta and Matsalu bay with its many islands and islets, the national park is a mix of reed beds, wooded meadows, flood meadows, scenic landscapes, and stunning coastlines. Expect to see bird species such as great snipe, spotted crake, and corn crake. Other types of birds to nest here include curlew, whimblers, lapwing, tatlers, and shank. Plant enthusiasts will also not be disappointed as numerous types of orchids grow in the hazel and oak trees that make up the wooded meadows.
Situated in southern Estonia, Viljandi is famous throughout the country for its summer festivals that cover everything from medieval fairs to folk music. The locals also flock for their summer vacations to Viljandi’s magnificent lake with its splendid beach. The Viljandi Culture Academy means that this charming little town has a vibrant student population. As well as music there is the historic architecture and Viljandi Order Castle to enjoy. Soomaa national park and its wide variety of flora and fauna are also a big draw.
You and your family will be transported back to the 16th century when you visit Rakvere Castle. Learn firsthand about the middle ages as you are entertained by people dressed in traditional garb and you yourselves are invited to join in the fun by dressing as warriors and knights of old. You will also be given the opportunity to visit an alchemist’s workshop, a medieval brothel, Red Lanterns Street, a death room, a torture chamber, and an ancient wine cellar. The Shenkenberg Tavern, located in the keep, serves fare made from ancient medieval recipes.
Enjoy Exploring More Stunning Places In Estonia With Ling
Discovering stunning places in Estonia is made all the more enjoyable if you can speak a few words and phrases in Estonian. With Ling, we will help you to expand your vocabulary by teaching you the language with fun games, quizzes, and interactive lessons. Download the Ling App today at App Store and Google Play.