Visitors to Estonia encounter a mix of urbanity and wilderness, of the medieval and the contemporary, with crumbling castles and colourful design permeating urban landscapes. An efficient transport system makes it easy to get around, and the tech-savvy, dynamic residents welcome visitors with open arms. Friction between older generations of Russians and Estonians is a throwback to the Soviet era, while younger people mix freely, and those who get past the Estonians’ natural reserve find them to be gregarious, uninhibited hosts.
Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, has a magnificent medieval centre and lively nightlife, rivalled only by that of Tartu, an exuberant university town. Pärnu, a popular seaside resort, is also worth a short visit. For inexpensive spa treatments, a fine castle and unspoilt countryside head for the island of Saaremaa, while Lahemaa National Park, outside Tallinn, offers a taste of pristine wilderness.
Top image: Tallinn, Estonia © ESB Professional/Shutterstock
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