One of the three so-called Baltic countries, Estonia is located in Northern Europe. In the past, Estonia was part of the Soviet Union and its independence began with the fall of that in 1991.
It has over 1,500 islands and certainly all tourists who travel to Estonia will revitalise their lungs because it is remarkable for the wealth of its forests, which of course makes for an atmosphere of very clean air.
If you decide to travel to Estonia you will definitely hear the Estonian language as it is part of the national identity, but it will not be surprising to also hear German, Russian or Ukrainian spoken.
Its population, its capital and other cities in Estonia
Estonia has a population of 1.3 million inhabitants making it a not very large country which, in contrast to what many would think, offers much in terms of culture and nature.
Administratively it is divided into 15 regions, each of them being further divided into municipalities.
The capital of Estonia – Tallinn − is the country's largest city and in 2011 it was honoured to be one of the European Capitals of Culture in Europe. This city with all its lakes but also with the Estonian Parliament is always visited by tourists who come to see the historic and precious medieval old town.
But not only the capital is touristically interesting since other cities like Tartu and Narva also have much to offer.
Estonia joined the European Union on 1 May 2004 and since then belongs to the Schengen area too. Seven years later along with other countries, Estonia joined the euro area and from then the currency of Estonia has been the euro.
Its climate and the white nights
Its climate is greatly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and the Baltic Sea. Temperatures can vary by up to 20 degrees, with mild summers and cold winters. Summers are pleasant enough when the actual temperature ranges around 16-30° C. In winter it snows a lot with low temperatures of between -3 and -8° C.
If you do not know of Estonia’s ‘white nights’, you should learn that at certain times of the year such as May and June it never gets fully dark. Summer brings up to 19 hours of light a day, forming a natural spectacle not seen in other parts of Europe. The opposite happens in winter where the days have less sunlight and natural light can only be enjoyed for about 6 hours a day.
The University of Tartu
The country is made up of numerous small towns and villages, but no more than 46 cities comprise the principal bulk of its population. In Tartu, the Swedes built the first university in the country − the University of Tartu. It makes them very happy because it is a place of openness and dialogue of ideas to expand the intellectual concerns of the population, not only Estonians but also those from other parts of Europe that travel to this country to study.
Religion, culture and gastronomy
The religion of Estonia, although there is a small but valuable percentage of Jews and Orthodox, is mainly Lutheran; let´s remember, the German influence in this country is still very great.
When one travels there, one will be amazed by its richness and musical diversity, these being part of its culture because they play a very important role in forming Estonia’s own character. Similarly, regarding its literature, which also has its own notable figures who write and sell books around the globe.
Pork with potatoes, roast boar or bear make up the Estonian cuisine, which, like in other countries, brings tasty courses. Among the courses you can find, for example, is Mulgikapsadm, which is pork with sauerkraut and boiled potatoes.
When you visit restaurants, cafes, etc., although it is not required, consider leaving a 10% tip. Without doubt it will be deserved because of its openness to the world from which it grows as a new European tourist destination. Thus, we all will help this Baltic jewel to form together with more countries a rich, diverse and stronger Europe.
Travellers from Australia, Canada, the United States and Britain can enter the country without a visa.
In Estonia it is required to have the use of reflectors at all times. You can put these on your backpack, your purse, clothes, and so on.
From 1 December to 1 March it is compulsory to use winter tyres on vehicles. Also during the year it is mandatory to have dipped headlights on even during the day.
In the city centres free Wi-Fi is usually available.
Foto 1, Foto 3: © Enterprise Estonia, Jaak Nilson
Foto 2: © Enterprise Estonia, Kaupo Kalda
Foto 4: © Enterprise Estonia, Meelis Lokk
Editing by: Catherine Parker