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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Estonia

Things to see and do in Estonia

Attractions in Estonia

Haapsalu

Haapsalu (www.haapsalu.ee) is a small town on the western coast which has been a well-known resort since the 19th century. It is the ideal place to get away from it all with its romantic wooden houses and tree-lined avenues. A worthy diversion is the Raiway Museum which pays respects in the 'train graveyard' behind the museum.

Hiiumaa

Estonia's second-largest island, Hiiumaa (www.hiiumaa.ee) is a true oasis of tranquillity. Most of the island is covered with forests and scrublands, giving wildlife such as moose, deer and wild boars a chance to roam freely. Käina Bay is also a prime destination for birdwatching. During the winter months, visitors can reach the island via an ice road across the frozen Baltic Sea. Said to be the longest ice road in Europe, it is about 25km (16 miles) and usually open from January to March.

Mustvee

This quiet corner on the shore of Lake Peipus is home to Old Believers, a religious group who did not accept the official reforms of the Russian Orthodox Church and sought refuge here in the 17th century. A key attraction is the small Old Believer's Museum in Mustvee.

Narva

Narva (www.narva.ee), the easternmost town in Estonia, sits by the River Narva that separates Estonia and Russia. The Narva Castle is the main attraction. Nearby, the Narva-Jõesuu resort is home to a large sandy beach and many spas, drawing in a good crowd every summer.

National parks

Explore the unspoilt forest and bogs, picturesque old fishing villages and historic manor houses in one of Estonia's national parks and reserves – Kõrvemaa, Lahemaa, Matsalu, Soomaa and Vilsandi.

Pärnu

Established in the 13th century, Pärnu (www.parnu.ee) is the largest resort in Estonia, boasting a long sandy beach and a string of hotels offering relaxing spa services. Visitors can also engage in horse riding, birdwatching, and activities like making traditional dolls (Travnitsa) filled with herbs.

Saaremaa

The largest island in Estonia, Saaremaa (www.saaremaa.ee) is criss-crossed with hiking trails and dotted with bird-watching towers. Its coastal resort town Kuressaare has one spa for every ten residents; such high concentration is undoubtedly good news for visitors looking for a pampering session. A must-see on the island is the Kaali crater, a group of nine meteorite craters thought to be 3,500 years old.

Tallinn

Wander the magical medieval cobble-stone streets of the capital, Tallinn (www.visittallinn.ee), an ancient Hanseatic city. Particularly interesting is the Old Town, which is dominated by the soaring steeple of St Olaf's Church, once the tallest building in the world. Climb up to Toompea Castle for spectacular views. See the Tallinn travel guide for more information.

Tartu

Estonia's second-largest city, Tartu (www.tartu.ee) revolves around its prestigious University of Tartu and young people enlivening the many cafes and bars dotted across the city. Visit the university, the Botanical Garden and the A. Le Coq Beer Museum. The city also has a few quirky diversions including the Tagurpidi Maja (upside-down house), the Leaning House of Tartu (which is also home to Tartu Museum of Art) and the Crazy Scientist's Office.

Tourist offices

Estonian Tourist Board

Address: Lasnamäe 2, Tallinn, 11412
Telephone: (6) 279 770.

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