Estonia, a small Baltic country located in Northern Europe, is a hidden gem with a rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty. From its quaint medieval towns to its vibrant urban centers, Estonia offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers. Whether you are a first-time visitor, looking to plan your next trip, or an experienced traveler seeking new discoveries, this travel guide will provide you with an ideal order of visiting cities in Estonia, along with multiple options for each group.
For First-Time Visitors: 1. Tallinn: Start your adventure in Estonia's captivating capital city, Tallinn. With its well-preserved medieval Old Town, charming cobblestone streets, and majestic Toompea Castle, Tallinn is a perfect introduction to the country's history and culture.
2. Tartu: As Estonia's second-largest city and a vibrant university town, Tartu offers a youthful and energetic atmosphere. Explore the prestigious University of Tartu, wander through the picturesque Old Town, and visit the world-famous Tartu Observatory for an astronomical experience.
3. Pärnu: Known as the "Summer Capital" of Estonia, Pärnu is a coastal resort town. Boasting beautiful sandy beaches, a lovely promenade, and a vibrant nightlife scene, Pärnu is the perfect spot for relaxation and rejuvenation.
4. Haapsalu: Located on the west coast of Estonia, Haapsalu is a charming town known for its picturesque wooden houses, peaceful atmosphere, and historic Haapsalu Castle. Don't miss a visit to the enchanting railway station, which is renowned for its acoustic properties.
For Next Visits: 1. Kuressaare: Head to the enchanting island of Saaremaa and discover its capital, Kuressaare. Explore the well-preserved Kuressaare Castle, stroll along the scenic coast, and indulge in the island's spa and wellness offerings.
2. Viljandi: Nestled in the hills of Southern Estonia, Viljandi is a small, but culturally vibrant town. Admire the ruins of Viljandi Castle, enjoy the charming Old Town atmosphere, and experience the renowned Viljandi Folk Music Festival held annually.
3. Narva: On the easternmost edge of Estonia, Narva is a border town steeped in history. Visit Narva Castle, boasting impressive medieval fortifications, and witness the contrasting view of the monumental Hermann Castle perched across the river in Russia.
4. Valga/Valka: Experience a unique visit to Valga in Estonia and Valka in Latvia. These twin towns share a border, and you can easily wander through both countries by foot. Explore the cultural and historical landmarks in both towns while immersing yourself in the cross-border experience.
For Experienced Travelers: 1. Hiiumaa: Take a ferry to the beautiful island of Hiiumaa, known as the "Island of Forests and Lighthouses." Explore its pristine nature, picturesque fishing villages, and be sure to visit Kõpu Lighthouse, one of the oldest operating lighthouses in the world.
2. Narva-Jõesuu: Just outside of Narva lies Narva-Jõesuu, a resort town with a stunning sandy beach and a long promenade. This coastal paradise offers tranquility and an opportunity to indulge in rejuvenating spa treatments.
3. Rakvere: Visit the lively town of Rakvere, known for its impressive Rakvere Castle. Immerse yourself in medieval experiences, such as blacksmith workshops, knight tournaments, and explore the city's vibrant cultural scene.
4. Viljandi/Estonian Countryside: Get off the beaten path and explore the picturesque Estonian countryside. With its endless forests, beautiful lakes, and charming traditional villages, this is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in Estonia's natural beauty and experience local traditions.
Estonia, with its variety of cities and diverse experiences, provides a unique travel destination for visitors of all levels of experience. Whether touring the historic streets of Tallinn, relaxing on the sandy beaches of Pärnu, or immersing oneself in nature on the island of Hiiumaa, Estonia promises an unforgettable journey that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.