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Our Insider's Articles about Estonia
Estonia is not held back by its size. The smallest Baltic country, Estonia is home to medieval coastal towns with every modern luxury, from spas to elite nightclubs, and the countryside is composed of untamed forests and rolling meadows dotted with medieval ruins, manor houses, and castles. Tallinn is the capital of Estonia, and it looks out across the Gulf of Finland to Helsinki; the 50-mile ferry ride is one of the most active in the world.
Here are some tips to help guide you on your trip to Estonia. Traditional clothing, folk songs, and dance have remained strong in Estonia even though the country, which borders Russia and Latvia, was dominated by Russia from 1940-1991; the border between the two countries was ultimately decided in 2005. Tallinn is one of the most pristine examples of medieval architecture in all of Europe, providing excellent urban hikes along its harmonious streets. Fortunately, it is also manageable and much of it can be toured on foot.
Lahemaa National Park and the Estonian coastline provide an escape from the cities. Estonia has great beaches but the beach season is very short: Estonia’s climate is brisk and it’s important to pack warmly. Lahemaa National Park is a mix of bogs, waterfalls, mossy forests, and untamed coast. A boardwalk winds through otherwise impenetrable bogs. Estonian is the official language, and English is spoken in most places. As of May 2011, a visa is not required for U.S. travelers visiting for 90 days or less. Train, bus, and rental car are all reliable ways of getting around inside the country. The official currency is euros and Estonia has been part of the EU since 2004.