Top 50 Things to Do and to See in Estonia

The Republic of Estonia is a Northern European country bordered by the Gulf of Finland, Latvia, the Russian Federation and the Baltic Sea. Estonia is the smallest among the Baltic countries in terms of land area but this does not mean it has little to offer to tourists. Estonia is considered a Baltic gem offering visitors the chance to see a tiny dynamic land on the shores of the Baltic Sea. The appeal of Estonia comes from its scenery, which ranges from rustic villages to lush marshlands. Estonia is also blessed with glorious beaches, coastal cities, and unparalleled natural attractions. Fifty things that you can enjoy in Estonia along with your family is listed below:

1. Tallinn

The old town of Tallinn is surely one of the most popular tourist destinations in Estonia and one of the finest places to visit in Estonia to enjoy a walking tour exploring the beautiful cobblestone roads and narrow streets such as the famous St Catherine’s passage. This place of Estonia offers plenty of various attractions for example the Estonian Open Air Museum, St. Olaf’s church, and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, which boasts a truly breathtaking interior complete with beautiful mosaics and stained-glass painted windows. Visit the old town of Tallinn to explore the most beautiful city of the country.

2. Estonian Open Air Museum

It is said that the Estonian open air museum is one of the must visit places in Eastern Europe. The museum also well known as Rocca-al-Mare Open Air Museum is undoubtedly, one of the top tourist destinations in Estonia as it is home to one of the best open air museums in Europe. The Estonian Open Air Museum is a spectacular modernization of a traditional Estonian village and features working farms, cute little shops and huts. The open air museum also offers impressive views of the Gulf of Finland.

3. Kumu Art Museum

Another most popular museum of the Estonia is the Kumu Art Museum. It is very famous for presenting Estonian art all the way from the 18th century till the 1990’s when Estonia’s declaration of independence was drafted. It is considered a must visit destination for those tourist who are interested in knowing about the history and culture of Estonia. Kumu museum also offers an auditorium where talks, films, shows and concerts are held regularly.

4. Kadriorg Palace

Another most exciting place to visit in Estonia is the Kadriorg Palace. The amazing palace is situated in Kadrioru Park, quite close from Kumu Museum, and it’s another of the tourist sites in Estonia that you wouldn’t want to miss for the photo opportunity! Here you will not have any restrictions on taking photographs; you’ll be able to take dozens of beautiful pictures of the palace’s stunning façade and the lovely gardens.

5. Riigikogu, Toompea Castle

The Riigikagu is considered as one of the prominent places of Estonia. It is indeed another interesting site to visit if you want to learn about Estonian politics. The tours of Riigikogu last around 30 minutes and are organized in various languages including English. This place offers you plenty of activities to do; you can take a tour of this place or simply walk around the grounds while taking pictures of the beautiful pastel-painted buildings and the medieval towers.

6. Tartu & Tartu University

The university city of Tartu is located at the the Emajõgi river and one of the most famous attractions of the country. Here you will find huge student population and wealth of museums means that the city is always alive with interesting and new events to entertain you. This city of Estonia has so much to offer for every traveler.

7. Narva

The Narva is another most interesting thing about Estonia. The Hermann Fortress, which looks across the Narva River to the Russian castle on the other side, is considered as one of the well preserved castle in Estonia, and extremely popular tourist attraction. Narva is hugely populated by Russian language speakers and the city has fine examples of Soviet architecture.

8. Pärnu

Pärnu is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Estonia. It is beautiful and historical resort seaside city with a small harbour towards the South-Western part of Estonia. Here you will find some find white sandy beaches, shallow waters, rich cultural scene and numerous cafés, restaurants and nightclubs, there is plenty of thing to see and do. A visit to Parnu is surely worth it.

9. Viljandi

Another most prominent city of Estonia is Viljandi and even equally popular. It is an ancient hilly city in South Estonia topped by impressive ruins of a once-powerful Livonian Order castle. This city of Estonia is conceded as one a perfect place to enjoy your vacations. Cobbled streets, ancient oak trees and a beautiful lake conjure up a very special atmosphere.

10. Rakvere

You will find Rakvere quite near to the north coast and Lahemaa National Park. It is well dominated by a medieval castle and by a giant statue of ‘Tarvas’ the bull. Although it is a tiny place but also an extremely popular tourist destination. This city is attractive and developing and hosts a growing number of art events.

11. Otepää

Another most popular destination for tourist in Estonia is Otepaa. It might be a small city but in winter, hilly Otepää is the winter capital of Estonia and attracts skiers, snowboarders, snowmobile riders, snow tubers and sledgers from all over Estonia and beyond. It becomes double in popularity during winters and full occupied by tourist.

12. Kärdla town in Hiiumaa

The only town of Hiiumaa is Kardla which is situated towards the north-eastern coast of the island. It is well known for its cozy islander atmosphere, Kärdla is a lovely destination for laid back travelers and simply a wonderful place to enjoy in a cool and calm atmosphere.

13. Valga

You will find this beautiful place of Estonia called the Valga, towards the southern-most town in Estonia and despite its small size, the town straddles two countries. So it has two languages, two currencies and two cultures. Valga also has a rich history and a versatile cultural scene. Valga town is a pearl waiting to be discovered.

14. Kuressaare

Kuressaare is the only town on Estonia’s largest island Saaremaa. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Estonia. It has a lot of offers its visitors including a medieval fortress, comfortable cafés, a rich cultural panorama, a lot of spa and wellness centers, an also an exceptional island atmosphere. You will also find here some of the finest beaches of the country; in fact, it’s an ideal destination for a laid back holiday!

15. Võru

Voru is another interesting tourist destination of Estonia. The hilly landscape of South Estonia is said to have shaped the tiny town of Võru. It is well known for its settle wooden architecture, beautiful lake beach promenade, only one of its kind dialects and sports centers and is a beloved destination among nature and sports lovers. Visit this place of Estonia to add a lot of fun to your tour.

16. Paide Town

You will find this beautiful town of Estonia located right in the centre of Estonia, often called as the “the Heart of Estonia”. It offers some of the best tourist attractions and has a long historic background. The town is blessed with beautiful surroundings, a colorful fair and festival life and an unique relationship with the limestone – come and experience the pleasant feel of Paide.

17. Jõgeva

Jogeva is an amazing town of Estonia which is said to be one of the culturally rich towns of the country. This little town of Jõgeva town is situated towards the eastern side of Middle-Estonia. Here you will not find huge structures or breathtaking architecture here, but an overwhelming sense of togetherness and plenty of cultural events, the majority of them geared towards younger people.

18. Põlva

Polva is one of the small towns of the country but equally popular tourist destination. This tiny town of Põlva is the county centre of Põlvamaa. It is known for its versatile and unspoiled nature, unique landscapes and plenty of wildlife, which is quite amazing to witness. Both the local people and the tourist enjoy the scenery of this town alike.

19. Rapla

Rapla is another beautiful and attractive town of Estonia. Although a small town but has plent y of natural attractions and beautiful scenery which are more than enough to attract tourist. The small town of Rapla has only around 10 000 inhabitants and is a rural idyll. You won’t be greeted with crowds and noise, but for those looking for a quiet holiday with culture and beautiful nature; Rapla has a lot to offer.

20. Põltsamaa

Põltsamaa is the centre of Estonia’s wine-making industry and is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the country. Its major attraction is its beautiful parks, its island of roses and its red church tower. Come and discover the jewel in the crown of central Estonia for yourself! Põltsamaa is a perfect destination to enjoy your tour with your complete family.

21. Jõhvi

Another prominent tourist destination of Estonia is Johvi. It is a famous historical crossroads of transport routes. It is said to be the cultural heart of the region, enchanting visitors with its lovely churches, multicultural atmosphere and festivals. Quite close to it you will find some dazzling natural sites, and you can also unearth the secrets of oil shale mining. Visiting johvi is surely worth it.

22. Hiiumaa Island

Hiiumaa Island is one of the most famous places of Estonia and at the same time it is the second largest island was formed as a result of a meteor explosion. It has an airport with flights to Tallinn but you can also access via ice-road from the mainland, in winter. Hiiumaa is well known for its lighthouses, unspoilt nature, Hill of crosses and plenty of other attractions.

23. Muhu Island

Muhu Island is another famous tourist destination of Estonia. Sleepy fishing villages, working windmills, thatched cottages, plenty of deer, moose and birds plus a more isolated place help define Muhu as profoundly Estonian. St. Catherine’s church has pagan tombstones and is one of the oldest in Estonia.

24. Vormsi Island

Vormsi Island are most often referred as the “snake island” and previously inhabited by coastal Swedes it was closed off during the Soviet occupation. The unique blend of Soviet and Swedish history mixed with unspoiled nature is very interesting. It has lot of other attractions which will surely make your tour interesting.

25. Kihnu Island

The Kihnu Island was initially was under used by seal hunters and fishermen. Today it is a well known culturally important and essentially matriarchal society. The women guard the cultural heritage whilst the men go off to sea and fish. The Kihnu Island is a very interesting place to visit and offers some of the best attractions.

26. Aegna

Another famous attraction of Estonia is Aegna which is a little island approximately around 14 kilometers off the coast of Tallinn. Much of it is covered in forest and has been placed under protection. It is well-known for its old military installations, Ice Age boulders and sandy beaches. Visit this place of Estonia for a full filled tour.

27. Pakri islands

Suur-Pakri (Big Pakri) and Väike-Pakri (Little Pakri) are both considered among the popular and favorite islands of Estonia. You will find them towards the north coast of Estonia. Suur-Pakri was a site of bomb testing by the Soviet army, and many military installations survive on the island to this day. All because to their natural diversity, that both the islands have been declared reserves.

28. Soomaa National Park, Viljandi County

Soomaa National Park is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful national parks you can enjoy in the country and it is considered a great place to experience Estonia’s gorgeous outdoors. Soomaa National Park is definitely worth the drive since the park isn’t too far from Tallinn and Tartu. Inside the park you’ll be able to walk along the wooden pathways while soaking in the beautiful bog-lands. Saying this, if you really want to get the best of the park it’s best to book a guided trip with “Soomaa” which offers organized walking and canoeing tours of Soomaa Park.

29. Käsmu Captain Village

Käsmu Captain Village has received its name from the tens of sea captains who have grown up there and sailed in great oceans. The exhibits in Käsmu Maritime Museum present the history of Käsmu and the achievements in the sea of the men grown up there. The coastal villages of Lahemaa are beautiful. In hot summer days the atmosphere is simply amazing and it gives an impression as if the life stands still there. You can admire the architecture of the beach houses in peace, give a glance at the picturesque yards and take the time off a little.

30. Industrial Landscape of North-Eastern Estonia

East Virumaa is renowned first and foremost by its industrial tradition. Major industrialized region of Estonia, you will find both huge oil shale open-cast mines as well as a lot of other exciting industrial constructions. The uppermost Northern European artificial hill in Kiviõli is like a symbol of oil shale mining, from whose top most of East Virumaa can be seen. The ash heaps are spread all over the county, from the distance those in Kohtla-Järve remind downright of a mountain range buried into the clouds. The recreational centre, located on the ash heaps of Kiviõli, has become a venue for up-hill climbing with motorcycles and motocross competitions as well as a ski resort with some of the finest slopes in Estonia during the winter.

31. Kõpu Lighthouse

Kõpu Lighthouse is one of the most famous sights and undoubtedly the symbol of the island. It is the oldest and one of the leading on the shores of the Baltic, and is alleged to be the 2nd oldest lighthouse in the world with a continuously burning lamp. The light house was constructed during the 15th century in response to the losses caused by the number of Hanseatic League goods ships foundering in the Hiiu shallows. In 1900 Kõpu’s outmoded fire basket was replaced with a new-style mirror lantern purchased from the Paris World Expo.

32. Matsalu

Matsalu is a one of the most famous tourist attractions of Estonia. It is well considered as a beautiful stopping-off point where tourist can enjoy. It is indeed Estonia’s largest wild bird reserve and at the same time one of the largest in Europe. Its pleasing beaches, juniper meadows, fresh air and flocks of birds present both a liberating and calming scene. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in bird-watching, but anyone who appreciates a scenic natural setting and peaceful atmosphere will find it a rewarding destination. It offers you a wide variety of bird and animal species. Besides the bird flocks flying over, numerously wild animals are wandering around in search of game animal or they just live there.

33. Lahemaa

Lahemaa is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Estonia. It was Estonia’s first-ever declared national park. It includes beautiful coastal areas, headlands, bays and little islands of northern Estonia and is home to the northern-most point on the Estonian mainland – Purekkari Headland on Pärispea Peninsula. Käsmu Peninsula is also part of the park, is the most densely covered area in the whole of Europe for glacial boulders: its green pine forests are strewn with these giant rocks, of all shapes and sizes, from the tiniest pebbles that manage to move themselves to giant stone hulks more reminiscent of houses than boulders.

34. Cliff-lined Coast

The northern part of Estonia is well blessed with plenty of natural beauty. You will also find some of the beautiful, towering cliff face, in some places up to 56 meters above sea level. It is best viewed in the Saka-Ontika-Toila area, where you can get to the impressive limestone walls from both above and below, and from which open out stunning views over the sea and along the coastline. They are a large place for cyclists and hikers as there are set trails winding their way all along them. The impressive cliff-lined coasts are also located on the Pakri peninsula, the northern coast of the island of Saaremaa as well as Osmussaar – all of which offer one of kind majestic and awe-inspiring views.

35. North Coast Waterfalls

Valaste Waterfall is one of the major tourist attractions of the country. It is the main natural symbols of Ida-Virumaa County also. Around the waterfall you can examine the variety of soil strata in the cliffs, which are more clearly exposed here than in other areas. Officially itsl height is around 30.5 meters. This makes it one of the highest waterfalls in the country. Several viewing platforms have been constructed along the course of the waterfall, providing lovely views of the falls themselves, the coastal forest beneath and out to sea. An information point and café are located nearby.

36. Muhu Museum

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Muhumaa is the Muhu museum, situated in Koguva village which is a famous historical fisherman’s village. All farmhouses are located quite close to each other, the yards being separated by high stone fences and winding pathways – all of which are an effort to preserve the original and genuine inshore village environment.

37. The Four King Road

During the year 1343, after the beginning of Jüriöö Rebellion – four Estonian kings arrived in Paide. They were chosen to symbolize the rural community during negotiations held with the crusaders. The intention was to achieve the best possible conditions for the preservation of the rural community. In order to remember the significant actions in Estonian history – Jüiöö Rebellion and the pilgrimage of the four kings – a thematic hiking trail was produced. It runs from Padise Monastery to Paide Order Stronghold, alongside historical and Ancient-Estonian related sites. On its route the Four King Road exceeds by such places as Padise Monastery, Varbola Hillfort, Keava Stronghold, Kuimetsa karstic area, Vahastu city-hill – all the sites, which were important to ancient Estonians and that offered protection and shelter from invaders.

38. Kurgja Farm Museum

Kurgja Fram Museum was discovered by Jakobson, a writer and leader of national movement with the aim of promoting new agro technological means among Estonians. During the 19th century the sample farm was founded according to his instructions and designs and therefore the buildings and accessory structures are unique in Estonia. After its establishment, the buildings were restored in the form these were built by Carl Robert Jakobson. In addition to the museum today there is also an agricultural farm in Kurgja, where the land is farmed and animals bred in the traditional, centuries-old way.

39. Tori

Another famous tourist attraction of Estonia is Tory that has become world-famous by the horses bred there. During the 19th century a new breed of horses, suitable for hard field work, was bred in Tori. Tori Horse Farm, founded during the year 1856, is the oldest in the Baltic countries, even today well operating and serving also as a venue for numerous horse racing competitions. In 1854 St John’s Church was completed in Tori, on the slope of the Pärnu River. The heaven and the hell meet in Tori.

40. Kihnu

The island of Kihnu is definitely one of the most beautiful places to visit in Estonia. It is even included on the UNESCO World Heritage list for its unique local customs and traditions. Kihnu’s natural environment is very beautiful and varied, with pine forests interspersed with brush, coastal meadows with heath, and higher ground with watery bogs.Isolation from the outside world has left the island with its own dialect and extraordinary culture. The way the islanders dress, the textiles they use to make their clothes, their wedding practices, the songs they sing and their handicrafts are all characteristically different from those on mainland Estonia.

41. Estonian History Museum

Estonia history museum is one of the most interesting and significance places to visit in the capital of Estonia. This broad museum presents Estonia’s history from ancient time till the 20th century. Here you will find various films and interactive displays that show how people here lived, fought and survived over the last 11,000 years. The museum is housed in the 15th century Great Guild Hall, itself a spectacular relic of Tallinn’s past. Members of the guild, who had to be married German merchants, controlled the Town Council.

42. Kiek in de Kök

The Kiek in de kok is another most popular tourist attraction of Estonia which is located in Tallinn. The meaning of this really huge, 38m-high cannon tower literally is “Peek into the Kitchen.” Visitors to the museum will see instances of medieval firepower, showcases detailing how the city’s system of walls and towers developed through the centuries and an exhibit on crime and punishment in Old Tallinn. The museum also serves as the entrance to a interesting system of hidden tunnels that runs underneath the old bastions at the southern edge of Toompea hill.

43. Oleviste Church (St. Olav’s Church) and Tower

It was said that once upon a time, from 1549 to 1625 to be precise, this 13th-century church was the biggest structure in the world. But its enormous, 159-metre spire, turned out to be a very effective lightning rod. It is believed hat right through the church’s history its tower has been hit repeatedly by lightning, totally burning down the structure three times. Currently its smaller, 124-metre steeple still dwarfs most of Tallinn’s buildings and remains an important symbol of the town. From April to October, visitors can make the dynamic climb to the top of the stone piece of the tower for wonderful and dizzying views of Old Town, Toompea hill and the port.

44. Estonian Maritime Museum

The Estonian Maritime Museum is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the country. This famous museum emphasizes on the all vital sea-faring aspect of Estonia’s history, displaying such things as Neolithic fishing gear, antique diving equipment, and even the entire wheelhouse from a 1950s-era trawler. This huge museum of Estonia, occupies four floors of the historic Fat Margaret cannon tower.

45. Tallinn TV Tower

Tallinn TV Tower is one of the most fascinating tourist attractions of the country. Visitors to the 314 meter tower will start the visit with a 3D film about the tower, get to enjoy an interactive exhibition on the greatest achievements of Estonians through the ages and an attractive overview of the history of the tower itself before heading up to the viewing platform and café at the 170 metre level – the highest in the country. The landmark building is host to concerts, performances, exhibitions and open air events at different times throughout the year.

46. Bastion Tunnels

Tallinn has its share of underground passageways which is quite similar to any respectable medieval town, mainly the defensive tunnel systems constructed during the 1600s when there was Swedish rule. On the tunnel tour, visitors can see some of the old and finest equipment leftover from that era, as well as parts of the tunnel that still retain their more medieval look. The tour includes a slow-moving train ride, where visitors are shown the different stages of the tunnels’ past, and also some decades into their possible future.

47. Holy Spirit Church

This 14th-century Holy Spirit Church is a well known tourist attraction of Estonia located in Tallinn. It is a magnificent structure both from inside and outside. The intricate painted clock on its facade is Tallinn’s oldest public timepiece, dating to the late 17th century. The carved wood interior are worth witnessing which includes such treasures as a unique 15th century altar by the famous Lübeck artist Bernt Notke, and one of the oldest pulpits in Estonia, dating to 1597. Initially the church was discovered as part of the neighboring Holy Spirit Almshouse, which tended to the town’s sick and elderly. All through Medieval times it remained the primary church of the common folk. After the improvement, it was here that the first sermons were ever given in the Estonian language (as opposed to German), and a catechism available in 1535 by the church’s pastor Johann Koell is thought to be the first book in Estonian.

48. Niguliste Museum

Discovered by German merchant from the island of Gotland approximately around 1230, this 13th-century church was designed to double as a fortress in the days before the town wall was actually constructed. This structure said to have survived the reformations looting of 1523, but unfortunately during the 20th Century it was damaged by World War II bombs. After its restoration in the 1980s St. Nicholas’ has functioned as a museum specializing in works of religious art, most famously Bernt Notke’s beautiful but spooky painting Danse Macabre (Dance with Death).

49. Seaplane Harbour

The Seaplane Harbour is another interesting tourist attraction of Estonia which is to be found in Tallinn. It is said that with the help of modern multimedia, the Seaplane Harbour in the wooden architecture suburb Kalamaja narrates interesting stories about the Estonian maritime and military history promising a “sea full of excitement” for the whole family on an area that would take nearly 2 million A4 paper sheets lay down side by side. Seaplane Harbour operates in architecturally unique hangars built almost a century ago, in 1916 and 1917, as a part of Peter the Great sea fortress. The museum’s display, which comprises of more than a couple of hundred large exhibits, revitalizes the colorful history of Estonia.

50. Karksi Order Castle

The most significant sight of Karksi-Nuia is the remains of Karksi Order Castle, which enthrone proudly over the lakes twinkling in the ancient valley. Karksi was first entered in historical sources in 1248. The construction of the Order Castle on the steep slopes was started at the end of the 13th century, but it is said that earlier there was stronghold of ancient Estonians at the same place. The major part of the stone building of the castle is from the 14th and 15th centuries. In 1708 the castle was destroyed in the Great Northern War. Since then the Karksi Castle has been in ruins. During the year 1778 Karksi St Peter’s Church was partially constructed on the walls of the castle, was completed. The church with its slanting bell tower is unique in Estonia.

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