Travel guide to Estonia

» Estonia
Estonia - along with Latvia and Lithuania constituting the Baltic States - has attracted European tourists in large numbers ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Empire. Even though the country is still marked by the former rule of communism, Estonia is both an historically and culturally fascinating destination.

Facts

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Local name
Eesti
Capital
Tallinn (443,000)
Size
45,125 sq km
Principal Languages
Estonian
Principal Religion
Protestant
Inhabitants
1,500,000
Geography
Estonia is a very flat country and is traversed by several rivers such as Narva, the largest river, and includes furthermore a number of small islands.

Travel preparation

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Best time to visit

Estonia benefits from its warm summers and its cold winter. The snow sets in for real in October and snow showers can occur until May, but in contrast to this the summer months are often quite warm. As a tourist you can visit Estonia any time of the year, but the actual high season stretches from May till October.

Literature

Estonia

Local conditions

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Currency

Kroon

Net cafes

There are a few Internet cafés in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.

In case of emergency

In case of an emergency in Estonia, call: In Tallinn: Police: (002) Ambulance (003) Fire Department: (001) Outside of Tallinn: Police: (02) Ambulance: (03) Fire Department: (01)

Tipping

Tips are not expected at hotels in Estonia, but both taxi drivers and restaurants gladly accept a 10-15 per cent tip for good service.

Timezone

When it's 12.00 in England, it's 14.00 in Estonia.

Weight and Measures

Estonia uses the metric system.

Photography

Avoid taking photos of public buildings and display common courtesy by always asking for permission before taking pictures in general.

Drinking water

Estonian tap water should be used for neither drinking nor brushing one's teeth.

Electricity

Current used in Estonia: 220 AC, 50Hz.

Behaviour

Showing common courtesy and respect for the local inhabitants will get you far in Estonia.

Business Hours

Banks are open between 9.00 and 12.30 (Monday to Friday). A few banks are also open in the afternoon. Shops are open between 10.00 and 18.00 (Monday to Friday) and some are closed during lunch. Offices are open between 9.00 and 13.00 and between 14.00 and 18.00 (Monday to Friday). Public offices are open between 10.00 and 15.00 (Monday to Friday).

Food and drink

The menus in Estonian restaurants are dominated by Russian and East European cuisine, particularly all kinds of flesh dishes. Estonian vodka and the nation's excellent beer are among the drinks worth mentioning.

Holidays

New Year's day, 1 January Day of Independence, 24 February. Labour Day, 1 May. Day of Victory, 23 June. Midsummer, 24 June National Resurrection, 16 November. Christmas, 25 and 26 December.

Accommodation / Hotel

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Camping

Estonia has about 80 camping sites of varying standard.

Hotels

Since the fall of Communism, Estonia has worked hard to raise the standard of hotels to that of Western Europe and has been successful in several places. Even so, the hotel standard varies much in price and quality.

Hostels

Several hostels are scattered throughout Estonia, and information on these can be obtained at the Estonian tourist office.

Local transport

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Planes

The Tallinn airport has several domestic flights, but you should be aware that some routes shut down during the winter season.

Bus

Buses constitute the backbone of Estonian transport; the bus system is excellent, and it's an inexpensive way to travel around the country.

Trains

The larger cities of Estonia are connected by railway, but the railway system isn't exactly well developed.

Taxi

Various private firms operate Estonian taxis, and in order to avoid misunderstandings the fare should be agreed upon in advance. It's generally cheap, but an extra fee in the evening and at night is not uncommon.

Car rental

Car rental is possible in the larger cities or at the airport. The Estonian road network is generally okay, but a lot of smaller roads are only covered by gravel and large holes in the roads are also a common problem.

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