06/02/2023

Penelope Tours

Best Travel Connoisseurs

18 AWESOME Things to do in Estonia that YOU Need to do!

18 AWESOME Things to do in Estonia that YOU Need to do!

Few people I have met on my travels know about all the things to do in Estonia. Most people don’t even know about this Baltic state. 

This is a shame because the country is amazing. The country has found a fantastic balance between modern technology, history, and nature.

I suggest adding Estonia to your bucket list and here is why!

So what are we waiting for? Let’s pack for Europe, and head to some of the best things to do in Estonia.

Is Estonia Safe

Estonia is a safe place to travel. The country has a low crime rate, and travelers can feel safe walking around alone. There are also plenty of things to do in Estonia, making it a great destination for a vacation.

Visitors can explore the country’s medieval castles, visit its many Estonian museum, or take a hike in the stunning Estonian countryside.

That being said, it is always important to travel safely, and use street smarts. Overall Estonia is safe, and one of the best Baltic Countries to visit. 

Things to do in Estonia
Tallinn Old Town

EXPLORE THE LANDSCAPE

When people picture Northern Europe, they envision barren tundra coated in thick layers of ice or the fjord lands of Norway.

However, the Estonian countryside is vastly different. And something people don’t realize about Estonia is the sheer amount of diversity throughout the countryside.

For example, the sunny seasons in Southern Estonia are lush and vibrant.

Imagine walking through the dense Estonian countryside. Featuring green woods and flat grasslands stretching over the horizon. The sounds of waves crashing along the sandy shore of the endless coastline as you stare out at a small Estonian island. These are just a few of the splendid treasures that Estonia’s landscape holds.

But Estonia isn’t all just a lush landscape. This Baltic country has rich cities, like the capital Tallinn Estonia, with a historic Tallinn old town, and a lower town.

As well as an informative museum. Estonia’s capital is filled with history from the 13th century, 14th century, and 15th century. It’s a haven of traditional Estonian food, and a city center buzzing with life – and in the winter Christmas Market. (But more on that later)

This experience makes Estonia an obvious choice for those who would rather spend their vacation in nature and the untouched landscape.

I promise you the more time you spend outdoors in Estonia, the greater the chance you’ll never want to leave this incredible country. How many quotes about adventure could apply to beautiful Estonia?

The locals respect their land.

A good starting point for an adventure in Estonia is by checking out one of the five national parks.

EXPLORE TALLINN ESTONIA

We touched on Estonia’s capital briefly, but let’s dive a little deeper.

Tallinn is a great base for exploring the Baltic country. Tallinn has an incredible city wall that dates back to the 13th century. It’s the best place in this eastern European country to pig out on traditional Estonian food. Estonian cuisine is fantastic – check out the open-air museum, and admire street art.

We also have to mention Tallinn’s old town. This is the major tourist attraction of the city and is stunning.

Take a day trip to Telliskivi creative city. This is one of the coolest places you’ll find in Northern Europe. Telliskivi creative city is an art-focused area of the city. There are galleries, cafes, bars, trains, and more. The 20th-century site is in an old industrial complex and has some of the best street art in Eastern Europe.

Tallinn is also a great base for any weekend or day trip you might have planned. Head to the Baltic sea, take a boat to Helsinki or hop over to Latvia.

Pro Tip: Check out the Tallinn Card to save some money on entrance fees.

VISIT A NATIONAL PARK

Estonia is a small yet diverse country with lots to see and do. It’s one of the least visited countries in Europe.

Not only does it have a stunningly beautiful coastline, but it also lies within the borders of Scandinavia. Making it one of the most ideal winter holiday destinations.

What also sets it apart from other European countries is its ability to offer a mixture of traditional European cultures. And a countryside filled with lush forests and open spaces.

The Estonian landscape is mostly flat with a few hills and is predominantly covered with forests. The coastline is dotted with thousands of islands, the largest being the Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, and Muhu islands.

Estonia, the land of thousand of lakes, has many beautiful national parks. If you are planning to visit Estonia, these are the national parks (or nature reserves) to visit.

The National park is well worth visiting – you can enjoy amazing landscapes, and get in touch with nature… There are several beautiful places in Estonia that you can visit but places as Kadriorg park, and lahemaa.

TOP NATIONAL PARK IN ESTONIA

  • Lahemaa
  • Kõrvemaa
  • Soomaa
  • Matsalu
  • Vilsandi
  • Kadriorg park

ESCAPE THE CROWDS

Visiting countries like France and Italy Amalfi Coast is a staple of any trip to Europe. However, sometimes it’s nice to venture away from the cramped crowds and long lines. Get more value for your time by venturing into lesser-known countries.

A perk of visiting countries like Estonia lets you experience amazing places without the hustle and bustle of some other touristy places in Europe.

A person could even argue that you experience more “real” Europe because tourism has not affected the country as much. Estonia is real, and while picking up in popularity, keeps its charm.

Personally, this is a massive bonus and because there are fewer crowds means you can do more things to do in Estonia.

There are off-the-beaten-path cities like Parnu, Viljandi that is well worth visiting. And showcase architecture from periods like the 18th century.

Toompea Hill and Toompea Castle

Climb Toompea Hill for amazing views over the city of Tallinn. You get amazing views of the water and other attractions. You can also check out Toompea Castle from the top of this hill. 

Visit the Underwater Prison

Just a short boat ride from the mainland, this former Soviet prison is now a unique tourist attraction. Visitors can scuba dive into the prison and explore the eerie underwater corridors and cells. 

They built this underwater prison in the 1950s and were in use until 1980. It held political prisoners and was known for its inhumane conditions. Many prisoners died here, and they say their ghosts to still haunt the prison. 

hara submarine base

The Haapsalu submarine base is in Estonia and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. The base was used by the Soviet Union during the Cold War and was abandoned after the fall of the Soviet Union. They have turned the base into a museum and are open to the public.

Visitors can tour the inside of the base and see the living quarters, the control room, and the engine room. The Haapsalu submarine base is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of the Cold War. 

soomaa national park

Top Things to do in Estonia

Estonia’s Soomaa National Park is a nature lover’s paradise. With over 500 kilometers of hiking trails, it’s the perfect place to explore the great outdoors. There are also plenty of opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. In the winter, the park is a popular destination for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. If you are looking for hidden gems in Estonia. This is a great option. 

Tallinn town hall

There are plenty of things to do in Estonia, but one of the best is to explore Tallinn Town Hall. This magnificent building dates back to the 14th century and is one of the most iconic in the country. It’s well worth a visit for its beautiful architecture and rich history. 

kadriorg palace

Kadriorg Palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Estonia. The baroque palace, built in the early 18th century for Catherine I of Russia, is now a museum housing an enormous collection of Estonian art. Visitors can also explore the beautiful gardens surrounding the palace. 

Estonian open air museum

Estonia is home to many open-air museums, where you can learn about the country’s history and culture. The Estonian Open-Air Museum is one of the most popular and is located just outside of Tallinn. Here, you can see traditional Estonian architecture, and learn about traditional crafts.

And even try your hand at some traditional activities. Other popular open-air museums in Estonia include the Jägala waterfall, the Põlva Maarja-Magdaleena church, and the Saaremaa Island Museum. 

seaplane harbor museum

Estonia’s Seaplane Harbour is a unique maritime museum that tells the story of Estonia’s naval history. From the early 20th century to the present day. The museum is in the heart of Tallinn, in a former seaplane hangar, and houses a collection of over 30 historic vessels. The museum is also home to a café, a shop, and a range of interactive exhibits. 

Estonian history museum

The Estonian History Museum is a great place to learn about the country’s past. The museum is in the city of Tallinn and is filled with exhibits that detail the country’s history.

Visitors can learn about the country’s Viking past, its time as a part of the Soviet Union, and its independence from the Soviet Union.

The museum is a great place to learn about Estonia’s culture and its people. Learn about the contributions of Estonia to history! And become more knowledgeable about the country you are visiting. 

Olde Hansa

Estonia is a country with a rich history and a lot of things to see and do. One of the most popular tourist attractions is Olde Hansa. It is a medieval-style restaurant that serves traditional Estonian food.

Other popular things include visiting the Tallinn Zoo. Or take a boat tour of the Estonian coastline, and explore the many castles and fortresses around the country. It is one of the best-hidden gems in Estonia. 

lake Peipsi

There are many things to do in Estonia at lake Peipsi. You can go fishing, swimming, hiking, and even boating. The lake is also a great place to relax and take in the scenery. If you are looking for a place to get away from it all, Estonia lake Peipsi is the perfect destination. 

Narva castle

Estonia is full of fascinating history and interesting things to do. One of the most popular tourist destinations in Narva Castle. The castle was built in the 13th century and has been the site of many important battles. Today, it is a popular museum and a great place to learn about the country’s past.

Other popular tourist destinations include Tallinn, the capital city, and Tartu, the university town. There are also many beautiful parks and forests to explore. Whatever your interests, you will find something to do in Estonia. 

EXPLORE PARNU

Did you know Parnu is the summer capital of Estonia and it’s also one of Estonia’s most important seaside resorts?

The city of Parnu is on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea and is the biggest city on the Estonian island of Saaremaa.

They established the city of Parnu in 1785 which offers a unique mixture of summer. And winter resorts and a wide variety of activities and experiences for people of all ages.

Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour

Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour is a maritime museum in Tallinn, Estonia. They house the museum in an old seaplane hangar, and it contains a collection of maritime artifacts. Including boats, ship models, and nautical equipment. There is also a café and a gift shop on the premises.

The Estonian Maritime Museum is in the city of Tallinn, on the Baltic Sea. They house the museum in an old seaplane hangar, and it contains a collection of maritime artifacts. Including boats, ship models, and nautical equipment. There is also a café and a gift shop on the premises. The museum offers a variety of educational programs and events for children and adults. 

ADMIRE THE ARCHITECTURE

All across the country are cathedrals and Churches that are hundreds of years old. Let’s look at some of the most remarkable architecture in Estonia. You have places like Raekoja plats in Tallinn’s old town.

Estonia has architecture and history from many eras, like the 13th century, 14th century, all the way to the 18th century, and 20th century.

Narva River Promenade 

Narva River Promenade is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Estonia. The Promenade stretches for almost two kilometers and offers stunning views of the river and the city. It is a great place to take a stroll, relax and take in the scenery.

RAKVERE CASTLE

This well-preserved castle is over 800 years old. It has a deep history and has stood the test of time from the Danish Kings, Knights, and even monks who have called this castle home.

Today you can walk around the towers and walls of the landmark for free. And there are a lot of fun events such as horse backpack riding, archery, and making your coins.

If you are headed to picturesque Lahemaa national park, then Rakvere should be a stop on your way!

HAAPSALU

From beautiful stone towers, buildings, and city walls, you can’t help but admire the buildings in this small seaside town. The town has a well-preserved building dating back almost 800 years. This makes it one best places to enjoy the architecture of Haapsalu.

ALEXANDER NEVSKY CATHEDRAL

They built this cathedral in the 1300s and is a site that shouldn’t be missed in Estonia. Another example is Olaf’s Church. At the top of this tower, you can see a stunning 360-degree view of Tallinn. This church is over 400 years old and was once the tallest building in the world.

Pretty cool, right?

Kõpu Lighthouse

Kõpu Lighthouse is a must-see when in Estonia. The lighthouse, built in 1531, is the oldest in the world that is still in use. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse for a breathtaking view of the Baltic Sea. It is a historical place. And of the best things to do in Estonia. 

EXPERIENCE THE FESTIVALS (ONE OF THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN ESTONIA)

Music festival lovers will want to pay a visit to the impressive Song Music Festival. It’s so unique I doubt there is anything else like it across Europe. The festival features various choirs and a member from all over. These choirs perform on their own and in large groups with over 80,000 people in attendance.

Music is a massive part of Estonian culture. Witnessing the upbeat songs. An atmosphere that can only be brought from a quirky and fun that embodies the Song music festival is an experience you won’t want to miss.

Kuressaare Episcopal Castle

Kuressaare Episcopal Castle is a must-see when in Estonia. The castle is the only remaining medieval fortress in Estonia and is one of the best-preserved in all of Europe.

The castle was built in the 13th century and has been used as a residence for the bishops of Saare-Maaria since its construction. Today, the castle is open to the public and houses an Estonian museum, restaurant, and café.

Alpakafarm

Alpakafarm is an alpaca farm in Estonia. Visitors can tour the farm, meet the alpacas, and learn about alpaca care. They can also purchase alpacas from the farm. 

planetarium

There are plenty of fun things to do in an Estonia planetarium! You can learn about the night sky, view the constellations, and even take a tour of the solar system. There are also interactive exhibits that will teach you about the different planets and stars. You can even take part in special events, like stargazing parties or meteor showers. 

vabamu museum

Estonia offers a variety of activities for those interested in its history and culture. One such activity is visiting the Vabamu Museum. This museum is dedicated to the history of Estonia and its people. It offers a variety of exhibits that showcase the country’s past and present. The museum also has several interactive exhibits that allow visitors to learn more about the country’s culture and its people. 

Estonian national museum

The Estonian National Museum is the country’s premier museum of history and culture. In the city of Tartu, the museum tells the story of Estonia from the Stone Age to the present day. The museum’s collections include archaeological artifacts, folk art, and fine art. The museum also has a library and archives and hosts special exhibitions and events. 

WANDER THE CITIES

Cities like Tallinn might not have the famous monuments of some of its other peers. But it is a city you shouldn’t underestimate. Tallinn has the most well-preserved medieval town in Northern Europe.

Standing in the city square is the Old Town Hall. This impressive 13th-century building is the oldest town hall across the Baltic. And Scandinavian regions of Europe. It is a prime example of Gothic architecture and is one of the most beautiful town halls in all of Europe.

Another area of Tallinn you cannot miss is the famed wooden districts like Kalamaja. It is easy to fall in love wandering past these colorful wooden houses. Or lose yourself in vibrant bohemian cafes, theaters, and restaurants.

If you are like me, the stone-cobbled streets, medieval town centers, and old churches will have you swooning.

Estonia might have world-renowned sights like the Eiffel Tower or Colosseum. However, they are unique in their own right and win travelers over. Estonia has some of the best cities in the world.

SAVE SOME MONEY

I’m a big fan of saving money while not having to limit my experiences while traveling. And I love getting off the beaten path. Estonia is a great country because there are a lot of adventures for travelers without destroying your bank balance. Choosing to spend your time in Estonia will cost you a lot less than some of its European counterparts. This only makes it one of the best places to visit in Europe.

DIVE INTO THE CULTURE

Estonians are very proud of their culture and history. National pride runs deep throughout the country.

For example, look at the century-old tradition of Seto Singing. This singing tradition is centuries old, and famed singers we able to remember 20,000 rhymes and songs. This tradition is a way to pass memories and stories to the future of the country.

A perfect place to experience Estonia’s rich culture is Kihnu Island. This small island off the west coast has a population of fewer than 700.

Because they have remained so little, they have kept living in traditional ways of life. They still use old looms and make their bright and vibrant clothes by hand. Kihnu is like taking a time machine to the past and experiencing Estonia’s ancient culture.

A cool thing about the cities in Estonia is that everything is connected. Everything from elections to healthcare is online.

While everything in Estonia is connected, they have not forgotten their past. Many Estonian people still live simple life. They go out to pick their mushrooms and berries.

Many locals use natural remedies when feeling ill instead of taking pills or heading to a pharmacy. Estonians have a deep respect for the land, history, and traditions, making the country feel very special.

It is worth it to add Estonia to your bucket list to immerse yourself in the beautiful culture.

TRY KIIKING

Estonia invented a sport that gives me flashbacks to my childhood in the playground.

If you were like me as a kid, I would always try to swing as high as possible, hoping to make a loop around the entire swing set. Estonians must have felt the same as me and invented Kiiking. The essence of Kiiking is a massive swing with long poles in which you try to loop around the entire thing. This is a fun and unique thing to try in Estonia.

CREATE YOUR ADVENTURE

For adventure junkies like myself, Estonia has some great choices.

Take a retro safari through the scenic landscape. And small villages, explore the rocky coastline by boat or test your limits at the adventure park. This might be a good option for a G Adventures tour. You can check out our G Adventure Review here.. Estonia is waiting to give you an adrenaline rush. These are all great options for those backpacking Europe. 

Of course, adventures might not be your style of travel. But you can create your adventure in any Estonian town.

SEE THE WILDLIFE

Estonia has always held a reverence for the land. Even today, 50% percent of the country is a thick forest.

It is easy to see why Estonia is a land that calls nature lovers. The landscape of the Baltic sea, woods, and marshes is not only made from breathtaking views but also for an exotic mixture of wildlife. A few of these animals include wolves, lynxes, bears, beavers, flying squirrels, elk, and several bird species.

The Estonian landscape is great for seeing wildlife!

TAKE A DAY TRIP TO SAAREMAA ISLAND

In many parts of Saaremaa, you can go hiking or biking. They mark the paths with yellow flags sticking up out of the ground. If you want to hike without getting lost, it’s best to take a guide.

The year-round ice road crosses the Gulf of Riga, linking the island with the mainland. It is also an interesting attraction visually, but not for all ages or abilities; however, it can be crossed any time of year.

KAALI METEORITE CRATER Field

We can’t talk about the best things to do in Estonia without mentioning the Kaali Meteorite Crater.

On the island of Saaremaa, lies a massive crater that was the site of a huge meteorite impact over 7,500 years ago. The impact left nine craters, leading the section to become known as the Kaali Meteorite Field.

Most people visit the largest crater. Over thousands of years, this crater has filled up with murky, reflective water. Making it a perfectly spherical pond. That’s a photo-worthy stop for any photographer.

Throughout history, legends have sprung up around this area. The most prominent myth says that ancient cults used this site as a home. And because of recent discoveries by archaeologists, there’s reason to believe that the legend is true.

Estonia is often an underrated country. However, don’t let that fool you. The country is welcoming and friendly. And there are many of the best things to do in Estonia. And Estonia has an outstanding balance between nature, cities, and adventures. These are just a few reasons Estonia should be on your bucket list.

They brought this post to you through VisitEstonia, but all opinions are my own.