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Estonia was formerly the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. There are more than 1,500 islands belonging to Estonia, the largest being Saaremaa and Hiiumaa.
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The capital of Estonia is located on the Bay of Tallinn; an inlet of the Gulf of Finland.
Tallinn is divided into three zones that quite clearly show its historical development: the upper town, with its 13th-14th century citadel, built on a steep hill; the lower walled town, built between 14th-16th century; and the newer district.
In 1219 Waldemar II of Denmark established a fortress on the site.
The town gained commercial importance by the turn of the century, and in 1346 was sold by Denmark to the Teutonic Knights.
Tallinn is the best preserved of the old Baltic cities.
The Russians used the city as a naval base for the Baltic fleet, but lost it for a while to the Germans, during World War II.
Also be sure to pick up a free copy of Talinn in Your Pocket; the best free city travel guide that money just can't buy.
The Upper Town (Toompea):
Toompea Castle, Tall Herman (Pikk Hermann), Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Cathedral School, Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin, Estonian Nobility House, Town Mansions of the Nobility, Von Stenbock Residence, Viewing Platforms, Long Leg (Pikk Jalg), Danish King's Garden, Kiek-in-de-Kok and Short Leg (Luhike Jalg).
The Lower Town:
Town Hall, Town Hall Square, Town Hall Pharmacy, Guild Buildings, Church of the Holy Spirit, St. Nicholas's Church, Town Wall and Its Towers, St. Olaf's Church, Dominican Monastery, Great Coast Gate and Fat Margaret.
The Fringes of the Old Town:
Vabaduse Valjak, Viru Valjak and the Rotermann Quarter.
The Eastern Outskirts of Tallinn:
Kadriorg and Pirita.
The National Park of Estonia (Lahemaa) and the Open-Air Museum of Rocca-al-Mare.
Getting to Estonia
The Latvian carrier, airBaltic, operates direct flights from Tallinn to Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, London, Malaga, Munich, Nice, Oslo, Paris, Riga, Salzburg, Stockholm, Vienna, Vilnius.
There's also a wide range of connecting flights available through Riga.
The downtown bus-stop to Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport is located on the street corner next to the Estonian Art University, 100 metres from major department store (Kaubamaja) and 300 metres from Viru Hotel.
The Estonians are ethnically and linguistically close to the Finns, speaking a non-Indo-European Finno-Ugric language.
The City of White Nights
Estonia is a wonderful historical country and White Nights in the summer are only one reason to visit the region..... as if that's not reason enough!
A pleasant coach trip takes you along the northern Estonian coast to the border town of Narva, which has for centuries been the historical gateway between East and West.
Trade routes passed through Narva, a link between the Baltics, Russia, the Mediterranean and even as far as the Orient and until World War II, visitors enjoyed the wonderful Old City.
The architecture, combining local traditions of building and elements typical of the Baroque style, was almost completely destroyed during the war.
The eastern frontier location of Narva is the most distinctive feature that brings together the past and present of the town.
If you Visit Narva, on the Baltic coast, you'll be joining the Saint-Petersburg aristocracy who used Narva-Jõesuu as a relaxing spa resort in the 19th century; dubbing it the Northern Riviera.
Narva-Joesuu is famous for its long sandy beaches and extensive pine forests.
Meresuu Spa Hotel: Aia 48a, Narva-Joesuu.
Opened in 2008, the Meresuu Spa Hotel is a stunning 4-star spa resort set in the beautiful scenery of Northern Estonia.
The Meresuu Spa Hotel has an Aqua centre with seven pools and tubs and a Wellness Centre offering a variety of medicinal treatments.
Known as the summer capital of Estonia, the City of Parnu is located on the shores of the Gulf of Parnu in South-West Estonia, 128km from Tallinn (the capital of Estonia) and 180km from Riga (the capital of Latvia).
Located on the Via Baltica highway (E67), Parnu is just a few hours drive from the international airports in Tallinn and Riga.
Comfortable buses depart regularly from Tallinn and Riga, and Tallinn port receives ship passengers from Helsinki.
Parnu has a small marina for visitors sailing their own yacht, and the local airfield is available for light aircraft.
Estonia Resort Hotel & Spa: Tammsaare 4a, Pärnu.
Opened in July 2015, the Estonia Resort Hotel & Spa is only a 5-minute walk from the sea and 15 minutes from the centre of Parnu. Spa Estonia offers a large spa area with outdoor terrace and a hot tub, different saunas, indoor pools and a pool bar, as well as an Active Spa area which provides a wide range of training styles.
Guests at the Estonia Resort Hotel & Spa can benefit from some thirty different wellness treatments and massages.
Soomaa (Land of Bogs), in south-western Estonia, is a large complex (370 km2) of four extensive bogs, located in the catchment of one of the longest rivers in the country; the Parnu River.
Deep blue lakes hidden between rolling hills and valleys is what makes South Estonia a popular nature getaway destination.
Tartu is the oldest town in the Baltics and the second largest town in Estonia.
Viljandi is situated in South Estonia, 164 km from Tallinn, on Sakala upland in a picturesque place near Lake Viljandi.
The symbol of Viljandi is the ruins of the Order Castle dating from the Middle Ages.
Three trains a day to Tallinn take about three hours.
The buses to and from Tallinn are generally quicker and there are more of them. (Also: To Tartu - 1hr 30mins; To Parnu - 7 a day).
Visitors to Estonia should explore the country's small islands of Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Ruhnu and Prangli.
In summer they are like quiet little paradises where you can enjoy a peaceful holiday in pure nature, away from city stress.
By Kaili Ratsepp.
Touring The Baltic States
Once hidden behind the Iron company, all three countries are now in The European Union.
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