Estonia is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia, and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia. Across the Baltic Sea lies Sweden in the west and Finland in the north. Fast facts: Area: 45,336 sq km European Union membership: since 2004 Currency: Euro € (check conversion rates) Weather and climate: The average summer temperature is 16-20 C, in winter, the rain turns to snow and the temperature drops below zero. Cool facts:
- Estonia connects the dots between Scandinavia, Central Europe and what lies to the east. You can fly, sail, ride or drive to Estonia from anywhere in Europe. Located in northeastern Europe, this small coastal country is a short ferry trip away from Finland and Sweden, a coach ride away from such European capitals as Warsaw and Berlin, and an overnight train from Saint Petersburg will land you at the heart of Tallinn.
- Estonia’s capital Tallinn is the best preserved medieval city in Northern Europe. Estonia’s UNESCO world heritage capital city Tallinn was granted city rights in the 13th century by the King of Denmark. Since then, the streets of Tallinn have seen many world powers, from the Danes and Swedes to Germans, and tsarist and Soviet Russia. Tallinn Old Town is filled with medieval houses and alleyways and is still protected by the remnants of the city wall. The wealth of architecture in Tallinn means that there are many legends and stories to explore.
- Estonia speaks Estonian…as well as English, Russian, Finnish and German. Estonians tend to be at least bilingual, and according to recent studies, are among the best English speakers in Europe. Many visitors tend to think that Estonians speak elvish. This magical sounding language is in fact Estonian, belonging to the Finno Ugric branch of European languages.
- Estonia is about 50% forest. Estonians love their forests, bogs and all the creatures that live there such as lynxes, brown bears, wolves, foxes, rabbits and deers. It’s right to say that Estonians come with a tree hugging trait.
- Estonia has a population of just 1.3 million but is larger than Denmark and Holland. Being among the least densely populated countries in Europe, Estonia makes for a great nature and city break destination for those looking to stretch out their limbs and enjoy some peace and solitude.
- Estonia has over 2000 islands. Estonia is the only Baltic country with far-stretching and deep rooted island culture. Although mostly uninhabited, Estonian islands tend to be rural, with some holding traces of local Viking and medieval culture.
- Estonian Song Celebration dates back to 1869, attracting thousands of singers in every 5 years. Estonian Song and Dance Celebration is the local signature event and a reason why Estonians are often referred to as the “singing nation”. The uniqueness of this mesmerising event has even earned the song and dance celebration a place at UNESCO’s prestigious list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
- Estonia is one of the least religious countries in the world. While Estonia has a great range of historical churches, only over a quarter of the population are affiliated with a particular religion, with Lutheranism being most prevalent among Estonians in particular.
- Estonia is a digital society. From voting to signing documents online, Estonia implements hassle free and modern approach to running one’s errands. This means less bureaucracy, while adding more transparency and efficiency in some vital sectors such as healthcare and education.