Small but perfectly formed, picturesque Estonia boasts the oldest (and perhaps the most captivating) capital city in Northern Europe, a myriad of islands and swathes of unspoilt forest criss-crossed with miles of hiking trails. Having emerged from its lengthy spell under Soviet rule, Estonia is establishing itself as the most charming of the Baltic states.
Despite its lengthy spell under Russian rule, Estonia has more in common with its Nordic neighbours than its former Soviet master. Distinctly European in feel, this Baltic beauty is clad in forests and fringed with miles of beautiful coastline and thousands of islands. With its red-roofed spires and UNESCO heritage listed Old Town, Tallinn is one of Europe’s most beguiling capital cities. Overlooking the Gulf of Finland with its many islands, this atmospheric city dates back to medieval times, with immaculately preserved merchants’ houses, cobbled streets and guildhalls making up the heart of the Old Town. A laid back, Scandi attitude pervades the city, with its prevalent café culture, annual festive markets and trendy boutiques marking it out as one of Europe’s most beloved capitals. Off the southwest coast of the mainland, the chilly waters of the Baltic are scattered with islands. The most famous are the islands of Saaremaa and Muhu, covered in spruce trees and steeped in history and folklore. Just a short ferry ride from the mainland, these tranquil islands are dotted with fishing villages, windmills and gloriously relaxing spas and are a perfect contrast to the cityscape of Tallinn. Away from the myriad of islands and golden coastline, Estonia’s green credentials are impressive, with over 50% of the country covered in forest, much of which has been designated as national park. Amongst the rolling hills and lakes of the interior, you’ll discover picturesque towns and villages, miles of hiking tracks, breath-taking national parks and atmospheric castles hidden deep in the forests.
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