A growing number of foreign visitors have been travelling to Estonia in recent years. According to Statistics Estonia, 1.3 million foreigners visited Estonia in 2000, and that number climbed 38 percent to 1.8 million foreigners in 2005 and up to 6 million in 2015.
Estonia is a Baltic gem offering visitors the chance to see a tiny dynamic land on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Glorious beaches pepper the extensive coastline, although the swimming season is short. After all, the Baltics are not renowned for warm weather – something that any visitor to Estonia must be aware of; the summer is short and the winter is severe.
Tallinn's medieval old town was built by the Germans in Middle Ages and is in magnificent condition, with the medieval city walls and towers almost completely intact, and it rates as one of Europe's best medieval old towns. Visitors can also experience an ex-Soviet occupied country that is now part of the European Union. Traces of the Soviet era are still there to be seen, e.g. Paldiski, a deserted Soviet army base that was once off-limits to Estonians themselves, can easily be visited on a day trip from the capital, Tallinn. Estonia is renowned for its bucolic islands and extensive bogs that are now national parks with easy access for tourists.
After seven centuries of German, Danish, Swedish, Polish and Russian rule, Estonia attained independence in 1918. Forcibly incorporated into the USSR in 1940, it re-gained independence in 1991 through its "Singing Revolution", a non-violent movement that overthrew an initially violent occupation. Since the last Russian troops left in 1994, Estonia moved to promote economic and political ties with Western Europe. It is now one of the more prosperous former Communist states, enjoying a high-tech environment, an open and liberal economy and a transparent government system. On the other hand, it is faced with a fairly low (but growing) GDP per capita (in a European Union context), as well as a very low birth rate, which is creating a population decline. From 1991 to 2007 the country saw rapid economic expansion, leading it to be among one of the wealthiest and the most developed of the former Soviet Republics. However, its economy was badly damaged during the global recession that started in 2008, although more recently, it has been recovering quickly. In 2011, the euro was adopted as the official currency.
Since accession to the European Union (EU) in 2004, Estonia is becoming one of the most popular destinations in north-eastern Europe with (EU highest) 30% growth in the number of visitors in 2004, according to Eurostat.
Estonia is bigger than the Netherlands or Denmark by area, but is one of the least densely populated countries in the EU, with 1.3 million people. Ethnic Estonians make up 69% of the population, and Russians 26%. The heaviest concentrations of Russians are in the north-east (Ida-Viru County) and Tallinn. Many ethnic Estonians consider themselves Nordic, as they are not Balts, and regard Estonia's classification as a Baltic state as mainly a geographical convenience.
Estonians are the least religious people in the European Union. Fourteen per cent are Lutherans and 13% are Eastern Orthodox (mostly Russian Orthodox, although there is an Estonian Orthodox church).
Estonia itself is divided into 15 counties (or maakonnad, singular - maakond). To bring out the unique characteristics of Estonia, we use 4 distinctive regions in this guide. As the country is small, most destinations can be reached within a couple of hours from Tallinn.
Estonians have a special love for nature, and many will tell you that they would rather sit under a tree in an empty forest or hike in a national park than almost anything else. Estonia's tranquil, laidback and unspoiled Baltic islands provide a splendid getaway to nature.
Estonia is a member of the Schengen Agreement.
Tallinn is Estonia's main international gateway. In addition to direct daily flights to/from all major Scandinavian (Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Oslo) and Baltic cities (Riga and Vilnius), there are direct flights from all major European hubs like London, Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels and Amsterdam and regional hubs like Prague and Warsaw. Eastward connections are from Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Kiev. Estonia's flag carrier Nordica provides half of the services and the rest is provided by Finnair, SAS, Lufthansa, LOT, Aeroflot, Air Baltic, and others. Easyjet is one of a few low-cost carriers that provide regular services to Tallinn. Ryanair operates several summer flights as well.
Close proximity and excellent ferry services with Helsinki allow for combination of open-jaw air travel. Riga is only 2-3 hr bus ride from southern Estonia and may be another good option.
Good road connections are to the south (Via Baltica routing Tallinn-Riga-Kaunas-Warsaw) and east (Tallinn-Saint Petersburg, Tallinn-Pskov). Any car travel to Russia involves unpredictable delays at the border. The Narva/Ivangorod border crossing is notorious for its half-day-long queues, so use the southern crossing in Pechory whenever possible and pay special attention to the ticketing system that books you a place in the queue on the Estonian side.
Lots of good and cheap connections from Riga and Saint Petersburg to Tallinn. Long-distance service from Vilnius, Kaunas, Kaliningrad, and even Warsaw or Kiev is also available. The most popular regular service provider is Luxexpress Group, others include Ecolines and Hansabuss.
Ferry lines connect Tallinn with Sweden (Stockholm) and Finland (Helsinki, Mariehamn). Tallinn-Helsinki is one of the busiest sea routes in Europe and has daily 11 ferry crossings and 6-7 different fast-boat crossings (not during the winter) in each direction. Ferries are operated by Tallink, Viking Line and Eckerö Line and the fast boats by Linda Line. Ferry tickets can be as low as €19 for a single or return (usually the return is free if returning the same day; they want day cruisers who supposedly spend more on board).
Minor international routes include the recently re-established connection between the Latvian port of Ventspils and the island of Saaremaa and Paldiski - Kapellskär (Sweden) with two different operators.
With your own boat or yacht you can visit State Port Register and the Estonian Maritime Administration webpage for Recreational Craft.
International train services Tallinn on the one hand and Moscow and Saint Petersburg in Russia on the other have been suspended several times in the past. Currently the Russian Railways (RZD) runs the connection Moscow-Tallinn (via St. Petersburg) with daily night trains. Trains depart from Moscow at 21.20 and arrive in Tallinn at 13.38. Services from Tallinn depart at 15.20 and arrive in Moscow at 09.32. The widely (and somewhat blatantly) advertised Riga-to-Tallinn train connection is anything but reasonable, because it makes a long detour and takes you nearly a whole day for a simple trip between the neighbouring Baltic capitals. However, local trains from northern Latvia to southern Estonia (connection in Valka/Valga) may be useful.
In Estonia, the public transport system is well-developed and it is preferable to walk, cycle or use public transport, given that the local Eastern European style driving culture may be dangerous for the uninitiated.
Estonia has a comprehensive bus network all over the country. Nearly every city can be accessed by a direct bus from Tallinn. Other big cities have their own bus routes, such as Narva–Pärnu and Tartu–Kuressaare. There is an excellent route planner called Peatus.ee, in English, Estonian and Russian. A simpler timetable search and booking tool is at Bussireisid.ee (note that printouts of electronic tickets may not be accepted: check instructions at the website!) You can also buy tickets from the driver.
Road quality varies. Most roads have only two lanes, but Narva–Tallinn road is a good 4-lane highway. The speed limit is 90 km/h in the countryside and 50 km/h in cities, unless specified otherwise. Passengers are expected to wear seat belts. Lights must always be switched on.
In the central areas of bigger cities, a fee is levied on parking cars, but finding a provider of tickets is sometimes difficult as mobile parking is widespread.
Estonia has lots of car rental companies, and the level of English spoken by their representatives is generally very high. Rental is somewhat cheaper than in Western Europe. There are agency counters on Level 0 of the Tallinn International Airport.
Driving in Estonia is fairly easy, although it may be slightly more annoying than in Western Europe and US. Drivers are generally polite, but they may not strictly follow speed limits and other traffic rules, especially when overtaking. Speeding is not accepted which is reflected in frequent radar controls by the police and stationary speed cameras on major highways. There isn't very much traffic on the Estonian highways compared to Western Europe or for example Poland. Estonian laws against driving under the influence of alcohol are strict and follow a policy of zero tolerance. Beware of drunk pedestrians, though. They are not uncommon.
Estonia has several domestic flights, mainly between the mainland and islands. Avies operates regular services between Tallinn and Kuressaare or Kärdla. Luftverkehr Friesland-Harle flies from Pärnu to Ruhnu and further to Kuressaare.
Estonia's train network does not cover the whole country. The quality of railway tracks and services is steadily improving, thanks to substantial EU funding. Recently the old Soviet diesel machines have been replaced with newer trains.
Since 2014 all domestic passenger rail operations have been taken over by Elron. Tickets are sold on board. You can also buy them online, at major stations, or in one of the rare ticket machines, but this makes sense mostly for 1st class tickets that are limited in number and may be sold out. All ticket prices are discounted -10% when purchased from the Internet.
The international bicycle project BaltiCCycle may provide you with a lot of information and help.
Hitchhiking in Estonia is generally good. The Baltic countries have a strong hitchhiking culture.
The official language is Estonian, which is linguistically very closely related to Finnish, and thus unrelated to other neighbouring languages and to English. Many in urban areas (especially younger people) speak English well. According to the Eurobarometer poll of 2005, 66% of Estonians can speak some Russian, however fewer and fewer young Estonians can or have the will to speak Russian. This does not include native-language speakers. Russian is often described as Estonia's unofficial second language and 50% of Tallinn natives speak Russian as their native language. Finnish is also spoken quite well by many people in Tallinn, thanks to heavy tourism and TV broadcasts from the other side of the gulf. German is taught at school in Estonia and a large number of people can speak some (22% according to Eurobarometer).
It might be tempting to practise your Russian as around 25% of Estonia's population is Russian speaking. However, a foreigner starting a conversation in Russian is seen as extremely rude by native Estonian speakers. Always try to start conversation in any language other than Russian and then you might ask whether the other person speaks Russian. After first greetings, Estonians may be willing to interact in Russian with a tourist, but many are reluctant to converse in Russian with a local Russian. In Tallinn and north-east Estonia there is actually quite a big chance that you will meet a native Russian speaker, for example as a barman or a bank teller.
There is a large Slavic minority, particularly Russians and Ukrainians (some 25%).
The Old Town of Tallinn is the most intact and best protected medieval city in Europe, and is Estonia's première attraction. Its unique value is its well-preserved (intact) medieval milieu and structure, which has been lost in most of the capitals of northern Europe. Since 1997, the Old Town has been on UNESCO's World Heritage list.
Living under the rule of Scandinavian kings, Russian empire and Teutonic Knights has left Estonia with unique and rich blend of historic landmarks. Over one thousand manors were built across Estonia from the 13th century onwards. Some of the manors have perished or fallen into ruins but a lot have been reconstructed and are favourite attractions with tourists. There are about 200 manor houses under state protection as architectural monuments and 100 in active use.
Estonia has over 1,500 islands. The nature is essentially untouched and offers quite a different beach experience with their remoter rustic feel. Most of the public beaches are sandy and the average water temperature is 18°C in summer. Inland waters and some shallow bays' waters are even warmer.
The largest island is Saaremaa with an intact and well-restored medieval castle in its only city, Kuressaare. Stone fences, thatched roofs, working windmills and home-made beer are all distinctive to Saaremaa. Hiiumaa, on the other hand, is well known for its lighthouses, unspoilt nature, the Hill of Crosses and the sense of humour of its inhabitants. Both islands have an airport and so can be quickly reached from Tallinn.
Other important islands include Kihnu, Ruhnu (with its "singing sand" beach), Muhu and Vormsi, each with its own unique characteristics. Most of the other tiny Estonian islands don't carry much cultural significance, but can be appealing for bird watching, canoeing, sailing or fishing etc.
In July and August, Pärnu, Estonia's summer capital, is the main attraction. The coastline itself has loads of untouched beaches and a tour from Narva-Jõesuu (in the east) towards Tallinn is great for exploring the coastline. Some of the well known places include Toila, Võsu, Käsmu and Kaberneeme.
Tickets for events can be bought online via Piletilevi.ee or the lately established Ticketpro.ee.
There's quite a good list of various events in Estonia at Visitestonia.com.
Self-guided tours are a good way to discover Estonia by yourself. For more information please visit the interactive maps sections on the official tourism website.
Estonia uses the euro. It is one of several European countries that uses this common currency. All euro banknotes and coins are legal tender within all the countries.
One euro is divided into 100 cents.
The official symbol for the euro is €, and its ISO code is EUR. There is no official symbol for the cent.
The Estonian kroon (EEK) ceased to be legal tender on 15 Jan 2011, but any kroons you have left over can be changed into euro at the Bank of Estonia at a fixed rate of 15.6466 kroon to €1.
ATMs and currency exchange offices (valuutavahetus) are widely available. You will get the best rates by exchanging only after arrival in Estonia. Avoid changing money in the airport or port as the rates are lower.
Tipping has been common in Estonia only after the restoration of independence, and therefore isn't always requested. A 10% tip is usually added to the price in restaurants and taxi drivers often keep the change. Some restaurants and pubs have a jar or box on the counter labelled 'Tip' on it, where customers can put their change.
Estonia is generally cheaper than Western Europe, but it is no longer the bargain basement it used to be in 1990s; and in touristy areas (say Tallinn's Old Town), prices may be at Scandinavian levels.
In July 2012 bottle of local beer (0.5L) costs around €1 in shops and €2.5-3.5 in a modest pub.
Estonian food draws heavily from German and Nordic cuisine. The closest thing to a national dish is verivorst, black pudding, served with mulgikapsad, which is basically sauerkraut stew.
Many types of food are similar to Russian dishes and have their equivalents almost exclusively in the former USSR, such as hapukoor, smetana in Russian, a sour 20%-fat milk dressing for salads, especially "kartulisalat" or "potato salad".
As Estonia used to be a food mass-production powerhouse in the times of the USSR, some of its foods, unknown to Westerners, are still well-recognized in the lands of the CIS. This is also true the other way around; in Estonian grocery stores products from countries of the former Soviet Union like Georgian mineral water are widely available.
Among other everyday food, some game products are offered in food stores in Estonia, mostly wild boar, elk sausages and deer grill. Some restaurants also offer bear meat.
For those with a sweet tooth, the national chocolate manufacturer is "Kalev", with many specialist stores around the country as well as supermarkets retailing the product.
The more adventurous may want to try "kohuke", a flavoured milk-curd sweet covered with chocolate and available at every supermarket.
Like their neighbours the Russians, the Estonians know their alcohol. Favorite tipples include the local beer Saku, or A. Le Coq, the local vodka brands Viru Valge (Vironian White) and Saaremaa Vodka and the surprisingly smooth and tasty rum-like herbal liquor Vana Tallinn (Old Tallinn), famous in the countries of former USSR.
A local soft drink is "Kali" (the Estonian equivalent of "kvass"), made from fermented brown bread. It can be described as an acquired taste.
Many locals also swear by "keefir", a fermented milk concoction.
The number of hotels has exploded from a few to tens and hundreds after the reestablishment of Estonian independence. In 2004, Tallinn achieved first place among the Baltic Sea cities in the number of overnight stays in hotels, though still behind Stockholm and Helsinki in the number of total overnight stays.
As Soviet collective farms were disbanded, many farmers switched to running "turismitalud," or tourism farms, which are inexpensive and indispensable places for spending holidays in the nature, usually in a former farm house. A site on Estonian Rural Tourism provides information on the tourism farms in Estonia. Hostels are an another popular option for budget-sensitive travellers; see the website of the Estonian Youth Hostel Association.
Estonia has a fair amount of foreign students studying in its universities, especially from Nordic countries, as Estonian diplomas are recognized throughout the EU. See the articles for university town Tartu and capital Tallinn for details.
No obstacles exist to citizens of EU countries to come to invest and work in Estonia. Citizens of developed non-EU countries are exempt from short-term tourist visas. Swedes and Finns have by far the largest working community of post-Soviet foreigners in Estonia. Estonia may have had rocket-like growth in recent years, but only from a very low base as a former Soviet republic, and according to The Baltic Guide magazine the average local monthly salary is around €930 as of late 2013.
Education is highly valued in Estonia because as a small nation with no exceptional natural resources, they believe that the only way to be competitive is to absorb knowledge. There are so many highly educated people in Estonia that it has become a problem for the labour market - there just aren't enough workers for jobs that require minimal education.
Considerable investments and some workers are constantly coming from CIS countries, though significant legal restrictions are imposed.
Citizenship and Migration Board is the authority responsible for dealing with the paperwork.
CV Keskus.ee is the most popular job portal in Estonia that holds the biggest number of job ads.
CV Online is one of the oldest Estonian recruitment and HR services operating in 9 countries (as of 2005).
The published crime rate increased dramatically in 1991-1994 after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. However, the murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants has dropped continuously and according to an UN study from 2012 it's now on par with that of the United States.
Today, the official sources claim that the country has achieved a considerable reduction in crime in the recent years. According to Overseas Security Advisory Council crime rate in 2007 was quite comparable to the other European states including Scandinavia. Criminal activities are distributed unevenly across the territory with almost no crime in the island areas and a considerable rate of drug dealing in the predominantly Russian-speaking industrial area of North-East. In Tallinn, petty crime is a problem and there are some incidents involving tourists, mainly pickpocketing (especially in the markets). Tallinn Old City and other main tourist attractions are closely watched by local police and private security companies.
Many Estonians drive carelessly, with about 80-110 people killed and 1,300 people injured per year. Number of deaths in traffic related accidents per 100,000 people are similar to South-European countries like Portugal or Italy. Estonia has strict drink-driving laws with a policy of zero tolerance, but accidents involving intoxicated drivers are nevertheless a major problem. Estonian traffic laws requires headlight use at all times while driving and use of a seat belts by all passengers is mandatory.
Recently, Estonia enforced a new law requiring pedestrians to wear small reflectors, which people generally pin to their coats or handbags. Although this law is rarely enforced in cities, reflectors are very important in rural areas where it may be difficult for motorists to see pedestrians, especially in winter months. Violators of this law may be subject to a fine of around €30-50, or a higher fine up to around €400-500 if the pedestrian is under the influence of alcohol. Reflectors are inexpensive and you should be able to find them at many supermarkets, kiosks, and other shops.
The police are very effective and they are not corrupt.
The main advice to anyone worried about personal security is to stay reasonably sober despite tempting alcohol prices. When driving, make sure you have had absolutely no alcohol beforehand.
For police, dial 110; for other emergencies like fires and the like, call 112.
It has been mentioned that ordinary Estonians are unlikely to approach a complete stranger or a tourist on their own. If somebody suddenly turns to you in the street (with questions or matters of small business) keeping a cautious eye on your belongings would be wise.
Open homosexuality may be met with stares, although violence is very unlikely.
For an Estonian, it is considered "mauvais ton" not to criticize the Estonian healthcare system. Recent EU studies showed, however, that Estonia occupies a healthy 4th place in the block by the basic public health service indicators, on the same level as Sweden. In fact, around 1998-2000, the Estonian healthcare system was remodelled from the obsolete USSR model, directed to coping with disastrous consequences of large-scale war and made more up-to-date by the experts from Sweden. Estonia has harmonized its rules on travellers' health insurance with EU requirements. Information about health care in Estonia is provided by the government agency Eesti Haigekassa.
For fast aid or rescue, dial 112.
Estonia has Europe's second highest rate of adult HIV/AIDS infections, currently over 1.3% or 1 in 77 adults. Generally, the rate is much higher in Russian-speaking regions like Narva or Sillamäe. Don't make the situation worse by not protecting yourself and others.
Ticks spread diseases like viral encephalitis and Lyme disease, which can be transmitted to humans, their season usually starts in April and lasts till October.
Beware of poisonous plants like Sosnowsky's Hogweed and Giant Hogweed. Wear protective clothes and goggles. If burned, clean your skin with water and soap and protect it from the sun for at least 48 hours.
Estonians in general, when meeting a stranger, are remarkably reserved to start with. Don't expect them to deliver too many social niceties or small talk; they only say what's seasonable. Once you have broken the ice, you will find them open and candid.
Estonians tend to keep their physical distance. If there is a "long time - no see" situation, then a hug may be suitable.
Do not raise your voice in a conversation. A decent, quiet conversation is the Estonian way of doing business and is much appreciated.
Estonians are usually very proud of their nation and their country. As a small nation they have managed to gain independence and survived all the rough times that centuries filled with wars have served up to them.
Contemporary history may be a sensitive subject. Any positive talk about the USSR (or today's Russia) around Estonians will be anything but a good idea although they will tell you all about it if you only ask.
25% of the population of Estonia are ethnic Russians, and even more people understand at least some Russian. Still some people suggest not starting conversations in Russian with strangers, as this may be seen as rude by some Estonians. See the Talk section for more info.
Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher
Lonely Planet Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Soak up history in Estonia's Old Towns, enjoy a midsummer bonfire and beer in Lithuania and take a traditional sauna and spa in Latvia; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania and begin your journey now!Tallinn, Lahemaa National Park, Rakvere, Narva, Tartu, Valga, Muhu, Saaremaa, Helsinki, Latvia, R?ga, Kurzeme, J?rmala, Kemeri National Park, Talsi, Lithuania, Vilnius, Paneriai, Trakai, Kalingrad and more
Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet.
About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travellers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.
TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards winner in Favorite Travel Guide category for 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photography, and illustrations of any guide.
Make your trip to the Baltic States an unforgettable cultural experience with our DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. From top restaurants, bars, and clubs to stand-out scenic sites and walks, our insider tips are sure to make your trip outstanding. Whether you're looking for unique and interesting shops and markets, or seeking the best venues for music and nightlife, we have entertainment and hotel recommendations for every budget covered in our Eyewitness Travel Guide.
With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania truly shows you this region as no one else can.
You can count on Rick Steves to tell you what you really need to know when traveling in St. Petersburg, Helsinki, and Tallinn.In this compact guide, Rick Steves covers the essential spots of each city, including the Hermitage, the Church of the Spilled Blood, Linnanmäki (a classic amusement park), and Toompea Castle. Take a day trip to the Peterhof, stroll through Kaivopuisto Park, or visit the Kumu Art Museum. You'll get Rick's firsthand advice on the best sights, eating, sleeping, and nightlife, and the maps and self-guided tours will ensure you make the most of your experience. More than just reviews and directions, a Rick Steves Snapshot guide is a tour guide in your pocket.Rick Steves' Snapshot guides consist of excerpted chapters from Rick Steves' European country guidebooks. Snapshot guides are a great choice for travelers visiting a specific city or region, rather than multiple European destinations. These slim guides offer all of Rick's up-to-date advice on what sights are worth your time and money. They include good-value hotel and restaurant recommendations, with no introductory information (such as overall trip planning, when to go, and travel practicalities).
A resurfacing writer hits the sauna, bares it all, and learns the true meaning of saga. In her latest work, award-winning author Bonnie J. Rough separates from her family for a surprising journey into the difficult past and precarious present of Estonia, the former Soviet state of her heritage. Embarking on a journey to learn the fate of her great-great-grandmother Anna, she encounters World War II ghosts, Vikings, crones, recycled meat, a seven-ton prehistoric bull, gray hairs, and the ultimate librarian, but finds no bully bigger than Putin—or is it her own self-doubt?—in an adventure that delivers surprising lessons from her foremothers about happiness, autonomy, women’s legacies and the writer’s life. From the ladies’ locker room to the edges of Russia, The Girls, Alone is a swift ride that brings its readers to the most unexpected places and triumphantly answers its own high stakes.Bonnie J. Rough is the author of the Minnesota Book Award-winning memoir Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA. Her essays have appeared in dozens of publications including The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Sun magazine, and Brain, Child, as well as anthologies including The Best American Science and Nature Writing, Modern Love, and The Best Creative Nonfiction. With past lives in Minneapolis and Amsterdam, she now lives and writes in her hometown of Seattle.Cover design by Hannah Perrine Mode.
The year is 1992. The smallest of the former Soviet republics has recently regained its freedom following a half-century of repressive occupation. Estonia is back on the map. So what happens now? This evocative memoir vividly captures the frantic yet optimistic spirit of an extraordinary moment in time, providing a detailed and moving account of daily life in a country undergoing dramatic change just a year after the collapse of the Soviet empire. In these pages you'll become immersed in this tumultuous period and come to know a remarkable succession of real people--Estonians and Russians, students and teachers, capitalists and Communists--as they struggle to rebuild their lives and make ends meet in a collapsing economy while working to reinvent their battered nation. The author, recruited to teach at the first private business school to be established in the former Soviet Union, candidly recounts experiences that are by turns grim, hilarious, and poignant.
Some people have said this book is romantic and maybe it is: a young lost American college grad falls in love with an intriguing European journalist and embarks on a journey that restores his faith in himself and the world. Sure, it is romantic. But it was never easy. A foreigner arrives in the middle of a dark winter and must survive in Estonia, the "least fortunate Scandinavian country," a land where people eat blood sausage and jellied meat, drink warm bread, and are always on time; a place where every family is haunted by the past and is struggling to catch up to the present. Over the course of one year, so much happens in this tiny northern land that it stops being foreign. Estonia and the college grad turned journalist become intimately acquianted. Inseparable. And in the end, he comes to love it, even when they do not want to let him back into their country.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photography, and illustrations of any guide.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Tallinn is your pocket guide to the very best of the capital of Estonia.
Take a day trip to Tallinn's great shops and markets or make an exciting excursion out of seeking out the city's best restaurants and cafes. Enjoy the best of Tallinn's beautiful churches and buildings, must-see museums and galleries, and liveliest bars and pubs. Experience Estonia's colorful festivals — events that make fun activities for children as well as adults. Our Top 10 Travel Guide to Tallinn includes insider tips, day trip ideas, and the best hotels for every budget.
Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Tallinn
True to its name, this Top 10 guidebook covers all major sights and attractions in easy-to-use "top 10" lists that help you plan the vacation that's right for you."Don't miss" destination highlights Things to do and places to eat, drink, and shop by area Free, color pull-out map (print edition), plus maps and photographs throughout Walking tours and day-trip itineraries Traveler tips and recommendations Local drink and dining specialties to try Museums, festivals, outdoor activities Creative and quirky best-of lists and more
The perfect pocket-size travel companion: DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Tallinn
Recommended: For an in-depth guidebook to the country of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, check out DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania, which offers the most complete cultural coverage of Tallinn and Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania; trip-planning itineraries by length of stay; 3-D cross-section illustrations of major sights and attractions; thousands of photographs, illustrations, and maps; and more.
Fully updated for 2017... and now with ZOOM system for even better orientation! Marco Polo maps feature completely up-to-date, digitally generated mapping. The high quality cartography with distance indicators and scale converters aid route planning.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
Violent crime occurs, but foreigners are not usually targeted. Petty crime (pickpocketing, purse snatching and mugging) also occurs, particularly in Tallinn’s Old Town during the summer tourist season. Thieves often work in small groups and target tourists in airports, train stations and other public areas. Avoid parks, poorly lit streets and certain areas of Tallinn after dark, including Kopli, Lasnamäe and Kadriorg.
Theft of vehicles or their contents is common. Keep vehicles locked and in guarded parking lots overnight.
Road travel can be hazardous because of aggressive drivers, disregarded traffic laws, poorly lit country roads and wandering animals. Driving can be especially dangerous in winter, as roads are icy and snow covered.
Demonstrations are rare but should be avoided, as all demonstrations and large gatherings can suddenly turn violent. Follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Use only officially marked taxis and make sure that the taxi meter is in use and that prices are posted.
City buses are reliable but often crowded. Rail service is usually good but is limited to local connections around the main cities in Estonia.
Bus, plane and ferry services to neighbouring countries operate frequently. Relatively good highways connect Estonia with Latvia and Russia.
Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Credit card and debit card fraud occurs. Pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others during payment processing.
Internet frauds such as dating and financial scams occur.
See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.
Exercise normal security precautions. Do not show signs of affluence. Ensure that personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.
Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral disease that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread to humans by the bite of an infected tick. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to tick bites (e.g., those spending time outdoors in wooded areas) while travelling in regions with risk of tick-borne encephalitis.
Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Eastern Europe, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Eastern Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in Eastern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences or heavy fines.
An International Driving Permit and a Canadian driver’s licence are required.
Foreign motor vehicles are subject to strict regulations. Drivers should always carry original registration documents. Police checkpoints are routinely set up on major roads; drivers should pull over when asked.
Penalties for drinking and driving are strict. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.01 percent.
The use of cellular telephones while driving is prohibited, unless they are fitted with a hands-free device.
Headlights must be on at all times. Vehicles must be equipped with winter tires from December 1 to March 1. Alternatively, studded tires can be used from October 1 to May 1. These dates are subject to change.
In the event of an accident, motorists must contact police to file an official report.
Carry adequate identification at all times. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case of loss or seizure.
The currency of Estonia is the euro (EUR).
Foreign currency is easily exchanged. Some banks accept Canadian dollar traveller’s cheques. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are widely available, and credit cards are widely accepted in urban areas as well as by larger establishments in remote locations.
When crossing one of the external border control points of the European Union (EU), you must make a declaration to customs upon entry or exit if you have at least €10,000, or the equivalent in other currencies. The sum can be in cash, cheques, money orders, traveller’s cheques or any other convertible assets. This does not apply if you are travelling within the EU or in transit to a non-EU country. For more information on the EU legislation and links to EU countries’ sites, visit the web page of the European Commission on cash controls.
Heavy flooding can occur in spring.