If you’re off to Estonia in the summer, then you will need a useful guide. Hi, I’m Ian, and I will talk you through my list of things to do. Estonia is an up-and-coming country with a Soviet & Nordic past, so if you like history, then Estonia is right for you.
Estonia may not be the first place you think of going for a summer holiday, but you have an array of national parks, beaches, and 2222 islands of the coast. Estonia’s Location is just below Finland east to Sweden, West of Russia, and North to Latvia, giving Estonia many cultural influences from the Vikings to the Soviet Union.
Cities in the west are overpopulated and can feel like a never-ending giant rat race. For example, London is saturated with tourism in the summer, making it worse. On the other hand, Estonia is relaxed and less of a tourist honey pot (Which I love). The capital Tallinn is like an old medieval town with fantastic architecture that gives Estonia cultural identity. Flip it over to 2021. You have modern office buildings and state-of-the-art tramways. The city never feels too busy, making it accessible and convenient to get around.
Another reason to choose Estonia in the summer is outside urban life you have lovely countryside, some of the best in Europe with 30% of the country having bogs and beautiful woodland. Estonia can be compared to a similar natural landscape like Norway or Canada.
Estonia does fly under the radar and is a real gem of a country you will see!a
Looking To Fly to Estonia?
If you are interested in flight prices, here are your average costs from the UK, America, and Australia.
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If you’re thinking of visiting Estonia, then make sure you check out my city, beach, and national park guide below.
This city keeps getting better and better, and well worth visiting with old gothic buildings, cobbled roads, and alleys, making this city picturesque.
Tallinn hasn’t attracted mass tourism yet. It’s better for this as London and Paris become not as charming with busy crowds of tourists spoiling the cities vibe, which gives the cities an artificial feeling with less adventure.
Tallinn drags you in like a magnet with an authentic harmonious culture that stays in your memories long after your trip.
The Viru gates are apart of the 14th-century defense system and still looks pristine today. Though part of the gate has been demolished, the tower still stands. The entrance is now home to market stalls selling authentic, woolen goods to roasted nuts at restaurants nearby.
Kohtuotsa Viewing Platform
If your after a great view, then this is the spot for a social media selfie. The area is called Toompea Hill and overlooks the pristine harbor with impressive bell towers and unique ceramic roof tiles. This area has local musicians providing light entertainment while you’re checking out beautiful views.
Tallinn Old Town
The Old Town is a unique old construct of Estonian architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Is quite a variety of things to do here, but the scenery is amazing with narrow alleys and old Estonian architecture.
While exploring, you will eventually reach the town hall square, and in the summer Tallin Town Hall is open and worth checking out (The town Hall is closed in the Winter). While you’re in the area, you have to go III Draakon restaurant, which serves beautiful soups and eastern European cuisine (Opening Hours 11 am-10 pm, Tel: +372 627 9020, Menu)
Explore the City Walls
Not too far from the Viru gate, you can climb the city walls, which span 200 meters and show incredible views of Tallinn. Along the wall, you will find two towers that give you a propped view. You need to be careful with the stairs, they are over 100 years old and steep.
There is an exhibition in one of the towers showing photos of life back 100 years ago compared to images from today. You will find that the city has changed in many areas but not changed in others, which is excellent!
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
In the same area as Toompea Hill, you have The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, which is a bit more modern than the medieval town. It was constructed 120 years ago, and its a Russian Orthodox Church with black domes that tower above Tallin.
If you want to enter the Cathedral, you should first check service times and be wary the church is still in active use. There is no entry fee for the Cathedral.
Visit Tallinns Oldest Café (Maiasmokk Café)
The first cafe built-in Estonia and was launched in 1864, and the décor hasn’t changed in over 100 years.
The signature sweet for this cafe is marzipan; there is even a marzipan museum to browse at. The ambiance is lovely to sit down and have a quick coffee and pastry that tastes amazing.
If you’re after a cooked meal, then head upstairs to the restaurant.
(Address: Pikk 16, 10123 Tallinn, Estonia- Hours 9am to 9pm- Phone: +372 646 406
Noora Archive Museum
The modern national archive museum of Estonia and has been in service since 2017. It contains a lot of artifacts from Estonian history, which are fascinating. The museum cleverly tells you a Storey In your journey inside, giving it a unique feel.
The building itself is a cool design and a labyrinth with twists and turns, which keeps you exploring more. The easiest way to explain the structure is its a mimic of a brain.
Location: Address: 3 Nooruse, Tartu, Estonia, Website
A great place to start your visit is the city center, Raekoja square (Translates “Town Hall Square”) the court is the city’s jewel with curved-shaped shops and the Emajõgi River flowing past the town hall.
Around the square, you’ll find classical buildings that make Tartu unique. This surprises a lot of tourists, making the experience even better. In the city Center, you will find the kissing students fountain, an emblem of the city. The statues have been around since 1948, and in the summer, you have concerts and events.
Tartu The Soup Town
This side of Tartu features an area named after types of soups. This area is commonly known as the soup town, and it’s one of the oldest parts of Tartu. Soup Town was built for student accommodation in the 70’s, and not much has changed. Today the area is getting developed and is becoming more vibrant. Take a look!
Looking for food?
Fii Restaurant (European Scandinavian food) Great service and delicious food!
Address: Ringtee 75 Lõunakeskus, second floor of hotel Sophia, Tartu 50407 Estonia Phone: +372 5885 5200 Opening Hours 12:00pm-10:00pm
How to get to Tartu?
If you’re traveling to Tartu from Tallinn airport, there are some express buses. If you wish to get a bus you need to book your ticket in advance. Journey Time 2hrs-15mins- Timetable
Tartu does also have an airport, which is also international if you want to fly direct? Flights are limited due to covid though.
Tallin train Station you can get regular trains – To book click here
Tallin Bus Station – Click here to book
The Cities summer capital with a beach, bars, restaurants, and beautiful architecture. Parnu also has an airport.
If you’re heading to Estonia this summer, then Parnu is a must! The beach has plenty of things to do for families with gorgeous clean white sand, playgrounds, benches, and toilets. The beach has a walkway, which is very accessible for wheelchairs and prams.
Right in the town center, you have the beautiful Haapsalu Castle with the most significant single-nave churches in the Baltics. The alleyways are dark and medieval, with wooden frames that send you back in time. The church in the center is 38 meters high, which gives you a great view of the area.
You also need to be careful that you don’t bump into the white lady. She was a maiden who was captured and died of starvation and now supposley a ghost. This Castle is charming and well worth a visit. Make sure it’s on your travel plan.
Escape From Prison ( Fun Activity)
If you ever wondered how to escape from prison, this is your place. The prison has a wealth of activities and 5-star reviews from customers.
Groups tend to be of all ages, and everyone enjoys their escape. The time can be lengthy, over two hours, but the escape room is perfect, and the guards are realistic.
Address: Sillutise 1, Parnu 80013, Estonia Phone: +372 5552 8376
Looking for food?
Aleksandri Pub (European pub food)
Address: Vana-Raeaema 8, Parnu 80036 Estonia Phone: +372 443 2160 Opening Hours: 11:30am-12:00am- Fri-Sat Open to 2:00am
How to get to Parnu?
Theirs a shuttle bus that runs directly from Tallinn airport – To book click here Journey time approx. 1hr 47mins
Parnu does have an international airport but is being rebuilt until summer 2021
Tallinn train station to Parnu- Book here for tickets
Tallinn bus station to Parnu- Book here for tickets
Right near the Russian border is a charming city with 70,000 people. Narva has lots of historical architecture with a fascinating history.
This Castle is the main touristy thing to do in Narva and overlooks Ivangorod Fortress (Russia) just over the River. The Castle was originally built by the Danish in 1256 and upgraded in the 1400’s. To a more robust stone structure.
If you’re looking for a nice view to take pictures, the top of the Castle is 51 meters high and looks over the complex. The museum in the Castle goes over the history of Narva and the building. The museum also hosts art exhibitions.
Address: Peterburi maantee 2, 20308 Narva,Estonia Phone: +372 359 9230 Opening Hours: 10:00am-18:00pm Mon-Sun
Narva River Promenade
If you have a spare 30 minutes, then Narva promenade is worth a stroll with family activities, bars and restaurants.
You get a tranquil feeling with locals fishing down the River with beautiful Narva castle in the distance. Photographers use the Promenade to take beautiful stock photos for their Instagram.
Impressive Castle that’s been around for centuries with good quality content and pictures explaining the building’s history.
The Castle at night is charming, so definitely take some pictures when its lit up.
Tours are €16 euros
Address: Peterburi mnt 2, Narva 20308 Estonia Phone: +372 359 9230 Website- Click here
Looking For Food?
Kohvik Muna ( International, Barbecue)
Address: Raekoja plats 2, Narva 20307 Estonia Phone: +372 5332 1329 Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:00-17:00 Fri-Sat 11:00-21:00
How to get to Narva?
If your traveling from Tallinn airport, you can book the shuttle bus from here. Journey time on average is 4hrs
There is no airport
Tallin Train Station- book tickets here
Tallin Bus Station- book tickets here
A small coastal town on the west side of Estonia with narrow alleyways and wooden houses built in the early 20th century. The population is only 9,000, so its not a big town but has tremendous Beauty and history.
This beautiful Castle was built in the 13th century, with local authorities resident until the 17th century. One of the key features is a ghost called the white lady AKA the “Eternal lover,” which still haunts the Castle til this day. At present, the Castle museum gives you a history lesson on how the Castle was used day to day and what weaponry was mounted. The Castle has beautiful scenery from the surrounding area. I recommend you pay a visit.
Africa Beach and Promenade
This beachfront promenade is a real diamond and is kept in pristine condition. The boardwalk pushes out to sea, leaving you with spectacular views of the Baltic. You have other activities like the sundial. The beach is beautiful and great for relaxing, named after the composer Tchaikovsky. The promenade was named the African beach after an old café near the Promenade.
Looking For Food?
Wiigi Kohvik ( Seafood and Vegetarian)
Address: Suur-Lossi 25, Haapsalu 90502 Estonia: Phone +372 473 3112: Opening Hours: Mon – Thurs 11:30am-20:00pm Fri 11:30am- 10:00pm Sat 12:00pm – 10:00pm Sun 12:00pm-8:00pm
How to get to Haapsalu
If your traveling from Tallinn airport, you can book the shuttle bus from here. Journey time on average is 1hr-15mns
There s no airport
Tallinn train station- book tickets here
Tallinn bus station- book tickets here
One of Estonia’s most prominent beaches (7.5Km in length) looking over the Gulf of Finland. The beach is well-organized with coast guards, a volleyball court, playground activities for children, and showers.
The beach itself is covered in white sand with a pine forest nearby. The beach has its own identity and stands out from other shores.
If you’re looking for the beach, look for the road next to the Narva-Jõesuu Spa. Most of the car parks are pay and display. Also, hotels, bars, and shops are nearby if you need them?
Looking For Food?
Meretare ( Seafood and central European)
Address: Supeluse 1, Narva-Joesuu 29021 Estonia: Phone: +372 357 5101: Openng Hours: Mon-Thurs 12:00pm-10:00pm Fri 12:00pm-02:00am Sat 11:00am-02:00am Sun: 11:00am-10:00pm
Noorus Spa Hotel 4* with an excellent spa- click here for review
How To Get To Narva-Jõesuu
You can get to Narva-Joesuu from Tallinn here. Journey time is 2hrs-30min by bus
One of Estonia’s best beaches is right next to the town Parnu and just a short walk to the city center. Thousands visit in the summer to soak up the sun and swim in the warm shallow water. The beach has many activities (mainly for children), bike parks, surfboard rentals, miniature golf, and ice cream and snacks.
Looking For Food?
Kohvik Supelsaksad (European Cusine)
Address: Nikolai 32, Parnu 80014 Estonia: Phone: +372 442 2448: Openng Times: Mon-Thurs 11:30am-10:00pm-Fri 11:30am-11:00pm-Sat 09:00-11:00pm-Sun 09:00am-10:00pm
Boutique Hotel Rosenplänter-Click here for review
Lake Tamula Beach
Lake Tamula is not a beach but still lovely and tranquil. The Lake is well looked after, with various football & volleyball activities with most people sunbathing.
You can rent boats to go up the Lake. Lifeguards do watch over you during swimming or sailing. The promenade starts at a hotel and runs along a bridge nearby. Along the way, you have public seating areas and swings for kids. You can observe wildlife like ducks and Swans in the distance, which adds to Lake Tamura’s Beauty.
Looking For Food?
Ränduri pubi külalistemaja ( Central European Food)
Address: Jüri 36, Võru, 65609 Võru maakond, Estonia: Phone: +372 786 8050: Openng Times Mon-Sun 8:00am-22:00pm
Kubija Hotel and NatureSpa- Click here for a review
This beach has some of the warmest temperatures in Estonia.
The beach is fully equipped with showers, toilets, a campsite, hotel and spa, children’s playground, and a volleyball court.
The actual season starts from the 1st of June to the 31st of August. At this time of year, you have lifeguards available from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. Please make sure you know the colors of the flags for your safety. Green equals right swimming conditions, yellow dangerous for an infant, and red is hazardous for everyone with water under 16 Celsius
Looking For Food?
Taksi Pubi (European Pub Food)
Address: Posti 29, Haapsalu Estonia: Phone: +372 504 7428: Opening times Mon-Thurs 12:00am-10:00pm Fri-Sat 12:00am-12:00pm
Lai accommodation hotel- Click here for review
The beach is well maintained with lovely clean sand and a pier, kid’s playgrounds, volleyball facilities, and big gazebos.
If you’re into working out, a running track is available with plenty of information to find activities to do. You have wheelchair access with specialized cabins built here.
You have eatery options here with surfboard and boat hire. These are only available in the summer in the high season.
Well worth a visit
Looking For Food?
Tammuri Farm Restaurant (Traditional Estonian Food)
Address: Maha kula, Otepaa 67406 Estonia: Phone: +372 5358 5140:
Puhajarve Spa & Holiday Resort- Click here for a review
Lahemaa National Park (Located North West Of Estonia)
If you’re in Tallinn and need a quick trip out of the city to get some fresh air, this National Park is beautiful and recommended.
Lehemaa outdoor activities like hiking and being around nature, this place is perfect. It’s also located on the coast with a lovely beach, beautiful bogs, and breathtaking pine forests. The River also flows through the park and has sculptured the rocks ever since time began (Ice Age)
Put on map
Looking For Food?
Kaspervik restaurant (European,Vegetatrian and Vegan)
Address: Neeme tee 70, Kasmu 45601 Estonia Phone: +372 517 3096
Haaviku Nature Lodge- Click here for a review
Matsalu National Park (West Coast)
Located on the coast next to the Matsalu bay with 50 islands close by, this one of Europe’s hidden gems and a great place for bird watching.
With the birds, the National Park has many protection laws to preserve animal rights. The area is over 4000 hectares and is Europe’s largest water Meadow. Over 2,000,000 waterfowl flypast the National Park each year, and 235,000 remain on the park.
If you’re into plants, you can find Oak trees and Hazel trees in lush wooden Meadows. The trees complement the thatched Barnes and old fishing huts still there today. You can also see seven observational places around the area.
If you are into bird watching, this is a no-brainer! Matsalu National Park will leave an impression on you forever.
Looking For Food?
Kohvik Pritsukas (European Cusine)
Address: Kuivastu mnt. 26, Orissaare, 94601 Saare maakond
Puise Nina Külalistemaja- Click here for revew
Soomaa National Park
Soomaa National Park is a wetland near the town of Parnu. Soomaa’s nickname is called the 5th season because of the amount of water from melted snow that floods the forest and roads.
If you travel from Parnu, make sure you stop at the majestic Tory Hall and after the visitor center to check out the beaver trail, which is entirely accessible for wheelchair use.
Make sure you check out the five extensive swamps in Soomaa. The surrounding area is stunning with well-cultivated diverse wetland with beautiful European wildlife like Wild boar, Lynx, wolves, beavers, and bears.
Make sure you take your wellies and enjoy this beautiful wetland.
Looking For Food?
Pastoraat Café (European Cusine)
Address: Kuninga 30, Parnu 80014 Estonia: Phone: +372 5787 7857 Opening Hours Mon-Thurs 07:30am-09:00pm – Fri 07:30am-10:30pm- Sat 09:00am-10:30pm-Sun 09:00-7:00pm
Frost Boutique Hotel- Click here for a review