The 10 most beautiful places in Estonia
Estonia is home to some of the most amazing natural and man-made sights from around the world. Some of them can safely be called the biggest, tallest, oldest or most beautiful. Find out where to look for them.
The most numerous spas
The Estonian island of Saaremaa is jokingly called “Sparemaa” for the large number of vacation spots. Although the main island town Kuressaare only 14 thousand people, local facilities can accommodate more than 1200 vacationers at a time. In terms of the number of spas per capita Saaremaa is a true record holder.
The most amazing stadium
Few stadiums can boast a tree growing in the middle of the field. The builders of the Orissaare stadium near Kuressaare failed to uproot a huge oak tree and had to leave it behind. Today, the tree serves as a substitute for the soccer teams and even won the title of European Tree of the Year in 2015.
Some of the tallest trees in the world grow in South Estonia.
Photo: Magnus Heinmets
The tallest pines
The world’s tallest pine tree grows in Põlvamaa in South Estonia. The height of the tree is 46.6 meters and its estimated age is more than 214 years. By the way, the record-breaking pine tree with the height of 48.6 meters and the age of over 202 years also grows nearby. Another famous Estonian tree, the Lauri oak, is 17 meters in height and 8 meters in width. It is believed that the tree began to grow as early as 1326.
The largest fortress
Narva Castle and especially Hermann Tower have been important outposts of the state since XIII century. The fortress has changed hands many times, but has remained in remarkable condition. Just across the Narova River, on the Russian side, is the twin fortress of Ivangorod.
A socialist utopia
The northwestern town of Sillamäe has many unique monuments from the Stalinist era.
Photo: Tony Bowden, Flickr
The most interesting Soviet architecture
The town of Sillamäe was secret and closed for a long time because of the uranium enrichment plant built there. Since the 1940s, many monuments of Stalinist architecture have survived here. Among them: the main square, the boulevard, the city stairs and administrative buildings.
The Crookedest Museum
The crooked house in Tartu’s central square houses the local art museum. The building was built in 1793 on the swampy bank of the Emajõgi. One wall of the house rests on the old city wall, the other on poles. Because of this unusual foundation, the building leans at 5.8 degrees, which is even more than the Tower of Pisa. You can feel it especially well when you walk around the exhibition halls on the upper floors.
Haapsalu Kursaal is one of the most remarkable examples of Estonian wooden architecture.
Photo: Discover Estonia
The most openwork houses
The most elegant building in Estonia is undoubtedly Haapsalu Kuursaal, built on the seashore in the 1800s. The wooden lacework is reminiscent of traditional carving techniques, which are still very popular in Russia today. By the way, more than once representatives of the Imperial court and aristocrats of St. Petersburg came to the kursaal.
The most complete medieval fortress
The bishop’s castle on the island of Saaremaa is considered to be the best preserved fortress in the Baltics. Construction began as early as the 13th century and was completed in 1380. Today it has the largest museum on the island with a rich exposition.
Built for the ages
Kõpu lighthouse on Hiiumaa has been a landmark for seamen since the 16th century.
Photo: Jarek Jõepera
The oldest lighthouse
Kõpu lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in Northern Europe. Its history goes back more than 500 years, when the Hanseatic League needed a landmark. The most important trade route from east to west passed here, and merchants were concerned about the loss of ships in the Baltic Sea. The lighthouse, built of 6 tons of stone, stands strong to this day: you can climb up and enjoy a peaceful view of the timeless Baltic.
The most mysterious manor house
Kierna Manor Park is believed to contain areas of strong magnetic anomalies that have a beneficial effect on plants, animals, and even people. There are only five such places in the world. If you don’t believe me, come and check for yourself!
Top 10 most beautiful places in Estonia as seen by foreigners
Top 10 most beautiful places in Estonia as seen by foreigners
Locals and tourists alike love our Old Town, walks by the sea and the picturesque ponds of Kadriorg. Foreigners sometimes see even more than those who have lived here all their lives, because when you come to a new country and have enough time to spare, you usually want to learn as much as you can about it. TripAdvisor users have highlighted the most beautiful natural places of our country.
Narva River Promenade
The stretch of river promenade is about 967 meters long and is located in the historic center of Narva. From the east side the promenade faces the Narva River, from the west side it borders with bastion walls and Hermann Fortress. To the north is Narva Harbor and to the south is the Joaorg recreation area.
“There is some special magic in those Estonian cities that have rivers. The Narva River with the castle on the opposite bank is just gorgeous.”
“In good weather, it’s very nice to take a walk here and admire the other side of the river (already Russia).”
Botanical Garden of the University of Tartu
The garden has more than 10,000 species and varieties of plants from around the world. In addition to wild plants, including rare protected oaks, there are also interesting ornamental plants, and in the greenhouses you can see plants of rain forests and deserts.
This is the oldest botanical garden in the Baltic States, which has been continuously operating in the same place for more than 200 years. The garden was designed under the guidance of world famous botanists – Professors Ledebourg and Bunge. A ticket is required to visit the greenhouses, and a stroll through the garden is free.
“The best time to visit is May and June, when irises and peonies are in bloom, but there is something to see at any time of year. The garden has a pond, hillsides covered with many plants, a playground and a palm house.”
“My favorite place in Tartu. There are many different kinds of plants, and from spring to fall there is always something blooming in the gardens. You can visit the garden for free, and the fee for the greenhouse is small. There are beautiful Phalenopsis displays in the winter (I think usually in early February).”
Lahemaa National Park
The largest nature reserve in Estonia, located near Tallinn. It is an ideal place for hiking and nature observation. There are different types of coasts, picturesque bogs, pine forests and rivers. You can see boulders and limestone blocks left over from the last ice age, as well as encounter many wild animals: elk, wild boar, brown bears, lynxes and foxes.
After a long walk among the bogs you can rest and refresh yourself at the Sagadi manor, which has a rich 500-year history. The alternative to the manor is the fishing village of Altya by the sea with traditional entertainments and national cuisine.
You can see beavers on the Beaver Trail in Oandu. As you move through the deep river valley, you will see traces of the activities of these funny animals: beaver dams, huts built in the coastal bluffs and trees with traces of beaver teeth.
“As the largest national park in Estonia, it certainly lives up to its reputation for offering a variety of natural landscapes from wetlands to waterfalls to the Gulf of Finland.”
“If you’re looking for a quiet place to relax and enjoy the nature around you, or just a place to get away from the hustle and bustle, I highly recommend this place.”
The park is well-maintained and equipped with many signs to walk through and see different kinds of trees and bushes, a silver spring cave, and a view of the sea and sunset at the “Swallow’s Nest” gazebo.
“A very nice walk through the Two Bears Gate, through an oak alley, and then suddenly a beautiful garden with spectacular views.”
“I was in the park on a warm summer evening, but I think the park is worth a visit at any time of year.”
Estonian Open Air Museum
Just a 15-minute drive from the center of Tallinn is an amazing place – the Estonian Open Air Museum, introducing rural architecture and village life in Estonia.
The 14 farmsteads in the museum give you an idea of how families of different incomes and occupations lived in the 18th and 20th centuries. Like every normal village, there is a church, an inn, a school, windmills, a fire station, a village store, and a barn by the sea for storing nets. In the museum you can buy handicrafts of local craftsmen, take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, or taste Estonian national dishes in the village inn.
“These lodges are truly mesmerizing, and the surroundings in the fabulous forest scenery are stunning.”
“I visited the museum on a clear but cold November day, which for some reason seemed like a good time to see restored nineteenth-century Estonian farmsteads. The museum is located in a large, beautiful wooded area about 7 km west of Tallinn. It’s easy to get to by public transportation, but I walked.
The restoration work done to restore these buildings, from farmhouses, churches, schools and saunas to windmills, is inspiring, and the staff who do some of the daily tasks of a farmer have been wonderful. I was introduced to the age-old practice of knitting wool by a very charming young woman in a warm and comfortable home. There is also an inn there that serves good hot wine and, without a doubt, the best black bread I have tasted in Estonia.”