I’m just so excited about Estonia right now… We’re already planning a return trip this year, if we can get an apartment booked.
What’s so exciting? The people, the history, the energy and a cost-to-value ratio that blows much of Europe out of the water.
Wait, where is Estonia?
Estonia is a European country, the northern-most of the Baltic countries. They are ex-Soviet bloc states, gaining independence in the 90’s. Estonia is just a few hours away from Helsinki Finland by ferry and borders Russia in the east, Latvia to the south, and the Baltic Sea along its north and west. Read more about Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on our Baltics page.
Tallinn, the beautiful capital
The capital, Tallinn, was a real highlight of my 10 days in the Baltics. The food, especially, was so fresh, well plated and delicious. What a stand-out!
(See our post, Estonia in 11 amazing Instagram photos.)
The Unesco-listed Old Town brings out the ghost stories and quirky tales from medieval Europe. Narrow streets and colourful buildings bring colour to the stories. Or perhaps it’s the stories that bring so much atmosphere to the city.
It’s not all Old Town and medievalism though: the nearby ‘hipster’ district is much less hipster pretension and much more fashion, creative and foodie. Don’t get me started on the craft beers… I had to start an UnTapp’d account just to keep up.
Hiking with bears, berries and beavers in the National Parks
Before trying bog walking, the only use I knew for peat was in whisky making. While that is still my preferred use for the bog plant, I have to admit it can sure put on a colourful show.
We hiked with special bog walking overshoes, spending time walking over the deep bog and picking sour out-of-season berries. While the national park is home to wolves, bears and lynx, they avoid the bog. By the time this podcast is going live, they’ll all be out and about, with 360.ee offering treks with safe places to observe them in the wild.
After our hike we went to home restaurant and were served, amongst many other delicious courses, beaver. Who knew they tasted so good! Certainly not our Canadian travel buddy, who reacted a little strongly after finding that out. Check it out on the podcast.
Spa time in a renovated Soviet People’s Temple at Parnu
After city exploring, hiking and eating our way into oblivion, a stop at the seaside was welcome. May weather was a little too cold to sit out on the beach, so we made the most of Hedon Spa in Parnu.
Now, I’m not much of a spa-goer, although I do indulge in them once or twice a year. These are something special: in operation since 1838 with pauses after World War I and Estonia’s recent independence. The modern hotel, just opened last year, boasts a michellin-trained chef and backs onto the historical spa baths.
Don’t read the stories, listen to them!
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[box]Craig travelled through Estonia with JayWay Travel as part of the #jaywaybaltics trip (see posts on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, you name it). More details on our Baltics page. He stayed as the guest of Merchant’s House in Tallinn and the Hedon Spa in Parnu with excursions planned by JayWay, the Estonian Tourism Board, Est Adventures and 360.ee.[/box]