A Guide to Estonia: Europe’s Burgeoning Travel Destination

Convincing you to notice lesser-popular yet must-visit destinations is one of our favorite pastimes at HAP. And to that tune is Estonia, a small Baltic nation that has been independent for over 30 years. Having undergone decades of Soviet Union rule, the country is blazing its own progressive path: a NATO membership and recent same-sex marriage legalization are a few examples of how they have inched away from their past. From medieval castles to forested coastlines, poignant historical staples, and a burgeoning gastronomical scene, here’s how to spend a week in Estonia.


Old Town Tallinn

Tallinn is Estonia’s capital city and a UNESCO-listed heritage site. Medieval edifices line cobblestone streets here, housing antique shops & souvenir stores, plus attractions like the historic Alexander Nevsky Cathedral — a jaw-dropping Russian revival-style church — and Toompea Hill, which boasts panoramic views of Tallinn, from the Old Town’s red roofs and slim lanes to the Baltic Sea. Those with curiosities about the country’s past should visit the Estonian History Museum, equipped with timelines and vestiges, ranging from 11,000 years ago to the Soviet Union era to current times. 

Alexander Nevsky Church

Telliskivi Creative City

While we love historical baroque-varied architecture, the erstwhile industrialist complex turned hipster enclave of Telliskivi Creative City (Telliskivi Loomelinnak) should be on your itinerary. Pop into new-age photography museum & gallery Fotografiska, curated vintage-clothing store Kopli Culture, and superlative coffee shop Fika Café. 

Telliskivi Creative Ctiy

Sauna at Iglupark 

Saunas are emblems of Estonian culture. While there doesn’t always have to be an occasion to go into one per se, denizens often sojourn to them for self-care, celebratory milestones, and pensive reflections. Right next to the seafaring Noblessner neighborhood, Sauna at Iglupark is the perfect place to start your journey into Estonian sauna culture: start in the Sauna for ten minutes, jump into the neighboring Baltic Sea, then head back in the Sauna and do the sequence all over again.

Sauna at Iglupark

Where to Eat & Drink

In Old Town Tallinn, dine at Lee Restoran — a tasty, eclectic restaurant with an atmospheric patio (try the black bread and butter, a delicious Estonian delicacy) — and at Peet Ruut — an Eastern European-tinged eatery with an adorable courtyard in the back (heed our advice and order the Savoy Cabbage Roll with stuffed mushrooms plus barley and mushroom broth.

Peet Ruut
Lee Restoran

Where to Stay

Hotel Telegraaf is one of Tallinn’s most stylish hotels. It’s centrally located, too.

Lahemaa National Park & Vicinity

Lahemaa National Park

Hike your heart out at this national park on Estonia’s northern coastline — our favorite trail heads to Viru Bog and features an elevated walkway through lush forests plus marshy wetlands, ending at a scenic watering hole and observation tower. Moose, wild boars, and bears, among other fauna, can be found here. 

Lahemaa National Park

Palmse Manor

Tour this historic, hyper-baroque mansion, which is one of Estonia’s most sumptuous. Its historical grounds are flush with topiary and garden-flanked passageways that catch the eye.

Palmse Manor

Where to Stay:

Vihula Manor Country Club & Spa is an authentic boutique hotel and farm near the national park.

Vihula Manor Country Club & Spa

Estonia’s Countryside

Pick Berries and Mushrooms at Soomaa National Park

Estonia is replete with edible mushrooms and berries. While some aren’t meant for eating (due to them being poisonous), opt to book a foraging hike and tour with experts at Soomaa National Park. At the end, you’ll be able to make delicious dishes au exterior with the mushrooms and berries gathered.

Hike & Swim in the Kakerdaja Bog

A beginner’s level hike, you’ll traverse through marshland via an elevated walkway to Kakerdaja Bog: a watering hole where you can enjoy a refreshing swim.

Where to Stay and Eat

Grab dinner at SOO: a Michelin-green-starred restaurant that occupies an erstwhile orphanage. On the premises is Maidla Nature Resort, which boasts three secluded design-centric villas shrouded in woodland. (Seriously, the architecture here is phenomenal — if you get a chance, ask the groundskeepers to take you through the Soviet-era edifice that was the orphanage’s main home.)

Maidla Nature Resort

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