Incentive&Conference Tourism in Estonia

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European Union European Regional Development Fund

Investing in your future


10 REASONS TO CHOOSE ESTONIA A FRESH DESTINATION Why pick the same, familiar places when you can treat your group to something new and exotic? If your delegates have never been to this up-and-coming region, they'll definitely appreciate the novel experience. This is a country packed with positive surprises just waiting for you to come and discover! AMAZING, HISTORIC ATMOSPHERE: Resembling a scene from a fairy tale, Tallinn's fantasticallypreserved, medieval centre is something few cities in the world can rival. Tartu and Pärnu, Estonia's other major conference towns, have an equally timeless feel, while elsewhere in the country you can find castles, elegant German manor houses and romantic fishing villages. PERFECTLY SIZED: Forget about taxis, traffic jams and complicated schemes to get from A to B. Imagine instead being in your hotel 20 minutes after your plane touches down. Estonia's small size and compact city centres mean reaching your destination is a breeze. And once you get there, you can usually just walk to wherever you're going – it's probably just around the corner. BUDGET FRIENDLY: This country has impressed more than a few budget-conscious organisations by offering 5-star quality at 4-star prices. But there are also 4-star hotels and restaurants at 3-star prices, and even 2-star... well, you get the picture. In short, Estonia is considerably cheaper than in most of northern and central Europe, especially given the Scandinavian levels of quality. E-ESTONIA, THE E-WONDERLAND: Estonia is famous as a hotbed of cutting-edge IT solutions, with dozens of popular e-services like e-tax, e-residency, e-elections, e-prescription, digi-ID, and m-parking earning it the nickname 'e-Estonia'. Free, public Wi-Fi is available just about everywhere – in hotels, cafés, bars, shopping malls, city squares, parks and even at beaches.

HASSLE-FREE VISIT: Since Estonia is part of the Schengen Area, chances are that few of your delegates will need visas to visit, and most of the time they can pass through the airport without any checks at all. The local currency is the euro, which makes prices easily understandable. Don't have cash? Don't worry. Payment by bank card is almost universal. CAN-DO ATTITUDE: Setting up your event will be incredibly easy thanks to the pro-active, Nordic work culture. Those in the industry speak English, respond promptly, offer flexible solutions and keep their promises. There are no hidden costs and bureaucracy is practically nil. GREEN RELAXATION: Need some fresh air and a change of pace? About half of Estonia's territory is covered by dense forests, but there are also stunningly beautiful bogs, sandy beaches and 2,222 islands to explore. Nature areas are always within easy reach – in most cases a mere 10-minute drive will take you from city into deep wilderness. There are four very distinct seasons in this northern climate, each offering its own variety of magic. The white nights of summer, for instance, keep the skies glowing nearly around the clock. CLOSER THAN YOU THINK: Tallinn is a 2- or 3-hour flight from most major cities in Europe. There are plenty of direct connections to the capital, and once there, transferring to Estonia's other popular conference destinations is a snap. TEAM ESTONIA: Cooperation is critical in a small market like ours. That's why instead of competing, our hotels, venues, destination management companies, airline operators and city officials all work together to ensure smooth, top-class events. Just find any of our industry pros wearing the 'Team Estonia' badge and ask them for details.





Estonia always keeps the conference delegates happy.

ESTONIA WHO? Haven't heard of us? Don't know much about our country? Don't worry. It's fine. We completely understand. After all, with a population of just 1.3 million, Estonia is a fairly tiny nation – a reality we've always taken in stride. As the century-old Estonian saying goes: “If we cannot be great in number, then we must be great in spirit”. So in the spirit of hospitality, we'll fill you in on the basics: Estonia is a tech-savvy, Nordic country located on the Baltic Sea, just south of Finland, west of Russia and north of Latvia. Area-wise, it's comparable to Switzerland, Denmark or the Netherlands. In other words, it's small enough to make it quick to get around, but still big enough to pack in a lot of variety.

As an ethnic group, Estonians have been around for over 5,000 years and have been deeply influenced by neighbouring empires and peoples – German, Danish, Polish, Swedish and Russian. That influence made us culturally richer, but also gave us the drive to maintain our own Estonian traditions and develop as an independent state. Since the beginning of the 21st century, Estonia has been making headlines as a dynamic hub for tech startups and a pioneer in state IT services. While vast areas of unspoiled wilderness make Estonia a fantastic destination for nature lovers, the biggest draw for visitors has to be the historic cities and towns, whose centuries-old streets and buildings create the kind of cosy charm that's hard to find elsewhere in Europe. 3

Culture or nature? In this country, there's no need to choose.

As the crow flies

How small is small?

Getting to Tallinn, home of the country's main airport, is fairly simple and affordable. The flight is probably quicker than you think – just 2 to 3 hours from most other European capitals. The closest neighbouring cities are Helsinki (82 km away), Riga (280 km), St. Petersburg (324 km) and Stockholm (379 km). There are also regular ferries from Helsinki and Stockholm.

You're not going to get lost in Estonia. In driving distances, the entire country is about 3 hours from north to south, and 3 hours from east to west. The advantages of smallness can really be felt in the conference cities. Tallinn, the largest, has a population of just 430,000. Next is Tartu at 100,000. In all cases, the city centres are tightly compact and easy to navigate by foot. There's rarely any need to take public transport or taxis because the hotels, meeting venues, restaurants and sights are typically within a 5-minute walk.

Wild Estonia

Estonia is home to about 700 brown bears, which can be spotted from observation huts located in the forest.


Nature-related incentives feature heavily in Estonia, not least because so much of the country is untamed and unspoiled. Around 50 percent of the territory is covered by forests – areas of pine, spruce and birch where wild creatures like fox, deer, wolves and bear make their home. Country dwellers also commonly find wild boar and moose nibbling at their gardens. Around 7 percent of the land is covered by bogs, mysterious and unforgettable landscapes that can be accessed only by canoe or bogshoe, or on specially-built, wooden trails. Sand beaches and rocky cliffs make up the country's ever-twisting seashore, which has enough inlets and peninsulas to give country a longer coastline than even Cuba's. There are also more than 2,200 islands waiting to be discovered, some of which serve as the last bastion of age-old fishing cultures and folk traditions.

Change the scene Sometimes a complete change of scene is just what you need. Thanks to the fact that everything is so close to everything else in Estonia, shifting from work to fun mode takes no time at all. You can start the day with meetings in an ultramodern conference centre and by the afternoon you could be dressed as a monk, racing through cobblestone streets on a medieval-themed treasure hunt. Or you could jump on a bus and after a few minutes you're embarking on a jeep safari or getting ready to board a yacht for a coastal cruise. Where you'll be 30 minutes after that, who knows?

Kuulilennuteetunneliluuk No, that's not a typo. It's an Estonian word meaning 'bullet pathway tunnel hatch'. As you can guess, this is not a word that often pops up in casual conversation – it's mainly used as a tongue twister and also happens to be a palindrome. With its 14 cases and loads of double vowels, Estonian is routinely rated (along with its close relative, Finnish) among the world's most difficult languages to master. Luckily, you won't have to. English is widely and fluently spoken in Estonia, so there won't be a language barrier. Russian and Finnish are also commonly understood.

Taking time out in a world with no 'off’ button.

Spa life: mud and chocolate Health resorts have played a large role in the Estonia tourist scene ever since the 1800s, when curative power of the local mud was first identified. Nowadays the dozens of spas that dot the country are less oriented towards serious medical therapy and focus more on offering relaxation and rejuvenation. They offer the latest in infra-red saunas, salt chambers, aromatherapy and novel types of massage, sometimes even involving, yes, chocolate, which is supposed to be excellent for the skin. Facilities range from day spas where visitors get one or two treatments, to fullfledged spa resorts designed for serious getaways. Many of the latter also double as conference hotels. The service quality is very high and prices affordable, so taking a treatment or two can be the perfect way to unwind after an intensive conference day.

Latitude59, a conference supporting the global expansion of innovative companies, in the Tallinn Creative Hub.


Tallinn Music Week (March-April) The largest indoor music festival in the Nordic/Baltic region, TMW acts as both a music industry event designed to showcase local talent and a way for the public to hear the hottest up-and-coming bands.

Jazzkaar (April) The country's prime international jazz festival, Jazzkaar has been an annual fixture since the late Soviet days and attracts names from the world over.

Under the giant arch at the Song Festival Grounds, patriotic songs ring out and national flags flutter festively.

SINGING NATION Classical music aficionados will no doubt have heard the name Arvo Pärt – the beloved composer is among the world's most high-profile Estonians. But the sound that truly touches the Estonian soul is actually traditional folk choral music, the kind that has been sung in villages throughout the land for countless generations. When Estonians start to sing, interesting things happen. The first-ever Estonian song festival, in 1869, was a key part of the national awakening movement that arguably led to the nation's independence in 1918. Similar mass singing events – known as the 'Singing Revolution' – led to Estonia's regaining its independence from Soviet rule in 1991. If you want to experience the finest of the nation's cultural offerings, you can time your visit to coincide with one of the festivals below.

Estonian Song and Dance Celebration Following in the footsteps of the original folk gathering of 1869, this mega-festival is held only once every five years and attracts ethnic Estonians from the world over. Expect thousands of performers in traditional costume and a grand choir of 30,000 singers. The next festival doesn't come until summer of 2019, but the youth version of the event, scheduled for summer 2017, is just as spectacular. 6

Saaremaa Opera Festival (July) A 13th-century castle city of Kuressaare, on the island of Saaremaa, provides an awe-inspiring backdrop for this classical gathering.

Lording over Estonia's biggest island, Kuressaare Episcopal Castle is the best preserved medieval fortification in the Baltic countries.

Birgitta Festival (August) Modern musical theatre, in the form of opera, ballet, modern dance and more, is given an otherworldly quality when performed in the medieval ruins of the Pirita Convent.

Black Nights Film Festival (November)

Hundreds of international festival films, not to mention lectures and awards, feature here at the granddaddy of all Baltic cinema events.


The Onion Route winds through traditional villages in the Lake Peipus region, offering possibilities for a tasty meal and amazing onions, the likes of which you won't find anywhere else in the world.

Nordic flavours

Affordable gourmet

Most of Estonia's top restaurants specialise in what can best be described as 'Nordic cuisine'. The dishes are light and sophisticated, generally featuring fresh, locally-sourced ingredients – whatever is seasonally available from the farm, field or sea. Berries (rich in antioxidants) typically make a strong appearance on the menu, as does wild game.

Start your diet after you leave Estonia. The country has plenty of top-notch restaurants where you can enjoy a full gourmet meal, wine included, for about half of what you'd pay in most other European capitals. And, thanks to a strong foodie culture and stiff competition, quality levels are generally high. Chefs at some local restaurants have even gone as far as the Bocuse d'Or finals, while the Alexander Restaurant on Muhu island has been tapped by The Diners Club World's 50 Best Discovery Series as one of Europe's foremost up-and-coming dining destinations.

Feasts of jelly and blood Traditional Estonian food – the kind our grandmothers made – may take a bit of getting used to. Favourites include a jellied pork dish called sült and, around Christmas time, blood sausage. Marinated eel, fried pork and sauerkraut are all common. The most Estonian of desserts is kama, a mix of dried grains, peas and sour milk. If you can find it, you should definitely give it a try. While Estonia's everyday menus have grown decidedly more international in flavour, the idea of simply grabbing a quick sandwich or salad at mealtimes is still fairly alien here. For both lunch and dinner, the common practice is to sit down with a proper, hot meal with soup, meat, etc., accompanied by the ever-present potato. Sandwiches do have their place – we eat them mainly for breakfast, sometimes accompanied by porridge or an omelette.

There’s nothing more deliciously Estonian than crusty black rye bread still warm from the oven.


TALLINN With a population of just over 430,000, Tallinn is by far Estonia's largest city and offers the widest choice of hotels, conference venues, activities and incentives. It's a city of stark contrasts where trendy shops, cafés and high rises stand adjacent the wonderfully-preserved, medieval Old Town – the city's bestloved feature. Because it's home to the nation's main airport, Tallinn is also the easiest to reach for most international travellers.

CITY HIGHLIGHTS Cobblestone wonderland – Old Town Crammed with centuries-old merchant houses and surrounded by spiky towers, Tallinn's medieval Old Town could easily be mistaken for the set of a Disney film. In fact, this charming area developed from the 13th to 16th centuries when Tallinn was growing rich as a member of the powerful Hanseatic League. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, this district of cobblestone streets, Gothic church spires, squares and hidden courtyards serves as both the city's primary tourist magnet and the focal point of its dining and nightlife scene. 8

The historic centre of Tallinn is an exceptionally complete and well-preserved medieval trading city.

Hill of the nobles – Toompea Toompea hill, which overlooks the southwest edge of Old Town, was historically the area reserved for Estonia's land-owning elites and still has a decidedly more regal feel than the rest of the medieval city centre. Apart from dozens of grand mansions, it's home to Toompea Castle (now Estonia's parliament house), a 13th-century Lutheran church and a striking, onion-domed Russian Orthodox church. The view platforms on the edges of the hill are excellent places to snap photos of the medieval and modern skyline.

Cultural interlude – National Opera From September to June, world-quality operas, ballets and concerts are hosted in Estonia's majestic, century-old opera house. The heart-of-Tallinn location and highly affordable ticket prices make this a fantastic option for culturally-minded visitors looking for way to unwind after a conference.

The ultimate recycling project – Rotterman Quarter

Bohemian vibes – Kalamaja District

Tallinn is a city that features layers upon layers of architectural styles, but nowhere do they come together more dramatically than in the Rotermann Quarter, a reclaimed factory area just outside Old Town. Here designers took the original 19th-century industrial buildings and added 21st-century elements to create something truly bold. The result is a trendy quarter that's home to a number of shops and restaurants, as well as an active cultural scene.

For the hippest of the hip, Tallinn's borders start and end in Kalamaja. Over the last decade, this quiet residential and factory district beyond the railway station has become the preferred hangout of the city's young, artsy set. Visitors love it for its innovative, offbeat cafés, restaurants and galleries, not to mention the the rows of picturesque, late-19th and early 20th century wooden houses that line its narrow streets.

Emperor's playground – Kadriorg Palace Kadriorg, Tallinn's very own slice of 18th-century imperial Russia, is a both a high-end residential neighbourhood and a destination for those looking for a peaceful getaway. At its centre is Kadriorg Palace, a Northern Baroque masterpiece built here in 1718 on the order of Tsar Peter the Great. The striking palace now displays the Art Museum of Estonia's foreign collection. The vast estate that surrounds the palace is Kadriorg Park. Filled with flowerbeds, ponds, fountains and pathways, it's an unbeatable place for a quiet stroll.

The Seaplane Harbour accommodates one of the Europe’s grandest maritime museums and was awarded a top EU prize for cultural heritage, the Europa Nostra Grand Prix, in 2013.

Treasures from the sea – Seaplane Harbour One fairly new – and enormous – attraction in Tallinn is the Seaplane Harbour, site of an elaborate maritime museum. The vast Seaplane Hangars that house the museum are filled with high-tech, handson exhibits covering nautical curiosities both civilian and military, including even a submarine built in 1936. More ships, such as the world's oldest steampowered icebreaker, can be found in the museum's outdoor collection, in the harbour itself.

The Kadriorg Palace is surrounded by the most outstanding park in Tallinn.


In 2008, the Kumu Art Museum was voted European Museum of the Year.

Art for art's sake – KUMU Art Museum

New heights – Tallinn TV Tower

The super-modern Kumu Art Museum, built into a hillside in Kadriorg Park, is the main facility of the Art Museum of Estonia. The focus here is mainly on Estonian art from the 18th to 21st centuries, with temporary exhibits often bringing in a more international flair. The building is also a sprawling, high-tech cultural centre that hosts everything from film showings to official state receptions.

The 314-metre Tallinn TV tower is more than just the tallest building in Estonia – it's also a high-tech attraction packed with multimedia activities. Most visitors come for the amazing views of the city and surrounding forest or to have dinner in the brasserie restaurant. A few daring ones might also take the 'Walk on the Edge' tour around the rim of the observation deck.

Time travel, Estonian style – Estonian Open Air Museum The Estonian Open Air Museum, set in a forest park on the northwest coast of Tallinn, is the place to go to experience the rural Estonia of times past. It’s a collection of recreated villages from the 19th and early 20th centuries that includes farm houses, windmills, water mills, a school house, church and a pub – all moved here from their original locations. Museum staff wearing period-appropriate costume demonstrate how work was done and crafts were made in the days of old. 10

The Estonian Open Air Museum allows you to explore the local history through an immediate experience.

STAY LONGER, EXPERIENCE MORE Sea kayaking A great option for sporty adventure within Tallinn, these excursions take you paddling around the city's coastal and harbour areas, where you'll get amazing views of the skyline. No experience is necessary. Just be prepared to get wet.

Island hopping

Go for a walk along the edge of the Tallinn TV Tower – 175 metres above the ground.

Of the more than 2,200 islands that lie off Estonia's coast, Aegna and Naissaar have grown into particularly popular day-trip destinations thanks to their historic curiosities, stunning scenery and easy accessibility from Tallinn. A quick ferry ride will take you to either of the islets, which have military histories that stretch back to Russian tsarist times and were closed to visitors during the Soviet days. Quiet forests and secluded beaches await on both. In the case of Naissaar, there's also plenty of rusting, 20th-century military infrastructure to explore and a narrowgauge railway to ride.

GOOD TO KNOW Pedestrian power Tallinn is very much a city for walking, thanks to its tightly-packed Old Town and modern centre. Whether you're making your way from hotel to meeting venue or hitting the next spot on your sightseeing list, chances are your destination is literally a couple of minutes away.

Culture creatures What's your fancy? Whether you're a fan of opera, symphony or jazz music, or just want to see what the latest generation of experimental dancers are up to, you'll have little trouble ďŹ nding something happening in Tallinn. If cultural pursuits are a main reason for your visit, you may want to time it to coincide with one of the city's many annual festivals.

A pile of sea mines on Naissaar (Woman's Island). Despite its feminine name, the thickly forested isle has been scarred by military activity.


Altja fishing village in Lahemaa National Park offers the romantic vibe of an ancient lifestyle.

Lahemaa National Park


Lahemaa ('Land of Bays'), about an hour east of Tallinn, is a beautiful nature area that also happens to be home to several breathtaking manor estates, coastal villages that thrived from smuggling and bootlegging, and the country's largest private art museum. Estonia's peat bogs are a must-see for nature lovers and the Viru Bog is among the most accessible. A full 3.5 km of wooden trail provides a great way to experience this unforgettable landscape.

East meets West in this industrial city adjacent the Russian border where a pair of medieval castles on opposite riverbanks mark the edges of empires past. Narva's own castle doubles as the city's museum – a starting point for tours of other local attractions such as the Krenholm textile mill, a gem of 19th-century industrial architecture. A mere 11km from here, where the pine forest meets the sea, the resort town of Narva-Jõesuu attracts visitors with its old fashioned charm as well as the nation's longest sand beach.

Haapsalu Tchaikovsky loved this tranquil, seaside town for its swan-filled bays, while modern visitors usually come to catch a glimpse of lacy, wooden architecture from the early 20th century. A quick, one-hour drive from Tallinn, Haapsalu also draws visitors with its historic railway station and the ruins of its 13th-century episcopal castle.

Helsinki & St Petersburg

Haapsalu's timber architecture is every bit as lacy as the town's must-have handicraft item – the Haapsalu scarf.


A trip to either of these grand cities, so close yet strikingly different, can easily be combined with your visit to Estonia. From Tallinn, a 2-hour ferry ride takes you to Finland's buzzing capital, while the jewel of imperial Russia lies about 6 hours east by ship or coach. Organised tours will give you a feel for these cities' histories and best-loved architectural achievements, as well as their edgy, urban vibes.

Tartu's Town Hall Square is home to exciting events year round, from the Hanseatic Days to the tARTuFF love-themed film festival.

TARTU Tartu, population 100,000, is Estonia's second largest city and has been a hotbed of academia ever since Swedish King Carl Gustav II established the university here in 1632. The University of Tartu continues to be the main driver of this city's culture and economy, whether it's the biotechnology and software

companies that grow out of the local knowledge base or the off-beat pubs and cafés that cater to the student crowds. In fact, students account for about 20 percent of the city's inhabitants, lending the city a decidedly youthful vibe. Just 2 hours from Tallinn, Tartu is an easy-to-reach and more serene alternative to the capital, and as the largest population centre in south Estonia, it serves as a gateway to the region's many other attractions.

HIGHLIGHTS Tilting houses and kissing students – Old Town

One of the oldest universities in northern Europe sets the tone of Tartu.

Tartu's Old Town, the network of streets surrounding Town Hall Square, is rightfully the city's biggest tourist draw as well as the heart of its dining and nightlife scene. This charming area developed in medieval times, but was ravaged by fire and war to the extent that most of what remains is a mix of 18thand 19th-century styles. The square itself is home to an art gallery that, like the Tower of Pisa, leans to one side and a cheeky fountain depicting a pair of Tartu students engaged in something very different from book learning. 13

Brain factory – Tartu University With the University of Tartu playing such a central role in city life, it's only fitting that the institution's grand buildings also rank among the local architectural superstars. The university Main Building stands out in particular for its classicist magnificence and its interior is worth seeing for its beautiful assembly hall, art museum and lock-ups for unruly students. The 19th-century Old Observatory and the nearby Old Anatomical Theatre are must-sees as well.

Above the fray – Toomemägi Hilltops have always made excellent, strategic defence positions, so it's no surprise that Tartu's original inhabitants picked Toomemägi, the leafy hill that sits astride what is now Old Town, as their settlement. The hill is home to the towering ruins of the Tartu Cathedral, parts of which can still be seen and explored – in fact, one restored section houses the University of Tartu's History Museum. It's also the site of a number of other curiosities, including foot bridges called the Angel Bridge and Devil Bridge, Estonia's Supreme Court and monuments to legendary professors.

St. John’s Church, standing in sharp contrast to the neoclassical buildings that surround it, brings a touch of the medieval to the heart of Tartu.

Church of 1,000 faces – St. John's Church The city's oldest surviving church, St. John's dates to the 13th century and is one of the most valuable monuments of Gothic architecture in Europe. Severely damaged during World War II and finally restored in 2005, its most famous feature is the approximately 1,000 terracotta figurines that line its walls. Visitors can climb part of the tower to reach a viewing platform.

Nerds' paradise – AHHAA Science Centre

The AHHAA Science Centre introduces the science in the most exciting way possible – hands-on.


Remember the kids in school who thought science was dull? Obviously they'd never been to the AHHAA Science Centre, an extensive, high-tech facility where hands-on displays show just how amazing science can be. In addition to a cutting-edge planetarium, AHHAA offers a busy schedule of science shows where things bubble, smoke and occasionally explode. There are also highly entertaining programmes designed just for adult groups.

The Tartu Old Observatory, one of the points on the Struve’s geodetic arc, is featured on UNESCO’s world heritage list.

Cheers to Tartu! – A. Le Coq Beer Museum By far the best place to soak up Estonia's centuries-old beer-making traditions, the A. Le Coq Beer Museum offers a glimpse inside the country's oldest brewery, established in 1800. More than 300 exhibits cover the history of A. Le Coq as well as Estonian and worldwide beer culture. A tour is also available for those who want to see the brewery's modern facilities.

Getting to Tartu Reaching Tartu is quick and painless. From Tallinn, buses depart nearly every 30 minutes to make the 2.5-hour trip, some picking up passengers directly from Tallinn Airport. Trains from Tallinn can be even quicker. Though not quite as frequent, there are also direct bus connections from Riga Airport.

Floating history – Jõmmu Barge Looking to avoid another bus tour? For a different way to tour the Tartu area, climb aboard the Jõmmu Barge, a recreation of the type of wooden sailing vessel that carried cargo along Estonia's trade routes during Hanseatic times (and right up until the 20th century). The barge, which sails on Tartu's river and nearby lakes, accommodates groups and individual travellers, with both food and historical information served.

GOOD TO KNOW Campus-sized centre Central Tartu is comparable in size to a large university campus in other countries. In other words, it's easiest to simply walk wherever you're going.

Historical Jõmmu Barge sailing on the Emajõgi River (Mother River) in the centre of Tartu.


The Alatskivi Castle was built at the end of the 19th century and is one of the most picturesque Neo-Gothic structures in the Baltic countries.

STAY LONGER, EXPERIENCE MORE Lake Peipus and Old Believers The shores of Lake Peipus are home to a unique community of Russian Orthodox Old Believers, a distinctive cultural group whose ancestors settled here around three centuries ago. Excursions to the area highlight their customs, cuisine and way of life.

this eye-opening visit to its Wine Cellar and Food Museum will demonstrate. There's also a genuine, medieval castle to tour once your bottle is empty.

Viljandi With its hills, serene lake and castle ruins, this picturesque town is often described as a little slice of Switzerland in southern Estonia. Viljandi is also a prime destination for music lovers, hosting a major international folk music festival every summer and serving as home to the Estonian Traditional Music Center.

Põltsamaa Wine Tour If you thought wine was only made from grapes, think again. The town of Põltsamaa has long been making vintages from berries and other fruits, as

South-Estonian countryside Rolling hills and valleys, ancient roads and historic taverns are among the many attractions in this region of the country. Popular tour stops include the town of Otepää, the country's winter sports capital, and Sangaste, where an 1880s-era manor house built to resemble the castles of England.


The hilly landscape of southern Estonia attracts sportsmen of varying levels of professionalism and senses of humour.


Southeastern Estonia is home to the Seto people, a distinct ethnic group that has its own language, its own flag and even its own king of sorts, duly elected on an annual basis. Visitors to Setomaa (the 'Land of Setos') will be given insights into the Seto culture and traditions, and, if they're lucky, they'll get to hear a melody sung in leelo, a polyphonic singing tradition that's been inscribed in UNESCO's list of the 'Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity'.

Hedon, a modern boutique spa in a historic building in the resort city of Pärnu, offers and ideal escape from everyday routine.

PÄRNU With its peaceful streets, extensive green areas and long stretch of white sand beach, Pärnu has long been Estonia's favourite destination for serious relaxation. In fact, the town has been known as a seaside health resort since as far back as the early 19th-century when the first spas began operating here. Strong echoes of Pärnu's past economic booms can be seen in its many Art Nouveau and functionalist villas, while layer upon layer of even earlier history make their presence felt in the charming town centre.


full service affairs to smaller boutique enterprises. In both cases, the spas typically have all the facilities necessary for holding conferences and events, creating a perfect opportunity for delegates to unwind and have fun between more business-like activities.

Out on the green Go ahead and bring your clubs along. Golf aficionados will be happy to hear that they can tee off at high-quality facilities just outside Pärnu. There are options for every level from beginner to advanced, including the first links course in the Baltic region. The golf centres offer dining.

Mixing business with leisure

Motor heads

Pärnu's spa industry has seen a lot of change over its nearly two centuries of operation, in particular with various treatments going in and out of fashion. The spas' basic offer, however, has always been the same: a relaxing getaway where guests can enjoy themselves while regaining their inner balance. The town's contemporary resorts range from enormous,

Those that like to live life in the fast lane will appreciate the chance to visit auto24ring, the only purposebuilt car and motorcycle racing circuit in Estonia and probably the best racetrack in Nordic. Completed in 2012, it offers a number of different experiences for individuals and groups, including competitions. Meeting rooms and catering are available on site. 17

Snowshoeing on the bogs of Soomaa.

GOOD TO KNOW Midway point The fact that it's located nearly on the halfway point on the Tallinn-Riga highway (a 2-hour drive from either city) has made Pärnu a popular choice for regional conferences. It also makes the city accessible through the airports of both capitals, with buses travelling frequently in either direction.

STAY LONGER, EXPERIENCE MORE Kihnu To catch sight of one of the last places in Europe where traditional folk culture lives on in day-to-day life, take a ferry ride to the small island of Kihnu. Its 600 inhabitants are ďŹ erce guardians of their cultural heritage, which can be seen in their clothing, handicrafts, dances, games, music and dialect. UNESCO has listed the Kihnu traditions as one of the 'Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity'.

Soomaa National Park True to its name, the 'Land of Bogs' is a vast wetland area where the peat bogs, rivers and forests create an amazing landscape as well as provide a habitat for wolves, brown bears and many other creatures. Ways to experience Soomaa range from bog-walking day trips to beaver safaris, canoeing and more.

UNESCO cultural heritage and the era of technology go hand-in hand on Kihnu Island.


“You can touch and feel history here, by strolling the streets and viewing the vistas, sitting in the squares and praying in the churches, buying the crafts and hearing the music.” Washington Post “They call it E-stonia for a reason. WiFi is universal and free – just look for the orange-and-black stickers, or an open laptop.” The New York Times “The airport of the Estonian capital has a distinctly Nordic feel. Passport formalities are painless – you get the feeling the efficient Estonians would do away with these bothersome documents entirely if they could.” South China Morning Post “Bears and bog-walking in the country’s national parks, long stretches of golden beaches, crumbling castles, joyous song festivals, and a burgeoning food culture.” Lonely Planet “Snowy cities don't come more magical than Tallinn.” The Guardian “Much better value for money than the more familiar historic centres of Western Europe.” Sydney Morning Herald “[Tallinn] rates among the world's top 10 oceanfront cities.” National Geographic “Chic hotels... cool cafés... intoxicating churches...” The Times “In this charming country, you can drive for mile after mile through undulating forest and heathland.” The Independent “'Cool' is the operative word for Tallinn. With its perfectly preserved Hanseatic buildings and the bustling Town Hall Square with stalls selling local produce and handicrafts, there's a strong sense of the city that time forgot.” Irish Independent













Official name Area Inhabitants Currency Capital

Practical information Republic of Estonia 45,339 km² 1.3 million Euro Tallinn (430,000 inhabitants) Estonian Parliamentary democracy 24 February 1918, 20 August 1991


More than 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots all over the country, available mostly free.


Most shops, restaurants, hotels and other services accept international credit cards. There are plenty of ATMs in the cities, but take cash with you when travelling to the countryside.

Mobile phone

The Republic of Estonia is a member of the European Union, Schengen Area, NATO and OECD.

You can buy pre-paid mobile phone calling cards from kiosks, petrol stations, post offices and supermarkets.

Emergency aid


Estonia is in the East European time zone (GMT/BST + 02:00).

Tourist i information

There are official Tourist Information Centres in all bigger cities and county centres. Do not hesitate to come in and ask for advice, maps or general tips on where to wine and dine and how to make the most of your holiday in Estonia. Most offices are open daily.

Official language Form of government Independence declared

Estonia’s country code is +372. To place an international call from within Estonia, start by dialling 00.

» Visit Estonia #visitestonia Discover Estonia on your mobile phone! 20

For conferences in Estonia, please contact the Estonian Convention Bureau

Enterprise Estonia, Estonian Tourist Board© 2015 Text by Steve Roman

Estonia in brief

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