The 13 best places to visit in Estonia

 

Built in 1531 AD atop the highest hill on the island of Hiiumaa is the 36 metre (118ft) Kopu Lighthouse, one of the oldest in the world. Holding the record for the highest coastal light on the Baltic sea, this rather different looking lighthouse is also the symbol of the island.

13. Kõpu Lighthouse

 

In Estonia's second city, Tartu is a quaint University town with a picturesque centre. Walk through the square with it's pretty pastel coloured buildings, old lanterns and odd sculptures.

12. Tartu Old Town

 

With a drop of 30 metres (98 ft) the Valaste Waterfall is the tallest waterfall in Estonia. A spiral staircase allows visitors to make their way down the cliff face to the viewing platform that hangs out in front of the falls. Unfortunately the platform has fallen into a state of disrepair and has been closed.

11. Valaste Waterfall

 

Completed in 1980 and standing at a height of 314 metres (1,030 ft) the Tallinn Television Tower is located around 6 kilometres from the centre of the city. Despite it's distance from Tallinn, from the observation deck 170 metres (557 ft) high the tower allows for great views across the city and the Gulf of Finland. 

10. Tallinn Television Tower

 

Built in the 13th century on the countries east coast is the enormous Haapsalu Castle with it's 29 metre (95 ft) high watch tower. This giant building has remained in partial ruin since the Great Northern War of 1710 where it sill dominates the landscape of Haapsalu.

9. Haapsalu Castle

 

In the far north east of the country near to the Russian border is the Puhtitsa Orthodox Convent Complex. Within the high walls and higher corner towers is the large ornate and domed Cathedral of Puhtitsa with its green pointed roofed entrance building, making for a very pretty architectural complex of Russian Revival styled structures.

8. Pühtitsa Convent

 

In the capital, Tallinn, built in a Russian Revival style around 1900 when the country was part of the Russian Empire is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the cities largest and grandest Orthodox cathedral. Seen by many Estonians as a symbol of oppression it was scheduled for demolition in 1924, but due to lack of funds it never transpired. Today having been meticulously restored this huge ornate church is one of the most stand out buildings of the capital.

7. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

 

Close to the capital and covering an area of some 725 square kilometres (280 square miles) is the Lahemaa National Park, Estonia's largest area of protected land. The flat landscape of the park is made up mostly of forests and bogs as well as a few unusual manors, the most visited of which is the Baroque Sagadi Manor. Teeming with animals there is also a very good chance of spotting wolves, bears and even lynx.

6. Lahemaa National Park

 

Just off Estonia's west coast on the island of Saaremaa is the Kuressaare Castle. Built in the 14th century this late Gothic simple style castle is one of the best preserved medieval fortifications in the country.

5. Kuressaare Castle

 

There are many windmills in Estonia, but few as striking as the Angla Windmills of Saaremaa. Close to Kuressaare Castle, four windmills built around 1927 dominate the flat lands that make up most of the island providing a very beautiful scene.

4. Angla Windmills

 

In the extreme north east of the country in Narva, a river's width from Russia is the Hermann Castle. In the 14th century when the Danes had long since conquered they built a castle on the border of the Narva river. Today little vintage handicraft workshops fill the inner courtyard beneath the 51 metre (167 ft) Hermann Tower.

On the Russian side of the river directly opposite is the Russian medieval castle, the Ivangorod Fortress.

3. Hermann Castle

 

In the capital, Tallinn, the Patkuli Viewing Platform in the Toompea Hill area provides one of the best views in the city. 157 steps lead visitors up to the platform giving a picture postcard scene of the roof tops, the old city wall, the medieval old town and the church steeples. One of the capitals major tourist hot spots, you'll want to get there early to beat the crowds.

2. Patkuli Viewing Platform

 

One of the oldest capital cities in northern Europe, Tallinn's old town is also one of the best preserved medieval cities on the continent. Visit the 9th century Toompea Castle atop Toompea Hill, the tall 12th century St. Olaf's Church and wander the maze of cobbled streets that sit within the ancient city walls. With so many buildings of historic and cultural importance, the entire centre of Tallinn has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pictured is the Town Hall in the Town Hall Square.

1. Tallinn Old Town

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