Blueberry pickingSource: Visit Estonia

Sustainability plan

Estonia is a place where sustainable living is a timeless tradition, not a trend. We safeguard and nurture to preserve our past.

Sustainable way of life

Learn how our forest-covered landscape, clean air and clear waters cultivated a farmer’s mindset over centuries. Take timeout to respect and master our time-honoured crafts and help local communities thrive. Lighten your impact with a night spent floating between the earth and the sky. Discover cutting-edge chefs using produce they grow within a stone’s throw. Press pause as you kick-sledge silently off-grid and off-season. And walk through the progressive eras of a nation in Tartu’s icon of innovation.

And like the responsible travellers we’re on a journey to understand the true meaning of coexistence. Through new endeavours every day, we’ll become better ancestors to tomorrow’s generations in every way we can. People and planet. Ecology and economy. Creativity and conservation. 

Even today while living in cities, we all have our ways of reaching out to nature and cultural traditions: a family cottage in the countryside with a sauna, jogging along green paths, berry picking in forests, frequent bog walks in the national parks, surfing, kayaking, fishing, folk dancing and singing in choirs. No wonder we have celebrated our Song and Dance Festival for 150 years with more than 30,000 singers and 10,000 dancers coming together. It is listed by UNESCO along with the Seto singing tradition, Tallinn's medieval Old Town, Kihnu Island's traditional lifestyle and the South Estonian smoke saunas. The list goes on.

Tallinn was the Green Capital of Europe 2023 and wore this title proudly. Look what makes Tallinn worthy of the title here.

Child in smoke sauna

Source: Smoke sauna

Another good example of caring and a great sustainable initiative is World Cleanup Day. It is one of the biggest civic movements of our time, uniting 180 countries across the world for a cleaner planet. This world-changing idea began in Estonia in 2008 — 50,000 people united to clean up the entire country in just five hours.

The main objective of our national tourism policy is to make Estonia viable and to support our businesses to be resilient to change. Sustainability is one of our three strategic principles in tourism product development. Visit Estonia has been a proud Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) member since 2021. 

Visit Estonia plays a key role in nudging Estonian DMOs to enhance sustainability and advocate for the development of sustainable tourism products. Tourism development in Estonia strongly supports the local traditional lifestyle and positive attitudes among local communities as visitors come to experience authentic culture. The three focus areas are nature, authentic culture and local food.

A an approaching the sea through a seaside gate

Source: Visit Estonia

Green Destinations

Visit Estonia has developed a program for Estonian destinations and has piloted it with seven of them: Saare, Hiiu, Järva and Pärnu counties, Rakvere, Lahemaa and Tartu. The Green Destinations Estonian program aims to make locals proud of their culture and for visitors to value sustainable tourism. The program provides destinations with a special toolkit to define and develop sustainable measures to act more responsibly and offer visitors an overall sustainable experience in the destination. As a result of the programme, all seven pilot destinations received Green Destinations Awards in 2021 and renewed the Awards in 2023 after an international assessment of the destinations. Since 2024 Tallinn, Põlva and Viljandi together with Mulgi area have joined the sustainability network, so most Estonian tourism destinations are now aiming to obtain sustainable destination management.

Eco spa on Saaremaa island

Source: Hoia Spa, Saaremaa

Green Key

Estonian tourism enterprises showcase their sustainability efforts by applying for a Green Key label. The Green Key award is a leading standard of excellence in environmental responsibility and sustainable operations within the tourism industry. Green Key stands for an establishment’s promise to its guests that by opting to stay with such an establishment, they are helping to make a difference.

A selection of Green Key accommodations you can find here.

Eating in the wild

Source: Visit Estonia