Estonia is the perfect city-break destination for travellers wanting to get off the beaten track and escape the tourist crowds. Visitors can explore Northern Europe's most well preserved Old Town or trek out into the unknown and discover a town rich in Soviet-era culture, a bustling university city or Estonia's summer capital. There has never been a better time to visit Estonia, with flights to the capital city, Tallinn, taking just 2.5 hours and direct-route offerings from easyJet, AirBaltic, Ryanair and WizzAir.
First established in the early medieval era, today's Tallinn is an exciting mix of old and new, making it the perfect weekend getaway for lovers, friends, and families alike. Readers of the UK-based travel magazine Wanderlust agree; tens of thousands voted and named Tallinn the second-most desirable city to visit in Europe. Start the day at the Baltic Station Market, known for its fresh local produce, versatile street food and traditional crafts.
Visitors can then check-out the street art in Tallinn's trendiest neighbourhood, Telliskivi Creative City, featuring several small designer stores and galleries and unique dining and drinking places. For lunch, stop by the newly opened Fotografiska restaurant, which serves up instagenic Estonian cuisine with a zero-waste mindset. Visitors will be taken back to the Middle Ages with a stay in the St. Petersbourg boutique hotel, with the building dating back to 1850 and located in the midst of the UNESCO World Heritage listed, Tallinn Old Town. Travellers can explore the Old Town on their own or take a walking tour, with the guide introducing Tallinn through colourful legends, myths and mystical folklore, passing by the Town Hall Square, Estonian History Museum, Patkuli viewing platform, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Toompea Castle and Maiden Tower.
Later, visitors can stop by the PROTO Invention Factory and go back in time to the 19th and 20th century. The exhibition features VR technology and historical inventions for visitors to try out themselves, such as the world's first car, airbike, locomotive and hot air balloon.
As the afternoon approaches, travellers can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and watch the sunset at Restaurant NOA, known for its Estonian flavours and breath-taking view of the Tallinn skyline and sea. For evening entertainment, a new cultural hub in Noblessner, Kai Art Center has been opened in the former submarine production plant. The cultural centre will showcase international contemporary art exhibitions, movie programs and other cultural events.
Estonia's easternmost town, Narva, a mix of Estonian and Russian cultures, is known for its iconic historical sights, Soviet-era architecture and world-class spa facilities. Start your day passing by the Baron von Velio's house, dating back to 1845.
For lunch, stop by Rondeel, which offers exquisite fish and meat dishes, with fresh local ingredients. A visit to the museum in Narva Castle is a must, where travellers can try out various techniques for handicrafts and explore the history of the town. Visitors can then head to the Narva-Jõesuu beach for some afternoon sun or alternatively, the infrared sauna and salt chamber at Meresuu Spa & Hotel if the weather takes a turn.
The Dark Garden in Narva is ideal for a night stroll, offering spectacular views of the Narva River Promenade, which separates Estonia and Russia.
The second largest town in Estonia, Tartu, is known as a hub for students, intellectuals and creatives, home to one of Northern Europe's oldest universities, a wealth of museums and an upbeat nightlife. Upon their arrival, travellers will be welcomed by the Kissing Students fountain, a well-known symbol of Tartu and a must for lovers visiting the city. Next up, the Estonian National Museum is sure to intrigue, filled with pieces of Estonia's past and providing insight into the countries traditions and rituals.
Travellers can 'do it for the gram' and have their world turned upside down at the Upside Down House, where they will find furniture, a refrigerator and everything else usually found on the floor, on the ceiling.
As the afternoon approaches, visitors can take a guided tour of Tartu's Old Town, starting at the Town Hall Square and passing the University of Tartu Museum and the greenery of Toomemägi Park. Another option is to discover Tartu from an alternative angle and take a Street Art Tour in Karlova. If the weather takes a turn, the V Spa and Sauna World features 11 different pools and hot tubs and three types of saunas, with the Kneipp Therapy trail of cold and warm water sure to keep visitors entertained. A night spent in the Aparaaditehas Creative City will be sure to delight, with the venue hosting a variety of different art and cultural events each week to suit all tastes; from concerts and workshops to parties and exhibitions.
For dinner, Restaurant Kolm Tilli is the perfect spot to try Aparaaditehas Creative City's street food, with an open kitchen in the middle of the restaurant and separate areas for making pizza and bakery products. Located in the heart of Tartu, the elegant and luxurious Hotel Antonius will be sure to provide a restful night's sleep, with valuable antiques coupled with modern design in the bedrooms and bathrooms.
Pärnu is the ultimate summer holiday destination in Estonia for those wanting to escape the crowds, with only 60 people per square kilometre residing in the town. The summer capital attracts locals and visitors with its sandy beaches, laid back vibe and trendy bars and restaurants. Start the day with an early morning hike along the Pärnu coastal meadow hiking trail, which is positioned by the sea in the midst of Pärnu beach.
Later, enjoy a lunch at the elegant Mon Ami, known for its combination of classic and contemporary trends and 'something special' offering with traditional dishes. Afterwards, the Mole of Pärnu is perfect for a romantic stroll, with it believed that walking to the end of the mole
and kissing will bring couples luck. Visitors will be glad to know that Pärnu is the perfect weekend break during any season, with several festival, cultural shows and entertainment events organised throughout the year. Visitors can wind down at the Hedon Spa & Hotel, with spectacular views of the beach promenade and world-class spa facilities in the historical mud baths building.
For dinner, the Rannahotell Restaurant offers mouth-watering Scandinavian cuisine and has glamour of the 1930's.
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