Estonia's many capitals

Source: Visit Estonia

Estonia's many capitals

Estonia might be small, but each region of the country is known for something of their own. Locals have been giving these towns unofficial capital city statuses for over 20 years.

Tallinn Old Town

Photo by: Visit Estonia

Tallinn is the official capital of Estonia. A medieval gem, it is also the biggest town in Estonia. In 2011, Tallinn proudly held the title of European Capital of Culture, and in 2015 the European City of Trees. In 2019, Tallinn was ranked the 8th most cultured city in Northern Europe by a travel search platform and fare aggregator Wanderu. In 2022, tens of thousands of readers of the UK-based travel magazine Wanderlust named Tallinn the second-most desirable city to visit in Europe!

Tartu Town Hall

Photo by: Visit Estonia

The runner up, Tartu ranks as the 2nd biggest town in Estonia and is Estonia's university capital. Groundbreaking research at Tartu University dates back centuries, and Tartu continues to be the most innovative town in Estonia when it comes to cycling culture.

Otepää is a popular winter destination

Photo by: Visit Estonia

Otepää is the capital of winter. This is the hilliest region in Estonia, hence people from all across the country flock here to ski and snowboard in the winter. Otepää is also the training ground for many Olympic Gold Medalists.

Pärnu is especially romantic in the summer

Photo by: Visit Estonia

Pärnu is perhaps the most famous second capital of Estonia, renowned for its beautiful summers. Located on the coast of the Baltic Sea, summer capital Pärnu attracts both a local and international crowd during the warmer months.

Türi is well known as the spring capital of Estonia. The annual Türi Flower Fair marks the arrival of spring in Estonia. Some 700 merchants will be selling their products including gardening companies, forestry schools, and private gardens, all with special offers designed to help gardeners improve their summer gardens.

Kuressaare castle

Photo by: Visit Estonia

Kuressaare, the largest town on the Saaremaa island, carries two honorary titles – the capital of weddings and sunshine. According to weather service, Kuressaare has the most sunshine in Estonia. In 2017, sunflower seeds were distributed to all residents to fill the city with the colour of the sun.

Põltsamaa Wine Cellar

Photo by: Visit Estonia

Põltsamaa is a small, historic town located right in the centre of mainland Estonia. Wine production kicked off here in 1921 and Põltsamaa is now a well known local wine brand. Today you can sample Põltsamaa wines in Põltsamaa wine cellar as well as in most bars and restaurants across the country. All of the fruit and berries used to make Põltsamaa wines are grown in Estonia.

Haapsalu is less known as the capital per se, but it is well regarded for its long-standing spa history, and more importantly – the use of local healing mud. People from all across Scandinavia flock here to take a famous local mud bath. 

Other honorary titles include:

Narva - the capital of autumn
Jõgeva – the capital of frost
Saku – the capital of beer

Last updated : 30.11.2022

In category: Tallinn, South Estonia, West Estonia, Islands, North Estonia