My experience of Estonia. By James Asquith

Source: Oliver Moosus, Visit Estonia

My experience of Estonia. By James Asquith

A story by James Asquith, Official Guinness World Record Holder for being the youngest person to visit all 196 countries in the world.

I first traveled to Estonia on the ferry from Helsinki nearly 10 years ago. I wasn't sure what to really expect at the time, as there were swathes of Finns on the ferry, however, I was also expecting a large Soviet influence in Estonia. What I found when I arrived in Tallinn was a city and beyond that, a county that has carved out an incredible identity of its own.

Tallinn not only has the feeling of being a town, but also a thriving city - it almost felt like this could be anything I wanted it to be. The UNESCO Heritage site of the Old Town is stunning and picture worthy at almost every turn. Tourism feels easy here and there are some great restaurant and bar options in this, at times gothic and fairytale type setting of a city. Then of course you throw in a friendly and outgoing local population and the ingredients of one of Europe's must see cities are complete. Set up well for all seasons, Town Hall square is great for both al fresco dining in summer and the smell of mulled wine and Christmas markets in winter. If it's even possible to get bored of the aged cobbled streets here (which it certainly wasn't for me!), there are museums and quirky spots aplenty such as the real submarine in the Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour which was really cool to see!

There are courtyard restaurants and lively bars aplenty, but it was certainly the friendly people of Estonia that really brought this place to life for me. I will be coming back to Estonia to explore more of this wonderful country outside of Tallinn and I want to help Estonians and visitors alike to explore more and open up parts of the country not previously open to tourism by bringing my Holiday Swap app to Estonia.

Telliskivi Food Festival

Photo by: Aron Urb, Visit Estonia

Come summer or winter, I loved the variation that Estonia offered and it's incredible how this can feel like an entirely different destination between the seasons. Self-prescribed walking tours around the picturesque city of Tallinn, climbing up old towers and roaming the cobbled streets were always met with some of Northern Europe's best food options, not to mention the fabulous marzipan here – I'm a big fan of marzipan! As the weather turned, there are some great activities to do to get out and about such as the coastal trails by bike and hitting the peninsula. A great and quirky activity to do out here in the summer is to visit the Viimsi Open Air Museum, which is basically an old fishing that's been turned into a open air museum and is certainly unique!

Estonian Open Air Museum

Photo by: Visit Estonia

I want to really open up travel to people, so they can experience more of what I did, for less, and particularly the millennial generation. Tech is changing travel too, and we all want more, but we want to pay less for it, so why not have the ability to have anything around the world and swap it for free. I'm lucky enough that through my travels I can hop on a plane to many places and know people there in that place but I want everyone to have that more.

Last updated : 22.04.2021