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 in 2018 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 appto Estonia.