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Extensive travel and tourism guide for Estonia, Europe

Estonia Tourist Information

This compact corner of the Baltic is drawing trendy visitors seeking new destinations. Although a former Soviet Republic (regaining independence in 1991), Estonia shares ethnic and linguistic roots with the Finns. The countryside is dotted with medieval castles and manors.

Tallinn, the capital, is one of Europe's best-preserved medieval cities, famed for its ancient stone walls; winding, cobbled streets and torchlit alleys; secret stairways; and tower ramparts. See especially the early 13th-century Toompea Castle, Toomkirik (domed church) and Raekoja Plats (the city hall square). In summer, the sun never really sets, bringing out locals and visitors alike to enjoy the numerous outdoor cafes. Come winter, and the cafe scene moves into the unique cellar bars

The southern city Tartu is neo-classical in style and home of a 365-year-old university, as well as of ancient ruins and leafy parks.

Narva lies on the river separating Estonia and Russia. The inspiring restored tower of medieval Narva Fortress overlooks Ivangorod fortress on the Russian bank. Inside is a gallery and museum to the battles fought here by Swedes, Russians and Teutonic Knights.

Pärnu, on the western coast, is the summer capital and known for its sandy beaches, mud baths and Art Deco hotels. Nearby is Haapsalu, a longtime resort popular in the 19th century with Russian royals.

The large islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa were quite isolated during Soviet times. Hiiumaa remains wild and silent, perfect for getaways. Saaremaa is known for wooden windmills; stone-and-thatch cottages; and the perfectly preserved Bishop's Castle.

A day trip from Tallinn takes you to Lahemaa National Park on the highway to St. Petersburg. The park's 162,500 acres are great for swimming and hiking, or just exploring the manors.

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What's New in Europe!

Events & Festivals

London events highlights: Japanese crafts, ‘Pop Art’ and gardening all feature in London’s cultural events calendar this summer and beyond.

Royal wedding dress at Buckingham Palace: A special exhibition at Buckingham Palace this summer will recreate the day in 1947 when Princess Elizabeth - now Queen Elizabeth II - married the Duke of Edinburgh in a glittering ceremony at London’s Westminster Abbey.

Attractions

Shrewsbury recreates its summer season: Performances by Jools Holland, George Melly and Beverly Knight are among the 370 cultural and artistic events over 100 days at the 'Shrewsbury Summer Season' this year (May 19-Sept. 9).

Scotland’s oldest house marks 900 years: The longest continually inhabited house in Scotland is 900 years old. Once a hunting lodge for the kings and queens of Scotland (it hosted 27 monarchs over the years), the Stuarts of Traquair House supported Mary, Queen of Scots and the doomed Jacobite cause.

News

Ceramics Festival in The Potteries: Designers, studio potters, experts and collectors will be making their way to The Potteries this autumn for the Stoke-on-Trent Ceramics Festival 2007 (Oct.5-7).

Macdonald Hotels transforms Cheshire golf venue: Three championship golf courses and the largest indoor golf academy in Europe at The Portal Golf Club venue are to be part of the new four star Macdonald Portal Hotel, Golf and Spa in Cheshire when it opens in July.


Estonia Facts

Area: 17,413 square miles (about twice the size of New Hampshire).
Population: 1,437,000 (Tallinn, 443,000; Tartu, 106,000).
Language: Estonian.