Admirers of even the most diverse music and club styles will find suitable entertainment in numerous nightclubs, bars, pubs and taverns. Locales are open on weekends until the early morning hours - in all larger cities as well as smaller towns all around Estonia. Although, many places offering amusement are open within the week as well. A day does not go by without there being something exciting and interesting to do somewhere in Estonia - be that outdoor shows, celebrations, village festivities or any other types of fun events. Many times people travelling around Estonia accidentally or on purpose find themselves at such festivities. For those who are interested in indoor sports activities, there are tens of bowling alleys, pool halls, go-cart tracks, paintball and laserzone courses as well as many other places, where one has the chance put him- or herself to the test and have fun.
In Estonia you can sample food from a wide range of nations. Tallinn and Tartu are the country's restaurant capitals, representing different food preparation traditions from around the world.
Traditional local food is available from Estonian restaurants. Estonian cuisine is also served in the numerous small hotels and tourist farms outside the bigger cities.
Health And SPA Facilities
Estonia has gained in recognition for its health and rehabilitation centres. These are mostly concentrated along the west coast in Pärnu, Haapsalu and Kuressaare and are popular among both locals and foreigners. There is also a top-level spa on the north coast in Toila and in Narva-Jõesuu, and smaller areas in and around Tallinn.
Estonian health resorts provide a range of opportunities for relaxing holidays as well as for treatment of more serious health problems. Guests can choose between traditional therapies and the various special offers provided by some treatment facilities.
In many ways Estonia is a shopper's paradise - first and foremost because of the generally low prices and high quality of goods on offer. Here you'll find the majority of well-known global brands, often much cheaper than elsewhere in the world.
Most shops are open from 9.00 am to 6.00 or 7.00 pm. The larger department stores in Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu have longer opening hours.
Supermarkets are usually open until 10.00 pm. The sale of liquor is prohibited after 10.00 pm and the only place where one can buy alcoholic beverages is at different entertainment facilities.
Fans of golf are seeing more and more full-length golf courses popping up all over Estonia. These courses, which operate in the summer months, have grown in popularity with locals and foreigners alike, and play host to big-time competitions. The best-known course can be found in Niitvälja outside of Tallinn, one of the most unique ones in Europe is located at Jõelähtme, to the east of Tallinn, and courses in other regions of Estonia are also under completion.
The beauty of Estonian nature invites you to explore it not only on four wheels, but also on two. Exquisite beaches, winding forest tracks, hills and valleys - all open for closer inspection on your bicycle than in your car.
For those interested in following official routes, several are marked along which you'll get a good overview of the country. But then making your own way around you're just as likely to come across something interesting or unusual - just take the turnoff to one of Estonia's many villages and you'll get to see another side to the country.
Estonia also has several international EuroVelo cycling routes. These are especially designed for cyclists and provide little chance of getting lost.
Mototourism in Estonia began after the first motorcycle was bought in Estonia in 1895. First remarkable event happened in 1936 when the Estonian team won Berlin Star Race that took place together with the Olympic games. That event is considered also as the first FIM Rally. During Soviet occupation majority of mototourism took place inside Soviet Union, for example in Central-Asia, Vladivostok, Murmansk and of course in Baltic states. After Estonia gained independence again in 1991 several motorcycle clubs started with motorcyclists events called Otepää Tour, Jõgevatreff, Estonia Winter and so on. Since the beginning of the 90-s borders were open again and it was possible to travel abroad and also invite friends to Estonia. The amount of participants at motorcyclists meeting Jõgevatreff rises practically every year since the beginning in 1992. In 2001 right to organise international motorcyclists meeting FIM Motocamp was given to Jõgeva MC, Jõgevatreff organiser. In 2005 they also organised 60th FIM Rally in Estonia fulfilling their dream to organise that Europe's most prestigious motorcyclists gathering. After that, motorcyclists numbers have grown every year and gatherings will be held practically every weekend in summertime. Welcome.
Hikers will find that they are surprisingly well catered for in Estonia. There are dozens of trails through the country's bogs, forests, beaches and islands offering a panoply of experiences. On some trails you're unlikely to encounter another living soul for days on end; on others, your meetings will be much more frequent. There really is no better or more informative way to take in the bigger picture of Estonia and Estonian nature than through hiking, with many trails featuring information posts telling you more about the surrounding environment. Leisurely making your way along them, there's every chance you'll spot a wild animal of some kind or get to observe rare birds in action.
More dedicated hikers can spend the night in any of the many simple shelters, hiking huts or cabins found in Estonia's forests. There are plenty of them around, and staying in them is usually much more comfortable (and warmer!) than in a tent.
You can ride in Estonia at the bigger stables as well as on the numerous horse farms. You have the choice of riding in halls, on courses or along any of the various nature trails. Be it thundering along the beach or quietly cantering through an ancient forest, there's something about horse-riding in nature that produces a sense of unity with the environment. Horse-drawn sleigh rides through the blanket of winter snow are equally romantic and exhilarating.
Everyone can go riding, whether beginners or more experienced. First-time riders are provided with training and instructed how to behave around horses.
Despite the ever-warmer winters, Estonia still presents a wide range of skiing opportunities. The hilly terrain of southern Estonia usually gives people a chance to snap on their skis regardless of how warm it might seem, and it's for this reason that the crowds converge mainly on the ski resorts of Otepää during the season. Ski trails of differing levels of difficulty meander between the hills, their ups and downs providing skiers with both a physical workout and a mental unwind as they kick up the snow and ice pelting down the slopes.
There are many slalom and snowboard slopes in South-Estonia - everyone can find something to do there during the winter.
The Tartu Marathon is a big annual contest which calls together skiers from all over the world - including among them professional athletes, for whom the competition is a perfect chance to test themselves and grab a few points.
Canoeing along Estonia's rivers has become a very popular pastime among visitors to the country. The possibilities are nigh on endless - from unhurried downstream paddling to battling the waves of fierce currents. Canoeing opportunities are provided by tourist farms and a variety of adventure sport companies.
If canoes aren't really your thing, you can always take a sea kayak out to sea and stop off at some of the small islands. Rowing on open waters is quite a different experience to canoeing along rivers.
In Soomaa you can even have a go at traditional aspen boats. These dugouts are fashioned from aspen trunks and are surprisingly easy to navigate, leaving you to sit back and enjoy puttering around in such an historical vessel.
People sailing to Estonia can make stops at any of the small ports and yacht harbours along the coast. The majority of small ports are designed for sailboats and provide everything you need in terms of rest, relaxation and restocking.
Ports accredited with the international blue flag meet all environmental requirements, and stopping at them completes your sailing experience.
Those preferring to undertake shorter sailing trips along the coast or head out to the small islands with a group of friends can also hire fully-manned yachts.
Fish-rich rivers and lakes are the pride of Estonia. Year-round you'll catch fishermen sitting with determined gaze on the river bank or by their hole in the ice, just waiting for the moment when the fish start to bite.
Fishing with an ordinary rod does not require a special permit in Estonia, but permission must be obtained from the local environmental department if you wish to fish with a spinner. Fishing permit prices are the same throughout the country and available to everybody.
Adventure tourism is a quickly developing area within the industry and there are many opportunities to take part in it in Estonia. More traditional activities, such as skydiving, rock-climbing, off-road adventures and diving, represent just some of the possibilities. You can also put yourself to the test in adventure trails of different levels of difficulty located in parks near cities, where it is possible to climb from tree to tree using ropes, descend from dizzy height or sway like Tarzan above the ravines.
Paintball in old military bases or survival courses on the small islands broaden the choices on offer, and you can of course book the kind of adventure you're looking for with professional instructors.
If you're the kind of person who enjoys wandering off into the forest gun cocked in search of prey, you should get in touch with local hunting associations. Hunting licenses in Estonia are somewhat cheaper than in the rest of Europe, and the abundance of wildlife in our forests provides any number of opportunities for marksmen, whether just starting out or professional shooters.
Bloodless hunting preserves both wildlife and the environment whilst remaining an enjoyable experience for hunters. Flipping through your photo albums later on at home, it's gratifying to recall the effort you exerted in catching one animal or another - or indeed lack of it, as observing animals in the wild is easy and doesn't require a lot of effort at all. All you have to do is find some peaceful glade in the middle of the forest and set down to wait; a bit of hush and before you know it there'll be a wild animal of some description wandering about right in front of you.
Although bloodless hunting presupposes proper photographic equipment, an everyday camera will do the job of freeze-framing those magic moments just as well. It's not an artist's eye or the environment that's important necessarily, but reaction speed - because a goat that appears on the forest path will have disappeared into the trees on the other side in the blink of an eye, leaving you with little more than a flash of tail.
Although not widely discovered yet, Estonia is an ideal country for observing one of the most spectacular natural shows - massive bird migration. This smallest and northernmost Baltic country lies on the crossroad of the Eastern Atlantic migratory flyway: Estonia is locked between the Finnish Gulf, eastern coast of Baltic Sea and Lake Peipsi near the Russian border. In this respect, geographically the Estonian waters and coastline are the natural stepping-stones, the most natural flyway between breeding and wintering areas for millions of Arctic water birds, making bird watching in Estonia fabulous at this time of year. But it is not just about non-stop passage: the country's long and indented coastline, shallow and sheltered bays, straits, coastal meadows, marshes, lagoons and over 1000 islands in good natural condition are crucial feeding and stopover sites. And this is not all - the long outstretching peninsulas, spits and narrow straits in coastal sceneries offer not only plenty of good sea-watching opportunities, but also concentrate large numbers of land birds before their take-off and crossing of the sea.
Different GPS games, which take players outside the usual environment, win more and more popularity in the world. Geocaching and the similar GPS games enjoy more and more players also in Estonia. It is possible to find the treasures of geocaching in exciting and historical places, naturally beautiful and interesting places, in forests and on the coastline, under the ground and in the ruins of buildings anywhere in Estonia.
The peculiarities of Estonia in cold winters include ice roads. Almost every year both official as well as unofficial ice roads (the latters are, however, more of a type of car tracks on ice) are opened in Estonia. The roads connect mainly bigger islands with the mainland and islands with one another, but the roads also bridge backwaters, rivers and lakes. Many people decide to seize the opportunity to pay a quick visit to the islands as during the few days when the ice roads are open you can visit more places than during the entire summertime.
Picking Berries and Mushrooms
Estonian forests are abundant in berries and mushrooms. Every summer and autumn, thousands of people, a basket for mushrooms in one hand and a box for berries in the other, head to the forest to pick its nounties. Many find this activity enjoyable and do this as a hobby. It is nice to spend some time in fresh air, eating berries and collecting the components for a delicious mushroom soup. Berries and mushrooms grow in all forests around Estonia but the richest sites can be found in pinewoods and central Estonia.