Regions in Estonia
The country of Estonia is split into 15 counties (or maakonnad, singular – maakond). In this guide, we utilize four different areas to highlight Estonia’s unique features. Because Estonia is a tiny country, most places can be visited in a few hours from Tallinn.
With almost a third of the population, it is the most industrialized area. Tallinn is a well-known tourist destination due to its nightlife and UNESCO-protected medieval Old Town. Kaberneeme, Laulasmaa, Nva, Käsmu, and Vsu are just a few of the lovely little seaside communities. Tallinn is about an hour away from Lahemaa National Park.
County of Ida-Viru, which borders Russia. Narva is the easternmost point of the European Union, featuring many landmarks. Toila and Narva-Jesuu are two of Estonia’s most popular seaside resorts.
West Estonia and Islands
It is known for its resorts, such as Haapsalu and Pärnu (Estonia’s summer capital), as well as its islands (Saaremaa and Hiiumaa the biggest). The area has a long and illustrious history. Coastal Swedes live on Noarootsi and the islands of Ruhnu and Vormsi. The islands of Kihnu and Muhu, with their rich cultural history, and the national parks of Vilsandi and Matsalu are also noteworthy.
The region is centered around Tartu, a bustling university town. Setomaa and Mulgimaa, to the south and south-east, have a distinct cultural history that is still evident today. The area includes Karula National Park, Soomaa National Park, and the ski resorts near Otepää.
Cities in Estonia
- Tallinn, Estonia’s capital, has a charming medieval center.
- Haapsalu is a coastal vacation town in Finland.
- On the island of Saaremaa, Kuressaare is home to the Kuressaare castle.
- Narva is Estonia’s easternmost city, located near the Russian border.
- Pärnu is Estonia’s summer capital and a historical coastal resort city with a modest port.
- Rakvere is renowned for its castle remains and distinct personality.
- Tartu, Estonia’s second-largest and oldest city, is known for its universities and as an intellectual center.
- Valga is a Latvian border town.
- Viljandi is the site of a yearly folk music festival.
Other destinations in Estonia
Estonians have a particular affinity for nature, and many would tell you that sitting beneath a tree in an empty forest or hiking in a national park is preferable to practically anything else. Estonia’s Baltic islands are peaceful, laid-back, and unspoilt, making for a wonderful nature escape.
- Hiiumaa is Estonia’s second-largest island.
- Karula National Park is Estonia’s smallest national park, situated in the south of the country.
- With 1000 km2 of beaches, peninsulas, and woods, Lahemaa National Park is 50 kilometers east of Tallinn.
- Matsalu National Park is one of Europe’s biggest and most significant fall migratory bird halting places.
- Saaremaa is Estonia’s biggest island, home to the town of Kuressaare and one of the Baltics’ few well-preserved medieval castles.
- Soomaa National Park is a peat bog that developed about 11,000 years ago when a glacier melted.
- Vilsandi National Park spans 238 square kilometers, including 163 square kilometers of water and 75 square kilometers of land, as well as 160 islands and islets.