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Estonia Cruises

To many, the phrase ‘Soviet’ conjures images of inhospitable landscapes and overwhelming amounts of concrete. When you visit the former Soviet state of Estonia you’ll begin to understand how misinformed this is. The port city of Tallinn, in particular, melds the medieval and the modern almost undetected, from terracotta church spires to glass buildings reflecting the city’s green spaces. 

While Tallinn has fully embraced urban and technological development, its real charm is in the Old Town, one of the most enchanting walled settlements you’ll find. Outside of the Old Town, Tallinn possesses a thriving business district, a tantalising restaurant scene and world-class visitor attractions. There’s no better time for a cruise to Estonia. 

Top 5 interesting facts

  • Tallinn’s chimney sweeps still wear 19th century uniforms. 
  • Less than 20% of Estonians believe in God. 
  • Skype, the revolutionary video-calling platform, came from Estonia.
  • Almost 50% of Estonia is covered by forest.
  • A labyrinth of 17th century tunnels runs beneath the Old Town.
 

Highlights

History

Raekoja plats is the main square in the Old Town and the site of Tallinn’s 15th century raekoda (Town Hall). If you like learning about the past, the Town Hall Museum will teach you more about the city’s history from the time of the city walls being built in 1265 to it being crowned Capital of Culture in 2011. Today, the city is also at the forefront of Europe’s start-up culture. 

National identity

The fortress of Toompea Castle, on top of the city’s hill, has its origins in the ninth century but is today the seat of the Estonian Parliament. Starting life as a wooden fort, the castle has been extensively remodelled and extended over the years. It’s a fascinating place to walk around, if only for the many different levels and views you can experience.  

Estonian Vikings are responsible for much of the country’s ways and traditions today, as are the Danish, Swedish and Russian invaders through history. This has led to a fascinating country where you’ll recognise influences from the outside combined with native traditions that has led to the creation of a proud national identity which is defiantly Estonian. 

 

Nature and beaches

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Estonians are traditionally known for being more spiritually connected with their earthly surroundings than their other European counterparts. Many Estonians believe the trees and earth possess power, and wood spirits are worshipped. There are many folk songs dedicated to the natural world – over 100,000 by some estimates. 

A stroll around the parks and gardens of Kadriorg Palace offers a good insight into both the natural world and the kingdom’s history. Roughly translated, Kadriorg means ‘Catherine’s Valley’, so named to commemorate the conquest of Estonia by Peter the Great who had the pleasure gardens and palace constructed for his wife, Catherine. This stunning retreat has impressive formal gardens, ornamental lakes and long tree-lined avenues. It’s a great place to let the kids blow off some steam or just to lose yourself for a few hours before your Estonia cruise moves on. 

Just a short car or bus ride from Tallinn you’ll find the beaches of Pirita, Viimsi and Haabneeme. All with the sands, bars and restaurants you’d expect from a great European beach resort, although this one’s our secret! 

 

Ports in the country

 

Cruises visiting Estonia

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