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Estonia has been a member of the European Union since 2004, and with its 1.3 million inhabitants is one of the ‘Baltic countries’ along with Latvia and Lithuania. Within reach of ferries from Finland, Estonia shares with its Nordic neighbour a language from the same Finno-Ugric family and a love for saunas. In this country of 45 000 km², with the highest point at 318 metres, conifer forests and lakes are never far away. The largest of these, Lake Peipsi Järv, six times the size of Lake Geneva, forms, in the east, a long natural frontier between Estonia and Russia. In spring and summer, the lake banks and placid watercourses come alive with thousands of fishermen and keen canoeists, and the forests are invaded by families who have come to pick red berries.
The banks of the Baltic Sea are also very busy. At Pärnu, a sort of local Saint-Tropez, and on the islands of Saaremaa and Kihnu, the beaches are taken by storm in temperatures that approach 30° C in summer.
On the coast and in the cities, summer is the time for Song Festivals and celebrations. Huge gatherings show the importance of traditional song whose roots go back into the mists of time. Cities in Estonia are not particularly big but the capital, Tallin, and Tartu, the main university town, are very keen to display their medieval heritage that is well preserved in spite of fifty years of Soviet domination.
Hotel and restaurant in town. This sophisticated hotel, ideally located next to Saint-Olaf’s church, right in the heart of a city that combines medieval charm with hectic modern living, enjoys a tranquil setting in the old town. The Three Sisters Hotel is a remarkable combination of three merchant houses built in 1362, with passages and secret stairways that link the different floors. The contemporary décor is the perfect foil for magnificently-restored period features, such as the ceiling frescoes rediscovered under 14 layers of wallpaper and the wooden crane used to hoist supplies into the house. Restaurant Bordoo is the perfect place for a late breakfast, a leisurely lunch or a gourmet dinner. ... Learn moreless