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A small and heavily forested country, Estonia is the most northerly of the three former Soviet Baltic republics.
Not much more than a decade after it regained its independence following the collapse of the USSR, the republic was welcomed as an EU member in May 2004. The move came just weeks after it joined Nato. People from larger countries may find it odd that there are in fact no distant places in Estonia – one can travel from one end of the country to another in just four or five hours without having to rush.
And yet Estonia is larger on the inside than on the outside, the “secret” well known and shared by the locals. It is quite unusual to find such a variety in landscapes, flora, seasons, weather and moods within only a couple of dozens of kilometres. At the same time the traveller in Estonia has plenty of space: on the territory with a size comparable to that of Denmark or Holland there are four and twelve times less inhabitants here, respectively.
Everything that you see while travelling around in Estonia is inseparable from our history. Estonians belong to the oldest peoples in Europe and were already living on the coasts of the Baltic Sea at the time when the first pyramids were erected in Egypt. Since the 13th century we have been invaded and ruled by Germans, Danes, Swedes, Poles and Russians, but each one of them have left behind also something good. The Republic of Estonia was declared on 24 February, 1918, and for a couple of decades the people felt pride in their home country, work, children and achievements. The vile and destructive occupation by the Soviet Union which lasted half a century interrupted the natural development of many spheres of life in Estonia, which until then had been keeping up well with its northern neighbour Finland. In 1991 Estonians regained their independence in the course of the “Singing Revolution” and returned to their rightful place in Europe and the world.

Most tourists who visit Estonia arrive first in Tallinn. Since this medieval Hanseatic town, the capital and the business and cultural centre of Estonia deserves a guidebook of its own (of which there are plenty available), we will cover only the most important facts about Tallinn in this publication. First and foremost we will focus on interesting places, activities, food and culture in other parts of Estonia.

ADVICE AND INFORMATION


Would you like to spend some time at the seaside in the midst of a juniper grove, to go boating or fishing in the sea, to go cycling or walk with binoculars on Käina Bay nature trail, to smoke fish yourself, sit at the campfire in the evening, taste Hiiumaa food and drink?

Come, make yourself as at home in a comfortable room or a family cottage.

Between Käina Bay and Jausa Bay on the road to Kassari, Puulaid Camping and holiday resort lies nestled among the junipers.
Information: 372 46 361 26; 372 5088 610
puulaiu.matkamaja@neti.ee
Address: Puulaid, Käina vald, 92101 Hiiumaa, ESTONIA


Welcome to Konse Guesthouse
&
Caravan Camping

Konse Holiday Camping was opened in 2002. It is a family-owned business offering its guests good service, privacy and security.
We are situated in the centre of Pärnu, on the bank of the River Pärnu. It is at a 10-15 minutes walk to the seaside, beach or cultural and entertainment sites.

Suur-Jõe 44a, Pärnu 80021 Eesti
Telefon: +372 53435092
Faks: +372 4475561
E-mail: info@konse.ee


Entry regulations for cars in Estonia are the same as those imposed in most other European countries. If you intend to drive to Estonia from other parts of Europe, you must be in possession of the following:
- A valid passport
- A national driver's license
- An international driving permit
- Vehicle registration documents
- Green Card insurance cover
- Written permission from the vehicle's owner (if the vehicle is borrowed)
- A national identity sticker affixed to the rear of the vehicle
- A first aid kit
- Two red warning triangles in case of breakdown
- Replacement bulbs for all lights

Anyone who intends to drive in Estonia should also be aware of the following rules and regulations:
- In built-up areas 50km/h max.
- On main roads or highways 90km/h max; some 100km/h max.
- Valid Green Card insurance is required
- Drive with lights on 24 hours a day
- In Tallinn, Pärnu, Tartu, Kuressaare, and Vilijandi drivers must pay for parking in central parts of the town, following the traffic signs
- Driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly prohibited.

In case of accident, call the police rescue number, 110, or the general emergency number, 112.


North Estonia – this is a mixture of colourful history and the dynamic present time, contrasts in lifestyles and nature, a journey from trendy Tallinn to the quiet of bogs and romantic fishing villages, an ascent from the primeval forest to the height of a limestone cliff and a view over the sea. South Estonia is unique and mysterious: the rich nature, lakes and hills of the heartland nourish the character of the hard-working country people, the nostalgic atmosphere of small towns and the academic-bohemian ambience of the university town Tartu. West Estonia is characterised by vast expanses of land, peace of mind and fresh sea air, bays abounding in birds, juniper fields, pine trees and people toughened by the sea breeze on the coast.

After having taken the chance to travel in the world after the regaining of independence, more and more Estonians spend their summer holidays at home. What could serve as a better recommendation to a visitor? We wish that you will enjoy yourselves here are and leave Estonia richer – with new impressions and knowledge, and a warm feeling your hearts.




Before you go get covered for all events


These historic developments would have been extremely hard to imagine in not-so-distant Soviet times.


Tallinn: The Capital's long history is evident in its old town


Timeline

Estonia was part of the Russian empire until 1918 when it proclaimed its independence. Russia recognised it as an independent state under the 1920 Treaty of Tartu.

During the two decades that followed it tried to assert its identity as a nation squeezed between the rise of Nazism in Germany and the dominion of Stalin in the USSR.


After a pact between Hitler and Stalin, Soviet troops arrived in 1940 and Estonia was absorbed into the Soviet Union. Nazi forces pushed the Soviets out in 1941 but the Red Army returned in 1944 and remained for half a century.

The rapidly expanding Soviet planned economy brought hundreds of thousands of Soviet immigrants to Estonia, causing widespread fear among Estonians that their national identity would eventually vanish.

Russians account for up to a third of the population.

The legacy of the Soviet years has left a mark which the country carries with it into its EU era: Many Russian-speakers complain of discrimination, saying strict language laws make it hard to get jobs or citizenship without proficiency in Estonian. Some Russian-speakers who were born in Estonia are either unable or unwilling to become citizens because of the language requirements.

After a decade of negotiations, Estonia and Russia signed a treaty defining the border between the two countries in May 2005. The Estonian parliament ratified it soon afterwards but only after it had introduced reference to Soviet occupation. Moscow reacted by pulling out of the treaty and saying talks would have to start afresh.

The Estonian language is closely related to Finnish but not to the languages of either of the other Baltic republics, Latvia and Lithuania, or to Russian. The country has unique traditions in folk song and verse, traditions which have had to be strong to survive the many centuries of domination by foreign countries.

Estonia has enjoyed strong economic growth since joining the EU.