Bordering the Baltic Sea, enchanting Estonia has managed to remain under the radar when it comes to European tourist spots, but a tour to Estonia is richly rewarding. Estonia remained under Soviet rule until 1991, meaning strong Russian influences mingle with the hallmarks of both Western and Eastern Europe to create cityscapes that are unique to this region. In Tallinn, the medieval old town is a maze of cobbled streets, crumbling walls and churches topped with soaring spires. The split-level historic centre is divided into the grand Upper Town perched on a hill, and the Lower Town where washed-out rainbow buildings are clustered. Here, throwbacks to Russian rule mix with European influences from the Middle Ages, including its prominent trio of Gothic churches – St Olaf’s, St Nicholas’ and the Church of the Holy Ghost – and its stunning Baroque palace in Kadriorg Park, which you will visit on our tour of Helsinki, Tallinn & Riga.
Further south we find Estonia’s cultural capital, Tartu, the perfect pit stop when travelling through the swathes of Estonian countryside. This attractive city is firmly focused on the intellectual, home to the national university of Estonia and a variety of important museums. A large student population creates an energetic mix of cultures and ideas in Tartu, with the Kissing Students Fountain that takes pride of place on the Old Town Square serving as a reminder that this city relishes its reputation as a hive of learning and knowledge.