Estonia’s Capital Tallinn has established itself firmly as the charming picturesque town not to be missed on any cruise itinerary through Northern Europe. It is friendly and small enough to manage in one day. However, my visit this past winter proved that there is a lot more to Estonia than what you may discover during that one day shore excursion. It is, for example, one of the most progressive countries as far as the Internet. The Estonians not only gave world Skype that revolutionized the way we think about phone calls to overseas, they also claimed the right to Internet access as the innate right of all their citizens, thus wifi is available all over the country and is free of charge even at 5 star hotels. Driving to the west coast of Estonia, I kept encountering time and again the giant and beautifully sleek windmills that did not in any way disturb the pristine landscape. From what I saw, the country is well on its way to be Eastern Europe’s most progressive and ecologically minded state and hopefully not even the severe economical crises will steer it off this course.
There are three things that I would recommend to any visitor that wishes to take more time to get to know this fascinating country. First, do not miss the KUMU Art Museum in Tallinn. Designed by the Finnish architect Pekka Vappavuori and opened in February 2006, KUMU is the biggest art museum of the country, housing a comprehensive collection of Estonian art. Its sleek and modern design is a great complement to the more historic Art Museum of the Kadriorg Palace in the park of the same name. The collection includes examples of Classical Estonian Art of the 18th century, wonderful pieces by Avant-garde artists of the 1920’s and also works by contemporary artists. Opening hours: May–Sept Tue-Sun 11.00-18.00, Oct–April Wed–Sun 11.00–18.00.
Second, if you have time to venture beyond Tallinn, head west to visit the Islands of Muhu and Saaremaa. Muhu is the perfect base for your exploration as it is home to Estonia’s best hotel and restaurant, the Padaste Manor and its acclaimed Alexander Restaurant (more details about the hotel in one of the next blogs).
Third, and this is something you may have no influence over, but do try to see a moose. This will obviously only happen when you travel to the countryside, but chances of such encounter are pretty high, especially on the above mentioned islands.
In other words, do take more time to get to know Estonia.
Call 800.633.1008 or 813.251.5355