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  • Day119

    So we arrived in Estonia where we were staying the night in a brewery.. :)

    We have been doing a lot of driving recently as we have been doing a bit of country hopping over the past week. I find being a passenger quite tedious so when I am not driving I have invented the game "Stalking Storks".. we first saw these long legged beauties in Slovakia. Perched on top of telegraph poles in the very centres of town, I thought they were herons to begin with. If you know me you’ll know that animals are not my ‘thing’. In Poland, it was explained to us by Mark that they were in fact storks and the government there were giving out grants to people who were able to get them to nest on their land. So started a little competition between Stuart and I.. Shows you how dull it can be driving for hours on end!!

    We broke the drive from Latvia to Estonia up with a stop at a “Hesburger”. We had seen these fast food joints on numerous occasions through the Baltics so we thought we better check it out. A bit like MacDonalds but cheaper, two happy customers.

    Unfortunately the owners of the brewery were not there so we could not have a tour but we had the whole, very large, building to ourselves and beers to try. It was Estonian craft ale and very nice indeed!

    In the afternoon we also headed to the local town for a walk around the lake and got distracted by a disc golf course.. like crazy golf but with a frisbee. We looked far and wide - at each of the supermarkets nearby - but we could not find a frisbee :( so no fun for us but left us wondering whether it was Estonia’s national sport?

    We then drove onward to a local “tourist attraction” that turned out to be a derelict old country house. But on the plus side we randomly found a huge swing in a field which we went on like big kids!

    Probably fortunately for our livers we were only there for one night!
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  • Day121

    So Tallinn turned out to be our favourite Baltic capital city.

    The first day we arrived mid afternoon. We had to pick the key for the apartment up from a cafe and so we stayed for lunch and what a lunch it was! Mine was a bright pink beetroot risotto topped off with goats cheese and was delicious.

    Our Latvian host in Riga had recommended that we visit an area called Telliskivi, which is the "arty" district of Tallinn. Run down industrial buildings scattered with cool bars and street art. It made for a grey setting to a very grey day! Far too cool for us in our rain Macs! After exploring a while, we had a lovely glass of wine at "Frenchys" before heading back to relax.

    The second day it poured to the extent we weren't sure were even going to brave the walk into the town. Luckily for us it paused for a few hours so we got to see a bit of the old town and leave the apartment!

    Immediately we got a better feel for Tallinn than we had for Riga and Vilnius. There was more life and so many things to see. We wandered past cathedrals, castles, old town walls and multiple souvenir shops. We had the "best hotdogs in the Baltics" with nothing to compare them to, I suppose they were for us.. Stuart had - what he said was - an amazing Snickers brownie from a homemade chocolate shop and we tried on silly hats to keep out of the rain.

    Enjoyed it but definitely time now to move onto Scandinavia :)
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  • Day16

    An earlier start as we have a big 340 k bus ride and half hour ferry trip to Muhu Island then drive across a causeway to Saameraa Island. Saameraa is the largest Estonian island.
    About an hour in we cross the Estonian border.

  • Day17

    56 km ride today up the Sorve Peninsula. We got bussed from the Hotel to the Sorve lighthouse. This peninsula had considerable military significance, dominating the Irbe Strait and the Baltic Sea route to Riga.
    This was a very lovely ride- flat, sheltered and little traffic. We were able to stop and take photos. There were some lovely quaint houses and working farms. Coast with many white swans!! Just like we would see pelicans, I kept thinking they were 😊
    We went off the beaten track and cycled half the route on gravelly corrugated roads. Not everyone liked that! But we did like our lunch picnic spot.
    Along one of these tracks the front group saw a black snake cross the road. This is not a common occurrence, unlike Australia, so Minda, our guide, harassed it with a stick to get it back on the road for the rest of us to see. He gave up when it decided to strike back at him!! You could tell he's not used to dealing with poisonous snakes!!!! It was quite a big one for here.
    This had been the first time the Saameraa Island had been included in the itinerary, they used to do the smaller island of Hiiumaa.
    Our hotel had a spa centre so we had it booked from 5.30-7.30 pm. I'm not a fan of saunas but I spent an hour in and out of saunas and cold pools and muscles feel great!
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  • Day17

    Our 2 local blokes. 💕
    Mindaugas, or Minda, was our English speaking Lithuanian guide. He spoke and understood English pretty well, just had a little trouble occasionally translating a word.
    He did an excellent job at guiding us and putting up with the Aussie humour 😊
    Edvardas was our Lithuanian bus driver, who didn't speak much English. He understood some but couldn't speak it well. He spoke fluent Lithuanian and Russian and passable German. He still enjoyed the Aussies, you can still communicate pretty well with sign language and body gestures. Minda often translated between us.
    Edvardas did a great job too driving and backing the long bike trailer, keeping us on the right road and packing everyone's luggage in the minivan.
    Baltic Bike Travel 👍👍👍
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  • Day18

    This morning's ride is just a short 10 km ride along a smooth bike track from our accommodation to the main town of Kuressaare, still on Saameraa Island. I didn't even bother with bike gear today, even rode in my sandals. A lovely sunny day.
    We had 1 1/2 hours exploring Kuressaare. They have a great castle there too. There's a memorial to the 1941 "Red terror", a mass murder of peasants, 91 people slaughtered. That was pretty moving and disturbing.
    From there we visited Kaali crater where a meteorite hit around 4000 years ago.
    Then onto the ferry "Piret strong woman of the sea" to mainland Estonia on drive to Tallin.
    We had to say goodbye to our 2 local blokes. Minda and I had a little cry and a hug 😢
    We all got on really well and a bit sad to be finishing but also looking forward to our next adventure
    After a 2 hour walking tour of Old Town Nic and I had tea at a Medieval themed restaurant. Food and atmosphere was terrific
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  • Day18

    "Many frequent travellers would say that you haven't really been to Tallin unless you've visited Olde Hansa. This Mecca of medievalism in the heart of Old Town doesn't just serve historically authentic fare made from carefully researched recipes, it provides guests with a whole experience using a combination of candlelight, waiters and waitresses ( your very own peasant) in period costume and medieval background music".
    From "Tallin- in your pocket"
    Nicole and I had a lovely meal and drinks with great atmosphere. Loved the "throne room" (loo).
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  • Day20

    This morning I headed to the Post Office in Old Town and posted off a box of riding gear and souvenirs back home. I was pleasantly surprised it didn't cost as much as I thought it might. It's less to carry around and cheaper than excess baggage.
    I then found the Hop on/ Hop off bus, the "blue line " route that goes out west Tallin. I hopped off at the Open air Museum which is a collection of farm houses and buildings from around Estonia over the centuries. It was very interesting and there were costumed people doing typical chores etc. I had lunch at the Inn there then 2 hours later hopped on the bus again until we got to the Seaplane Harbour museum. It had a submarine, coastal artillery, old and modern seaplane as well as an aquarium with Estonian fish with glass bowls that housed artifacts from a shipwreck. Very well done.
    I thought it was then time to head home, I'd had enough ofsightseeing so got on the blue line bus again. When it got to Viru Square where the circuit starts, it stopped for a while. I got off and had a look at the stalls then saw the bus was still there so got back on (a ticket lets you get on and off all day ), thinking I only had one more stop to get home. HOWEVER, there are 3 routes - the red line, the blue line and the green line, which I knew about. Unbeknowns to me, the drivers change "lines" each time they get back to base (Saves getting bored with the same hourly circuit I guess). So.... I was actually back on board the GREEN line, that goes out east. Another hour on the bus instead of 5 minutes!! Still, I was sitting down and got to see a bit more of Tallin. I really couldn't face any more hopping on and offs.
    I eventually got home (through a meandering route on foot through the Old Town...I'm such an impossible navigator!!), then had a relaxing time in the free for guests sauna and pool complex.
    I'm packed, paid up, taxi booked for a 4.15 AM start tomorrow to Copenhagen for the next adventure to Iceland
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  • Day20

    Still so much to see. Didn't even scrape the surface. So old and beautiful. Such history of centuries of different occupations by so many other nations. Makes the young Aussie mind boggle.
    Churches, castles, cobblestones

  • Day14

    Today was another day of exploring after a few minor hiccups in the morning but I will put that behind me.

    I climbed Hellemann Tower and Kanye Wall. The oldest parts of Tallinn's city walls date from the 13th century taking shape over the following three centuries. It wad one of the longest in North Europe - 235km and 45 gate towers. Now 1.85km of wall remains with 26 defence towers.

    I also climbed the city hall tower. On top of the city hall is a weathervane with old Thomas who looks very cute! They really do like their weather vanes.

    So there was lots of stairs today. Actually there has been lots of stairs on this trip.

    I visited this amazing monastery. Think it was built sometime in 1200. About 25 benediction monks lived there. It has the oldest library in Estonia. And the cloister is suppose to have amazing acoustics, not that I can sing. Also in the complex down in the basement is an art gallery.

    I also came across this amazing complex of artists. The things that can be made from felt are brilliant, even cat homes!! Mistrad House, or something like that.

    Up in the upper town there is this really narrow street. The tail goes if a knight could ride down it on his horse and not touch the side with his Lance then he can keep drinking.

    I had hot beetroot soup again at the something pig restaurant, very nice.

    Off to Riga, a 40 minute plane ride then to Baku tonight.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Estonia, Estland, Estonia, Ɛstonia, ኤስቶኒያ, Ēastland, أستونيا, ܐܣܬܘܢܝܐ, Estoniya, Эстонія, Естония, Esetoni, এস্তোনিয়া, ཨིསྟོ་ནི་ཡ།, Estonija, Estònia, Estonsko, Estóńskô, Эстони, Estonia nutome, Εσθονία, Estonujo, Eesti, استونیا, Estoni, Viro, Estonie, Èstonie, Estlân, An Eastóin, એસ્ટોનિયા, אסטוניה, एस्टोनिया, Estiska, Észtország, Էստոնիա, Eistland, エストニア共和国, gugrxesti, ესტონეთი, Estlandi, អេស្តូនី, ಎಸ್ತೊನಿಯ, 에스토니아, Estonya, Esitoniya, Esland, Esitoni, ເອສໂຕເນຍ, Estija, Igaunija, Естонија, എസ്റ്റോണിയ‍, Estonja, အက်စတိုးနီးယား, इस्टोनिया, Estonnie, ଏସ୍ତୋନିଆ, اېسټونيا, Estônia, Istunya, Эстония, Estteeana, Estonïi, එස්තෝනියාව, Estónsko, Estooniya, எஸ்டோனியா, ఎస్టోనియా, Estónia, เอสโตเนีย, ʻEsitōnia, Éstonia, Естонія, اسٹونیا, E-xtô-ni-a (Estonia), Lestiyän, Orílẹ́ède Esitonia, 爱沙尼亚, i-Estonia

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