Estonia is located in the Baltic Region of Northern Europe just below Finland, and the capital city is Tallinn. The official language of Estonia is Estonian, which is closely related to Finnish language and in some of the more remote areas, Russian is spoken. Although Estonia may be the smallest of all Baltic countries, it more than makes up for this in tourist attractions.
In the town of Tallinn, tourists find themselves wandering through winding, cobble stoned streets that take them through the historical center. Old Town, is divided into two distinct parts; Toompea Hill, which was were the aristocrats lived and Lower Tower, an area in which the common citizens lived. The Old Town area was built predominantly during the 11th century and remains amazingly well preserved to the present day. The Town Hall Square was and the pharmacy were built during the 14th century and are still operational today. Old Town is also full of old churches, most notably St. Olav, which is the largest Gothic-styled church in Europe and the Alexander Nevsky Russian Orthodox Cathedral, which towers over the skyline of Toompea. Tourists can stroll past small studios of local artists and craftsman and witness them working, some of the businesses have been located here for centuries.
The most popular family attraction in Tallinn is the Zoo. It has over 6,000 different animals from polar bears to lions. There is a Tropical House for animals needing a warmer climate. The petting zoo is very entertaining for children as they get the chance to feed and frolic with baby animals of all kinds. There are informative tours and entertaining shows that draw in inhabitants from all over the region, as well as travelers from all over the world.
The largest amusement park in Estonia is the Rocca al Mare Tivoli. The park has over 19 different rides and over 100 video and carnival-type games. There are different daily shows performed in the main tent and the park is located on the coast of Tallinns Kopoli Bay, close to the zoo.
For many years, the pink baroque structure of Kadriorg Palace and Park was the summer residence of the Russian Tsar Peter I. Today, the grounds are home to the Estonia Art Museums foreign art collection. There are thousands of pieces of western European and Russian artwork from the 16th to 20th century. There are prints, paintings, sculptures and furniture in the collection. In the summer time the palace grounds is the venue of choice for concerts, theater performances, lectures and receptions. The surrounding park is a wonderful recreational spot that is comprised of flower gardens, Swan Lake, meadows and forest areas as well.
On an expanse of forest land off of Kopoli Bay, there is a well preserved collection of historical Estonian buildings. Exhibits include farming buildings, houses, windmills and watermills. There are folk dancing and craft displays every weekend in the village and a local inn that specializes only in serving traditional Estonian cuisine.
Next to Old Town in Tallinn, is the Nordic Hotel Forum. This is a rather newly built hotel offering guests a Relaxation Center, a fresh juice bar, a bar and restaurant with one of the best chefs in Estonia on staff, right on the premises. For those seeking more quaint accommodations, the Merchants House Hotel is perfect. The hotel is located in the center of Tallinn and has thirty-seven rooms, each one with a unique decor pertaining to the 14th and 16th century. Touring the beautiful country of Estonia is perfect for those travelers who are seeking to find a harmonious balance between nature, history and old word charm.