Estonia Holidays, Events, Climate and Sightseeing

Estonia: Holidays, Climate and Sports

Public holidays

There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. The Corpus Christi festival is celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.

Date Holiday
January 1 New Year
February 24 National Independence Day
March April Easter
1st of May May Day
June 24 Jaanipäev (St. John’sDay) St. John’s Day is a traditional celebration of the summer solstice, celebrated on June 23rd and 24th. On the night of June 24th, the Midsummer Eve celebration and in honor of the longest day of the year are traditionally lit all over Estonia.
20th of August Independence regained day
December 24th, 25th and 26 Christmas

Source: Countryaah – Estonia Holidays

Cultural events

Dark Nights Film Festival

Every year in November and December, Tallinn hosts the Dark Nights Film Festival.

Estonian Song Festival

Every five years, the Estonian Song Festival has been celebrated since 1923 on Lauluväljak Square with its shell-shaped stage, just outside Tallinn. In 2019 it took place for the 27th time. In 2003, the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Song and Dance Festivals were recognized by UNESCO as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and in 2008 they were inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Sporting events

Basketball is the most popular sport in Estonia. There are good hiking and water sports opportunities in Estonia. There are good trails for cross-country skiing. But football also plays a major role.


Travel times

The ideas of what is meant by a particularly favorable travel climate depend on a number of factors. Pure cultural travelers certainly see the climate differently than people who want to spend a pure beach holiday, for example. The state of health or age can also play an important role.

For people who like to enjoy a lot of sun and for whom higher temperatures are not a problem, the summer is particularly suitable for a stay in the country.

People who prefer a moderate climate and lower temperatures should better stay in spring and Take advantage of autumn.

Estonia: Sightseeing

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Struve arch

The Struve Arch is a cross-border scientific monument with a length of 2,821 km.

This geodetic survey sheet extends over ten countries. It starts in Hammerfest in Norway and then continues through Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova and ends in Ukraine.

There is a chain of geodetic measuring stations on the Struve Arch.

It was used to measure parts of the earth’s surface and had its origin in the observatory of Tartu, of which Struve was director from 1820-1839. More details under Struve arches.

The Struvebogen was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005.

Tallinn Old Town

In earlier times, Tallinn was called Reval, especially in Germany.

The city is located on the Gulf of Finland, part of the Baltic Sea about 80 km south of Helsinki, directly on the sea.

A wooden castle was built on Toompea in the middle of the 11th century and the harbor was laid out at the same time.

In 1219 the construction of the cathedral began and merchants settled below the castle, who were allowed to import and sell the goods duty-free. Not least because of this, Talinn got rich.

The affiliation to other states changed frequently, for example Tannin was Danish, German and Russian. However, its relationship to the Hanseatic League was important for the city – probably as early as 1252, although Taninn was Danish at the time.

The official language was German until 1889.

In 1524 three churches were stormed and the furnishings of the churches were destroyed and valuable art treasures were stolen, most of which were found again at short notice.

Tallinn became Lutheran during the Reformation. A Gothic tower with a height of 159 m was built at the Olaikirche, which burned down in 1629 and is only 124 m high after its reconstruction. In 1684 the buildings on Toompea Toompea burned down and the plague raged 26 years later, so that most of the population died, but despite all the turmoil, the old town remained fairly undamaged. The former Cistercian monastery, which was probably founded by the Danish king in 1249, and the Johannis Hospital from 1237, where lepers were housed, are worth seeing.

But above all else, the well-preserved merchant houses in the old town inspire. The construction of these houses makes statements about the respective occupiers and reflects their influence. Some defense towers and parts of the wall are well preserved from the former city wall. The open-air museum in Rocca al Mare shows finds from peasant architecture.

Tallinn’s Old Town was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997.

Cultural sites and special buildings

The oldest pharmacy in Europe

Tallinn has the oldest pharmacy in Europe, which dates back to 1422.

Anatomical theater

The former teaching building of the medical faculty of the university in Tartu was designed by JW Krause. The building was completed in 1805, expanded in 1827 and acquired its current appearance in 1860.

The building is a historic monument in the history of science. Well-known personalities such as August Rauber, Erns von Baer, Karl Kupffer, Martin Heinrich Rathke, F.Bidder, Carl Ernst Schmidt and many more taught here. The round anatomical theater can still be visited today. However, renovation and reopening is planned for the near future.

Tallinn TV Tower (Teletorn)

At 314 meters, the tallest free-standing structure in Northern Europe was built between 1975 and 1980 on the occasion of the Summer Olympic Games, which took place in Moscow at the time. At a height of 170 meters you can visit a viewing platform from which you can even see the coast of Finland when the weather is clear.

Gothic Town Hall

The old Gothic Town Hall in Tallinn, which dates from the 11th century, is outstanding.

House of the Blackheads Guild

The Blackheads Guild, which only existed in today’s Estonia and Latvia, was made up of unmarried German merchants. She had been based in Tallinn since 1400. The patron saint of the guild, which can still be found in Germany, was St. Mauritius. In Tallinn you can now see the wonderful Renaissance house of the guild, which is adorned by an elaborately decorated portal. It shows the coat of arms of the Hanseatic offices in Bruges, Novgorod, London and Bergen.


The Hermannsfeste (Hermanni linnus) is a fortress in Narva on the banks of the Narva River. It was built by the Danes towards the middle of the 13th century and sold by them to the Teutonic Order along with the city of Narva and East Estonia, making it the easternmost castle of the Teutonic Order.

After its dissolution, it was owned by Sweden from 1558 to 1704 and then by Russian. From 1940 to 1990 the castle and town – like all of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – were part of the Soviet Union.

During the Second World War, the fortress was almost completely destroyed, but was later restored. Nowadays there is a museum here.

Directly opposite, on the right bank of the Narva, is the Russian fortress of Ivangorod. Here the river is spanned by a bridge and has a border station between Estonia and Russia.

It should be mentioned that around 90% of the residents of Narva are of Russian descent.

Kadriorg Palace

This baroque palace, built on the orders of Peter the Great in 1718, is surrounded by one of the most beautiful parks in the Estonian capital Tallinn.

Kiek in de Kök

The “cuckoo in the kitchen” is a former medieval cannon tower in Tallinn, which got its name from the fact that you could look into the kitchens of the city citizens from there. The tower, built at the end of the 15th century, is 49.4 meters high and has a diameter of 17 meters. With these dimensions and a wall thickness of between 3 and 4 meters, it was the largest tower of its kind in Northern Europe at the time. Unfortunately, it was partially destroyed in the Livonian War, but was later rebuilt. Part of the Tallinn City Museum was housed in the tower, which has now been completely renovated.


Tallinn is home to the palace where the Russian governors used to reside. Today it houses the Parliament of Estonia.


Hall Tallinn Town Hall is the only one of its kind in the Baltic States that was built in the Gothic style and is still preserved. The construction of the town hall began at the beginning of the 13th century. In the 15th century a tower was added, which is crowned by a spire in the style of the late Renaissance. The kite-shaped water reservoirs date from the 17th century.

Katharinental Palace

Tsar Peter the Great (1672-1725) commissioned the Italian architect Niccolò Michetti to build the palace in Tallinn, which he had built in honor of his wife and future Tsarina Catherine I (1683-1727; Tsarina from 1725-1727).

Construction began in 1718. Today there is a collection of foreign art in the castle. Katharinental gave the Kadriorg district of the same name its name because “Kadriorg” means Katharinental.

Observatory in Tartu

The observatory was built at the beginning of the 19th century by the architect JW Krause, who also designed the nearby anatomical theater. In the years 1820-1839 the astronomer FGW Struve worked here as director. The observatory had the largest Fraunhofer telescope of its time. The observatory was the center or the starting point of the Struve Arch, which runs from the North Cape to the Black Sea, with the help of which the size and extent of the earth was determined. The Struve Arch is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in a total of 10 countries.

Kunda culture

Remnants of the Kunda culture named after her have been found near the city of Kunda, which dates from around 7,400 to 6,000 BC. Existed in the Baltic States and Northern Russia. The Kunda culture was succeeded by the Narva culture. Today’s Kunda is a town of around 3.00 residents in the rural municipality of Viru-Nigula Estonia on the 70 km long river of the same name on the north coast of Estonia. The site is located on the Hiiemägi hill east of today’s city center, and on the Lammasmägi hill – an inland island at that time. Other sites of the culture are among others at Pulli, Siimusaare, on the 75 km long Narva River and in the Ihaste district of the city of Tartu, which has around 98,500 residents, and in the confluence of the 75 km long Reiu and the 145 km long Pärnu, into which it flows.


Estonian Open Air Museum

In the Tallinn Open Air Museum on a large site on the coast near Rocca al Mare, historical farmhouses from the country are shown as originals. You can also learn a lot about the country’s folk art.

Estonian History Museum in the House of the Great Guild

This museum in Tallinn is housed in one of the most imposing medieval buildings in the city.

The guild hall of the Hanse merchants with the largest secular hall in Tallin was built in the Gothic style and was completed in 1410. The history of the city and Tallin is presented in the museum.

Estonian National Museum

The National Museum of Estonia was inaugurated in October 2016.

The museum is located on a former Soviet military training area on the outskirts of the university city of Tartu.

The plans for the building come from the Paris-based architectural trio with the Israeli Dan Droell, the Lebanese Lina Ghotman and the Japanese Tsuyoshi Tane, who won the 2006 competition.

The museum is presented in the form of a 355 m long and 70 m wide wedge that rises to a height of 15 m and opens to a wedge-shaped entrance under a wide roof.

With around 130,000 artefacts, the museum depicts the tradition of Estonia and its surrounding region. A special feature of the museum is the permanent exhibition “The Echo of the Urals”, in which the history and life of the Finno-Ugur peoples are brought to life again.

And of course there are also numerous traditional costumes, tools and other cultural objects. With the help of around 800 screens, visitors can get in-depth information on numerous exhibits.

KUMU Art Museum

The Tallinn Art Museum, which is dedicated to Estonian art up to the modern age, was only opened in 2006.


Museum The museum in the modern building of the young Estonian architect Head Arhitektid in Tallinn is dedicated to the German and Soviet occupation of the country.

Theater and operas

Estonian Drama Theater – Tallinn

The Eesti Draama Theater offers the latest works by western dramaturges, but also plays local plays. It’s housed in a beautiful Art Nouveau building that was built in 1910 and is well worth a visit in itself.

Estonian National Opera – Tallinn

Located in the heart of Tallinn, this opera house shows classical and contemporary operas/operettas, ballet performances and musicals of all kinds. Children’s events are also part of the repertoire.

Estonian Puppet Theater – Tallinn

Eesti Nukuteater was founded in 1952 as an independent professional theater and now offers an indoor and an outdoor stage. Estonian and classic fairy tales will be performed.

Estonian Russian Theater – Tallinn

This theater was established in 1948 and is now the only Russian-language theater in Estonia. In addition to western pieces, works by Russian masters are also performed.

Singer Stage or Singer Festival Meadow – Tallinn

The open-air stage on which the huge five-year song festival takes place was built in 1960. The venue is in Kadriorg.

Tallinn City Theater – Tallinn

The Tallinna Linnateater – established in 1965 – is a large theater complex consisting of seven performance halls and a large open-air stage.

Vanemuise – Tartu

This theater in Tartu is of particular importance for the Estonian language and national movement.

Churches and monasteries


Nevsky Cathedral The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tallinn is a Russian Orthodox church. It was completed in 1900 on Toompea opposite the castle and was a symbol of the Russification of the country. The church is said to have been built on the site of the grave of the Estonian national hero Kalev. The namesake of the church, Alexander Newski, defeated the advancing crusaders in the ice battle on Lake Peipus in 1242 as the leader of the Russian army. He prevented their further advance to the east and was canonized because of his great merits.

Dominican Monastery

The Dominican Monastery in Tallinn was founded in 1246 and is the oldest existing monastery in Estonia. The walls are adorned with decorations from the 15th and 16th centuries.

Cathedral Church

This church in Tartu dates back to the 13th century and is one of the oldest in Estonia.

Cathedral Church

The Cathedral Church in Tallinn was built in the Upper Town at the intersection of eight streets since the 13th century. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In the 14th century the church was converted into a three-aisled basilica based on the model of Gotland churches. One speaks in this context of limestone Gothic. The limestone was the predominant material in the city. In 1684 the church was the victim of a great fire. Today’s interior, such as the stalls and the coat of arms epithets of the Baltic German nobles, were created in the baroque style. The pulpit, also baroque, and the altar were created by Christian Ackermann. The Russian circumnavigator Adam Johann von Krusenstern was dug in the church.

Church of the Holy Spirit

The Church of the Holy Spirit in Tallinn from the 14th century is the only faithfully preserved church from this period. It is of particular importance for Estonia as it was the first time that Estonian was preached here. The famous Balthasar Russow, a Livonian chronicler, also worked here. The Gothic carvings in the church are architecturally emphasized. Famous, for example, are the winged altar by the Lübeck master Bernt Notke and the clock by Christian Ackermann on the outer facade. The church originally served as the poor house church and council chapel.

St. John’s Church

The St. John’s Church in Tartu is a Gothic brick church from the 14th century. It is the most important church of its kind in Estonia, which, in contrast to its neighbors, has only little brick Gothic. The church is known for its terracotta figures.

Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This magnificent sacred building in Tallinn dates from the 13th century and is one of the oldest churches in Estonia.


The Nikolaikirche in Tallinn is dedicated to the patron saint of merchants and seafarers. It was built in the 13th century and partly used as a grain store. Today the church houses the Museum of Sacred Culture. Particularly noteworthy are the dance of death by the Lübeck master Bernt Notke from the 15th century and the main altar by the Lübeck painter Hermen Rode, which dates from the same time and was financed by all the citizens of the city. The Marian altar was bought by the Guild of the Blackheads in Bruges towards the end of the 15th century.

St. Brigitta Monastery

The ruins of the St. Brigitta Monastery can be visited in Pirita. This monastery was founded in 1407.

St. Nikolai

This church in Tallinn is one of the most important churches in Estonia.

St. Olai

The tower of St. Olai Church in Tallinn offers a good view of the old town.


Estonian Art Academy (Eesti Kunstiakadeemia)

The Estonian Art Academy in Tallinn, a state institution, was established in 1914 as a school of applied arts.

Today it is made up of the specialist departments for architecture, visual arts, monument preservation, design, media studies and art history.

Estonian Music Academy (Eesti Muusikaakadeemia)

This is a state music academy in Tallinn, founded in 1918 and currently teaching 560 students. Arvo Pärt, the celebrated Estonian composer, was the most famous graduate of this college.

Tallinn University of Technology (Tallinna Tehnikaülikool)

The only technical university in all of Estonia in Tallinn is also one of the most important technical universities in all of Central and Eastern Europe.

Tallinn University (Tallinna Ülikool)

This Tallinn State University currently trains around 7,000 students.

The educational institution emerged from the Tallinn Pedagogical University in 2005 and is now made up of six faculties.

University of Tartu

The University of Tartu was founded in 1632 by King Gustav II Adolf. At times it was relocated to the city of Pärnu further west. In 1802 it was reopened by Tsar Alexander I.

It soon became a lively exchange site for Russian, Estonian and Baltic German scientists.

The university buildings were built by the architect Johann Wilhelm Krause in a classical style. They were completed in 1809. Around 15,000 students are currently studying at its faculties.

Natural beauties

Kihnu Island

This island in the Gulf of Riga with a size of 16.65 km² is a beautiful island and well worth a visit.


To Peipussee you can either go with normal boats. Or you can choose the replicated historical Hanseatic cogs that sail on the lake.

Lahemaa National Park

About 50 kilometers east of Tallinn, this national park is a forest, moor and swamp paradise.

Above all, you should stick to Viru raba, which has a 5-kilometer footpath and a lookout tower.

Naissaar (Women’s

Island ) This island in the Gulf of Finland, which belongs to Estonia, is about 8 km north of the Estonian mainland. It is 18.6 km² and is almost uninhabited today.

The island, located directly at the entrance to Tallinn Bay, was of enormous strategic importance in the past because of its geographical location.

Since 1995 it has been a nature reserve that is to be made accessible to tourism. The lovingly restored wooden houses of the former Swedish villages still stand on the island.

Sandy beach in Pirita

A wonderful long sandy beach can be found in the Pirita district of Tallinn, to the northeast of the city center. The beach is bordered by a pine forest and attracts many young people, especially in the summer months, who make it a party mile.

Soomaa National Park

About 115 kilometers from Tallinn is this national park, which is famous for its fascinating moor and swamp landscape.

Surprisingly, you can even swim in it, which is supposed to rejuvenate the skin.

Also worth seeing are the villages in the national park, which, depending on the season, are only accessible by boat. The park is great for hiking, camping or canoeing.

Ülemiste Järv (Upper Lake)

The 9.6 km² Ülemiste Järv is located in the southeast of Tallinn and is the largest lake in the Estonian capital. It is fed by the tributaries of Jägala, Pirita, Vääna and Pärnu and acts as the main source of drinking water for Tallinn’s urban population.

The lake, which is popular with anglers because of its immense wealth of perch, has officially been part of Tallinn’s urban area since the 15th century and played a major role in Estonian mythology from an early age.

The lake is said to have originated from the tears of Linda, who mourned her husband Kalev, which is still reminiscent of the Linda stone, a large rock that can be found directly on the lake.

The desperate widow supposedly wanted to bring the stone to the grave of her deceased husband on Toompea. But it fell off her shoulder.

Primeval Forests in Estonia

About 10% of the territory of Estonia is designated as a nature reserve. In the protected forests of Estonia there are even primeval forests.

For example the primeval forest in Järvselja in the Tartumaa district and the Poruni primeval forest in the Ida-Virumaa district.

About the author