Estonia never quite became a true Soviet republic following its annexation by Stalin in 1940, somehow maintaining its language and culture. Now a dynamic western European country, following its independence in 1991, travellers to Estonia are unfailingly charmed by medieval Tallinn and Estonia’s blend of formidable castles, wilderness areas and pristine beaches.
The country boasts wonderfully diverse architecture, from Russian Orthodox churches to isolated wooden windmills and Danish Castles. The capital, Tallinn, is often referred to as a fairytale city, rivalling the likes of St Petersburg and Budapest, but enjoying less fame on the tourist trail sees fewer crowds and a more authentic atmosphere. Most Estonia holidays begin here, exploring the maze of cobbled streets that teem with tiny shops, pavement cafés and stylish restaurants.
Don't miss impressive Kadriorg Palace, a Baroque masterpiece that was once Peter the Great's summer palace, and the border town of Narva which, to this day continues to defend Estonia as its imposing castle stares broodily across the river at Russia's Ivangorod Castle. Estonia is well suited to fly-drive holidays and easily combined with the other Baltic States, Lithuania and Latvia.