Places Not To Miss In Estonia

Updated on February 21, 2018

Note: The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of RetoxMagazine.com

Where to Travel in Estonia

In Estonia you can experience a mix of medieval and contemporary architecture, untouched nature and Nordic food. Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, or the popular city of Tartu have stunning medieval centres and lively nightlife. There are thousands of islands in Estonia with the bigger islands well worth a visit. You can take Estonian nature tours or island tours for a guided adventure. Make your trip to Estonia even more fun by timing your journey with Estonia’s top culture events.

Follow the quick links below for specific places to see in Estonia.

Fairy-tale-like historic architecture in Tallinn Old Town
Alexander Nevsky Russian Cathedral in Tallinn
The famous Rakvere Castle
Railway Museum in Haapsalu
Narva Castle and Narva Medieval Festival

Top 14 Events in Estonia

Whether you’re coming to Estononia for a short weekend break or seeking a longer and a more immersive local experience, it’s a great idea to time your Estonian adventure with local cultural events. Here’s our list of top 14 festivals in Estonia.

List of Top Events in Estonia

Visit Estonia

Fairy-tale-like historic architecture in Tallinn Old Town

Tallinn Old Town beautifully lit at night time during winter covered in snow

Pictured: Historical architecture in Tallinn Old Town, in Estonia, Europe. The old town in Tallinn is nothing short of a fairy-tale location and makes a great destination during the months of winter.

Bright red roof tops of Tallinn's old town set against blue sky

Visible is the St. Olav's Church and Tower, and the striking red roofs of Tallinn’s old town in Estonia. The 124 metre church tower is the city's biggest medieval structure. The red roofs are best visible during the snow-free or summer months.

A busy market set up in a square of the old town in Tallinn, Estonia

Pictured: A busy market square with stalls and cafes in Tallinn’s old town in Estonia.

Alexander Nevsky Russian Cathedral in Tallinn

The stunning exterior of Alexander Nevsky Russian Cathedral in Tallinn

Pictured: Alexander Nevsky Russian Cathedral in Tallinn, Estonia. The orthodox cathedral is in the city’s old town and a splendid memory of Tallinn when it was part of the Czarist Empire.

The famous Rakvere Castle

Exterior of the Rakvere Castle in Estonia with a cannon in the foreground

Pictured: The famous Rakvere Castle in Estonia. The castle experience will take you back to the Middle Ages where you will be able to see how people lived during this time.

Railway Museum in Haapsalu

A black antique train on display at Railway Museum in Haapsalu, Estonia

Pictured: A historical train exhibited at Railway and Communications Museum in Haapsalu, Estonia. At the museum you can discover around a century and a half worth of Estonian railway history with various interesting items on display.

Haapsalu is a seaside resort town in Estonia so on your trip to Haapsalu take out some beach time. There also other sightseeing locations such as the Haapsalu Castle and the old town.

Narva Castle and Narva Medieval Festival

Narva Castle and castle moat full of water in foreground, Estonia

Pictured: Narva Castle, Estonia. The Narva Castle is the most diverse and best preserved medieval defence structure in Estonia. It was established in the 13th century by the Danes. To immerse yourself in medieval times, visit the castle during the Narva Medieval Festival that takes place at the end of June.

List of Top Events in Estonia

Below is our selection of top events in Estonia that include cultural events, music festivals, film festivals and more.

Tallinn Music Week

This is massive! The line-up includes around 250 international and Estonian artists of various musical genres attracting 25,000 spectators. Experience Tallinn’s best concert venues, pop-up concerts and shows in cafes, galleries and private homes. This is a music festival not to miss so start planning your early April in Tallinn! Get more info here.

Jazzkaar Festival

Here’s another major music festival in Tallinn with a specific focus on Jazz. Held in Estonia’s capital city, Jazzkaar is considered the best music festival in Estonia and is the biggest jazz festival of the Baltics. The 10-day festival takes place in the second half of April and features international as well as local jazz talent.

Tuulekala (Wind Fish) Festival

If you love the sea, love fish and a bit of traditional dancing, then this family friendly event is right up your sleeve. At this event you can expect competitions, a fish market, nautical workshops and a dance party in the evening. The festival takes place on Hiiumaa Island in May (since we last checked it) and if you’re not sailing your own boat, you can get there by a ferry or take a bus from Tallinn.

Sõru Summer Jazz Festival

Set over four days in June the music festival takes place in Hiiumaa and showcases some of the well-known Estonian musicians. If the weather is nice this could prove to be a very pleasant outdoor day where you can enjoy the music on the grass and then wonder around and explore the beautiful harbours. If you have your own boat you can sail to Sõru Harbour or if you’re coming by public transport there are ferry and bus options.

Juu Jääb Festival

Here’s another music festival with a jazz flavour on the tiny island of Muhu that takes place in July. Expect pretty nature, friendly locals, great music and good food.

Tallinn Maritime Days

A marine themed festival set over a long weekend in July that is family friendly and focused around nautical life. Concert, a yacht race, sailing trips, shows and exhibits are just some of the things you can expect at this event. This is a large event ready to keep its guests busy.

Pärnu Film Festival

Pärnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival is best known for its theme that supports the survival of indigenous people and their culture. The festival takes place in July, but keep an eye out on the official website for their updates for the current year. The site has a well detailed page on travel information and how to get there.

Kihnu Sea Festival

This is another traditional fisherman village style festival held every year on the second weekend of July in Kihnu Harbour on island Kihnu. Expect workshops for craft and dance, national food, concerts, competitions for children, fishermen and sports people, and an evening dance parties.

Mustjala Festival

Mustjala is a popular place for visitors visiting Saaremaa due to its gorgeous nature, beaches, historical houses and the village atmosphere, making it a great setting for the music festival. The concerts feature well-known Estonian musicians as well as some international artists and are showcased in various locations including churches, a fishing village and manor houses, making the experience very unique.

Leigo Lake Music Festival

The classical music festival is extraordinary for its spectacular and unique setting in that the musicians perform on the little lake island while the observers enjoy the concert sitting on the hilly slopes around the lake. At the end of the night there is a beautiful fire display that includes bonfires, fireworks and thousands of floating candles set off onto the lake. This is super romantic!

Augustibluus Blues Festival

The blues festival takes place in early August in Haapsalu showcasing over 30 concerts on 8 stages featuring international and local artists. This is a big one not to be missed!

Kuressaare Maritime Festival

The festival takes place during early August at Raiekivi säär and Kuressaare beach. The highlights of the festival include amazing food and drinks, stunning boats, concerts and a fair. The festival offers much more though which is detailed in English here here.

tARTuFF Film Festival

The Love Film Festival is a treat and it is for free! At this event you can experience the biggest open air cinema in the Baltics, and the screenings won’t cost you entry. The festival screens films and documentaries outdoors bang in the heart of the old town.

Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF)

Black Nights Film Festival aka Estonian Pimedate Ööde Filmifestival (PÖFF) is one of the largest film festivals in northern Europe where hundreds of feature films from many different countries are screened to thousands of attendees. This is the biggest annual cultural event in Estonia not to be missed.

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