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Estonia is an unspoilt, sparsely populated country, nearly half of which is covered with forests. Wetlands, together with primeval forests, represent preserved communities which have for the most part been destroyed in Europe. More than 1,000 lakes (5% of the Estonian territory) dot the countryside, which is relatively flat - almost two thirds of the territory lies less than 50m (164ft) above sea level. While 7,000 rivers and streams carry rainwater to the sea, bogs and wooded swamplands of different types cover over one fifth of the country - a world index topped only by the northern neighbour, Finland.

Practical Information

Area: 45 226 km² (17 462 miles²)

Capital: Tallinn. Population: 401 694

Population: 1.3 million

Currency: Estonian Kroon (EEK symbol Kr) = 100 senti

Government: Republic since 1918. Regained independence in 1991.

Tipping: Restaurant bills include a tip.

Legal drinking age: 18

Time zone: GMT + 2 (GMT + 3 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October)

Languages: Estonian

Additional descriptions

Estonia: Social customs

Estonians are generally quite reserved and polite. A hand shake is the customary greeting. Normal courtesies should be observed. The Estonians are proud of their culture and their national heritage, andRead more visitors should take care to respect this.

Estonia: Food and local specialties

Hors d’oeuvres are very good in Estonia and often the best part of the meal. The national specialties are: Sült (jellied veal). Täidetud vasikarind (roast stuffed shoulder of veal). Rosolje (vinaigretteRead more with herring and beets). Braised goose stuffed with apples and plums. Estonian wild mushroom soup. Saare beer (dark and heavy yet tasty). Mulled wine. Vana Tallinn (a local liqueur that’s probably best left to the locals to sip).

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