Estonia is famous for its dense woods, charming historic centre of Tallinn and delightfully unique history that spans millennia. In recent years, the Baltic nation has seen a boom in tourism and even implemented a Digital Nomad Visa for those looking to stick around long term. Needless to say, Estonia is finding its spot on the map, and fast. Whether you’re planning to visit or just curious about one of Europe’s best-hidden gems, here are some interesting facts about Estonia.
7 Interesting Facts About Estonia
1. The number of islands will surprise you
The thought of hundreds of uninhabited islands scattered across a glistening sea may not conjure up images of a Baltic nation. However, Estonia will surprise you. Estonia is home to a staggering amount of more than 2,300 islands. Many of which are completely untouched and unexplored and others loaded with ancient history and charm. The most famous of these Baltic islands are Hiiumaa, Kiknu and Saaremaa.
2. Estonia has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites
One of the first images that comes to mind when imagining Estonia is the charming and romantic Old Town of Tallinn. The superb Medieval centre is one of the best-preserved of its kind in Europe and a main highlight of any visit to the country. Moreover, it has its own UNESCO status. That’s right, the entire Old Town of Tallinn is designated as UNESCO World Heritage; that’s saying something. Estonia’s second UNESCO site is the Struve Geodetic Arc, a chain of survey triangulations that spans from Hammerfest, Norway through the Black Sea across ten countries.
3. Estonia is extremely digital
In 2005, Estonia officially became the first nation to allow its citizens to vote online. It’s no wonder Estonia is consistently touted as one of the most digitally advanced societies in Europe and the world as a whole. To add to the tech-savvy CV, the entire country is covered in wifi hotspots. Even in the woods.
4. Estonia is one of the least religious countries in the world
Despite being home to some of the most stunning religious sites in the region, including the famous St. Madeline’s Church in Ruhnu, the nation’s oldest wooden building and the stunning Orthodox Alexander Nevsky cathedral of Tallinn – Estonia is quite secular. In fact, it’s one of the least religious countries in the world trailing behind only by China and Japan.
5. Estonia is one of Europe’s most linguistic nations
When it comes to speaking more than your mother tongue, Estonia is one of the best. Estonia boasts some of the highest rates of multilingual people on the continent with many Estonians speaking Russian, Finnish, English and German in addition to their native Estonian language.
6. Estonia has some of the cleanest air in the world
Estonia has some of the cleanest air in the world. In fact, it ranks right up there with Iceland and Finland. Keit Pentus, Minister of the Environment, has stated that “in Estonia, clean air is as natural as tooth brushing in the morning in a decent family.” However, he also emphasizes that Estonians must strive toward “more environmentally friendly energy production and more modern and comfortable public transport.”
7. Over 50% of Estonia is forest
Speaking of clean air, more than 50% of Estonia is forest. It’s part of the reason that Estonia has one of the least dense populations on Earth and maintains its commitment to environmental conservation. Famous residents of Estonian forests include lynxes, brown bears and wolves. Estonia also remains in the top ten greenest nations on earth ranking alongside Iceland, Sweden and Finland.