Estonia General Infomation
Capital Tallinn
Min. Budget $20/day

Country Code 372 $1=16.5EEK 25, June, 2000

Language
Estonian is a finno-ugric language slightly related to Finnish. The older generation still speak Russian while the younger can speak English. Most people in Tallinn can speak English.

Weather
The best time to travel is near summer (april-september), where the temperature hovers around 20, and the nights are short (3 hours). Estonia is covered with snow, during winter averaging a below freezing -5.

Opening hours
M-F: 9.00-17.00, Sa: 9.00-13.00, Su Most stores are closed.

Immigration Visa
not requires: USA, Australia, Japan and EU countries and the surrounding Baltic, a visa for 90 days. UK for 180 days.
requires: Canadians and S. African for US$70. Possible to obtain at border.

Border crossings
Ainazi (Latvia)>Treimani (Estonia), going to/from Parnu
Valka (Latvia)>Valga (Estonia), going to/from Tartu
Ivangorod (Russia)>Narva (Estonia)
Helsinki (Finland)>Tallinn(Estonia)

Basic Travel Costs
Big Mac - 22EEK, Beer - 30EEK, Coffee - 25EEK, Water - 11 EEK, Breakfast - 25EEK, Mars Bar - 8EEK, Hot Breakfast - 50EEK Pizza- 33EEK, Film- 65EEK

Money Exchange:
Currency: The Estonian currency is the kroon (EEK). This is quite stable because it is fixed to the German mark at 8 to 1. Denominations - 500, 100, 50, 25, 10, 2, 1.
Cash: Many banks and Monex exchange offices exchange cash around Tallinn.
T/C American express offices are in Tallin and Tartu and exchange T/C for free. As do the major Estonian banks around the country.
Cash advance Available at Hansapank and Eesti Uhispank Banks
ATM ATM litter the towns.
Changing back Major banks change money for 2% commission.

Mail/Telephone
Country Code 372
Local Phone: Card phones only, the cards cost 30, 50, 100EK
USA 20EEK UK 18EEK Australia 22EEK New Zealand 22EEK Japan 22EEK
Mail postcard letter 20g 1kg parcel 2kg parcel
Europe 5.20EEK 5.50EEK 197EEK 222EEK
The rest 6.70EEK 7EEK 213EEk 275EEK

Home Country Direct
USA
8-00-800-1001
Emergency numbers Police 110

International Transport
Baltic Air, British Airways, SAS and Estonian air make frequent flights around Europe. Prices start at $200US to fly to London, strangely $220 to Vilnius, $250 to Paris, $230 to Berlin one way.
Train travel is popular to Latvia, and to Russia. Prices start at 100EEK to Riga and 130EEK to St Petersburg.
Bus travel is the most popular avenue for budget travelers. Eurolines is the main carrier going to Riga, Moscow and St Petersburg.
Ferries operate to Helsinki and Stockholm.

National Transport
Trains are the best option as they go through the countryside, whereas buses travel on smoggy poor roads. Ferries operate to the Western islands.

Local Transport
The tram system is very good in Tallinn, as is the bus system in Tartu. Tickets can be purchased at kiosks for a lower price than on the bus/tram. You must stamp the ticket on the tram or bus.

Accommodation
There is a shortage of hostels in Estonia, as tourism is still quite new (Independence 1991). In country towns such as Kuressaare and Tartu, B&B`s are the best option, due to their number and price. The standard of accommodation is very basic, because most cheap places are in former soviet buildings, meaning small rooms in big buildings.

Shopping/souvenir
Hand knitted scarfs and sweaters are sold at market stalls in the old city are are popular with Finnish tourists searching for a bargain. Amber Jewelry is popular in the Baltics and can be bought at speciality shops.

Food
Meals with Pork are very popular as our deserts and cakes. Baked snacks such as Soolapulk, Valeni and nublu are common in most food shops. Coffee is quite bad in Estonia but the local beer Saku is one of the best I have largers I have tasted.

Health
Baltic & American medical centers are the best place to go if ill. Tap water is cloudy, so bottled water is a better option.

Entertainment
In a recent mens magazine Estonian women were voted most beautiful in Europe, and I whole heartedly agree. The nightclubs in Tallinn are not the best but the scenery is amazing. The locals love to talk and sometimes kiss a traveller. Estonians best pub scene is in Tartu with a huge student population.

Voltage
220 volts, 50hz, Standard European plug.

Safety
Estonia is very safe, with a very low crime rate. It is not recommended to walk the streets alone at night however. Lock valuables in hostel safes.

Customs
Tipping in the old city for good service is common.
Clothes are fairly conservative with cut off jeans often attracting attention. If you get invited to a locals house be sure to bring an odd number of flowers to the host, and eat everything placed in front of you.

Heritage Listed
The 14th century old town of Tallinn was listed as a world heritage sight in the 80`s, a derservadly so. This restricts any new developement in the area, in that it must be approved by a special council.

FESTIVALS
January 1 New Years Day
February 24 Independance Day
April Good Friday
April Catholic Easter
May 1 Spring Day
June 6-10 Old Town days (Tallinn)
June 23 Victory Day
June 24 Midsummer Night
July 1-5 Beersummer (Tallinn)
August 20 Restoration of Independance
December 25 Christmas

Internet
Internet is quite common and cheap. Tallinn has a few cafes, where as Tartu and Kuressaare only have one. Connection is slow.

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