Coat of Arms
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves
»45,227 km2 (132nd)
»Per Capita $27,729
»Per Capita $20,571
»Euro (€)e (EUR)
Estonia officially the Republic of Estonia is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe.
Across the Baltic Sea lies Sweden in the west and Finland in the north. The territory of Estonia covers 45,227 km2 (17,462 sq mi), and is influenced by a humid continental climate.
Estonia is a democratic parliamentary republic divided into fifteen counties, with its capital and largest city being Tallinn. With a population of 1.3 million, it is one of the least-populous member states of the European Union, Eurozone, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Schengen Area.
The Estonians are a Finnic people, and the official language, Estonian, is a Finno-Ugric language closely related to Finnish and the Sami languages, and distantly to Hungarian.
A developed country with an advanced, high-income economy, Estonia is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. It ranks very high in the Human Development Index, and performs favourably in measurements of economic freedom, civil liberties, education, and press freedom (third in the world in 2012). Estonia is often described as one of the most wired countries in Europe.
The country is ranked 11th in the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom and the 4th freest economy in Europe. Because of its rapid growth, Estonia has often been described as a Baltic Tiger besides Lithuania and Latvia.
Beginning 1 January 2011, Estonia adopted the euro and became the 17th eurozone member state.
According to Eurostat, Estonia had the lowest ratio of government debt to GDP among EU countries at 6.7% at the end of 2010. The world media has lately started to describe Estonia as a Nordic country, emphasising the economic, political and cultural differences between Estonia and its less successful Baltic neighbours.
A balanced budget, almost non-existent public debt, flat-rate income tax, free trade regime, competitive commercial banking sector, innovative e-Services and even mobile-based services are all hallmarks of Estonia’s market economy.
Estonia produces about 75% of its consumed electricity. In 2011 about 85% of it was generated with locally mined oil shale. Alternative energy sources such as wood, peat, and biomass make up approximately 9% of primary energy production.
Renewable wind energy was about 6% of total consumption in 2009. Estonia imports petroleum products from western Europe and Russia.
Oil shale energy, telecommunications, textiles, chemical products, banking, services, food and fishing, timber, shipbuilding, electronics, and transportation are key sectors of the economy.
The ice-free port of Muuga, near Tallinn, is a modern facility featuring good transshipment capability, a high-capacity grain elevator, chill/frozen storage, and new oil tanker off-loading capabilities. The railroad serves as a conduit between the West, Russia, and other points to the East.
Top 5 Products exported by Estonia
- Refined Petroleum (13%),
- Telephones (11%),
- Large Construction Vehicles (1.7%),
- Scrap Iron (1.6%),
- Insulated Wire (1.6%)
Top 5 Export destinations of Estonia
- Russia (16%),
- Sweden (13%),
- Finland (11%),
- United States (7.0%),
- Latvia (5.9%)
Estonia doesn’t have to struggle to find a point of difference; it’s completely unique. It shares a similar geography and history with Latvia and Lithuania, but it’s culturally very different.
With a newfound confidence, singular Estonia has crept from under the Soviet blanket and leapt into the arms of Europe.
The love affair is mutual. Europe has fallen head-over-heels for the charms of Tallinn and its Unesco-protected Old Town.
Put simply, Tallinn is now one of the continent’s most captivating cities. And in overcrowded Europe, Estonia’s sparsely populated countryside and extensive swathes of forest provide spiritual sustenance for nature-lovers.
- The Old Town of Tallinn is the most intact and best protected medieval city in Europe, and is Estonia’s première attraction. Its unique value is its well-preserved (intact) medieval milieu and structure, which has been lost in most of the capitals of northern Europe. Since 1997, the Old Town has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
- Living under the rule of Scandinavian kings, Russian empire and Teutonic Knights has left Estonia with unique and rich blend of historic landmarks.
- Over one thousand manors were built across Estonia from the 13th century onwards.
- Most of the public beaches are sandy and the average water temperature is 18°C in summer. Inland waters and some shallow bays’ waters are even warmer.
- The largest island is Saaremaa with an intact and well-restored medieval castle in its only city, Kuressaare.
- Stone fences, thatched roofs, working windmills and home-made beer are all distinctive to Saaremaa.
- Other important islands include Kihnu, Ruhnu (with its “singing sand” beach), Muhu and Vormsi, each with its own unique characteristics.
- In July and August, Pärnu, Estonia’s summer capital, is the main attraction. The coastline itself has loads of untouched beaches and a tour from Narva-Jõesuu (in the east) towards Tallinn is great for exploring the coastline. Some of the well known places includeToila, Võsu, Käsmu and Kaberneeme.