Over 50% of Estonian land is covered by forest
Yes, this means that there aren’t that many people around. It also means that the biodiversity is astounding. One square meter of wooded meadow can be home to more than 70 different species. So watch where you step!
Saaremaa has a prize-winning oak tree
An oak tree in the middle of a football field in Orissaare, Saaremaa won European Tree of the Year in 2015, taking in nearly 60,000 votes. That’s a whopping 32% of votes cast. All Estonians were proud.
There are 1,500 islands, 1,000 lakes and 7,000 rivers in Estonia
And if you want something different, Estonia has the highest number of meteorite craters per square kilometre in the world. The Kaali crater in Saaremaa is what remains of the last giant meteorite to hit an area populated by humans. It fell to Earth with the power of a nuclear bomb over 4,000 years ago.
Suur Munamägi (Big Egg Hill), at 318 meters high, is the highest in the Baltic region
According to a tale in the Estonian national epic Kalevipoeg, Suur Munamägi was made by the giant Kalevipoeg for a pillow to rest his head on. Even when this story lacks documentary evidence, the hill is still a good six meters higher than the highest point in Latvia – a point of much pride for its northern neighbours!
Singing people: Estonia holds the largest collection of national folk songs in the world, over 133,000
The Song Festival, held every five years in Tallinn, is famous for the highest number of choral singers on stage at once. All together 34,000 people turn up to sing, up to 18,000 people can be on stage at the same time and over 200, 000 people attend the event. That’s nearly 1/6 of the entire population!
Spa-addicts: with over 1,200 spa beds for 15,000 inhabitants, Kuressaare is the world’s most spa-dense town
With mud baths, saunas and sea air a-plenty, Estonia has been *the place* for spa procedures since the times of the tsars. The healing mud of Haapsalu and Narva-Jõesuu (not to mention the pine forests and pristine sands) made the towns popular already in the 19th century.
You can take part in competitive sauna
In Estonia, sauna is a way of life. A way of au naturel life. Many homes have their own sauna which gets used at least once a week. If you’re on the move you can even take a sauna bus or erect a sauna tent. The annual Otepää sauna race, combining orienteering with saunas in the middle of winter, is especially popular.
Winners and record breakers
Estonia won the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest
The win took everyone by surprise – even the Estonians.
Estonia has the highest number of international supermodels per capita in the world
Narrowing down Estonia’s top most-known models to just a few girls is not an easy task. Let’s just say that among others, both Carmen Kass and Karmen Pedaru come from these parts of the world.
The world champion in wife carrying (yes, that’s a thing!) is Estonian
Despite Estonia being an astonishingly egalitarian country, we still produce expert wife carriers. And if unusual sports are your thing, you should also seek out kiiking. Kiiking has competitors on giant swings attempting to do a full 360 degree rotation over the top bar of the swing. The winner is the one who can do this on the swing with the longest swing arms.
Tallinn was the European Capital of Culture in 2011
The European Capital of Culture is a city designated by the EU every year. This gives the selected cities the opportunity to advance their culture and show it to the world. Tallinn shared its Capital of Culture title with the Finnish town of Turku, and organised over 250 cultural events, including theatrical, audiovisual, literature, sports and other projects throughout the year.
Stepping into the future – e-Estonia
While other countries are still thinking about it, Estonia embraced online voting already in 2005. In here, 95% of tax returns are completed online and businesses can be registered in minutes. You can sign legally binding documents using your ID card or mobile ID, and now, even those living outside of Estonia can benefit from the e-residency scheme.
And yes, it’s true – you get 4G coverage even in the middle of the woods.
Estonia has most start-ups per capita in Europe
Estonia is the 132nd-smallest country in the world by land mass. Yet, according to the Wall Street Journal, it produces more start-ups per capita than any other country in Europe. We have produced such global firms as Skype, TransferWise and GrabCAD, to name a few.