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TRAVEL & MORE

 
About Estonia

Location, climate & nature 

With an area of 45 227 sq. km, Estonia is larger for example than Slovenia, Holland, Denmark or Switzerland; a little smaller, in other words, than New Hampshire and Massachusetts combined. Estonia stretches 350 km from east to west and 240 km from north to south. Sea islands form one tenth and lakes about one twentieth of Estonia's territory. Conversely, Estonia's population ranks amongst the smallest in the world: as of January 2009, an estimated 1 340 415 people live in Estonia — a density of only 29,6 people per sq. km. Read more...

Topography

As a part of the East European Plain, Estonia is a flat territory, where uplands and plateau-like areas alternate with lowlands, depressions and valleys. These land forms, alongside with the coastal cliffs in northern and western Estonia, are the larger features of Estonian topography. Read more...

History

Estonians have been living in this tiny portion of the Baltic lands since approximately 2,500 B.C., making them the longest settled of the European peoples. Due to Estonia’s strategic location as a link between East and West, it has been highly coveted through the ages by rapacious kings and conquerors.

At the beginning of the 13th century, Estonia was subjugated by the Teutonic knights. Their castles still dot the countryside, in varying states of eerie decay. By 1285, Tallinn was part of the Hanseatic League. Trading activities were dominated by the German merchant families which settled there, and successive generations of Germans built their manor houses across the country.

But the Germans were only the first of successive waves of conquerors. Danes, Swedes, Poles and Russians all swept across Estonia, setting up successive regimes, fortifying their towns and castles, and shipping their goods through Estonian ports.

In the late 19th century a powerful Estonian nationalist movement arose. Eventually, on 24 February 1918, Estonia declared its independence. Its period of independence was brief, however, and Estonia was forcibly annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940. But in 1991 Estonians again reasserted their independence, and peacefully broke away from the Soviet Union. Read more...

Cultural heritage

Estonia has stood on the cultural dividing line between Eastern and Western Europe for centuries, one could even say for millennia. The impact that such a position has had on the characteristic features of the folk culture is tremendous. The Estonian cultural scene can be characterised by a multitude of peculiarities, the origins of which date back to the very distant past. In order to understand Estonian folk culture, it has to be recognised that this is a highly complicated and multilayered way of existence of a small nation who used to belong to the lower social status in its own country.
An Estonian’s spiritual world was contradictory as well. It contained Christian and pagan characters, and it was necessary to get on well with both. Read more...

Flora & Fauna

Estonia is traversed by the border-line between the East- and Middle-European biogeographic provinces, which is reflected in the composition of the flora by the fact that 538 species or subspecies of vascular plants (35% of the total number of taxa) reach the border of their distribution area here. The majority of such species reach their area’s northern, north-eastern or eastern border in Estonia (for instance the meadow sword lily, the Siberian iris, the short-spurred fragrant orchid, the long-leaved and red helleborines, the ivy, and the blackthorn), which provides evidence of the fact that most of Estonia’s flora originates in Europe.

Of mammals, 64 species have been identified in Estonia. Three of these — the muskrat, the racoon dog and the American mink — have been introduced into Estonia and two — the European beaver and the red deer — reintroduced. In comparison with other European countries, Estonia’s present mammal fauna is characterised by a relatively high abundance of the brown bear, the wolf, the lynx and the European otter. The European mink has probably become extinct during the last decade. There have been virtually no records of gleridans — the garden dormouse and the hazel dormouse — either. A species typical of taiga forests, the flying squirrel, still survives here, but it is extremely rare. Read more...

Travel Information

INTERNATIONAL TRAFFIC

By Air
The main international airport is in Tallinn. Tallinn Airport is about 4 kilometres from the city centre and is easily accessible by taxi or bus no. 2. The terminal building is a modern, convenient and clean building - the modernisation was famously prompted by Estonian President Lennart Meri holding a press conference in the terminal's public toilets to publicise the poor state of the facilities.  

Estonian Air operates between Tallinn and European cities such as Barcelona, Brussels, Copenhagen, London, Kiev, Milan, Rome, Moscow, Stockholm, Oslo, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Paris, Dublin, Simferopol, Vienna, Dubrovnik, Vilnius, Minsk, Helsinki and Kuressaare.  Updated timetables and flight information can be found at Tallinn Airport.

By Sea
Several ferry operators, Viking Line, Linda Line Express, Tallink and others, connect Tallinn to:

  • Helsinki (Finland)
  • Stockholm (Sweden)
  • Åland (Finland)
  • Saint Petersburg (Russia)
  • Rostock (Germany)

The most popular passenger lines connect Tallinn to Helsinki (approximately 80 kilometres north of Tallinn). Fast ferries ship enormous numbers of people between Tallinn and Helsinki every day during the summer period. Departure schedules: Port of Tallinn

By Coach
There are regular international bus connections between tallinn and other European cities. Pikamaa coaches offer direct services to Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Ukraine and Russia. Additional information:  Lux Express

By Rail
The Tallinn-Moscow express is a convenient way to travel between the Estonian and Russian capitals.  Additional information: Go Rail 

DOMESTIC TRAFFIC

By Coach
There is a well-developed bus network in Estonia between cities and smaller towns. Express coaches connect the bigger cities, while local buses service the more out-of-the-way areas. It is a good idea to buy your ticket from the bus station an hour or two before your journey. Additional information: Tpilet

You can get all bus station telephone numbers, contact information for bus companies operating in Estonia and information about timetables from the English-speaking information service Ekspress Hotline 1182 and 1185 info.

By Rail
Edelaraudtee trains travel between the larger Estonian cities
Additional information: Edelaraudtee & Elektriraudtee

By Coastal Ferry
There are regular ferry connections to Estonia`s larger islands. Timetables and prevailing: Tuule Grupp  & Kihnu Veeteed

By Car
Estonia has serviceable highway network, and passable roads connect even the smallest of villages. The bigger cities are connected by well-maintained highways with plenty of roadside services for passing tourists - cafés and restaurants, hotels and guesthouses, campsites, garages and petrol stations.
Estonia is crisscrossed by two pan-European routes: the Via Baltica leading from Tallinn to Pärnu and thereafter to the Latvian capital, Riga; and the Via Hanseatica, hugging the northern coastline through Narva to St. Petersburg.
Rental car information can be found at Europcar

Traffic rules & regulations

Speed limit: 50 km/h in urban areas; 90 km/h in outside towns on main highway, unless otherwise signposted. Whenever driving, turn on headlights and fasten safety belts in both front and rear seats. There is paid parking in most town centres. Look for more information on special signs and parking metres.
Note:
drivers are only permitted less than 0,1 milligrams of alcohol in one millilitre of blood.

In case of a traffic accident we recommend calling the police, dial 110. But if there are no injures and the involved drivers agree on what happened, they can prepare a written explanation in two copies, without calling the police.

Facts on Estonia

Official name: Republic of Estonia (Eesti Vabariik in Estonian)
The Capital of Estonia: Tallinn
Area of Estonia: 45227 km²
Official language Estonian, form of government: parliamentary democracy, national holiday 24 February (Independence Day)
The largest denomination is Lutheran (30%) followed by Russian Orthodox (28%), and Catholic (3%). However, only about 20% of Estonians practice any religion
National Holidays: banks, offices and shops are closed on the following public holidays:

  • 1 January - New Year's Day
  • 24 February - Independence Day (1918)
  • 29 March (2013) - Good Friday
  • 1 May - Spring Day
  • 23 June - Victory Day
  • 24 June - Midsummer's Day
  • 20 August - Day of Restoration of Independence (1991)
  • 24 December - Christmas Eve
  • 25 December - Christmas Day
  • 26 December - Boxing Day

Visa

Who does not need a visa to visit Estonia?
Find out from Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website: click here!
For Estonian embassies and consular services click here!

Money & credit cards

The national currency of Estonia is EUR.

Credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard/Eurocard, Diner's Club, American Express etc. are accepted in most of the major hotels, restaurants and shops, but ask first. Most banks will give cash advances on credit cards supported by a valid passport. Check with the credit card company for further details before travelling. The most widely accepted traveller’s cheques in Estonia are Amex, Thomas Cook and Eurocheque.

The main banks in Estonia, which serve tourists, are: Swedbank, SEB, Sampo Pank.
Banks are open from Monday to Friday between 9.00 and 16.00. Most banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Currency exchange offices are open from Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 18.00 hours; on Saturdays from 09.00 to 15.00 hours. Some are also open on Sundays.

Shops & restaurants

Most shops are open from 9.00 - 19.009.00 - 19.00 on weekdays, but close earlier at weekends. Supermarkets and larger shopping centres are open seven days  a week. from 9.00 - 21.009.00 - 21.00 (some up to 23.00). Souvenir shops and other tourist venues are generally open seven days a week from 10.00 - 18.00. Most sales staff in shops have a good or at least elementary knowledge of English, Finnish and Russian; some also speak German.

In Estonian restaurants, the service charge is included in the bill, although a 10% tip is welcomed and is seen as polite.

Post Offices and Postal Charges

Post offices are generally open during normal shopping hours: from 09.00 to 18.00 hours on weekdays, and 09.30 - 15.00 on Saturdays. The Central Post Office in Tallinn is at Narva mnt. 1, phone 661 6616. Opening hours for the Central Post Office: Mon- Thur 08.00 to 17.00 hours and from 08.00 to 15.45 on Friday

Additional information can be found at  www.post.ee.

Telephone & Internet

Calls to Estonia:
the country code for Estonia is +372. Dial +372, then the area code and the subscriber's number.
Calls from Estonia: Dial 00 + the country code + area code + the subscriber's number.
Local calls: Pay phones accept phone cards. If you wish to make a call within Estonia, first dial the area code and the number. Phone cards may be purchased from hotel reception desks, tourist information offices, post offices, newsstands and some shops.

There are over 600 public Internet access points in Estonia and over 1150  Wireless Internet hotspots  in hotels, pubs, libraries, petrol stations, urban parks  and elsewhere, many of which can be used free of charge.

You can obtain answers to all manner of vital or everyday questions by calling Ekspress Hotline at the short number 1182 or Infoabi at 1188.

Electricity

The electricity supply in Estonia is 220 volts AC, 50 Hz. European-style 2-pin plugs are in use.

Medical care

Emergency Telephone
Number 112
Emergency numbers are the same from all phones, including mobiles, anywhere in Estonia.

  • For police, dial 110
  • For the Fire Department, dial 112
  • For ambulance services, dial 112


No vaccinations or health certificates are required upon entering Estonia, though health insurance is advisable. Ordinary over the counter medicaments are available in pharmacies (“Apteek”) in every town. However, for the convenience of the traveller we suggest you bring along your own supply.

Useful links
GENERAL INFORMATION

Encyclopedia about Estonia  www.estonica.org
E-riik  www.riik.ee
Consular Affairs  www.vm.ee
Regio Map  www.regio.ee
Estonian Wide Web  www.ee

TOURISM

Visit Estonia  www.visitestonia.com
Turismiweb  www.turismiweb.ee
Estonian Rural Tourism  www.maaturism.ee
Estonian Ecotourism Association  www.ecotourism.ee
State Forest Management Centre  www.rmk.ee

NATURE

State Nature Conservation Centre www.elks.ee
Estonian Ornithological Sociaty http://www.eoy.ee
Läänemaa Bird Club  www.llk.ee
Estonian Birding Society  www.vironlintuseura.fi
Estonian Fund for Nature  www.elfond.ee
National Parks in Estonia:
Lahemaa National Park
Matsalu National Park
Soomaa National Park
Vilsandi National Park
Karula National Park

CULTURE

Estonian Institute  www.einst.ee
Estonian Song and Dance Celebration  www.laulupidu.ee
Estonian Art Portal  www.kunstikeskus.ee
Estonian Music Festivals  www.festivals.ee
Music Export Estonia  www.estmusic.com
Theatre Teater.ee 
Ticket Centre www.piletilevi.ee

TALLINN

Tallinn Tourism  www.tourism.tallinn.ee
Tallinn City  www.tallinn.ee
Estonian National Opera www.opera.ee
The State Concert Institute Eesti Kontsert  www.concert.ee
Art Museum of Estonia  www.ekm.ee
Estonian Open Air Museum  www.evm.ee
Tallinn Zoo  www.tallinnzoo.ee
Tallinn Botanic Garden  www.botaanikaaed.ee 
Seaplane Harbour www.lennusadam.eu
TV Tower www.teletorn.ee
Terms and Conditions

BOOKING AND PAYMENTS

Read the website description of the trip that you are interested in, together with technical details and booking conditions. Programmes can be viewed when clicking the name of tour and then choosing Tour dossier from the right menu. If you need more information, phone or e-mail us for the detailed itinerary, stating the name of trip.

Booking and deposits can be made if you click on our Tour calendar. BOOK HERE will guide you to our secure on-line booking system, where it is possible to insert data and also instantly pay by credit card. Fill it and send it to us with the correct deposit, which is 20% of the cost of the holiday. You should also enclose full payment for your single room supplement. We accept VISA and Mastercard. Another possibility is to pay through bank transfer. Automatic invoice and confirmation will be sent to your email address. The balance must be paid not less than 10 weeks prior to the commencement of the holiday. The date the balance is payable will be advised by us when we confirm your booking.

NB! We recommend that you wait for a final confirmation before you book your flight. Final confirmation is made promptly after the minimum number of participants has been accomplished but not later than 10 weeks before the holiday. If it is less than 70 days away, check the availability and send us full payment on booking. We will confirm your booking and send you all the further details necessary for you to prepare for your holiday. Whenever you communicate with us please state the name of your trip and your client reference number.
The 20% deposit is not refundable if the tour is canceled by you.

SECURITY                                                                                                         

You can pay for the goods with your credit card. We accept VISA and Mastercard. The transfer of card data takes place through the server of the Card Centre of Banks Ltd, and there is always a secure connection between you and the Card Centre of Banks. To guarantee the security of any data transfer, 128-bit encrypted Internet traffic (SSL- Secure Socket Layer security protocol) is used between the client and E-Commerce Payment Gateway, and the data moving between the trader and Payment Gateway are electronically signed, which in turn eliminates the possibility that third parties could either intercept or alter these data. The trader has access to the reporting of card transactions, but has absolutely no access to the full number of the card.   

CHANGES AND CANCELLATIONS BY YOU

You may cancel you booking at any stage, provided you do so in writing. To protect yourself against this eventuality you should ensure that you purchase travel insurance at the time of booking. Cancellation charges:
 
More than 70 days                                               deposit (20%) only      
70-15 days before departure                             50% of total tour cost      
15 days or less before departure                     100% of total tour cost     

Should you wish to make any changes to your confirmed holiday, you must notify us in writing as soon as possible. Whilst we will endeavour to assist, we cannot guarantee we will be able to meet any such requests. Where we can amendment a fee of 25 EUR per booking will be payable together with any costs incurred by ourselves and any costs of charges incurred or imposed by any of our suppliers. In the event of you cancelling a booking the deposit is non-refundable. Once balance monies have been paid, rather than cancelling, you are at liberty to transfer your booking to another person, provided sufficient notice is given to us and it is possible for us to make the substitution. In this event any transfer costs arising must be borne by you. In addition, you are at liberty to transfer an existing booking to another holiday within the same year, any time up to 4 weeks prior to the balance monies being due. Again any transfer costs must be borne by you. No administration charge will be applied.

OUR CANCELLATIONS

In the event of cancellation by us all monies will be returned promptly to you in full. We do, however, reserve the right to cancel any holiday up to 10 weeks prior to departure, should insufficient reservations have been made. In this instance again all monies paid will be refunded in full. Or we start to make separate negotiations with you when the price may increase due to the fewer number of participants (see also Group size).

FORCE MAJEURE

Except where otherwise expressly stated in these booking conditions, we regret we cannot accept liability or pay any compensation where the performance or prompt performance of our obligations under our contract with you is prevented or affected by or you otherwise suffer any damages or loss as a result of force majeure. In these Terms and Conditions, force majeure means any events which we could not, even with all due care, foresee or avoid. Such events may include war or threat of war, civil strife, actual or threatened terrorist activity, industrial dispute, natural or nuclear disaster, adverse weather conditions, fire and all similar events outside our control.

Technical Details

TOUR GRADING

Each holiday is graded A to C. A is easy – for everyone; B is moderate – for anyone of any age used to some regular walking; C is fairly strenuous – for those with a measure of fitness or the unfit who are prepared to feel tired at times.

ACCOMMODATION

This cost is always part of the stated price, whether it is hotels, guesthouses or camping. Hotels used in larger towns are at least tourist class, and usually first class. We try to choose the hotel that offers the best combination of convenient location, atmosphere, friendliness and facilities. We provide twin rooms, most with private bathrooms, unless a single room is requested. Hotels in smaller places are the best available.

SINGLE ROOMS AND SUPPLEMENTS

We regret that nearly all of the lodges and hotels we use charge single supplements, as they are usually small establishments needing to fill all beds. If you particularly wish for a single room, we are normally able to provide one for you at the supplement price listed for each tour. If you wish to share (to avoid this supplement), we can usually match you up with someone else of similar age and sex, also wishing to share. If we are unable to do this, we regret that the single supplement must be charged (though sometimes at a reduced, negotiated rate).

INSURANCE

All party members must be covered by insurance before setting out on holiday. This must cover you fully against the cost of cancellation by you, medical care and repatriation should you become too ill to continue with the holiday.

VISAS AND FLIGHTS

We are not responsible for making visas and booking flights. All clients are responsible for booking their own flights and buying their own visa if necessary. We recommend you request international tickets or visa services from your tour agency or apply to our ground partner Estravel Ltd American Express Travel by e-mail: groups@estravel.ee (or call: +372 626 6354+372 626 6354).

ITINERARIES

A detailed itinerary will be sent to you on booking, or on special request. On walking holidays in particular, local weather, politics, transport or a host of other uncontrollable factors can mean a change in itinerary. It is very unlikely that an itinerary would be substantially altered, but if this is necessary your leader will decide the best alternative in consultation with the group.

PERSONAL SPENDING MONEY

Estonian currency is EUR (since 1st January 2011). There are exchange offices in several hotels, in the port of Tallinn, at the airport, the railway station and many other places.  There are many cash machines in cities, but take cash for travel in the countryside.
Personal spending money is only needed for any extra drinks that you may require, meals not included in the price and souvenirs. As a rough guide - the average person might spend 130 EUR on these items.

GROUP SIZE

Our trips are costed on a minimum of 6 participants (when tour dossier does not require otherwise). 16 is usually the maximum. Sometimes, to prevent disappointment, we may operate a trip for as few as four people, and we reserve the right, where a group contains less than 6 people, either to apply a “small group” surcharge of between 10-15%, or with your consent to make certain alterations to the way the trip is run. If this happened, we would advise you as early as possible.

SMOKING

The overwhelming majority of our clients are non-smokers. To enable them to enjoy their holiday in comfort we ask that smokers refrain from smoking in the proximity of all other group members, and whilst watching wildlife, at all times. In particular, smoking in any confined space – be it the lounge, dining room, minibus, bedroom (if shared with non-smoker) or at any other group gathering –cannot be permitted and, in signing our booking conditions, you agree to accept these guidelines and the right of all our tour leaders to dismiss from a tour any participant failing to respect them.

SPECIAL REQUESTS

If you have any special requests, for example dietry requirements, allergies etc you should inform us of such requests either at the time of booking or as soon as possible so we can discuss these with you and make any necessary arrangements.  We will always do our best to accomodate such requests but be aware that we cannot always guarantee that such requests will be met. Futhermore, we have no liability to you if such requests are not met.

EXTENSIONS & PRIVATE PARTIES

Should you wish to extend your ENT holiday by visiting areas additional to those on our programme, we should be happy to help you with your arrangements. Futher, we are always pleased to organise tailor-made birdwatching, botanical and other wildlife holidays for private parties of any size.

MEDICAL CONDITIONS

If you or any member of your party has any medical problems or disability which may affect your holiday, please tell us before you confirm your booking so that we can advise as to the suitability of the chosen arrangements. In any event, you must give us full details in writing at the time of booking. If we reasonably feel unable to properly accommodate the particular needs of the person concerned, we must reserve the right to decline their reservation or, if full details are not given at the time of booking, cancel when we become aware of these details.

The above mentioned technical details and terms and conditions do not apply for tailor-made holidays.


Office address:

Linnuse tee 1
90303 Lihula, Läänemaa
ESTONIA
Tel  +372 477 8214+372 477 8214, +372 5349 6695+372 5349 6695
E-mail: info@naturetours.ee

Open:

May-September
Wed - Sun  10.00 – 18.00
Mon,Tue closed

October-April
Mon - Fri 10.00 – 16.00
Sat, Sun closed


Legal contacts:

Kumari Reisid OÜ
90305 Penijõe 
Lihula vald, Läänemaa
ESTONIA
Reg. nr. 10951423
VAT:  EE 100832107

Bank details:
SEB
Tornimäe 15010, Tallinn
IBAN  EE85 1010 2200 3126 1015
S.W.I.F.T.  EEUHEE2X


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