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Estonia

Visas
In the last years consular policy of the Estonian government became much more liberal. Today visa is not required from the West European citizens, including Poland, Hungary, Czech Rep, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Cyprus, Baltic republics (Latvia, Lithuania), USA, Australia, Israel & Japan. In addition, if you have a visa to Latvia, or Lithuania, you don't need a separate visa for Estonia. This agreement applies only to the citizens of Canada and South Africa . If you are planning to visit Kaliningrad region (Russia) and come back to the one of the Baltic states, you will need to obtain a new visa. Canadians DO NEED a visa to enter Estonia.

Getting to Estonia
There are regular air connection between Tallinn and some European destinations: London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Minsk, Kiev and Moscow. There is a big number of ferries which links Tallinn with Helsinki (several times a day), Linda line operates express link which operates until the bay is frozen and then only big ships can go, Another company to have this fast connection is Nordic Jet Line, they have 20% students discount. Stockholm (5-6 times a week), Rostock (three times a week), Travemunde (3-4 times a week). The bus is the cheapest choice to visit Estonia. You can get to Estonia by bus from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw, Minsk and several destinations in West Europe (not regular).

Going in Estonia
Estonia has very good bus and train network. There is a ferry service with the islands Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. Transportation is still very cheap relative to West Europe. Domestic airlines link Tallinn with Tartu, Kuresaare and Kurdla. An average bus prices (2002) are: Tallinn-Haapsalu 42EEK, Tallinn-Rakvere 40EEK, Tallinn-Tartu 75EEK, Tallinn-Narva 80EEK (1US$=16.5OEEK a fixed rate). ISIC (International student card) can reduce the price up to 20% in some bus companies. The only international train that runs from/to Estonia is "Tallinn - Moscow", daily, 19 hours, $40.

Traveling in Estonia Narva
One of the oldest Estonian cities saw its heyday under Swedish occupation in the 16 century. Narva's beautiful Baroque architecture was one of the best known in the Northern Europe. The city was almost totally destroyed in Second World War. Two the most interesting objects are Narva Castle and the Town Hall. Narva is situated on the Russian border, so you can see another one castle, Ivangorod's castle, on the right side of the Narva river, in Russia.

Tartu
Old University City of Estonia, on the Emajogi River. From the 13th to the 16th century, the town was a prosperous member of the Hanseatic League. Then held in turn by Poles (1582-1600, 1603-25) and Swedes (1600-03, 1625-1704), it was finally annexed to Russia by Peter I the Great in 1704. The city was devastated by fire in 1775 and was largely rebuilt in classical style. It suffered heavily again during World War II. Its university, founded in 1632 by Gustavus II Adolphus of Sweden, was evacuated to Parnu in 1699 and closed in 1710, but it was reopened in Tartu in 1802. The ruins of the 13th-century cathedral remain on Toomemjagi Hill.

Viljandi
Viljandi is a quiet country town 150 km south of Tallinn. Its a green, hilly and pretty place on the north shore of the lake, over which there are wonderful views. The knights of the Sward founded a castle at Viljandi, when they conquried this place in the 13th century. There are several buseu a day to Tallinn, a six to Parnu. Additionally there are three daily trains to/from Tallinn.

Saaremaa island
The largest island of Estonia, the highlights of the island are: Vilsandi national park, a group of island in the western coast of Saaremaa, the islands are breesing place for birds, tours to the islands can be arranged in Kuresaare. Kaali a meteorite crater is filled with water, it's not very large, but one of the single which are accessible so easily in the northern hemisphere. Angla preserved some of the biggest and prettiest windmills on Saaremaa and of course Kuresaare.

Kuresaare
A little town, an administrative center of Saaremaa island. Known for its interesting castle, which isn't not far from the shore, was founded in 1260. Kuresaare castle is one of the best preserved medival castles of Estonia. A walk through its old corridors is magnificent. There is a regular bus connection with Tallinn, different bus companies serve Kuresaare and they charge different prices, the fare is about 10US$, there's a student discount with ISIC with some of the companies. 4 buses everyday run between Tartu and Kuresaare, the fare is about 10 US$ too. A good way to explore the island is by bicycle which can be hired in Bivarix at Tallinna maantee 22 just off the main bus station, you can put the bicycle in the baggage of the buses.

Where to stay
The cheapest option in Saaremaa in the Saaremaa school hostel, Hariduse Str. 13, Tel: (45)54042 Fax: (45)57226, but it was somehow tricky to find the entrance to that institute, the hostel opened 365 days a year and is located inside the local school. Mardi Vallimaa tanav 5a, Tel: (45)33285 Fax: (45)33280, functions both as a hotel and a hostel, but the hostel is opened only in summer time, a single room in the hotel costs almost 20US$. Just 2 buildings up the road is the Hotel Repo, Vallimaa 1a, Tel (45) 33510, e-mail: repo@kuressaare.ee, Website. The room is a little bit more expensive than the hotel rooms of Mardi, but in the summer time, the price for a room is almost double. To be in Estonia and don't taste its food? For good and cheap traditional Estonian food try the Eesti Maja in Lauteri tanav 1 (not far from the old town), they serve a buffet everyday from 12 to 16 which costs just 5 Euro.

Rakvere
A small Estonian country town, some 40 km. east of Tallinn, a good example for Baltic rurual provincial town. An impressive Rakvere's castle, which was built in the 12th. century by Levonians , is one of the best preserved castle of northern Estonia. Rakvere can be visited in one day trip from central but terminal of Tallinn (Bus Jaam). Buses departure to/from Rakvere 5-7 times daily to each direction. A price of one way trip is 45 EEK (3 US$).