Estonia is a small European country on the edge of the Baltic sea. Strategically situated at the crossroads for the markets of Central Europe, the Nordic countries and Russia, Estonia can offer a unique combination of trade, language and culture, complemented by a modern shared business culture, the rule of law and modern infrastructure. Estonia ranks among the most wired and technologically advanced countries in the world, with wifi available everywhere, even on board local buses. Its strong and stable environment and its bright people with outstanding language and professional skills make Estonia one of the fastest growing economies in Europe, with strong links to Scandinavia.
Estonia is small and friendly and always ready to show itself off to visitors. Estonia has a safe, clean and varied natural environment. Estonia is visited each year by more foreign tourists than there are residents in the country. Most of the tourists come from Finland, Russia, Germany, Sweden, the UK, Latvia and Norway. Estonia is an excellent medical travel destination not only for treatment but also because of the relaxation it can offer to patients and accompanying family. Estonia is small enough that getting from one place to another is not expensive, and it is possible to see a lot in only a couple of days. There are all kinds of activities and attractions on offer, from rich nature trails for those who love being outdoors to concerts, exhibitions and museums for culture lovers. A wide range of spas, gourmet restaurants, cafés and nightclubs offer options for leisure time.
During its history, Estonia has been part of several other countries, including Sweden, Denmark and Russia, and each of them has left its traces, changing the Estonian people, their landscape and their architecture, and contributing to the national culture. Estonian culture has features that have come from the Nordic countries and from the main waves of European culture. Estonians have always maintained their traditions, and one of those traditions that is still very popular today is the use of the sauna. This is shown by the large number of spas in Estonia, which are popular among both locals and foreign visitors.
The Estonian capital Tallinn is a metropolis in miniature, with a grand historical legacy and attractive modern architecture, an exciting and safe place. The medieval old town of Tallinn is unique for being so well-preserved as a whole entity, and since 1997 it has been on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites.
The Estonian song and dance celebrations are also on the UNESCO list of cultural heritage. The first song festival was held in 1869 and the song and dance festivals are still held today every five years. Over 26,000 singers and 80,000 spectators attended the 2009 festivals.
Facts about Estonia
• Total population of 1.3 million
• Member of the European Union and NATO since 2004
• Member of the Schengen area since 2007
• Euro used as national currency since January 2011
• GDP growth of 7.6% in 2011 and 3.2% in 2012, in contrast to figures for the EU 27 of 1.5% and -0.3%
• Estonia had the lowest level of sovereign debt to GDP in the EU at 10% in 2012, in contrast to an average of 86% for the EU 27
• Skype was created in Estonia
• The internet is used for e-government and e-voting
• Electronic ID cards and digital signatures commonly used
• Internet banking used for 99% of bank transactions
• Online submission of 94% of income tax declarations
• Mobile phones can be used to pay for parking since 2000
• In 2011 the WHO air quality index survey rated Estonian air as the cleanest in the world