21 Fun Facts About Estonia That Will Surprise You

estonia fun facts featured image

I first learned about the country of Estonia when I discovered one of my favorite musical artists, Kerli was born there.

As I began my research about Estonia I discovered a ton of fun Estonia facts which made it an easy choice when I was deciding which Baltic country to visit this summer! These facts are sure to pique your interest, and some will definitely surprise you.

1. Estonia Offers E-Residency

If you ever wanted to be a resident of Estonia, you can apply virtually from the comfort of your laptop. Estonia allows e-residency no matter where you physically live!

2. Meteorites Often Hit Estonia

Estonia has more meteorite craters per kilometer than any other country on earth.

In Saaremaa, you can see evidence of the last giant meteorite that hit a populated area. The crater is named Kaali and it fell 4,000 years ago, striking the earth with the power of a nuclear bomb.

3. Estonians Brought Skype To Life

Skype is used worldwide for virtual meetings and people use it to keep in touch. Estonia is often credited for inventing Skype but it would be more accurate to say that they took the ideas of foreign investors and brought the vision to life.

The technology behind Skype was made by an Estonian team, and many Skype employees remain in the Estonian cities of Tallinn and Tartu.

4. Estonia Is Known for Folk Music

Estonia has more folk songs than any other country and holds the record for the most people singing together on a stage at once – over 34,000.

Estonian folk concert outdoors

The Song Festival in Tallinn is the biggest folk singing event, drawing a crowd of over 200,000 people!

5. Estonian Language Is the 5th Hardest in the World

The Estonian National language is Estonian, but most Estonians are multi-lingual and learn English alongside their mother tongue. This is helpful for communicating with the rest of the world because Estonian is considered the 5th hardest in the world to learn.

Estonian has 14 grammatical cases, and while it is somewhat related to Finnish and Hungarian, it has zero Roman, German, or Slavic roots.

SEE ALSO:  19 Liechtenstein Fun Facts That Make A Trip Worthwhile

6. Kuressaare Has More Spas than Any Other Town on Earth

Estonians treasure the spa lifestyle. Nearly every home has a sauna and there are even buses that have built-in saunas.

The front of Johan Spa Hotel in Estonia

Kuressaare has been a popular spa town for over a hundred years with many of these spas offering private hot tubs, swimming pools, steam showers, and the healing mud of Haapsalu.

7. Estonia Has a 99.99% Literacy Rate

As of 2022, Estonia has one of the highest rates of literacy in Europe. This may be because reading is one of Estonian’s favorite pastimes.

Estonians read more books for pleasure than any other European country.

8. Estonia Invented Bread Soup

Bread is a big deal in Estonia, particularly rye bread.

Estonians love bread so much that they created a sweet dessert soup featuring bread called leivasupp. This Estonian delicacy has rye bread, raisins, cinnamon, and apple and is often topped with sour or whipped cream.

9. Estonia Has Amazing Wifi

Imagine getting 4G while hiking in the middle of a forest. In Estonia, it’s reality.

Estonia has invested heavily in technology since it gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Free-Wifi can be had nearly anywhere and the connection is one of the best in the world.

10. Tallinn’s Old Town Is the Best Preserved Medieval City

Known as the best-preserved medieval city in Northern Europe, Tallinn’s Old Town is a hot spot for tourists. The buildings are exactly as they were in the 13th century, but the interiors have been made into restaurants, art galleries, museums, and bars.

Tallinn's Old Town

It is so well-preserved that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1997.

11. Estonian ID Cards Are High-Tech

Estonian ID cards can be used in a number of high-tech ways. Not only can you use your ID card to sign documents such as tax returns, but you can vote in elections no matter where you are in the world. This technology allowed Estonia to be the first country to hold e-elections!

SEE ALSO:  16 Fun Facts About Georgia For Aspiring Travelers

12. Founding a Company in Estonia Takes 5 Minutes

If you have a business idea burning a hole in your brain, Estonia is a great place to turn your ideas into reality. It has been said that starting a company takes around 5 minutes via online forms.

13. Wife Carrying is a Sport

An interesting Estonian sport centers around the idea of male competitors speeding through an obstacle course while carrying a female partner. The Estonian name for the sport is naisekandmine.

Estonians also have a special carrying method where the female is carried upside down on the male’s back and has her legs wrapped around the man’s shoulders and neck.

I can only imagine that this must feel like a roller coaster from hell for the female partner.

14. Kiiking Makes Swingsets Fun For Adults

Speaking of interesting Estonian sports, the sport of Kiiking brings childhood imagination to life.

A graphic showing how Kiiking works

Kiiking is a sport performed on a swingset where participants try to swing high enough to complete a 360-degree flip over the bar while remaining in the swing.

The goal is to do this on swingsets that have really long ropes to increase the difficulty. If this was shown on ESPN, I’d want to pay for that channel.

15. Estonia Has Brown Bears and Lynxes

If you’re like me and love to venture off the beaten path, you may be interested to know that Estonia is home to the largest brown bear population in Europe. Over 900 brown bears call Estonian forestland home.

Another creature that is capable of eating your face is the Lynx, which also can be found in Estonia. Luckily, the Lynx is an elusive creature that instinctually stays away from people.

There are actually Bear and Lynx Watching tours where you can see these wild animals from a safe distance.

16. Estonians Helped Create the Baltic Chain for Peace

In August of 1989, Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians peacefully demanded their independence from the Soviet Union during the Singing Revolution by forming the Baltic Chain.

SEE ALSO:  12 Fun Facts and Tasty Treats About Bosnia And Herzegovina

Nearly 2 million people held hands in a peaceful political display showing they were united, forming a “human chain” that stretched 675 kilometers or 416 miles across three countries.

17. Estonia has Forest Megaphones

If you love listening to the sounds of nature, there’s no better place than Estonia’s RMK Pähni Nature Centre found in Võru County.

3 Estonia forest megaphones

Three giant megaphones have been placed in the forest allowing visitors to hear the melodies of nature itself.

18. Estonia Is a Great Place for Bird Watching

Up to 2 million birds stop at Matsalu National Park in Estonia during migration in spring and autumn, making it one of the best places in Europe for birdwatching.

19. Estonia Grows Deadly Mushrooms

The forests of Estonia grow many delicious edible mushroom varieties that can be safely consumed. However, deadly mushroom varieties often masquerade as safe mushrooms in Estonia.

Two varieties cause the majority of fatal poisonings – Destroying Angel, and White Death Cap. These mushrooms are fatal in small doses, so unless you’re a Mycologist (mushroom expert), don’t eat the local fungi.

20. Reflectors Are Required After Dark

If you are a pedestrian out after dark in Estonia, you are legally required to wear a reflector. This law is to keep people safe from being hit by cars and is mandatory.

21. Estonia is the Birthplace of the Decorated Christmas Tree

Estonia claims that the first Christmas Tree ever decorated and displayed in a town occurred in Tallinn by the Brotherhood of Blackheads in 1441.

A Christmas tree in Tallinn

Whether this is true is a matter of debate as the city of Riga has a similar claim, but to this day Estonia holds an annual contest for choosing a tree to be decorated and displayed in the town square as part of honoring the heritage of the Christmas Tree.

One of the best times to visit Estonia is during the winter season as the Christmas Markets and Christmas Tree displays are spectacular.


Christina loves to travel and recently moved from America to Austria to experience everything Europe has to offer. Her passion for travel is rivaled only by her love of writing. Armed with her English degree, she funds her travels writing for several websites including MyCountryFacts!

Recent Posts