As staying in becomes the new normal, Culture Trip invites you to indulge in a spot of cloud tourism. Experience the sights and sounds of a place – without even leaving your home. Next up on our virtual tour is Estonia.
Even though travel is restricted due to the coronavirus, your curiosity need not be curtailed: it’s possible to travel the world without even leaving the house. In this time of social distancing and isolation, embark on an adventure to Estonia through film, literature and your tastebuds. Discovering the best of this Baltic nation from afar includes savouring a zesty fuchsia-coloured rosolje salad; delving into must-read Estonian literature; adventuring into Estonian folklore via fantasy film November; and learning about the history of the Estonian capital at one of Tallinn’s most reputed museums.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Equal parts fantasy, folk tale and horror story, director Rainer Sarnet’s 2017 film November (Rehepapp) is an adaptation of Tallinn-born writer Andrus Kivirähk’s 2000 novel Rehepapp ehk November (Old Barny aka November). Set in a village in 19th-century Estonia, inhabited by spirits, werewolves and even the devil himself, November centres on the quest of lovestruck Liiina and Hans, who both attempt to use mythical powers to win their respective unrequited loves. With dream-like black-and-white cinematography, November invites viewers to journey into rural Estonian folklore: look out for the kratt, a mythical creature made up of household objects and brought to life by the devil; and the celebration of All Soul’s Eve, which sees ancestral ghosts taken to the sauna and turned into giant chickens.
Eat: rosolje and leivasupp
There simply aren’t enough pink salads out there. On hand to remedy this sorry situation is Estonian staple side dish rosolje, a traditional beetroot and potato salad. Though traditionally made with pickled herring, rosolje is easily adapted and can be made in vegetarian varieties with egg or apple, or made heartier with the addition of smoked meat. Whatever you decide to include, this Estonian food should be smothered in a creamy dressing of mayonnaise and sour cream.
For the ultimate in comforting desserts, follow up with leivasupp. This classic sweet bread soup is usually made with rye bread, which is soaked together with fruit juice, cinnamon, sugar and dried fruits. As well as being a popular dessert and snack, leivasupp is often served as a school lunch, meaning that a spoonful of leivasupp is a little taste of Estonian childhood.
Drink: Vana Tallinn
Developed in the 1960s, Vana Tallin (meaning ‘Old Tallinn’) is a rum-based liqueur produced by the Estonian distillery Liviko. Although the recipe is secret, the sweet liqueur features Jamaican rum, cinnamon bark, vanilla and citrus notes. Classically served on the rocks or together with coffee, Vana Tallinn is made in three varieties, which differ in their alcohol content: the ‘white label’ liqueur is the lightest, with 40% ABV, while the strongest (black label) has 50% ABV. All that’s left to say now is cheers: terviseks!
Read: The Man Who Spoke Snakish
Andrus Kivirähk’s 2007 novel The Man Who Spoke Snakish (Mees, kes teadis ussisõnu) combines a coming-of-age narrative with elements of magical realism and Estonian folklore. The story takes place in a mystical vision of medieval Estonia, and follows the life of a young boy and forest-dweller, Leemet, who becomes the last speaker of Snakish, a once widely spoken language that allows speakers to communicate with and command animals. Through this fantastical tale, in which German-speaking Christians arrive in the Estonian woods and trigger the disappearance of the traditional way of life, Kivirähk raises questions about the nature of and motivations for change. So popular was The Man Who Spoke Snakish in Estonia, that the book has even been turned into a board game.
Tour: Tallinn City Museum and Estonia from Above
With its principal site housed in a 14th-century merchant house, Tallinn City Museum offers a comprehensive introduction to the history of the Estonian capital. The museum has worked with Google Arts & Culture to create an online virtual museum, which includes tours of three of the museum’s sites: the main City Museum in the Old Town, Kiek in de Kök (a restored artillery tower), and the former house of Peter the Great. The online exhibits include paintings of Tallinn cityscapes and an extensive archaeological collection, which holds over 27,000 artefacts from the Stone Age to the 20th century.
To experience Estonia’s most picturesque scenery, fly high above the landscape with filmmaker Dmitry Tkachenko in his beautiful drone film Estonia From Above, which takes in the capital, coastline and verdant countryside.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.