Turkey belongs to the conditionally visa-free countries: for tourists from Russia, there is a rule that you can stay in the country for 90 days in half a year. A one-time period of stay should not exceed 60 days.
Despite the oriental temperament of residents, the country can be safely called safe. Turks have great respect for guests and strive to do everything to please them. In tourist regions, you can safely walk in the evenings without fear of unpleasant encounters. The exception is Istanbul – here, you need to be careful with your belongings (petty thefts are not uncommon), and for night walks around the city, choose crowded streets or taxis.
The national currency is the Turkish Lira (TRY).
It is optimal to bring euros or dollars with you – they can be paid in many places (but the exchange rate will not be in your favor) or exchanged for local lira. It is also convenient to pay with bank cards: most shops, restaurants, hotels accept Visa, Mastercard, and even Mir cards. You can withdraw money from the card using ATMs (all instructions are often available in several languages, including English and Russian). It makes no sense to bring cash rubles with you – you will lose a significant amount during the exchange.
If we summarize the interest in this country of different tourists, then undoubtedly Turkey attracts:
- The Aegean Sea, Fethiye surroundings
- a quality beach vacation (which is really beautiful and very diverse here, like all four sea coasts washing the country);
- an excellent climate that gives health and energy (the southern regions of the country are more than 300 sunny days a year, a combination of mountain and sea air);
- the richest history (there are countless ancient monuments of the Antique, Byzantine, Ottoman eras preserved here, every corner of the country is an open-air museum);
- unique nature (you can see the seas, mountain rivers, and peaks, canyons, gorges, caves, lakes, islands, hot mineral springs, and even extinct volcanoes);
- inexhaustible opportunities for outdoor activities (hiking, cycling, river rafting, sea travel, yachting, diving, parasailing, paragliding and hot air ballooning, winter sports, etc.);
- various cultural events (festivals, concerts, exhibitions, museums, and other events);
- ultra-modern cities, where all the novelties and opportunities are available, which easily coexist with completely authentic villages, where life has hardly changed over the past 100 years;
- attitude towards children (this is one of the most “child-loving” countries, where they try to do everything to make you and your child comfortable and exciting);
- variety of cuisine, hospitality, fresh and delicious products;
During national holidays, Turkey becomes incredibly colorful. During the Bayram period (religious holidays of Muslims), the whole country goes somewhere – it is customary to visit their relatives, who usually live in various Turkey. Any celebrations, religious and secular, whether Spring Meeting, Youth and Sports Day, Flower Festival, wedding, or victory of your favorite football team, are always held here very brightly, loudly, and joyfully, charging all participants with a good dose of positive.
The middle part of the territory of Turkey is in Asia Minor. These places are called the cradle of civilizations.
Even in the Stone Age, nomadic tribes of hunters lived on the territory of Anatolia. In the VII millennium B.CB.C. NS., the mobile way of life was replaced by the agricultural one. The first cities with stone houses appeared.
The Hittites were the founders of the first states in Asia Minor. There was a struggle for supremacy among the small city-states. The initially victorious Puruskhanda lost the palm to Kussar, whose king Anittas was the founder of the Hittite kingdom at the beginning of the 18th century B.CB.C. N.SN.S. According to the testimony of ancient Greek historians, it was a developed state with its written language, minted coins from an alloy of silver and gold.
At the dawn of ancient youth
In the XII century B.CB.C. NS. the Hittite kingdom collapsed. Some of its citizens, having united with local tribes, founded a new state – Lydia. Greek villages were built in the neighborhood, forming city-states. Greek Ionians made up the majority of the population of many Lydian cities, driving all trade.
In the VI century B.CB.C. NS., the Persian army violated this harmony, crushing Greece and Lydia. Liberation came from Athens, which began to rule the Greek cities on the coast of Asia Minor.
In 283, all these lands became part of the empire of Alexander the Great. The architecture of that era was striking in its grandeur and splendor.
300 years of peace and prosperity
From 63 BC BC, many coastal cities became the favorite vacation spots of the Roman nobility. It built lush villas, rich temples, new theaters, aqueducts for water supply here. The roads connected to the villages facilitated the expansion of trade. Agriculture and handicraft developed. The seaports received ships with goods from Egypt, Syria, Africa.
In the 3rd century A.D.A.D. NS. natural disasters in the form of powerful earthquakes were supplemented by the raids of the warlike Gothic tribes, which weakened the Roman Empire and eventually led to its disintegration.
So it began in 330 A.D.A.D. N.S. Byzantine era.
The city of Byzantium became the capital of the East, later turning into magnificent Constantinople through the efforts of Emperor Constantine. The official religion was Christianity, although, in many cities, Greek and Roman gods were worshiped for quite some time.
Emperor Justinian, who came to power in 527, united and strengthened the Byzantine Empire and returned its lost lands. Public buildings and places of worship were actively built throughout the territory.
The fall of Byzantium became a reality in the 7th century AD. e. when the Arabs came to the Mediterranean. Muslim armies were already in 669-678 under the walls of Constantinople. In the VIII century, almost all the territories of the great state outside Anatolia were lost, the army was exhausted, and the culture was in decline.
Neighboring peoples began to migrate to Anatolia actively. Among them was the Turkic tribe of the Seljuks. In 1071, they inflicted a decisive defeat on the Byzantine army and founded the Rum Sultanate, subjugating Anatolia. The remnants of the Byzantine Empire held on with their last strength to the only remaining stronghold – Constantinople.
Beginning and the end
The Seljuk state, having experienced a period of prosperity, disintegrated into small principalities. The crusades and the Mongol invasion contributed a lot to this. And Anatolia was covered by a new wave of migration.
Scientists are still arguing why the Ottoman one laid the foundation for the Great Empire out of several dozen. However, it was the Ottoman warriors who seized new territories, conquered neighboring peoples. In the middle of the 15th century, they owned all the lands around Constantinople, but the city was still holding on. And only in 1453 did Sultan Mehmed II, the Conqueror broke the defenders’ resistance and take the city. In this battle, the last emperor of Byzantium, Constantine XI Palaeologus, died.
Mehmed II added the title of Roman emperor to his many titles. He supported the Greek Church and contributed to the development of Greek culture.
Golden Age of the Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman family was famous for its talented rulers. Thanks to their competent leadership, the Ottoman Empire became by the 16th century one of the most powerful states in the world, having subjugated half of Europe and Africa. In 1537, the Ottoman army captured even Nice and was about to move to Rome.
The golden age fell on the reign of the tenth Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent. The Sultan continued his father’s policy of conquest, adding new lands to the sultanate, and received full power over the Mediterranean and Black Seas.
Along with the development of the army and navy, the Sultan paid great attention to science, trade, and construction. Mighty fortresses, magnificent palaces, mosques, gardens, and parks have survived to this day, continuing to amaze modern tourists.
The decline of the Ottoman state
The problematic fate of the ruler and court intrigues led to the execution of the most capable of the Sultan’s sons, Mustafa. As a result, the throne was inherited by the son of Roksolana Selim II. From this Sultan, who went down in history under the name Selim II the Drunkard, the decline of the Ottoman Empire began. Military spending rose, trade revenues fell, and inflation began. Defeats replaced victories. Christian armies advanced in the west, Persia won in the East, wars with Russia brought only losses.
On the former authority and conquests of the ancestors, the Ottoman Empire held out until the middle of the 19th century. By this time, she no longer had the strength to keep the conquered peoples striving for independence. Constant battles with the Russian Empire for control of the Black Sea finally weakened the sultanate. Participation in the First World War of 1914 on the side of the Entente brought economic decline to Turkey, the occupation of most of the country, and the discontent of the population.
Only a miracle could save her. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk became it. In 1923, he proclaimed the first Turkish republic and confidently led the backward agrarian country into a prosperous future.
From Ataturk to the present day
The revolutionary reforms carried out by Ataturk turned Turkey into a steadily developing state with proportionally developed sectors of the national economy. Along with the production of agricultural products, the industrial sector was confidently gaining momentum. Despite periodic political upheavals, the Republic of Turkey did not experience particular disruptions in the 20th century. Even the Second World War did not cause much damage to its economy, apparently because Turkey remained neutral throughout the entire war.
Today, in terms of living standards, the country approaches the Western European states and even surpasses some. The development of the tourism industry and, as a result, the service sector, along with a beautiful climate and picturesque nature, attracts millions of people every year, bringing income and prosperity to the country. To a large extent, this is facilitated by the rich history of Turkey, which has come down to us in the ruins of ancient cities, historical monuments, and artifacts, carefully protected by the state.
Climate and weather in Turkey
Turkey is rich not only in history but also in a variety of climatic and unique natural sites. There are coastal regions here – and depending on the sea (Black, Marmara, Aegean, Mediterranean), a very different climate awaits you, which determines the seasons. The central part of the country is more steppe and arid.
Most of the guests coming to Turkey travel overseas, with excellent beaches, sunbathing, and incredible mountain air. However, a new trend has appeared in recent years – snowy peaks have begun to attract connoisseurs of ski holidays and light frost.
The high season depends on the specific coastline, but in general, the peak of the beach holiday is from April to October.
The official opening of the leading hotels and beaches usually takes place in the first half of May. The decline in the season is noticeable by mid-September.
However, this does not at all interfere with enjoying the weather in other months. Warm, sunny weather has been on the Mediterranean coast since mid-February. At the end of the tourist season (October-November), you can also “catch” the beautiful mild weather.
Lovers of a relaxing holiday and those who prefer a non-aggressive sun choose this time to travel to Turkey. If water temperature is essential to you in addition to sunburn and good weather, then stop in the autumn months. The water in the sea keeps warm literally until the beginning of December – only storms can prevent you from swimming perfectly, which gradually come into their own by December. In May, on the contrary, when the air temperature is high, the sea is still relatively calm.
Summer in Turkey
The Marmara and Black Seas are colder. Here, the summer season usually begins two weeks later than in the country’s southern and western regions and ends a week or two earlier. In the summer months (June-August), the water temperature in them is + 21 … 24 ° С.
The Aegean coast is hot and sunny, but it is less humid than the Mediterranean.
Natural heat comes to the Mediterranean coast during the summer holidays and vacations (when most tourists flock to Turkey). The daytime temperature can steadily stay at + 37 … 40 ° С, which is felt even higher due to the humidity.
The evening brings almost no relief. There is practically no rain during these months.
The heat is most severely endured at the end of July and August, especially by people who are not used to this climate.
The Velvet season
October, November, March, and April in the southern regions of Turkey are excellent choices for a vacation. The fantastic warm weather at this time, about + 25 ° С (especially against the background of the temperature in the colder climate of Russia), makes it possible to enjoy not only the sea and the sun.
This is the best time for exciting excursions, sightseeing, walks, and fresh fruits in the northern region (for example, in Istanbul at this time + 18 … 20 ° С). The number of tourists in these months is several times less than during the high season, prices for everything are also much more adequate.
Winter in Turkey
The period and features of the low season depending on the region. On the coast of the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, winters are milder, snowless, but sometimes very rainy.
The temperature always remains above zero, but usually, it keeps within + 10 … 15 ° С, in the sun the air sometimes warms up to + 20 ° С.
On the coast of the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara (which includes the Istanbul region), winters are much colder, with winds and even snow. The thermometer stops at about zero in January, but this slight cold is quite noticeable with high humidity and wind.
In winter, please note that central heating is often not provided here if you are heading to Turkey. The deceiving warmth outside (when you can sometimes wear a T-shirt in January) is combined with persistent cold in the houses. This is especially true for the southern regions.
Electric or gas heaters are used to warm up the premises. Bring warm clothing for your home, or be prepared to pay a substantial utility bill.
In the mountainous regions of Turkey, at least 16 winter resorts focused on active sports have been created in recent years. From October to May, the most popular ski resort is Palandoken. It is suitable for both beginners and firm skiers. Here you can find tracks of various difficulty levels.
Cities and regions
In the vast territory of Turkey, stretching 1,600 kilometers from west to east and 600 kilometers from north to south, eastern antiquity and western modernity are harmoniously intertwined. This paradise land attracts millions of tourists every year, allowing everyone to choose a vacation to their liking.
Unofficially, the whole of Turkey, which occupies an area of 779,452 square kilometers, is usually divided into seven regions, each of which is interesting in its way.
The Aegean region is the westernmost one, which includes eight provinces. Most of them are located on the coast of the Aegean Sea. There is a mild climate, high-class resorts (and not only sea but also balneological), many natural and historical sights.
Izmir, the largest city in the region, nestled among the hills on the shores of the Gulf of Izmir, is known as a world-class resort and as the cultural and business center of the coast. Many museums cherish the city’s history, which goes back several millennia when it was still biblical Smyrna.
Bodrum, a famous resort city on the shores of the most beautiful Gokova Bay, attracts vacationers with a mild subtropical climate, superbly equipped beaches, entertainment for every taste. The old castle separates the modern western part of the city, with its chic hotels, nightclubs, and restaurants, from the historical eastern region, where you can walk along the ancient streets, see the ruins of the walls and the Myndos Gate. On the restored old theater stage, performances take place, as in the 4th century BC. NS.
Marmaris, a beautiful old city, the most European of all Turkish resorts, is famous for its clean beaches, almost always calm sea, healing air, the scent of coniferous forests, and many attractions, historical and natural. The fortress of Marmaris, the ancient city of Amos, the legendary island of Seder, and the cave of Nimara are ready to reveal their secrets to the guests.
Ephesus, Troy, Assos, Miletus, known to everyone from history books, are also located in the Aegean region. Here are the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis, on the territory of which there is a working thermal pool. Nearby there are terraces of 17 hot springs saturated with calcium.
The Marmara is the most unusual region of Turkey. Located simultaneously in Europe and Asia, it is washed by three seas – the Aegean, Marmara, and Black, and two straits ( Bosphorus and Dardanelles). It is the smallest but densely populated region with picturesque valleys, mountain ranges, small, fast streams and large calm rivers, seaside, and many islands. It is here that the most popular city in Turkey is located.
Istanbul, aka Constantinople, aka Byzantium, is a city with a long history. It was the capital of the great empires – Byzantine and Ottoman, crusaders and Russian princes fought for it. Today it is a modern metropolis, rich in attractions, in which Europe and Asia peacefully coexist. Galata Bridge, Galata Tower, Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque, French Street in Chukurjuma Quarter are all must-see to get an idea of the city.
Bursa is a famous balneological resort located near Istanbul. In summer, tourists are attracted here by healing mineral springs, and in winter – by the beautiful ski resorts of Mount Uludag. The main historical sights of the city are the old mosques ( Green, Big, Alaeddin) and the Green Tomb of Mehmed Celebi.
Kudashasy (“Bird Island”) is a small fairytale town with almost nothing oriental. Historical and natural attractions (a well-preserved Ottoman fortress, nesting places of many birds), cafes, restaurants, four beaches, discos, and comfortable hotels await tourists all summer.
The Central Anatolian region, the second largest and most populous, seems lonely and harsh. But it was here that many ancient civilizations were born, the very first cities were built, the history of the modern Turkish state began. Instead of seascapes, you will see bizarre weathered rocks, the two-headed stratovolcano Erciyas with a height of almost 4000 meters, the large reserved lake Tuz, where many birds nest, and ancient cities that continue to live.
Ankara is the capital of modern Turkey, with a history spanning thousands of years. Here the past and the future meet – the Byzantine fortress is adjacent to modern skyscrapers, the temple of Augustus with the mausoleum of Ataturk. You can drink aromatic coffee in a small Turkish coffee shop or dine in a luxurious European restaurant. This is not a seaside resort but an ideal place to meet history, experience Turkish culture and customs.
Konya is a city that, according to legend, was built immediately after the Great Flood. They say that it was here that St. Paraskeva-Friday and the famous sage Khoja Nasreddin were born. Many well-preserved architectural monuments in the city are the famous Mevlana Museum (center of Sufi culture), Alaeddin Mosque, Selimiye Mosque.
In the vicinity of Konya, there are picturesque natural attractions – the Tuz salt lake, caves, and waterfalls. History lovers will find discoveries in the archaeological region of Chatal-Guyuk.
Cappadocia is the heart of the Central Anatolian region. This historical area amazes with fantastic landscapes, famous for ancient underground cities (I millennium BC), rock monasteries, and churches of the first Christians. You can travel back in time by staying at the Argos in Cappadocia cave hotel. Thirty-three rooms of villas cut into the rock are connected by labyrinths of wooden walkways and stone stairs. Modern conveniences coexist with the household items and tools of the monks who once lived here.
The Mediterranean (Antalya) region is a favorite vacation spot for millions of tourists. The gentle Mediterranean Sea, the Taurus Mountains, which protect the coast from the winds, subtropical vegetation, comfortable hotels for every taste and budget, luxurious beaches have made this area a tourist Mecca. It is really “all-inclusive” here: beach holidays, discos and bars, excellent shopping and excellent cuisine. Curious travelers will have a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the natural and historical sights of the region.
Antalya is a large city and, perhaps, the most famous resort, the capital of the Turkish Riviera. A mild climate, comfortable beaches, modern hotels, a well-developed entertainment industry are harmoniously combined with carefully preserved historical heritage. You can admire the buildings of the 13th century in Kaleici or visit Aqualand with many attractions, stroll through the wonderful Karaalioglu Park, or spend the day in the cool at the Duden waterfalls ( upper or lower ).
Alanya is the warmest resort in the country. In terms of popularity, development of tourism infrastructure, and an abundance of attractions, the city may well compete with Antalya. The luxurious Cleopatra beach with two kilometers, the Alanya fortress, and the famous Tersane shipyard, built in the 13th century, a picturesque lighthouse, the Red Tower – this is not a complete list of places that Alanya can surprise.
Side is a small town with an ancient history, one of the busiest resorts in the Mediterranean. It is often called the “open-air museum.” On both sides of the cape, on which the ancient city stands, there are resort areas. The western part with luxury hotels, beautiful beaches, bars, and discos seems to be created for lovers of noisy outdoor activities. The calm and uncrowded eastern Side is ideal for families with children. Having stopped your choice on Side, be sure to visit the Green Canyon and Manavgat Waterfall.
Kemer is a city, port, and resort that is always popular with Russian tourists. It is especially suitable for lovers of active recreation, saturated with emotions. People who prefer regularity and silence are better off choosing other places on the coast. The clear sea with pebble beaches and pine forests against the backdrop of the majestic Taurus Mountains create an actual paradise landscape. In addition to picturesque views, Kemer is rich in historical monuments – the ruins of the ancient city of Phaselis, the fiery mountain Chimera, Olympos. Young people with little interest in the past will find bars and nightclubs, many shops and restaurants. Children will love the water park and the Dinopark.
Belek is a modern resort town with no ancient history but has already won the right to be called “elite.” Comfortable hotels, comfortable sandy beaches, and picturesque landscape attract wealthy couples and families with children here. Belek is considered a status resort with a high level of service and a wide range of services. Luxurious restaurants, clubs, and golf courses await guests who are not used to saving on their vacation.
The Black Sea region, which occupies 18% of all Turkish territory, was known under the Greek name Pontus in ancient times. Here, on the coast of the warm sea, the Turks themselves prefer to rest. The humid subtropical climate, many forests, mountains, and ancient history also attract foreign tourists. A vast number of various attractions:
- natural (Okhtamysh waterfall, Uzungol glacial lake, Hempshin valley);
- cult (Fatiha Mosque, which was once a Byzantine church of the 12th century, Ibni Medtszhar Mosque in 1353);
- Historical (Hittite burial mounds of the XIII-X centuries BC, Kale-i-Bala castle 200 BC; Byzantine Bayburt castle of the XII century, Genoese fortresses).
It is impossible to see all this in one visit, which means that you will have to come again and again. The main cities of the region are Samsun, Trabzon, and Sinop.
Trabzon is a legendary city. Once the Greek colony of Trebizond, in the 12th century, it was the capital of the Trebizond Empire. Today, it is a fantastic city where many peoples, languages, cultures, and religions have mixed.
As a resort, Trabzon does not boast luxurious beaches, but there are hotels of different comfort categories, lovely guest houses, and delectable Turkish cuisine. And, of course, there are a lot of historical sights, including the Panagia Sumela Monastery of the 4th century, the Trabzon castle of the 15th century, the mosque, and the Gulbahar tomb in 1514.
Samsun, a port city, has been standing on the Black Sea coast since the 6th century. It is believed that it was here that the legendary king Mithridates lived and the warlike Amazon tribe lived. In memory of this, the city hosts an annual Amazon festival.
Among the sights worth mentioning are the Gazi Museum, an excellent archaeological and ethnographic museum, and the unusual Ship-Museum “Bandirma.” There is also a unique monument to Ataturk by the famous Austrian sculptor Heinz Krieffel.
Sinop is the most famous Black Sea port in Turkey and is considered the most beautiful natural harbor on the Black Sea coast. The city is rich in historical monuments: the ruins of the ancient Greek temple Serapium of the 5th century BC. NS. and the Byzantine church Balatlar, the 2nd century Sinop fortress. The Sinop resort offers its guests a beach holiday and a decent infrastructure – hotels, a water park, a rich excursion program.
Eastern Anatolia is a highland region of Turkey. It occupies the most significant area (almost a fifth of the country) with negligible population density. The short cool summer and the absence of the sea coast do not allow us to call this region a resort. But it certainly attracts tourists. Here are:
- valley Munzur;
- picturesque waterfalls Tortum and Berkri;
- the volcanoes Syupkhan, Tendurek, and Nemrut;
- glacial lakes Bingol;
- geothermal sources.
In this region, the legendary Mount Ararat is located, on the top of which the remains of Noah’s ark are to be kept. There are plenty of historical sights in these places, ranging from ancient settlements and ending with the medieval Armenian city of Ani. The most famous cities in the region are Erzurum, Kare, and Malatya.
Erzurum is a city on a mountain plateau at an altitude of 1700 meters above sea level, and in addition to historical sights, it boasts the beautiful Palandoken ski center. Trails of different difficulty levels attract athletes and tourists here from December to May.
Malatya will interest tourists both with its rich historical past and vibrant modern shopping districts. You can visit the mouth-watering apricot market or visit the exotic copper bazaar. It is worth walking along the streets of the Old Town of Eski-Malatya and visiting the Archaeological Museum.
Where to go in Turkey
The Blue Mosque is one of the most famous landmarks of Istanbul, located in the heart of the old city. The Muslim world is known as the Ahmediyah or Sultanahmet Mosque and is revered as the leading Islamic shrine and symbol of the city.
Hagia Sophia (Hagia Sophia)
Hagia Sophia is a place of pilgrimage for all guests of Istanbul, without exception. This is not surprising. The oldest temple, which has gone through all possible trials during its centuries-old history, has retained its incredible attractiveness and energy.
Inside huge Istanbul, like in the middle of a Russian nesting doll, its beautiful miniature is hidden – this is a full-fledged city within a city, the covered Grand Bazaar market. One of the largest markets in the world under the roof, which bears the Turkish name Kapalicarsi and dates back to 1461, occupies 31,000 square meters.
Topkapi Palace was the primary residence of the rulers of the Ottoman Empire until the middle of the 19th century. The complex, located on the Saraybernu cape surrounded by the waters of the Bosphorus Strait, occupies a significant part of the historical center of Istanbul.
Pamukkale is a natural phenomenon and spa resort in southwestern Turkey in the Menderes River valley. The Cascades of white terraces on the hillside look formed from snowdrifts and ice, but they have a different origin and are carbonate minerals. The Turks called the natural wonder “Cotton Castle.” A fantastic geological formation with its whiteness and configuration resembles a pyramid made of cotton wool with giant steps. Travelers also compare the mountain with a cake topped with whipped cream. By the way, the cultivation of cotton in the country is an essential branch of the economy, and high-quality textiles are sold in local shops: hats, tablecloths, clothes, cotton stoles.
Goreme National Park
Goreme National Park is located in central Turkey, on the territory of Nevsehir silt, which occupies most of the historical region of Cappadocia. On an area of 9572 hectares, there are numerous tuff formations with early Christian churches, monastic cloisters, refectory, residential and utility rooms carved into them. Most travelers visiting Cappadocia tend to see this natural and artificial attraction in the first place. The open-air museum is one of the most unusual and popular tourist destinations in the world.
Vacations Forever: 5 Best Resort Towns You Should Move to ASAP
Do you want to be on vacation all year long? Fewer people are using their part-time vacation homes as primary residences nowadays, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be a great choice for you.
Let’s go through the top resort towns you should move to if you want to be permanently on vacation.
1. Jackson Hole, United States
If you’re a big fan of skiing, you’re sure to enjoy Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Jackson Hole has very low crime rates, so it’s a safe place to live if you have a family.
It’s also home to some excellent schools, so you don’t need to be worried about your children’s education. However, Jackson Hole does have high costs of living, particularly for a city in a less populated state.
2. Estepona, Spain
Do you enjoy the south of Spain? Consider moving to Estepona. This city, which is located on the Costa del Sol, is populated along the coast. There are tons of amazing water sports you can try out when you visit Estepona.
Plus, you can check out interesting museums when you live in Estepona, like the Antonio Ordóñez Museum of Bullfighting, the Ethnographic Museum, and the Paleontology Museum. And, Estepona is home to delicious restaurants, so you’ll never get tired of eating the local cuisine. Those who are looking for a place to live in Estepona should check out choosemarbella.com.
3. Cartagena, Colombia
If you’re looking for a great beach city, you’ll certainly want to consider Cartagena. There are plenty of resorts you can check out, or you can hit the beaches yourself.
Cartagena is also one of the cheaper cost of living options when it comes to beach cities. However, if you’re a vegetarian or have dietary restrictions, Colombia can be a difficult country to navigate.
4. Palm Springs, United States
Palm Springs is an interesting resort city. It’s extremely popular with seniors and members of the LGBTQ community (along with, of course, people who fall under both categories).
Palm Springs is the perfect place to live for people who love golfing or playing tennis. But be forewarned, you’ll need a car to get around Palm Springs since things are spread out and public transportation can be limited.
5. Todos Santos, Mexico
While Cabo San Lucas is one of the most popular resort city choices out there, it’s probably not a place you want to live long term. So, why not try out one of the neighboring towns? Todos Santos is one great option.
Todos Santos is home to a great community of artists, so people who love creativity won’t want to miss out. Plus, Todos Santos is one of the safest resort towns out there. And, the city is becoming more and more popular, so you’ll be trendy by moving to Todos Santos.
Move to These Resort Towns Today
What are you waiting for? Any of these resort towns are a great option for your next stage in life.
Are you looking for more lifestyle advice? Make su
Estonia Travel Guide: Best Places to Visit And Things To Do
Estonia is one of the brightest, most versatile, and diverse countries in northern Europe. Situated on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea and washed by the waters of the Gulfs of Riga and Finland, Estonia offers tourists an incredible selection of natural landscapes, ancient monuments, and architectural wonders. Millennia of history, cultural traditions, lively and fascinating, historic cities, castles, and fortresses of the Crusader era, museums, and elegant museums from the time of the Empire. Two thousand five hundred islands, virgin forests and National parks, lakes, swamps, meteorite craters, and hundreds of kilometers of beaches – this is all Estonia!
With the latest technological advances, Estonia offers a unique cocktail of experiences where all the ingredients are perfectly matched. Excursions, entertainment, historical routes, shopping, gastronomic wonders, spa hotels, and the best beaches of the Baltic Sea – whatever plan you go on vacation, Estonia will undoubtedly bring them to life.
Despite its modest size, Estonia can surprise even the experienced traveler. It is easily accessible from any corner of Europe – by air, land, and water. Tallinn, the delightful and ancient capital of Estonia, and the main cities of Sweden and Finland are only hours apart. Guests from Warsaw will be delivered by a comfortable bus, and residents of St. Petersburg should not be late for the evening train. Breakfast can be ordered in the heart of Tallinn.
Magical Tallinn, an actual teleport city, a time machine in action.
The entire old town is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as an example of conservation in northern Europe.
From a bird’s eye view, its shape repeats the heart – this is probably why it regularly steals hearts from impressionable tourists!
It is enough to climb one of the observation platforms to leave your own there, and there are many of them in the city.
And then walk the whimsically twisted streets, admiring the ancient fortress walls, towers, and underground passages – the Tallinn fortress is more than 700 years old, and it is also considered the standard of medieval architecture.
In addition to the fortress, the historic part of Tallinn will offer ancient temples, medieval mansions, museums, and, of course, restaurants – to celebrate your acquaintance with the city tastefully, and you have a choice of 1001 restaurants. Many of them have earned the laurels of the best in northern Europe.
The second most important city in the country is Tartu. It is considered the intellectual capital of Estonia, and it is not for nothing that its foundation is attributed to Prince Yaroslav the Wise. The oldest university, the most picturesque ruins of the cathedral, the most beautiful Botanical Garden, and the most “advanced” museums are located here. Another reason to visit Tartu is fairs, festivals, and other entertainment events. Thanks to the university and the student body, it is also the funniest city in Estonia.
In Narva, Rakvere, and Põltsamaa, ancient fortresses and majestic castles fans should take a ride.
Life here is quiet and unhurried, and only occasionally, the city’s peace is disturbed by music festivals and historical reconstructions.
The “summer” capital of Estonia, stylish and bright, will offer its guests spa hotels, health resorts on the shores of the Gulf of Finland, a pretty port with yachts, and the Old Town of the Hanseatic League.
But the main thing for tourists who come here is eight kilometers of sandy beach, the best in the country.
Those who love everything at once should go to Haapsalu. One of the most famous spa resorts, renowned for its traditions and admirers, Haapsalu also has a worthy historical dimension.
A medieval castle and an old cathedral, a vibrant Old Town, the Seaside Promenade – culture is perfectly combined with vacation motives.
And, of course, you cannot leave Estonia without seeing its islands. Choose the largest and most beautiful island of Saaremaa and its capital, old Kuressaare. The local Bishop’s Castle is considered the most harmonious in the country, and the climate is one of the best on the coast.
In short, why would you not come to Estonia – to have fun, improve your health, or intellectually enrich yourself, you will have a great vacation. Estonia will take care of this!
Estonian history is a journey of thousands of years. This northern country has managed to preserve the traditions and customs of its ancestors, Viking sagas, and tales of overseas kings while remaining a modern European state.
Estonia: the beginning of the beginnings
Historical evidence of life on these lands can be found already in the 9th millennium BC. The appearance of the first people on the territory of modern Estonia is associated with the end of the last known ice age. According to archaeologists, the oldest site of primitive people appeared on the banks of the Pärnu River, not far from Sindi, approximately in 9500 BC. There are several such settlements. They all belong to the Kund culture.
This ancient cultural stratum existed until the 5th millennium BC and is named after the Estonian city of Kunda. Its influence spread to the eastern Baltic states, Poland, and southern Finland. The settlements of hunters and anglers used stone tools of labor and defense, which are found in many archaeologists, right up to the Mesolithic period.
Over the millennia, cultural layers have changed, and along with them – the traditions of the peoples inhabiting these lands. Already in the third millennium BC, the inhabitants of the settlements began to raise livestock, and by the first millennium, this trade became the main activity of the settlers.
The path to the emergence of statehood
Three thousand years ago, the inhabitants of the territories that make up modern Estonia chose a sedentary lifestyle. As a rule, the new settlers preferred the coastal regions, and here the first settlements were built, fortified, and defended. Their traces can be found to this day on the island of Saaremaa, and these are Ridala and Asva, as well as the settlement of Iru near Tallinn.
At the same time, sea and land contacts with neighbors begin to develop. Archaeologists designate this period as the culture of stone burials. It is associated with the resettlement of the ancestors of the Germans from Scandinavia.
Estonia, at the beginning of our era, is the land of agriculture and cattle breeding. Already in the early Middle Ages, customs and traditional ways of rural life appeared, which Estonians managed to preserve to this day. Many historic villages still exist today.
The early Middle Ages are a crucial period in the formation of Estonia. New, fortified settlements are being built, a system of administrative registration of territories has been formed, and a small farm is taken as a unit of measurement – a typical family farm. There are still many of them in Estonia. The entire territory of the state is divided into 8 regions and counties, these are Virumaa, Läanemaa, Rävala, Saaremaa, Sakala, Ugandi, Harju County, Järvamaa.
By this period, an early feudal model of society was formed, where elders ruled the lands. The major Estonian epic, which tells the story of the medieval giant Kalevipoeg, was written just in the spirit of that time.
In the same historical period, around 1030, the campaign of Prince Yaroslav the Wise began in the northern lands. He founded the city of Yuryev, present-day Tartu.
A little later, local tribes recaptured Tartu. In the following centuries, the ancient Estonians, on the one hand, and the inhabitants of Pskov with Novgorod, on the other, regularly “exchanged pleasantries.”
Such raids on neighbors were considered in the Order of things. One of them even went down in history. It is known that the Estonians conflicted with the Scandinavian Vikings. The inhabitants of the largest Estonian island – Saaremaa, mainly distinguished themselves in this confrontation.
Possessing a solid fleet at that time, the Oeselians, that is, the islanders kidnapped the Norwegian Queen Astrid and her son, Prince Olaf.
Subsequently, it was canonized, and one of the most outstanding examples of medieval architecture in Estonia, St. Olaf’s Church, was named in its part.
The Estonian Vikings are also credited with the destruction of the Swedish capital of Sigtuna at the beginning of the 12th century. Visiting the island of Saaremaa, you can see with your own eyes the treasures of the Vikings, which were found here in many.
The Early Middle Ages: From the Crusaders to the Reformation
The beginning of the Middle Ages in Estonia is associated with the spread of Christianity. The faith of Christ came to these lands later than to central Europe, and if at the beginning these were missionary movements, then the planting of a new religion took place with fire and sword. Various organizations – the Teutonic Order, the Pope, German archbishops, Denmark, and the Kingdom of Sweden – advocated for Estonia’s conversion to Catholicism. Pagan ancestor cults have always been extreme in these parts, so the Northern Crusade decided to take drastic measures. In history, he remained under the name of Livonian.
The crusaders reached the Estonian lands by 1208. And in 1217, the battle of Viljandi took place, where the Estonians were defeated. Two years later, the territories of northern Estonia were conquered by the Danes, the south of the state began to belong to the German Order of the Swordsmen.
As a result of the conquests, these lands fell under the control of the powerful Livonian Order, which had occupied a substantial part of the modern Baltic.
At the same time, the Danish king granted Tallinn, which was considered a pearl among cities, the privileges of the Lübeck city law.
According to these laws, the capital of Estonia, like other cities of the Hanseatic League, was governed until the beginning of the twentieth century.
The conquered lands were transformed into bishoprics. Some of them were subordinate to the supreme authority in Riga. Denmark ruled others.
Of course, this did not consider the interests of the local population, and conflicts were inevitable.
The most famous uprising was St. George’s Night, which marked the Peasant War of Liberation beginning.
The riots, which the Danish authorities could not cope with, forced them to sell the land to the Teutonic Order. The era of German rule in Estonia began.
German landlords wielded tremendous power here for the next 700 years. The territories of modern Estonia and Latvia are called Livonia – a medieval community of interconnected small principalities that were part of the German church territories of the Holy Roman Empire. The feudal system formed in medieval Estonia put German knights and Catholic bishops at the pinnacle of power.
The rights and freedoms of residents were constantly infringed upon, right up to the introduction of serfdom. Taxes and taxes reached unprecedented levels, and all administrative and judicial power belonged to the German magistrates. At the same time, the Estonians themselves, who constituted the majority of the population, remained predominantly peasants and did not have personal freedom.
In large cities, merchant guilds and artisan communities were formed, and Rewal – modern Tallinn, Dorpat, now the city of Tartu, Pernau, familiar to us as Pärnu, and Viljandi were part of the powerful Hanseatic League. This commercial and defensive amalgamation of merchant guilds and merchant cities quickly became a monopoly in northern Europe.
Traces of those times are still easy to find on the streets of Tallinn.
Walking through the Old Town, pay attention to the medieval warehouses, equipped with hooks sticking out above the attic for lifting loads.
Perhaps due to the eternal conflict of interests of the trading cities with their merchants and the Catholic clergy represented by the German bishops, the Reformation movement in Estonia received support.
The middle of the 16th century was accompanied by riots, where ordinary people revolted against the Catholic clergy.
One of the manifestos of the Reformation, which the locals supported, was the holding of divine services and the publication of books in Estonian.
Middle-Ages: from the Livonian War to the Russian Empire
The sixteenth-century turned out to be a turning point – the Livonian Order, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Russian tsar, Sweden, and the Danish kingdom started a major conflict over the division of territories. It remains in history as the Livonian War. Estonia became one of those lands for which they fought. Both the population and the economic component of the cities suffered greatly during the hostilities. As a result, the state was divided between Sweden, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Denmark.
Later, by the middle of the 17th century, all the territories of modern Estonia were ceded to the Kingdom of Sweden. The foundation of the University of Tartu, one of the oldest in Europe, dates back to this time. A significant event took place in 1632, at the direction of the Swedish king Gustav II Adolf.
Until the end of the 17th century, the economic stability of Estonia was ensured by trade. Large cities – Narva, Tallinn, Tartu, stood at the crossroads of trade routes, through which goods went to Europe or Russia and back. The agricultural sector also functioned well, and crafts were developing.
The Great Northern War changed the balance of power in the region. It ended in 1721 with the surrender of Sweden, and the Estonian lands came under the control of the Russian Empire.
Estonia as part of Russia
Most of the Baltic territories in the middle of the 18th century were ceded to Russia. Northern Estonia turned into Revel province, and southern lands, together with Latvia, formed Livonia. Emperor Peter the Great restored the rights of the German nobility, and they constituted a solid layer in the highest authorities. In religion, complete freedom was also allowed for both the Lutheran faith and the Russian Orthodox Church.
In the spheres of culture and education, progress was observed, books, newspapers, and magazines were published in Estonian, educational societies were actively working, defending the rights of the people, and literacy of the population was almost universal.
The population also recovered, undermined by wars and epidemics.
An important historical milestone was the abolition of serfdom by Tsar Alexander the First. It happened in 1816.
In the middle of the 19th century, Estonia and the rest of the empire entered the era of capitalism.
The industry developed by leaps and bounds, mechanical engineering, textile, and agricultural industries formed the basis of the economy.
Success in the economic field and the development of educational programs contributed to the birth of the Estonian national movement.
Towards a free Estonia
Activists of the national movement, formed at the end of the 19th century, demanded equal rights for Germans and indigenous people, Estonians, whose interests were infringed upon. These societies united writers, educators, journalists, representatives of the intellectual elite. They fought not only for legal rights but also for restoring traditions such as the Song Festival, ethnographic festivals, the first Estonian theater. However, despite these bold attempts, the Russians and Germans remained society’s economic and political elite.
In the wake of patriotic movements and extreme provocations, strikes and unrest broke out throughout Estonia. The tsarist government responded with harsh repression, but the uprisings continued in 1916, leading to the 1917 revolution. The interim government was entrusted with managing the former Estland province.
Riots continued this time between Estonian nationalists and Bolsheviks. However, now the First World War intervened in the plans of the future Soviet government. Estonia remained neutral in this conflict, demanding independence.
The wish came true on February 24, 1918 – finally, Estonia became a free state.
The first Estonian republic existed until 1940. The Second World War, its sad consequences, and the subsequent incorporation into the USSR lasted almost fifty years.
Estonia regained independence in 1991 with a rally known as the Singing Revolution.
Over the past thirty years, the state has been actively developing.
Tallinn’s old town was renovated for the 100th anniversary of independence.
Estonia is a member of the UN, the European Union, and NATO, a technically advanced and progressive country.
The system of electronic elections exists and is actively used here, and Skype was invented.
In 2002, Tallinn hosted the Eurovision Song Contest, and in 2018, the anniversary year for Estonian independence, many museums, palaces, and cultural sites were renovated.
The Tallinn Christmas market was recognized as the most beautiful in Europe by the European Best Destinations Association in the same year.
And regardless of political trends, time of year, and the weather outside the window, this beautiful, diverse, and close country is always waiting for you to visit!
Climate and weather in Estonia
Weather in cities
Several factors influence the Estonian climate. The proximity of the Baltic Sea, the Gulf Stream, Atlantic cyclones, temperate continental regions, fifteen hundred islands – this combination can be safely called unique.
The warmest month of the year is July, and the coldest is February.
However, the transitions between seasons are smooth and comfortable, and the country’s inhabitants are unfamiliar with both severe touches of frost and sweltering heat.
Estonia, located both on the mainland and on the islands, is surrounded by water on three sides. A large part of it is swamped, and the sea and the unusual natural relief create their microclimate. The weather in Estonia is most often described as humid and calm, relatively mild.
Winter in Estonia starts as expected – in December. As a rule, snowfalls at this time, which greatly adorn the landscapes, and there is a light frost conducive to walking.
It is one of the most popular tourist seasons of the year and is the time to celebrate Christmas and New Year.
January and February are colder and frosty, and there is a lot of snow. However, the air temperature rarely drops below – 6 … 8 ° C.
The weather is conducive to winter fun – ski runs, skating rinks in parks, sledding, fishing are open.
Estonians are a very athletic nation, and most of the time, joining their winter walks is entirely free.
Spring comes to Estonia not earlier than the second half of March. At this time of the year, frosts are still possible, mainly at night, but the sun is peeping more often.
April is also a fantastic month; May is considered more successful for a visit to the country. Spring can be seen in all its glory – in blooming parks, meadows outside the city, and bright city flower beds. Walking around Old Tallinn, do not deny yourself the pleasure of sitting at a table in an outdoor cafe – in May, such gatherings in the air are already quite comfortable.
If the purpose of your visit is to see summer Estonia, plan your trip in July. June is more like a warm spring than our usual summer. However, the month is exceptionally sunny and not too grainy.
The best time to visit Estonia is in June and July.
July is considered the warmest, sunniest, and driest month of the year. The air temperature warms up to + 22 … 24 ° C. + 30 ° C in Estonia is an abnormal heat. Such temperature cataclysms do not happen often.
Despite quite hot daily temperatures for Estonia, summer nights remain cool.
This feature of the local climate dictates to tourists their own rules for collecting luggage – a light jacket or sweater is required even in the middle of summer.
July and August are perfect for exploring Estonian cities and relaxing on their beaches.
The water temperature off the coast of Tallinn is usually around + 20 ° C, in rare cases warming up a few degrees higher.
Another good season to visit Estonia is autumn.
September usually welcomes guests of the country with dry, warm, and sunny weather.
This is an excellent time for both city walks and outdoor recreation. The first frosts and rains come with the onset of October, and although the average temperature is around + 10 ° C during the day, the mood is spoiled by prolonged precipitation.
It is freezing and wet in November. This is the time of real northern autumn, with fogs and falling snow. A warm hat and mittens are a must, or you can keep warm at the numerous spas, as well as at Christmas markets, which also start in November.
Estonian cities and regions
The territory of Estonia, divided in the 13th century by the knights of the Livonian Order into eight historical regions – Maakondas in Estonian, today, with the recognition of independence, has been divided into 15 counties. Almost all of them, to a greater or lesser extent, are of some interest to travelers.
The country’s history in stone can be studied in the regions of Harju, Lääne-Viru County, Ida-Virumaa. Here you will find the ruins of ancient castles, noble estates from the times of the empire, palaces, and all this against the backdrop of dunes and seemingly pristine coniferous forests. The main cities of the north of the country are the capital Tallinn, the seaside Paldiski, Maardu with its lake.
In addition to the beauties of ancient Tallinn, with its great fortress and streets of the Old Town, Harju County attracts with its excellent preservation of medieval buildings.
Temples and fortresses, historical landowners’ estates – manors, the Vasalemma palace, and park complex.
The views are also in order here – 17 landscape zones protecting unique natural monuments, including karst fields, heaths, springs, swamps, picturesque coastal cliffs.
County Ida-Viru County is famous for its ancient megaliths in Lahemaa National Park, on the coast of the Gulf of Finland.
Noble estates, the “village of captains” Käsmu, where the first ship of Estonian production was launched, the family estate of Admiral von Krusenstern, as well as a tour of the Neeruti National Park – you will not have time to get bored. Don’t miss Rakvere Castle – built-in 1226 by the Danes, it is perfectly preserved for its advanced age.
Ida-Viru County will appeal to nature explorers. Sea ledges – Klint, the highest waterfall in the country, the Oru landscape reserve, the most interesting in Estonia, the Alutaguse adventure park, the beaches of Lake Peipsi, and the opportunity to kayak on the Kurtna lakes.
The western regions of Estonia – Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Pärnumaa, and Läänemaa, are an opportunity to have a fantastic seaside holiday, combining vacation with viewing architectural masterpieces. In this region, sea resorts, spa centers, mud baths, and sanatoriums are concentrated.
Saaremaa county is located on the largest island in Estonia and encompasses the islets nearby. They are loved by fans of sea sports – surfing and kiting, thanks to their windy weather. And in the holiday season, you can go swimming with seals, organized by the employees of Vilsandi National Park. Do not miss the Kaali meteorite crater, which is filled with water of an unusual jade hue. The lake is round in shape, 100 meters in diameter, and you can swim in it in summer.
The capital of the county is Kuressaare. There is a sea harbor, an airport, and the Episcopal Castle, one of the most beautiful in Eastern Europe.
The Old Town has also survived in Kuressaare, with colorful historical buildings.
Surfers and beachgoers also love hiiumaa.
The second-largest island in Estonia offers tourists a picturesque coastline with a total length of 310 km, wind, and waves for fans of sea activities, as well as hiking trails.
You can walk, for example, to the Kõpu lighthouse – the most ancient navigational landmark in the Baltics.
The largest county in Estonia is Pärnumaa. Its capital, the seaside port city of Pärnu, is considered the main Baltic resort in Estonia. Perfect sandy beaches with white dunes surrounded by pine forests are found here.
Neighboring Läänemaa attracts visitors thanks to the county capital, the old town of Haapsalu. Famous for the traditions of mud therapy – the first clinic in the country was opened here, he has not lost his “qualifications” even now. Do not miss the old Kurhaus on the seaside promenade – a beautiful wooden building from the 19th century with a concert hall. And in the center of the city, you will find a 13th-century bishop’s castle, whose ruins are majestic.
The center of the country is beautiful during the warm season. Gardens are blooming, historic estates are opening their doors, and landscaped parks are inviting guests. Raplamaa, Viljandi County, and Järvamaa counties offer many exciting walks.
For example, in Raplamaa, it is suggested to visit the “Golden Ring of Raplamaa Manors.” The program includes noble estates, old churches, historical manors, which are now open as crafts centers. Hikers should pay attention to the limestone plateau in Maryamaa parish.
Viljandi County is visited for the sake of the central city – Viljandi, with a very ancient and venerable history. The first settlements here date back to the 5th century BC, the Viking Age. Written references to the city date back to 1154, and in the 12th century, the first permanent settlement appeared on the site of Viljandi. At the beginning of the XIII century, these lands were conquered by order of the Swordsmen, and already in 1224, a stone fortress was erected here, which was considered the largest in the Baltic. The defense and the city were called Fellin. Under this name, they were part of the Hanseatic League.
In Järva will appeal to fans of nature and lovers of history. Here you can visit the historic Albu estate and then walk in the Kõrvemaa landscape reserve. Bird watchers will especially appreciate this park; you can watch rare black storks and golden eagles here.
The legendary shores of Lake Peipsi are the birthplace of the Tartumaa and Jõgevamaa regions. The historical battles of the Russian-Swedish and the Livonian War did not pass unnoticed; numerous castles and fortresses in the east of the country have survived to this day in the form of picturesque ruins.
County Tartu County – the citadel of knowledge and scientific progress. Tartu, the region’s central city and the second most populous in the country, boasts a rich history. One of the oldest in Eastern Europe, Tartu was founded by Yaroslav the Wise in 1030 as the city of Yuryev. In addition to the university, one of the oldest in Europe, Tartu is famous for theaters, museums, architectural monuments, pretty streets of the Old Town.
The vicinity of Lake Peipsi, located nearby, will be an excellent competitor to seascapes.
You can come here for a whole vacation and not have time to see all the exciting places in the area – ancient manors, the famous “Onion Route” – a historical route through museums and castles, the beautiful Alatskivi Palace.
The amazing glacial landscapes of Jõgevamaa county take us back to the time of the epic about the exploits of Kalevipoeg, the giant warrior.
Mysterious protected forests, lakes, giant boulders, as if forgotten here by a strong man – everything breathes with legends.
One of the most exciting places in the county is the town of Põltsamaa. Once there was the capital of the Livonian Kingdom, with its castle, which welcomes guests in the city center today. By the way, Põltsamaa is also considered the wine capital of Estonia – fruit and berry and fruit wines are produced here, arranging colorful festivals and fairs in summer.
In winter, the southern regions of Valga County, Võrumaa, and Põlvamaa are especially popular with Estonian residents and visitors. The best ski resorts are located here, and the hilly terrain is favorable for snowmobiling and sledding. Valga County is also popular with professionals – it hosts the qualifying rounds of the European Championships and the World Cup in cross-country skiing. In summer, the freestyle jumps are used as an observation deck.
Põlvamaa will appeal to fans of ethno-tourism. Here are the settlements and villages that have preserved the traditional way of life, all against the backdrop of marvelous nature. National parks offer hiking trails of any degree of difficulty, and you can walk along swamps, cliffs, and canyons.
An additional highlight is meteorite craters, and there are four of them in the area. Moreover, the diameter of the deepest is about 80 meters.
Võrumaa county will appeal to wildlife researchers. The main pride of the region is the Hinni Canyon, a mysterious valley that gives rise to the Rõuge Trail. Having passed it to the end, you will see the pasture of the indigenous abodes of these places – the reindeer.
The largest lake in Estonia and the country’s highest point, Suur Munamägi Hill, 318 meters high, is also waiting for you on the route.
Where to go in Estonia
The Tallinn Zoo was founded in 1939.
Today the collection numbers over 350 animal species living on 89 hectares. The zoo’s expositions include Alpine, Central Asian, South American, Arctic, and many other zones.
The zoo is proud of the collection “Tropical House,” rare for northern latitudes: the inhabitants of the tropical jungle were settled here.
Town Hall Square
Each ancient European city has its central square with a town hall founded in medieval times. Such areas were usually used as a gathering place during some important events and as a trading platform. Tallinn is also no exception and has its center – Town Hall Square.
Monument to the battleship “Rusalka.”
A bronze angel on the seashore holds a cross in his hand held high above his head. He points to the place of death of the battleship “Rusalka.” The statue, created by the sculptor A. Adamson, was installed in Kadriorg Park in 1902 on the 7th anniversary of the shipwreck.
Fat Margarita Tower
A medieval maritime city is, first of all, towers and fortress walls, in a word, structures intended to defend the city from invading invaders. Today the Great Sea Gate and the Fat Margarita have turned into monuments reminding native Tallinn residents and guests of the town about the terrible times. Fat Margarita was “born” in the 16th century: a giant armory tower (155 loopholes) with a diameter of 25 meters and a height of 20 meters was erected next to the Sea Gate.
Kadriorg Palace and Park
Kadriorg is considered a prestigious area of Tallinn. The tranquil area is famous for its rich history and the main attractions – the Kadriorg Palace and park. Now on its territory is the residence of the Estonian president and several embassies of other states. The preserved wooden houses are also of interest; Estonia’s prominent figures of literature and art lived in them in the 1920s – 1930s.
Aquapark in Tallinn
Aquapark in Tallinn is a water spa at the Kalev Spa hotel located in the center of the “old town” next to Kanuti Park. Town Hall Square is just a 7-minute walk from the water park. In addition, within walking distance of many attractions is the center of Tallinn – Dominican Monastery, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Dome Cathedral, St. Peter and Paul Church, St. Nicholas Church, Church of the Holy Spirit, Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Toompea Castle, Kiek-de- Kyok and other objects.
Czech Travel Guide: Best Places to Visit And Things To Do
The Czech Republic, or the Czech Republic, is a central European state bordering Poland in the north, Germany in the west, Austria in the south, and Slovakia in the east. The capital of the Czech Republic is the city of Prague, which is one big attraction in the open air. The country covers an area of 78 866 km², has 10 610 947 people (2016). The largest cities are Prague, Brno, Pilsen, Ostrava.
According to legend, the ancestors of today’s Czechs, led by their leader Czech, settled on the territory of the modern Czech Republic, which has been inhabited since the Stone Age. The first chronicle mentions settlements on the Czech land date back to the end of the 9th century when princes from the Přemyslid clan united these lands. In the Middle Ages, the Czech kingdom had significant influence. Still, the religious conflicts that arose (the Hussite wars in the 15th century and the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century) significantly weakened it. Soon the kingdom fell under the rule of the Habsburgs and became part of Austria-Hungary.
After the end of the First World War and the fall of Austria-Hungary in 1918, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Subcarpathian Rus united into the independent republic of Czechoslovakia. Germany occupied the country in 1939. At the end of World War II, the Czech Republic found itself in the Soviet camp, which predetermined its history until 1989. On January 1, 1993, Slovakia separated from the Czech Republic, and both countries gained independence. Today’s Czech Republic has been a NATO member since 1999, and it has been a member of the European Union since 2004.
The Czech Republic is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Regardless of the season, the country annually is visited by about 50 million people—the choice of tourist routes in the Czech. Republic is so extensive that it is worthwhile to decide in advance which direction of tourism interests you at the moment and which should be left for subsequent visits. The most attractive are historical routes since the country has many objects that will be of interest to fans of antiquity: castles, fortresses, castles. Some cities in the Czech Republic are included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.
Climate and weather in the Czech Republic
The climate of the Czech Republic is moderate continental with features of the sea. Summer in the region is warm, with daytime temperatures of + 23 … + 25 ° С, with a lot of precipitation. Winter is cloudy, cool, in the day around 0 … + 3 ° С, and at night -5. -2 ° С, snow often falls. In winter, ski resorts start operating in the mountains.
The minimum precipitation occurs in spring and autumn, and this time is considered the most comfortable for excursions and travel around the country.
The weather in the Czech Republic rarely surprises: in summer, as a rule, it is not hot, and in winter, it is moderately calm, so tourists visit the country all year round.
- Pilsen Region – This region attracts tourists with its old Baroque buildings, nature reserves, folklore, and delicious food. Local beer is considered one of the most delicious varieties in the whole Czech Republic and beyond.
- The South Bohemian Region is the greenest and most picturesque region of the Czech Republic, with a rich history and unique architectural sights. A third of its area is covered with forests and seven thousand pounds.
- Stí nad Labem – this area is also called the “Gateway to the Czech Republic,” as it is surrounded by hills – former volcanoes, from the tops of which an impressive view of the whole Czech Republic opens. The region will be attractive for those who like to explore ancient cities and their architecture. And for those who prefer rest among the picturesque nature – there are many reserves here. Thanks to volcanic soils, the region grows the highest quality hops in the world.
- Liberec Region – the region is famous for its magnificent nature and ski resorts. It is also considered the birthplace of a precious stone – Czech garnet.
- Hradec Králové Region – the region is home to the highest mountains of the Czech Republic – the Krkonoše with numerous ski resorts, a large number of castles and fortresses, and the most significant Czech zoo – an authentic African safari.
- Pardubice Region – looks like heaven on earth. Along with its magnificent nature, this region is proud of its history and technical monuments. On the National Stud Farm territory in Kladruby nad Labem, you can see how the white breed of Starokladruby horses is bred.
- The Olomouc Region attracts tourists with its nature reserves and the Jeseníky Mountains with exceptional climatic conditions. This area is rich in its cultural traditions and ancient monuments.
- The Zlín Region has Czech traditions and folklore, good wine and plum brandy, delicious food, and mysterious castles. Visit the local town of Zlín with its unusual architecture in the Czech Republic. Thanks to the local businessman Tomáš Bati, who invited the most distinctive architects in the 1930s, the city has become a natural monument to functionalism.
- South Moravian Region – This hospitable region is considered a wine-growing region, as 96% of the Czech vineyards are located here. A region with beautiful picturesque nature and UNESCO Intangible Heritage Sites.
- Central Bohemian Region – the atmosphere of local towns and villages is created by the legacy of ancient royal dynasties, the prints of which can be found all over the region.
Old cities of the Czech Republic
In addition to castles in the Czech Republic, it is worth visiting ancient cities, in which a vast number of historical and architectural monuments are concentrated.
Cesky Krumlov is the most famous historical area of South Bohemia, located in the Sumava foothills, famous for its stunning ensemble of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings. Cesky Krumlov Castle is the largest in the Czech Republic after Prague Castle, and it is also included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. The ensemble of the castle consists of 40 buildings and palaces, five courtyards, and a garden.
The castle on the old trade route was founded in the 1st half of the 13th century by representatives of the Vitkovich family. The architecture and the castle’s name determined its geographical location: the court was located in a loop formed by the bend of the Vltava River (die Krumme Au – crooked meadow). Podhradie got the name Latran (latus – side, side), and it was also planned to consider the river’s bends. Initially built in the Gothic style, the vast castle complex has changed – first in the Baroque style, then in the Rococo style. In the city, tourists will be interested in a garden and a park, theater, galleries, cellars. The dominant feature of the old town is the church of St. Vitus rising on the steep bank of the river. Buildings decorated in the sgraffito style, red-tiled roofs, and gilded turrets give Krumlov a unique charm and style.
Not far from Krumlov, only 32 kilometers away, there is a new (opened in 2012) attraction – a wooden observation tower at the top of Kremlin, above Lake Lipno. This tower is unique among structures of this kind for its pedestrian zone – a wooden suspended frame begins on the ground and gradually rises to the top of the building. In 2012, this site was named the best new Czech landmark.
Telč is a city on the water, Moravian Venice, whose layout is due to the presence of three artificial reservoirs and a bypass channel – the former castle moat. The city’s historical core is an old fortress, which has retained its appearance since the Middle Ages. The Gothic castle on the water was founded in the 13th century, and the building acquired its modern appearance during the reconstruction in the 16th century. The main building of the old city is a palace with rich interiors:
- The Golden
- Theater and Knights’ Halls
- The All Saints’ Chapel
- A treasury
- A banquet hall decorated in the sgraffito technique
The town of Jindrichuv Hradec is home to the third-largest castle complex in the Czech Republic, built in the 13th century on the historical border between Bohemia, Moravia, and Austria. The complex’s main building is a Gothic palace with valuable paintings, the Church of St. John the Baptist with rare frescoes, and a former Minorite monastery. The city is famous for its annual classical music (Concertino Praga) and folk music (Folková růže) festivals.
Brno is the capital of Moravia and the second most important and largest city in the Czech Republic. The most recognizable symbol of Brno is the Gothic castle of Spielberg, the silhouette of which is depicted on Czech coins. The court was founded in the 13th century on the summit of the Spielberg mountain.
Once in Brno, it is worth exploring the Moravian Gallery, the second largest museum in the Czech Republic, famous for its rich collection. The gallery, founded in 1961, contains objects of free art – not only painting, graphics, and plastic arts from ancient times to the present, but also photography, applied art, and graphic design.
Also noteworthy in Brno is the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, the Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the Church of St. Jacob, the Town Hall, the Church of St. Michael.
The historic town of Kutná Hora, the second largest after Prague in the 14th century, became famous for its silver mines. In the 16th century, after the cessation of silver mining, its importance fell, but the town retained its charm, becoming one of the most famous tourist centers in the country. Tourists may find it interesting to visit the Chapel of All Saints, built around 1400 at a Gothic cathedral in the cemetery of the Cistercian monastery in Sedlec. As a result of the cholera epidemic of 1318 and during the Hussite wars at the beginning of the 15th century, the cemetery grew considerably. The arriving bones began to be piled up in pyramids. In 1870, by order of the Schwarzenberg’s, woodcarver Frantisek Rint decorated the chapel’s interior with bones from 40,000 skeletons, from the altar to the chandelier.
It is worth visiting Vlašský Dvor – a cultural monument of Kutnogorsk, which is a complex of buildings from the 13th – 14th centuries, once the residence of Czech kings, with an old mint; the stone palace Hradek, which today houses the Silver Museum with an exciting exposition; Cathedral of St. Barbara – Czech Notre Dame de Paris.
Plze, the fourth largest city in the Czech Republic, located in the country’s west, stretches at the confluence of four rivers – Uslava, Uglava, Radbuza, and Mži. Pilsen is famous for the following attractions: the tallest church tower in the Czech Republic (103 m) – the tower of the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew, the cathedral itself with the late Gothic Sternberg Chapel, the Town Hall, the dungeons, the Museum of West Bohemia, the third largest synagogue in the world in the Moor-Romanesque style.
As you know, Plze is the capital of Czech brewing, and Plze beer of the Prazdroi and Gambrinus brands is brewed here. The beer is produced according to the old technology, unchanged since the century before last, and the inimitable taste to the drink, according to the Czechs, is given by the Pilsen water, its malt, and the unique storage conditions in the cellars. You can learn more about the history of the Plzeský Prazdroj brewery in the Brewery Museum.
The Terezin Fortress was founded at the end of the 18th century at the confluence of the Laba and Ohři rivers, 5 km south of Litoměřice. During World War II, the German invaders set up a concentration camp for Jews in the fortress, the so-called Terezin ghetto, which housed a little less than 140,000 people (of whom 33,000 died while in the ghetto). Some of the Jews (88,000 people) were deported to Auschwitz and other death camps. By the end of the war, 17,247 people had survived in the ghetto. Soviet troops liberated Terezin on May 9, 1945. Today Terezín houses the Memorial to the Victims of the Concentration Camp.
Medical resorts of the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a recognized destination for health tourism, and the country is famous for its thermal and mineral spas, the most famous of which is Karlovy Vary. The city was founded by Emperor Charles IV century. 1358 appeared in a place where 132 mineral springs break through to the earth’s surface, 12 of which are with healing water. The resort has a glorious history; the entire world elite came here to improve their health: monarchs, prominent political figures, famous people of art. The city’s streets repeat the bends formed by the Teplaya River, across which openwork bridges are thrown. The town is decorated with picturesque buildings of different eras, parks, squares. In addition to medical procedures shown for a wide range of diseases, and pleasant walks in the bosom of nature, you can always enjoy your time here. For example, the city hosts the Karlovy Vary Film Festival – the second most important in Europe after the Cannes Film Festival.
Marianske Lazne -the second most important resort in the Czech Republic after Karlovy Vary, whose history begins in 1528 – discovered Ferdinand’s spring. Today there are about 40 mineral springs here.
Another Czech town with a spa tradition is Frantiskovy Lazne, popular mainly among women, as the local mud successfully treats infertility.
You can find out more about the country’s resorts in our article “Therapeutic spas of the Czech Republic,” which tells about the most popular places for treatment on the waters.
Aquapark Babylon is located in Liberec and is part of the largest entertainment center in the Czech Republic Babylon. The interiors of the water park resemble antique baths, and the most popular attractions are the “wild river” and the adrenaline “space bowl.”
The AquaPalace water park is located in the village of Čestlice near Prague – it is the largest water park in Central Europe. The complex consists of the Palace of Waves, the Palace of Adventures, and Relaxation. There is a diving tunnel for lovers of deep-sea diving, and sauna lovers can visit the classic Finnish saunas, Roman baths, and Russian baths.
The Aqua-Olomouc water park is located in Olomouc and is famous for its adrenaline-pumping attractions. Visitors are also offered a massage, solarium, and tepidarium (dry heating zone).
Where to go in the Czech Republic
Prague Old Town
The Old Town of Prague (Old Town) is the central, oldest, and most popular part of the Czech capital. Everything that Prague is associated with is concentrated here: narrow cobbled streets, unique buildings built in different architectural styles from Gothic to Art Nouveau, beautiful copper doorknobs, orange roofs, and the indescribable charm of a medieval city.
The Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge is a famous Prague landmark, one of the recognizable symbols of the city, so adored by tourists.
The medieval Charles Bridge over the Vltava River is a pedestrian, free entrance, open around the clock.
The bridge connects two historical districts – Stare Mesto and Mala Strana.
The length of the Charles Bridge in Prague is 515.76 meters (usually rounded up to 520 meters).
In the very center of Prague Castle, there is a picturesque street called Zlata Ulichka. Along the cobblestone pavement, there are tiny multi-colored “gingerbread” houses built into the arches of the former fortress wall.
National Park “Bohemian Switzerland”
This reserve, which has no analogues in Europe, stretches from the town of Tisza in the Ustecky region to the Shluknovsky ledge in the Decinsky region. The park was founded on January 1, 2000, and became a Czech extension of the German Sächsische Schweiz National Park (Saxon Switzerland), founded 10 years earlier (1990). The Bohemian Switzerland Park is part of the vast natural complex of Labske Piskovce, and the main object of protection is the characteristic sandstone phenomenon – the “rocky sandstone town” of Etrschowické and Dečinské Stena, and the associated biological diversity. Tourists love to visit observation decks with unique views of sandy cliffs, bridges and castles created by nature. The park is popular with fans of active sports: climbers, cyclists, rafting and hiking enthusiasts.
Wild nature, which for a long time developed without human intervention, was discovered at the end of the 18th century by two Swiss artists of the Romantic era – Adrian Zingg and Anton Graf. Depicting this land in engravings and describing in poetry, they quickly spread the fame of it throughout Europe. The sites along the Elbe River canyon have become the cradle of modern tourism, becoming one of the first actively visited tourist attractions in Europe.
Not only artists came here for inspiration. Forts of robber knights, rock towns, legends about gnomes and fairies influenced the storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, poet R.M. Rilke, composers K.M. von Weber, Richard Wagner and others.
And today the Pravcicke Gate is a symbol of “Czech Switzerland”, conquering artists, for example, the snow-covered Silent Rocks became the scenery for the film “The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. It was here that Lucy visited the cave of the faun Tumnus, and all four brothers and sisters crossed the rocky bridge for the first time and looked at the endless forests of Narnia.
This was once a serious obstacle for the inhabitants of local villages. Once in 1877, at the U Zeleného stromu tavern in the town of Hřensko, five brave souls made a bet that they would sail on rafts from the Dolskoy mill to what was then called the “end of the world”. On rafts 4 meters long, they really safely reached Hrzhensk, in fact, becoming the founders of the tourist water route. The local prince Clari-Aldringen invited specialists from Italy, under whose leadership, through the labor of over two hundred workers, these sites became available to the public. Suspended bridges were thrown here, tunnels were built with the help of explosives. On May 4, 1890, the grand opening of the “Quiet” (“Edmond’s”) canyon took place. Since then, “at the very end of the world”, in fact, nothing has changed much,
The Moravian Karst, or Moravian Karst, is a nature reserve, one of the largest karst massifs in Europe, located in the Czech Republic, 30 km north of Brno.
The area stretches 25 km in length. Its width in some places is 6 km. The natural park covers an area of 92 sq. km. The highest height of rock formations in reserve is 734 m. The lowest place of Kras is the Macokha abyss, which has 138 m with the Punkva River at the bottom. For tourists, unique bridges (Upper and Lower) were equipped over the abyss, from which a stunning and, at the same time, a terrible panorama of the gorge opens up.
The most popular among tourists are the caves of the Moravian Kras, of which there are about 1,100 pieces. Only five underground cavities are equipped for excursions in the Moravian Beauty, among which it is worth mentioning the Punkva cave, through which the Punkva underground river of the same name flows; deep cave Macokha; Katezhinskaya cave with unique limestone formations – helictites growing horizontally; the Balcarka stalactite cave and the Stolbsko-Shoshuvsky caves with spacious underground corridors. Other attractions of the Moravian Karst include the Empty Trough and Dry Trough karst canyons and the White Water Gap.
Unique flora and fauna protect the reserve. Many species of plants and animals are endemic. In some caves, ancient rock paintings have been found on the walls.
On the reserve territory, the so-called “ecological trains” run, delivering tourists to remote points of the park. Tourists should remember that it is stably cold even in summer in the caves, so it is worth bringing a set of warm clothes with you.
Dancing House in Prague
The Dancing House in Prague is the image of a couple in dance, expressed in urban architecture. The house consists of two towers called “Ginger and Fred,” referring to the famous Hollywood dancer and actor couple Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. The comparison is indeed justified: one tower is straight, has the shape of a cylinder, expanding upward, and symbolizes a man. And the second tower – glass, depicts the figure of a woman with a narrow waist. In the dance, she seemed to lean against her partner. The building’s less flattering nickname is The Drunk House.
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