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According to the Estonian author Viivi Luik, there are “Summer Estonians” and “Winter Estonians.” In the bleak midwinter it gets light around noon and dark about 3pm. Some say that the darkness creates a desire for stimulation that makes coffee-drinking so popular. In the bright midsummer the nights are never dark, just a haunting light grey. The people become more extroverted, partying all night and plunging naked into lakes and rivers.

Marshland is prevalent in central and eastern Estonia; the best place for trekking through bogs is the peat-rich national park of Soomaa (“bog land”). About half the country is coated in forest and inhabited by elk, roe deer, beavers, boars, bears, lynxes and wolves.

The collapse of Communism saw the emergence of a republic determined to make up for lost time and establish itself as a forward-thinking Western state.

Following the reestablishment of independence in 1991, the country lost no time in rapidly transforming itself into a modern, Westward-looking market economy with a highly developed information technology sector. Estonia is a member of NATO, the United Nations, the EU, and the World Trade Organisation, to name a few. It has taken part in a number of UN peacekeeping operations, including the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Culture Smart! Estonia is a concise guide to understanding the Estonian people, with illuminating insights into their national identity. Familiarise yourself with their customs, traditions and culture and experience Estonia authentically.


"Culture Smart has come to the rescue of hapless travellers." Sunday Times Travel

"... the perfect introduction to the weird, wonderful and downright odd quirks and customs of various countries." Global Travel

"...full of fascinating-as well as common-sense-tips to help you avoid embarrassing faux pas." Observer

"...as useful as they are entertaining." Easyjet Magazine

"...offer glimpses into the psyche of a faraway world." New York Times