ESTONIA AND IDA-VIRUMAA REGION
The Republic of Estonia is situated in the north-eastern part of Europe, on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea. The closest neighbour in the north is Finland. By sea it is only 87 kilometres from Tallinn to Helsinki. The border between Estonia and Russia courses along the Narva River and across Lake Peipsi. In the south of Estonia there is a land-based border with Russia and Latvia.
The territory of Estonia extends to 45 227 sq. kilometres. This is the smallest republic among the Baltic states, but its territory is nevertheless larger than Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland or Denmark. Its population numbers approximately 1.4 million.
Ida-Virumaa – the easternmost region of Estonia. It is one of the most picturesque places of all Estonia with singular characteristic features.
Ida-Virumaa is divided in 16 rural municipalities. There are 7 towns located in the county. The largest of these is Narva, the administrative centre of the county is Jõhvi.
The county is crossed by the Tallinn – Narva and the Via Hanseatica transit corridors.
The county can boast of
- the river with the greatest discharge in Estonia – the Narva River (400 m3/s);
- the highest man-made hill in Estonia (artificial hill in Kiviõli 173 m above sea level);
- the highest seashore cliff – Ontika (56 m);
- the longest lakeside beach at Lake Peipsi (30 km) and seaside beach at Narva-Jõesuu (13 km);
- the oldest functioning monastery in Estonia – the Pühtitsa Uspenski convent;
- the largest oil shale-burning power station in the world.
The official language is Estonian, although the Russian language is also widely used, particularly in Tallinn and in the north-eastern part of the country, in the latter area the majority of inhabitants are Russian-speaking. The English and Finnish languages are the most widely spoken foreign languages.
The legal tender in Estonia is the Euro, introduced on January 2011.
Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept payment by major credit cards like VISA, MasterCard, Eurocard, Diner’s Club, American Express, but nevertheless it would be best to check first which cards are accepted at the specific shop (usually there are labels of acceptable cards posted near entrances or checkout points). In Estonia the preferred cards are VISA and MasterCard. Some hotels, restaurants and shops also accept debit cards VISA Electron and Cirrus/Maestro. There is an extensive network of ATMs all over the country where cash can be withdrawn with credit or debit cards. This service is provided by most banks. Hansabank and SEB Eesti Ühispank have the largest networks of ATMs.
The time zone of Estonia is GMT +02:00 .
Getting a visa
An entrance visa to Estonia is not required for citizens of the EU member states and a number of other countries. The visa-free regime has been established also with numerous other countries. A full list of these countries is available at the web-site of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs at www.vm.ee
Citizens of other countries (including CIS countries) need to acquire a visa, which will be attached to a page of a valid passport. The visa can be applied for via tourism bureaus arranging tours to Estonia, and directly at the Embassy of the Estonian Republic in Moscow, the General Consulate in St.Petersburg and the Pskov Office of the General Consulate.
Public holidays in Estonia
- January 1 - New Year’s Day
- February 24 - Independence Day
- March/Apri l- Good Friday
- March/April - Easter
- May 1 - Spring Day
- May/June - Whitsunday
- June 23 - Victory Day (anniversary of the battle at Võnnu)
- June 24 - St. John’s Day
- August 20 - Day of Restoration of Independence
- December 25 to 26 - Christmas
Banks, public offices and some shops are closed on public holidays.
For further information please see the following web site www.visitestonia.com