When to visit Estonia

Estonia is warmer than many of its neighbours, thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream. Harsh days do come each winter when temperatures can fall to –12 ̊C (10 ̊F), but such bitter weather rarely lasts for more than a few days. January 2012 was an exception, when temperatures dropped throughout the country for several days down to –30 ̊C (–20 ̊F).

In the summer, occasional heatwaves have brought temperatures of 30 ̊C (90 ̊F), but around 20 ̊C (65–75 ̊F) is much more common. There is no identifiable rainy season.

In December and January, with 18 hours of darkness, the days are so short that sightseeing outdoors offers little pleasure. October and March are excellent months with 12 hours of daylight, lower hotel prices and few other visitors. October offers autumn colours throughout the country and March the chance to enjoy snow-covered forests, the frozen sea and more sunshine than in any other winter month. The frozen sea often makes access to the smaller islands easier in winter than in summer since roadways are marked on the ice. Estonia follows the Scandinavian tradition of dealing with snow on the main roads immediately, so driving is rarely a problem in winter. All major roads are quickly cleared, even on Saaremaa and Hiiumaa islands.

In May and September there is little risk of cold weather and all outdoor facilities are open. By midsummer at the end of June, daylight lasts 18 hours, so July, the school holiday period in Sweden and Finland, is a very popular month for tourists. Fortunately for British visitors, August is no longer peak season so is ideal for those tied to school holidays. Throughout the year, rain tends to come in unexpected short sharp outbursts; always take an umbrella or a coat!