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ESTONIA BY MOTORHOME

By Sophie and Adam
We entered via Tallinn from Helsinki on a Viking Line Ferry, a two hour crossing costing £89 for our 6m van booked 3 days prior. The ship itself is like a cruise liner, with a self service buffet serving everything you can imagine for 89 cents (€) per 100g (they weigh your plate at the till!) or a huge well stocked duty free shop not to mention the free on-board Wifi.

Our Five reasons you should visit Estonia:

1.) The vast majority of roads are excellent and are obviously in receipt of a great deal of EU investment as proclaimed by the road signs at the beginning of every new patch of tarmac. I suspect if you read an account of Estonia 12 months ago things will have vastly improved since then and the only poor roads we drove across were ones currently being replaced. Granted, there are some 'gravel tracks' but these are on par with what you find off the main roads in Sweden and Finland but you'd expect that for a country of its size.

2.)The whole country is excellent value especially  compared with Scandanvia. Diesel is £1.05 a litre (July 2011) and you can have a meal outside of Tallinn for about £6 for a main course and £1.50 or less for a 500ml beer or large glass of wine. Furthermore, supermarkets are not only incredibly cheap but stock a huge range of foods of a quality that seriously rivaled our shopping experience for the past three months. You know all those perfect apples in Tesco, well the Estonian's have the wonky ones that taste just as good at a fraction of the cost! 500g meat (chicken, beef, pork) about £2.50, a bottle of beer about 70c. We even saw imported Baked Beans cheaper than home! If you visited Stockmann in Stockholm (massive Selfridge-esque department store) do so in Tallinn, prices are about half for all but the top branded western products and the selection of beer and wine on offer will blow your mind especially after a beer deprived tour of Scandinavia!

3.) Estonia, with the exception of Tallinn and it's Baltic Cruise Liners that dock here, appears on the face of it relatively unexplored by all but the Finns for whom it is on their doorstep. The tourist information is extensive (thanks again to EU funding) and I made a point of asking how many English the agents had seen - the answer is very few! Entrance fees, if applicable, are often under £4 per person.

4.) Estonia is changing, fast! Many of the places that would be started up as major pay to enter destinations are still awaiting investment in a very authentic and still visitable state.If you fancy seeing some Soviet history as it has been left now is the time. Sillamäe for example was a Uranium mining complex and a closed town that did not exist on any official maps; today it stands with large boards awaiting EU investment to turn it into a major tourist attraction into the Soviet era. 

5.) If Wild Camping is not your thing (and we managed it every night) there is a network of excellent value 'camping areas' which are not fully fledged sites but camping grounds that are willing and able  accommodate motor homes  for a fee of between £7 (approx, €8) and £10 (approx, €11.50) a night. Some of those are listed 
here but you can see many on the most popular routes. Not accept full facilities, but do expect excellent local hospitality, produce and warm greeting.