Estonia is one of my favourite countries in the world, and I like it so much that I decided to move to Tallinn with my wife to live. There are many reasons why Estonia is one of the best countries in the world. I have visited every country in the world, so I am comparing Estonia with all the world’s other countries when writing this.
Although it might not officially be a Nordic country, for me, Estonia feels Nordic in a lot of ways, and I feel at home there. I feel Estonia is entirely different from the two other Baltic countries, Latvia and Lithuania, and is similar to Nordic countries such as Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Especially Finland, which capital is just a cheap ferry ride away from Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.
I like the culture, sights, the food and the excellent value for money. Excellent because the other (in my opinion) Nordic countries are very expensive, while Estonia is a lot cheaper. You can compare the prices of accommodation and restaurants in Copenhagen and Tallinn, and you get an idea. You might also compare the rent prices of Helsinki with Tallinn and be surprised to see such a massive difference. Hotels are another thing with excellent value in Estonia. In 2010 I experienced three hotels in Old Town and was very impressed with the hotel standard. Not only that, but the hotel also felt unique and charming. I liked Estonia from the start, and went back in for a second visit, before coming to Estonia in 2020 with the intention to live there. Due to concern about having enough time to do the paperwork for my wife in time, we decided to leave the EU for some months before coming back in February 2021, and have since this period lived in Estonia until we finally got to travel in November.
After moving to Tallinn, I have experienced a lot, including some hotels I had not experienced in my travels to the country. One of them is Kalev Spa Hotel & Water Park, a great-value 4-star hotel with impressive facilities. My experience at the hotel started with a friendly check-in before arriving at a comfortable room with a stunning view (photo above). A limited amount of rooms have this view, but it is really an experience to look at the beautiful old town (which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site), from a private room. The room also had a comfortable bed, air-conditioning, a minibar, a hairdryer, bathrobes, a coffee table, a safe, a telephone, an LCD TV, a bath/shower and free WiFi.
The main attraction of the hotel is the massive spa, where all guests have access. If you are not staying at the hotel, it is possible to buy access to it as well, and it’s really an experience. It has the following:
- a unique eight-lane, 50-metre pool (with a depth of 1.10-4.50 metres, an area of 20 x 50 metres and a water temperature of 27°C) which can be divided into two 25-metres pools with the use of a moving bridge
- a pool for water aerobics and swimming lessons with an adjustable depth (0.8-1.10 metres for swimming lessons and 1.1-1.4 metres for water aerobics), an area of 4 x 12 metres and a water temperature of 31°C
- a relaxation pool with circulating water with a depth of 1.10-1.40 metres, an area of 4 x 25 metres and a water temperature of 31°C
- a large relaxation pool with an area of 3.15 x 23 metres and a water temperature of 35°C
- a wading pool with attractions with a depth of 30 cm, an area of 6.8 x 6.1 metres and a water temperature of 35°C
- a children’s pool (designed for kids aged 4-7) with a depth of 0.7-0.9 metres, an area of 4 x 8 metres and a water temperature of 31°C
- four waterslides: the Tube (66.6 metres), the Kamikaze (22.5 metres), the Crazy Track (62.6 metres) and the Sweet Tube (82.0 metres)
- a vapour sauna (45-50°C)
- a sanarium (50°C)
- two steam saunas (80°C and 90°C) and cold-water showers in the changing rooms
- café & pool bar (you can make purchases on the wristband and later pay at the checkout)
- More information can be found here.
For an additional fee, you can get access to the Sauna Oasis, which is my favourite and only allowed for people 18 years and above. There are different experiences with the Aroma Oasis (75°C) being the hottest. I don’t recall having seen so many impressive spa facilities in one place anywhere in the world.
Kalev Spa Hotel & Water Park is excellent value for money. Not only do you get a comfortable room and impressive spa facilities, but you also get an excellent location for exploring Tallinn on foot. The location at the Old Town itself is excellent and there is quite a distance to the bigger main road making it a nice quiet place to get quality sleep. Finally, the breakfast is included in the rates, meaning you really get a lot for your money at this hotel. It’s hard to find a value like this in any other European capital.
Kalev Spa Hotel & Water Park is highly recommended for both a business trip or a relaxing holiday in one of the best cities in the world. At least that is my opinion after visiting every country in the world and more than 1,000 destinations. If you haven’t been to Estonia before and this article has inspired you to visit the country, I can recommend the following in addition to visiting Tallinn:
Short trip: Tallinn, Saaremaa and Hiiumaa.
Medium trip: Tallinn, Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, and Pärnu.
Longer trip: Tallinn, Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Pärnu, Viljandi, Prangli and Vormsi.
If you are planning a long visit to Estonia, there are several other islands to visit, as well as Tartu, the second biggest city of Estonia, which is also very nice. Especially the people of this town, but for sights, Pärnu and Viljandi are more interesting in my opinion. Estonia is a fantastic country to visit and I feel it’s overlooked as one of the best travel destinations in the world. A stay at Kalev Spa Hotel & Water Park can make the trip even more special.