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Estonia is one of those countries it can be quite hard to pinpoint. Where exactly is it, is it part of Europe, and can you get there easily? It's actually situated on the Baltic Sea, and for a wintry experience it is exceptional, being on the same latitude as St Petersburg and Stockholm and only 80 km from Helsinki. And yes, it joined the EU in 2004 and yes, it is easy to travel there. Flights operate from both Stansted and Gatwick to the Lennart Meri airport in Tallinn, the capital.

Tallinn makes a great city for a weekend break with a bit of a difference. If you are thinking about a short stay there look into getting a Tallinn Card. For 32 euros it gives entry to 40 museums and other attractions, free public transport and includes a sightseeing tour and a real bargain.

Raekoja plats, or the Town Hall square, is where all the Christmassy action is located. In front of the gothic town hall and the world's oldest running pharmacy are a thriving market and a shimmering tree. Try some Estonian specialities such as their chewy black bread, called leib. They are very fond of pike, and serve it up with crushed potatoes. Baltic herring is a big favourite, and they like to serve it smoked, as they do with other fish, such as eel. Roast duck with chestnuts is another Estonian gourmet dish.

Toompea Hill has vistas all over the city and hosts many fine buildings, as well as the Parliament. You can gaze all the way across the red roves of the Old Town to the waters of the port, and beyond, to the countryside from here. The main Lutheran Church, St Mary's sits on the hill, while the onion domed Alexander Nevsky Russian Orthodox church is on the plateau of Luhike Jalg.

To get a sense of the communist past, (which ended in 1988), visit the war memorial which is very soviet in style, and the Song Festival Grounds, where protesters used song to bring about the end of the Russian rule. Bicycle tours are a poplar way to do this and run daily, even in winter.

The Old Town is the best area for shopping and for architectural delights. Try Master's Courtyard and St Catherine's Passage. Lots of craft here like silk, leather and jewellery. More bohenian is the Telliskivi Loomelinnak in the west of the Old Town, which, a bit like Brooklyn in New York, has re-used industrial buildings for workshops, art galleries and bookshops. The Old Town has two layers, upper and lower, and it all worth exploring on foot.

After tramping around you might feel like a drink. Estonia is keen on craft beers, but their famed local tipple is OO, which is a bit like a port with lots of complex flavours. Try the Pudel Baar if you are around the Telliskivi area.

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