Climate and Environment
Estonian climate is both influenced by the Baltic Sea and the broad Russian continental shelf. During the year, average temperature is about 8°C. Precipitation - mainly snowy between November and March – are heavier in the Northern part of the country. Usually February is the coldest month and July the hottest one.
During the summer climate is cool and is characterized by a certain temperature range between the middle of the day and the wee small hours of the morning. Temperature rarely goes above 25 °C. In July the average temperature is about 17 °C. Ventilation is frequent and sky is often clouded. During the summer there are many hours of light. The sun goes down at about midnight and rises at about 5 a.m.
Winter is the longest season from a climatic viewpoint. From the second half of October to April, temperature rarely goes above 5/6 °C. December, January and February are obviously the coldest months. Temperature can stay below zero for weeks, even reaching - 20 °C. Snow usually begins to fall in November and the snow period is included between December and March. Halfway seasons are very short.
Spring usually corresponds to May. April is the first month characterized by the ice melting phenomenon. For this very reason, this is not a good period to visit Estonia. Streets are full of slurry and weather is really unpredictable.
Autumn is mainly concentrated between September and October. Days get shorter and nights are colder. In October climate assumes clear autumn characteristics. The bright September days with their delightful temperatures are replaced by very perturbed weather conditions, accompanied by persistent rain. During the summer sea surface temperature is about 20 °C. The Baltic Sea is usually very cold in June and it is warmer between the second ten days of August and the first ten days of September.
Weather conditions in Tallinn
A: Average annual temperature
B: Average temperature in January
C: Average temperature in July
D: Daylight hours in June and December
E: Annual precipitation in mm (75% rain - 25% snow)
F: Number of rain days
When to visit Estonia
From a strictly climatic viewpoint, the best time to visit Estonia is between May and September. The last two weeks of June are particularly indicated. However, Baltic summer is quite short. It has mild – rarely hot – days and short nights characterized by a brisk temperature. Even during the summer it is necessary to bring a pullover and a raincoat.
The summer solstice and St. John's Day
St John's Eve – which in spite of its name is a pagan festival – begins in the night of the 23rd of June. At this very time city streets empty and pubs and restaurants close.
Group of friends, family units and tourist groups takes to the forests and wait for dawn by singing and drinking.
According to Baltic tradition, the plants that are picked up in the first hours of the day possess therapeutic properties and are a good omen. In particular, couples look for four-leaf clovers.
Estonia is the most northern country of the Baltic area. With its 45.227 km² it is also the smallest one. Its surface corresponds to the sum of Lombardy and Veneto surface.
Estonian territory is almost completely flat. The highest mountain is Suur Munamagi which is only 320 meters high. Estonia joined the protocol undersigned at Kyoto conference, whose aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Industrial pollution is controlled by different laws. Estonian Government has also financed many studies on waste disposal and on the environmental impact brought about by industries. There is a particular engagement in trying to lower water pollution levels brought about by the thermoelectric stations and the industries created along the seaside, especially during the Soviet period. Today many areas are protected thanks to the creation of different wildlife reserves. In a territory that is just a little wider than Dutch one, there are four national parks.
Lahemaa National Park, established in 1971 - when Estonia still belonged to the Soviet Union - covers more than 1,120 km². It also includes part of the coast to the east of Tallinn and different naturalistic walks. Woods are full of pines and firs. Forests include a rich brushwood consisting of conifers, oaks and birches. They cover almost one third of the territory. Estonian coastline measures more than 3.000 kilometres and is mainly sandy and low-lying. During winter, seawater often freezes and catches the adjoining islands in a vice-like grip.
Though less than in previous years, the Baltic Sea keeps on being polluted. This mainly depends on the polluted substances that are dumped into the rivers. It is important to remember that Riga - which is the capital of Latvia and the greatest city in the Baltic area - disposes of the 80 per cent of its waste materials through a modern waste management system. Estonian fauna is very rich. Many species are protected. Other species – such as the flying squirrel - are threatened with extinction.
These are the main Estonian National Parks:
Lahemaa National Park – 1.120 km²
It is the largest national park in Estonia and it is located a few kilometres east from Tallinn. It includes a part of uneven coast with bays, little islands and peninsulas. Besides woods and little fens, its territory includes 14 lakes and 8 rivers. It is visited by almost half million of people every year.
Haanja Nature Park – 200 km² - www.haanjapark.ee
It is located in the south of Voru, in the south-eastern part of Estonia. This wonderful park is characterized by little lakes and thick woods. In the environs there are rural houses.
Soomaa National Park - 380 km²
This park is located in the south-western part of the country, at about 30 minutes from Parnu. It is marshy and wild and preserves wolves, lynxes, boars, otters and different bird species. It offers canoe rentals.