A proud and inviting Balkan gem

An enticing mix of medieval and modern, Estonia borders the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland and there’s much to explore in this once Soviet territory. Tallin's not inconsiderable charm is largely down to its medieval centre, one of the best-preserved in Europe; the white-washed exterior of the Dome Cathedral hides a trove of ornate treasures, as does the Kadriorg Art Museum, a former palace built for Catherine I of Russia by Peter the Great. Wander the atmospheric old town lanes of Estonia’s capital past Hanseatic merchant houses and around the city walls, and then savour some simple but hearty peasant cuisine. And don’t forget to treat yourself to some relaxing and inexpensive spa treatments in the popular spa town of Parnu.