Is Estonia the world’s smallest country?

​Certainly not. With an area of 45 000 sq km, Estonia is larger for example than Holland, Denmark or Switzerland, or a little smaller, in other words, than New Hampshire and Massachusetts combined.

Located in Northern Europe beside the Baltic Sea, Estonia stretches 350 km from east to west and 240 km from north to south. Sea islands form one tenth and lakes about one twentieth of the nation’s territory. All in all, Estonia’s territory comprises 0.03 per cent of the world’s land area.

Conversely, with its population of 1.34 million, Estonia ranks among the smallest countries in the world. Compared to the densely inhabited Central Europe, Estonians have plenty of room – an average number of people per sq km is less than 30, similar to that in the United States and around twice as high as in Finland.

​The Estonian countryside is less crowded still: about 70% of the inhabitants reside in towns and cities, nearly a third of them (a little less than 400 000 people) in the capital city Tallinn. Other notable urban centres are the university city of Tartu (103 000 inhabitants), the major industrial centre of Narva (66 000), and what is known as the summer capital Pärnu (44 000) – the popular holiday destination on the south-western coast.

​The closest major city to Tallinn is the Finnish capital Helsinki, at a mere 85 km to the north, on the opposite shore of the Gulf of Finland. Riga, the capital of Latvia, lies at 307 km almost due south; St. Petersburg, Russia’s northern capital, is situated 395 km to the east and Stockholm, the Swedish capital, 405 km to the west of Tallinn. Estonian officials heading for a work meeting of the EU or NATO in Brussels have to reckon on a two-and-half hour long direct flight.

Details about this article