Narva Castle in Estonia and Ivangorod Fortress in Russia

Estonia Flag Estonia

Country Overview

Business Culture

Clothing Size Guides


Cost of Living

Culture and Society


Driving and Autos


Economy and Trade


Educational Resources



Food Culture and Recipes



Health and Medical



Holidays and Festivals

Human Rights



Life Stages


Media Outlets

Money and Banking



National Symbols

Points of Interest

Quality of Life


Resources for Kids

Security Briefing

Social Indicators


Travel Essentials


Don’t assume familiarity too quickly.

Estonians typically take time to warm up to new acquaintances and value their privacy. Do not take a reserved demeanor for unfriendliness.

Pushing for too much familiarity or using first names without invitation can be seen as intrusive. It’s better to allow relationships to develop naturally over time, respecting the usual pace at which Estonians choose to open up.

Don’t talk loudly in public spaces.

Maintaining a moderate tone and not speaking loudly in public areas such as on public transport, in restaurants, or in other enclosed spaces is important. Loud conversations are considered disruptive and impolite. Respecting this norm shows your consideration for the comfort and peace of others around you.

Don’t overlook invitations to sauna.

The sauna is an important part of Estonian culture, often used for both relaxation and socializing. If you are invited to join someone in the sauna, it is more than just a casual invitation; it signifies trust and friendship.

Refusing without a valid reason can be seen as rejecting this gesture of goodwill. If you decide to join, be aware of sauna etiquette, such as what to wear and topics of conversation that are appropriate.

Don’t bring large, ostentatious gifts.

When invited to a home or event, it is considerate to bring a small gift, such as flowers, a bottle of wine, or chocolates. However, overly extravagant gifts can make hosts feel uncomfortable or obliged. It’s better to keep things simple and thoughtful, reflecting the value of modesty and thoughtfulness over monetary worth.

Don’t wear shoes indoors.

In many Estonian homes, it is customary to remove shoes at the entrance. This practice helps keep homes clean, especially during wet or snowy months.

Often, hosts will provide slippers or it is acceptable to wear socks indoors. Following this practice shows respect for the host’s home and cleanliness habits.

Don’t engage in sensitive historical or political discussions without knowledge.

Estonia has a complex history, particularly regarding its independence and relations with Russia. Be cautious when discussing historical or political issues, as these can be sensitive topics. If such topics arise, it’s wise to listen and learn rather than dominate the conversation with potentially uninformed opinions.

Don’t refuse toasting during meals.

Toasting during meals, especially when alcohol is served, is common. It is polite to participate in toasts and to at least sip your drink after the toast. Refusing to participate without a valid reason (such as not drinking alcohol for health or personal reasons) can be seen as distancing yourself from the group.

Don’t litter or disrespect the environment.

Estonians take pride in their clean, well-maintained public spaces and natural environments. Littering not only pollutes but also disrespects the community efforts to maintain these spaces.

Always use designated trash bins and participate in recycling efforts where possible. This respect for the environment aligns with local values and contributes to the beauty of the country.


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