Index


Introduction



In Estonia, the climate is Baltic, ie slightly continental, with cold winters and mild, moderately rainy summers. Estonia is the northernmost of the Baltic republics, and it is also the coldest. The climate is fairly uniform, but the western coastal areas, west of Tallinn, are a bit milder because they receive a greater maritime influence. This influence is far less pronounced along the northern coast, overlooking the Gulf of Finland, because it is a narrow branch of sea that can freeze in winter. In winter, in the vicinity of Lake Peipus, located in the east on the border with Russia, the mitigating influence is virtually absent because in this season the lake almost always frozen.
Precipitation in Estonia follows a pattern similar to that of the other Baltic countries, in fact it is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year, with a relative minimum between February and April and a maximum in summer, but it's slightly more abundant than in Latvia and Lithuania, at least in the north, where it exceeds 700 millimeters (27.5 inches) per year.

Seasons



Winter in Estonia is very cold: the temperature remains below freezing (0 °C or 32 °F) even during the day for long periods. The average temperature in January and February is around -1 °C (30 °F) on the two main islands (Hiumaa, Saaremaa), around -3 °C (26.5 °F) on the coast of the Gulf of Riga, -4.5 °C (23.5 °F) in Tallinn and on the north coast, and finally it drops to -6 °C (21 °F) in the inland north-eastern areas.
Atlantic currents, which sometimes succeed in penetrating into the southern part of Scandinavia and in Central Europe, have some difficulty in getting to Estonia. However, weather fronts of Atlantic origin can arrive quite frequenly, giving rise to frequent snowfall, more likely than rainfall. More often, cold air masses coming from the Arctic or from Russia move over the country, lowering the temperature to about -20 °C (-4 °F). The cold records are respectable: in the worst moments the temperature can plunge to -40 °C (-40 °F). The month when the sun is lowest above the horizon and the days are shortest is December, while the coldest month is February, as is often the case in Nordic countries.

In spring, the days get longer, and the temperature rises slowly; in general, the thaw occurs at the beginning of April, even though between late April and early May, the return of cold weather, even with snow showers, is possible. April is a month with great contrasts, so it's still possible to experience some freezing periods, alternating with the first warm days, more likely in the second half of the month. By mid-May, the temperature becomes generally acceptable.

Summer in Estonia is a pleasant season, since the maximum temperatures hover around 20/22 °C (68/72 °F), which means that they are suitable for outdoor activities. Nights are cool, with minimum temperatures around 11/12 °C (52/54 °F), which rise to 14 °C (57 °F) on the west coast.
In spite of this, summer is quite rainy: it rains on average one day out of three, but it is not impossible to see the sun coming out. In inland areas, there's some chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.
While Atlantic fronts can bring some cool and rainy days even in summer, warm air masses from the south-east can bring some hot days, and in these situations the temperature may reach as high as 32/33 °C (90/91 °F), but these periods usually don't last long.

Autumn is a dull and rainy season. If in September the temperature can still be acceptable, it quickly becomes colder, so much so that in late October the first snowfalls are possible. Compared with spring, autumn is darker because the days are much shorter, a difference that occurs everywhere outside of the Equator but is more remarkable at high latitudes.

Tallinn


Tallinn in winter

In Tallinn, the capital, located on the norh coast, the average temperature ranges from -4.5 °C (23.5 °F) in February to 16.5 °C (62 °F) in July. Here are the average temperatures.
Tallinn - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-7-8-40510121273-1-5
Max (°C)-1-2281519212015930
Min (°F)191825324150545445373023
Max (°F)302836465966706859483732

In Tallinn, precipitation amounts to around 700 mm (27 in) per year. The wettest seasons are summer and autumn, the driest is spring. Here is the average precipitation.
Tallinn - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)503535353560758575757060695
Prec.(in)21.41.41.41.42.433.3332.82.427.4
Days1299879101112121414127

The sun in Estonia is rarely seen from November to February, while from May to August it shines for just more than half the time (the days are very long, so the total amount of sunshine is not low). Here are the average sunshine hours per day in Tallinn.
Tallinn - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours12479101085311

The sea in Estonia is cold, and in winter it can freeze across the country, but especially in the Gulf of Finland. In summer, the sea reaches 17 °C (63 °F) in August, so it's not advisable for swimming, except for those who are brave enough. Here is the average sea temperature near Tallinn.
Tallinn - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)21124101517141073
Temp (°F)363434363950596357504537

Best Time



The best time to visit Estonia is summer, from June to August. The temperatures are mild during the day and cool at night. Typically, August is a bit rainier than June and July.
In the months of November, December, and January, the days are very short and the sun sets early.
In March, usually the country has still a wintery appearance, with snowy landscapes, but the days are much longer than in the previous months.
At Easter, you can still find snow, especially in the years when it comes early.

What to pack



In winter: bring very warm clothes, such as a down jacket, a hat, gloves, a scarf.
In summer: bring clothes for spring and autumn, being ready to add or remove the outer layer, a T-shirt, but also long pants, a jacket and sweatshirt; a raincoat or umbrella.

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