There will be events of the theme year in each season, including much of interest for tourists: both for children and adults, for those seeking more intimate cultural experiences and those preferring to enjoy cheerful and crowded festivities.
The programme and the event calendar, updated continuously, are available at www.merekultuur.ee in Estonian, English and Russian, and save for a few exceptions, the events of the Year of Maritime Culture will be free of charge for everyone.
To be there, one has to just book the tickets to Estonia and reserve accommodation in a seaside hotel or spa, tourist farm or camping site. The visitors can also opt for tenting, which is usually permitted (rather than prohibited) in our countryside.
The best option, however, to familiarise oneself with the maritime culture is to come with one’s own boat or yacht. In Estonia, a boat owner can choose between 110 small ports, of which nearly one fourth have been modernised in recent years and have started to provide various service enhancements in addition to the mooring opportunity.
PICKS FROM THE PROGRAMME
‘The Coastal Trip’ – peek into the daily life and folklore of the locals
For those who are looking for an authentic experience of the local life rather than typical tourist attractions, Year of Maritime Culture will make it simple to peek into the daily life and folklore of the locals.
The coastal people here have always been appreciated for their kind, helpful, humorous, hard-working and carefree attitude. The folks of Estonian coastal villages are particularly assiduous, hospitable and cheerful from April to October. That will be the period for the series of events called ‘The Coastal Trip‘ in different coastal villages of Estonia, featuring specialists and spokespersons, who will speak about the history, distinctive characteristics and traditions of the village. True, they will do it in the local language mostly, but besides that, the local communities will be presenting their activities and cultural ways, in which even visitors from farther afield will be well able to participate. In some places, fish will be smoked and delicacies from home kitchens will be served; in some villages, local handicrafts will be on sale; while in other places there will musical performances or folk dancing.
Where possible, the visitors will be shown around the village or taken to a trip on the sea. And after returning from the sea, it cannot be ruled out that the guests will have to participate in gutting the fish or taking care of the nets.
Maritime festivals – for those who like big and cheerful public events
In the summertime, Estonians like to relax at maritime-themed festivals, which are also becoming increasingly popular among tourists.
The maritime days held in various seaside locations are usually events for the entire family, offering maritime-related activities and contests, concerts and meals prepared outdoors.
Between May and September, you can visit:
– Räimewest in Tõstamaa (Pärnu county), 14 May;
– Watergate festival in the city of Pärnu, end of June;
– Party of the Sea on the island of Kihnu (Pärnu county), 8−10 July;
– Tallinn Maritime Days, 15−17 July;
– Kuressaare Maritime Days on the island of Saaremaa, 11−13 August.
For Estonians, the Midsummer Day is the most important summertime holiday but the Night of Ancient Bonfires, ending the summer, has become increasingly popular. In olden times, fires were lit up on the coast in order to show those at sea a safe way back home. Nowadays, folks gather in Estonia, Finland and Latvia in order to renew awareness of the unity of peoples living on the coasts of the Baltic Sea. This year, the bonfires will be kindled on 28 August.
For enthusiasts of sea sports, we recommend:
– the Moonsund Regatta, 9−16 July;
– the surf camp at Roosta holiday village (Lääne county).
In 2016, sea winds will blow in everyone’s sails; welcome!
On August 7 an Estonian sailboat, ‘Admiral Bellingshausen’, will stay at Aker Brygge Marina, Oslo, and is open for visiting. At 14:00-18:00 PM a forum “Polar exploration then and now” takes place at the Fram Museum.
On August 4 an Estonian sailboat, ‘Admiral Bellingshausen’, will stay at Eriksberg, Pir 4, and is open to everyone interested in the Estonian Antarctic popular scientific expedition.
On 30-31 July an Estonian sailboat, ‘Admiral Bellingshausen’, will stay at Amaliehaven, Copenhagen. An art installation will be set up to draw attention to the climate issues at polar areas.