Estonia is bordered to the
north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to
the south by Latvia and to the east by Russia, with St. Petersburg
just across the north-eastern border. Estonia's capital, Tallinn,
lies about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Helsinki, Finland across
Estonia's area of 45,227 square kilometers is similar to that of
the Netherlands, but the population (1.4 million) is ten times smaller
Estonia is rich in forests, which cover almost half of Estonia's
territory. Elk, wild boar, wolf, bear and lynx are amongst Estonia's
common large mammals. Estonia is a sea country - the length of coastline
(3,800 kilometers) is about 6 times longer than the mainland borders.
There are more than 1,500 islands, 1,000 lakes (5 percent of the
Estonian territory), 7,000 rivers and streams. Peat-bogs, swamps
and wetlands of different types cover over one fifth of the country.
About 10 percent of Estonia are nature reserves and national parks.
Seasons vary widely in Estonia, summers are warm and winters severe
with lots of snow. The length of the longest day in summer is more
than 19 hours, while the shortest winter day lasts only six hours.
It is not completely dark at night from the beginning of May until
the end of July.