Discovering the Popular Sports in Estonia

Discovering the Popular Sports in Estonia

Are you curious about the popular sports in Estonia? Look no further! In this article, we will delve into the exciting world of Estonian sports and uncover the activities that captivate the nation. From traditional sports like football and basketball to unique Estonian pastimes, we will explore the rich athletic culture that thrives in this Baltic country. So, whether you are a sports enthusiast or simply interested in learning more about Estonia, join us on this journey as we uncover the fascinating world of Estonian sports.

Overview of Sports in Estonia

Estonia, a Baltic country located in Northern Europe, has a rich sporting culture that reflects its history and traditions. Estonians have a strong affinity for both traditional and modern sports, with a variety of activities enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. This article will explore the popular sports in Estonia, including traditional Estonian sports, popular team sports, and emerging individual sports.

Traditional Estonian Sports

Estonia takes pride in its unique traditional sports that have been passed down through generations. These sports not only provide entertainment but also serve as a way to preserve the country’s cultural heritage. Some of the traditional Estonian sports include:

  1. Kiiking: Kiiking is a traditional Estonian sport that involves swinging on a giant wooden swing. The objective is to swing the swing 360 degrees around the spindle while maintaining balance and control. Kiiking has gained international recognition and has become a popular competitive sport in recent years.

  2. Kabe: Kabe is a traditional Estonian board game that resembles checkers. It is played on a square board with 8×8 squares and is popular among both young and old. Kabe requires strategic thinking and planning, making it a mentally stimulating sport.

  3. Mõlkky: Mõlkky is a Finnish throwing game that has gained popularity in Estonia. It involves throwing a wooden stick to knock down numbered wooden pins. Mõlkky is a social sport often played in parks or beaches, bringing friends and families together for fun and friendly competition.

Popular Team Sports

Team sports play a significant role in Estonian sports culture, fostering teamwork, camaraderie, and a sense of community. Here are some of the most popular team sports in Estonia:

  1. Football: Football, or soccer, is immensely popular in Estonia. The country has its own professional football league, the Meistriliiga, which attracts a dedicated fan base. The national team has also made notable appearances in international competitions, contributing to the popularity and growth of the sport in the country.

  2. Basketball: Basketball holds a special place in the hearts of Estonians. The national basketball team has a strong history and has achieved success in European competitions. The sport enjoys a significant following, and Estonian basketball players have made their mark in international leagues.

  3. Volleyball: Volleyball is another popular team sport in Estonia, with both indoor and beach variants being enjoyed by enthusiasts. The Estonian national volleyball team has had notable achievements in European competitions, further fueling the passion for the sport among Estonians.

Emerging Individual Sports

In addition to traditional and team sports, Estonia has seen the rise of various emerging individual sports in recent years. These sports cater to individuals who prefer individual challenges and self-improvement. Some of the emerging individual sports in Estonia include:

  1. Disc Golf: Disc golf is a rapidly growing sport in Estonia. It combines elements of traditional golf and frisbee, where players throw a disc into a target basket. Disc golf courses can be found throughout the country, providing enthusiasts with opportunities to enjoy the sport’s outdoor appeal.

  2. Cycling: Cycling has gained popularity as a recreational and competitive sport in Estonia. The country’s diverse landscape offers a variety of terrains for cyclists to explore, from scenic coastal routes to challenging forest trails. Cycling events and competitions attract participants from both Estonia and abroad.

  3. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA): MMA has seen a surge in popularity in Estonia, with a growing number of individuals participating in the sport. MMA combines various combat disciplines, such as wrestling, boxing, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, offering a diverse and challenging physical activity for those seeking intense competition.

Estonia’s sporting landscape is diverse and dynamic, encompassing traditional, team, and emerging individual sports. Whether it’s swinging on a kiiking swing, playing football with friends, or challenging oneself in individual sports, Estonians embrace a wide range of sports that reflect their passion for athleticism and their connection to their cultural roots.

Traditional Estonian Sports


Kiiking is a unique and thrilling sport that originated in Estonia. It involves swinging on a large wooden swing, known as a kiik, with the aim of achieving a full 360-degree swing. The swing consists of a long wooden plank suspended from chains, allowing the swinger to gain momentum by pumping their legs back and forth. Kiiking requires both strength and coordination, as participants must maintain balance while swinging to reach the highest possible angle. It has gained popularity not only in Estonia but also in other countries, attracting both locals and tourists who seek an exhilarating and adrenaline-pumping experience.


Kabe, also known as Estonian checkers, is a traditional board game that has been played in Estonia for centuries. It is a strategic game played on a square board, with each player having twelve pieces. The objective of the game is to capture all of the opponent’s pieces or block them in a way that they cannot make any more moves. Kabe requires critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and the ability to anticipate the opponent’s moves. It is not only a popular pastime in Estonia but also a recognized sport, with national championships being held regularly. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, Kabe offers a challenging and intellectually stimulating experience for all.


Mõlkky is a Finnish throwing game that has gained popularity in Estonia and other Baltic countries. It is played outdoors and involves throwing a wooden pin, known as a mõlkky, to knock down numbered wooden pins placed at a distance. The objective is to score exactly 50 points by successfully toppling the pins. Mõlkky requires accuracy, precision, and strategic thinking, as players must aim for specific pins to maximize their score and hinder their opponents’ progress. It is a social and enjoyable game that can be played by people of all ages and skill levels, making it a favorite choice for gatherings, picnics, and outdoor events in Estonia.

In conclusion, Estonia boasts a rich cultural heritage of traditional sports that have captivated both locals and visitors. From the thrilling swings of kiiking to the strategic moves of Kabe and the precision throwing of mõlkky, these traditional Estonian sports offer unique and exciting experiences for enthusiasts and participants alike. Whether you are seeking a rush of adrenaline, a mental challenge, or a fun-filled outdoor activity, these sports are bound to leave you with unforgettable memories of Estonia’s sporting traditions.

Popular Team Sports


Football, also known as soccer, is one of the most popular team sports in Estonia. It has a significant following and plays a prominent role in Estonian sports culture. The sport enjoys a high level of participation from both amateurs and professionals alike.

Estonia has a national football team that competes in international tournaments and represents the country’s football prowess. The domestic league, known as the Meistriliiga, showcases top-tier Estonian football clubs and provides a platform for local talent to flourish.

Football is not just a game in Estonia; it is a passion that unites communities and brings people together. It is not uncommon to see fans showing their support by attending matches, waving flags, and cheering for their favorite teams.


Basketball holds a special place in the hearts of Estonians and is another popular team sport in the country. The sport has gained significant popularity over the years and has a growing fan base.

Estonia has its professional basketball league, called the Alexela Korvpalli Meistriliiga, which features top teams from across the country. The league provides an opportunity for talented players to showcase their skills and compete at a high level.

The national basketball team of Estonia competes in international competitions and has had notable successes in various tournaments. Estonian basketball players have also made their mark in international leagues, further boosting the sport’s popularity within the country.


Volleyball is another team sport that has a strong following in Estonia. The sport is played at various levels, ranging from recreational to professional, and enjoys considerable participation from both genders.

Estonia has a national volleyball team that competes in international events and represents the country’s talent on a global stage. The domestic volleyball league, known as the Meistriliiga, showcases top Estonian clubs and provides a platform for players to develop their skills.

Volleyball matches in Estonia often attract enthusiastic spectators who gather to support their favorite teams. The sport has a vibrant community, and its players are admired for their athleticism and teamwork.

In conclusion, football, basketball, and volleyball are the popular team sports in Estonia. These sports not only provide entertainment and competition but also foster a sense of community and pride among Estonians. Whether it’s on the football pitch, basketball court, or volleyball court, the passion for team sports shines brightly in Estonia.

Emerging Individual Sports


Tennis is rapidly gaining popularity in Estonia and is considered one of the emerging individual sports in the country. With a growing number of tennis clubs and facilities, Estonians are embracing this sport with great enthusiasm. The rise of tennis can be attributed to the increased success of Estonian tennis players in international competitions and the growing interest among the younger generation.

Estonia has produced several talented tennis players who have made their mark on the global tennis scene. These athletes have not only served as inspiration but have also helped in promoting the sport within the country. The success stories of players like Anett Kontaveit and Kaia Kanepi have ignited a passion for tennis among Estonians.

The availability of quality tennis infrastructure has also played a significant role in the sport’s emergence. Numerous tennis clubs with well-maintained courts and modern facilities have sprung up across the country. These clubs provide opportunities for both beginners and advanced players to hone their skills and compete in local and national tournaments.


Athletics, encompassing various track and field events, is another individual sport that is gaining popularity in Estonia. The sport has a long-standing tradition in the country, with Estonian athletes achieving remarkable success in international competitions, particularly in disciplines like javelin throw and discus throw.

The emergence of talented athletes like Gerd Kanter and Magnus Kirt has further propelled the popularity of athletics in Estonia. Their achievements on the global stage have not only brought recognition to the country but have also motivated aspiring athletes to take up the sport. This has led to increased participation in athletics programs and the development of specialized training facilities.

Estonia’s favorable natural environment has also contributed to the growth of athletics. The country’s vast forests, picturesque landscapes, and well-maintained running tracks provide an ideal training ground for athletes. This, combined with the support from sports organizations and the government, has made athletics an attractive sport for Estonians of all ages.


Swimming is another emerging individual sport in Estonia, driven by the country’s beautiful coastline and numerous lakes and rivers. Estonians have a strong connection to water, and swimming has become a popular recreational activity as well as a competitive sport.

The success of Estonian swimmers in international competitions has sparked interest and enthusiasm among the population. Notable swimmers like Martti Aljand and Kregor Zirk have achieved remarkable feats, inspiring aspiring athletes to take up swimming and strive for excellence.

Estonia has also invested in the development of swimming facilities, including modern swimming pools and training centers. These facilities provide opportunities for both professional swimmers and recreational enthusiasts to practice and compete. Swimming clubs and programs have been established across the country, catering to individuals of all ages and skill levels.

The emergence of tennis, athletics, and swimming as popular individual sports in Estonia showcases the country’s commitment to promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. With continued support and investment, these sports are expected to flourish further, producing more talented athletes and putting Estonia on the global sporting map.

In conclusion, this article has explored the popular sports in Estonia, highlighting the country’s love for both traditional and modern sporting activities. From the ancient sport of Kiiking to the adrenaline-pumping ice hockey, Estonia offers a diverse range of sports for its residents and visitors alike. Whether it is participating in or spectating these sports, Estonia provides ample opportunities for sports enthusiasts to engage and immerse themselves in the country’s rich sporting culture. With its strong emphasis on physical activity and community engagement, it is no wonder that sports play a significant role in the lives of Estonians.

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