Estonia is a largely underrated place and is peacefully located in Northern Europe, a country with everything and lovely people. The country has scenic coastlines, medieval towns, and hugely interesting history of keeping people hooked. The country is bordered by Russia, the Gulf of Finland, the Baltic Sea, and Latvia, making it accessible from many places, which travelers often ask questions about. One of the sweet things about traveling to Estonia is that the country is affordable to visitors and does not drain your pocket. Among the many places to visit in Estonia, Tallinn is the largest and most visited city. Apart from that, there are many other places you must see when you are in Estonia.
Käsmu captains’ village
Käsmu is a beautifully picturesque village of the captains on the north coast of Estonia that was first mentioned in a court report in 1453 when a local man killed another man in a bar fight. Times were indeed more difficult before the craft beer revolution. The captains of Käsmu sailed through all the world’s oceans and brought their anger management problems to the open sea.
Today, the villagers have calmed down, and instead of committing a recreational murder, they host and celebrate the Viru Folk Music Festival annually. Käsmu is also home to Aarne Valk, a local man who runs his own maritime museum and cooks salmon that is so good you will have a crippling addiction. However, there are no more bars in Käsmu.
Toome Hill in Tartu
The South Estonian city of Tartu is the educational capital of Estonia because of the presence of the country’s oldest university. However, it is not only home to beautiful spirits, but also some stunning locations. The best example is the historic center of the city, Toome Hill. Stroll along through the vibrant green parks, explore the old observatory, marvel at the ruins of a medieval cathedral, and spy on a freshman who drains the contents of his stomach on a nearby tree after a tedious night of “studying.”
It is a place where modern and medieval people shake off the weight of centuries and shake hands. And while you bask in the cool shadows of the statues of the most exceptional academics coming from the esteemed university, know that it isn’t a babbling brook you hear; but probably a student taking a leak somewhere in a bush nearby.
Your visit to Estonia is not complete without a trip to a wetland. Located in the Kõrvemaa Nature Reserve about 50 kilometers southeast of Tallinn, the magnificently mystical Kakerdaja Swamp offers captivating vistas, peace, and tranquility.
As you take the boardwalk through the beautiful countryside, you will come across a lake in the middle of the swamp. There you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the dark water, where the Estonians used to sacrifice people to their ancient gods. Fret not if something hits your leg; it is probably nothing serious.
Kuressaare is the beautiful capital of Estonia’s largest island, Saaremaa, and the town’s medieval castle is a big source of pride for the locals. The Estonian pearl, built in the 14th century, still stands as a towering monument to the crushing defeat suffered by the islanders at the hands of the German Crusaders in 1227.
However, times were different in the 13th century, so for the next 600 years, locals kept a low profile, waiting for a chance to hit back, building neat wooden windmills and serfs.
Indeed, with the birth of the Estonian Republic, the islanders had the opportunity to retaliate – the Germans were politely asked to evacuate, and now the Saaremaa Museum operates in the fort.
If you are a mountaineer with severe dizziness, look no further! The beautifully wooded hilltops of Haanja Highland in southern Estonia offer very gentle slopes, not so massive hills and no deep valleys at all suitable for even the laziest of hikers.
While there, grab the chance to climb the highest mountain in the country – the 318-meter high Suur Munamägi and enjoy the beautiful vistas from the observation tower. Although it may not seem exciting, Estonians are very proud of their highest mountain. And it is definitely a mountain!
Point of Sääre, is a narrow two-kilometer peninsula jutting into the Baltic Sea on the southeast coast of Estonia’s second-largest island, Hiiumaa. On a sunny day, you can walk until the end of the day and enjoy a beautiful view of the sea.
According to local legend, the peninsula is the beginning of a bridge built by Leiger, one of the ancient heroes of Hiiumaa. He grew some beautiful sweet cabbage varieties, and the hero of the neighboring island of Saaremaa was a fan. So, as an investment in his budding cabbage business, Leiger started building a huge bridge out of rocks to connect the two islands. However, since Leiger and his friend were Estonians, they broke up quite quickly, and so both the bridge and Leiger’s coal emporium failed to materialize.
Today, due to the warm seawater and Hiiu Folk Music Festival that takes place here in July, Sääretirp is popular with locals and visitors.
Located on the west coast of Estonia’s second-largest island, Hiiumaa, Ristna boasts large undulating waves, making it a true surfing paradise.
If you like muscular guys jogging in slow motion on golden sand under a permanent gunmetal sky, Ristna might be for you, especially if you don’t mind freezing your butt on a chilly summer day.
Grab a cocktail from the hip seaside Corona Chill & Grill, put on your best windbreaker, hit the beach, and let local surfers remind you why Estonians love cross-country skiing.
The Onion Road
Of course, the Onion Road may sound like a slightly offensive Eastern European equivalent to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’s Yellow Brick Road, but not so fast! It is actually a stretch of about 30 kilometers along the south coast of Lake Peipus, having Old Russian believers who were famous for growing beautiful golden onions.
Taste delicious salted fish, rinse it off with local moonshine, and if you’re not blind or dead in the morning, listen as Aleksey from the neighboring village passionately explains why things went so much better in Soviet times.