Estonia, a small country in Northern Europe, is known for its picturesque cities, breathtaking natural landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. While Tallinn, the capital city, is undoubtedly the country’s most popular tourist destination, there are many other lesser-known places that are just as stunning and worth visiting. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the hidden gems of Estonia that you should definitely add to your travel itinerary.
Lahemaa National Park
Lahemaa National Park, located in the north of Estonia, is the country’s largest national park and is known for its diverse natural landscapes. The park is home to pristine forests, stunning coastlines, and several historic manor houses. Visitors can go hiking, cycling, or even kayaking in the park, and can also explore the various villages that are scattered throughout the area.
Kihnu Island, located off the coast of southwestern Estonia, is a unique cultural destination. The island is home to a traditional matriarchal society, where women have traditionally held positions of power. Tourists can explore the island’s many museums and cultural centers, and can also experience traditional Kihnu cuisine and music.
Tartu, Estonia’s second-largest city, is a vibrant university town that is often referred to as the country’s intellectual capital. The city is home to several museums, galleries, and theaters, and is known for its lively nightlife scene. Visitors can also explore the city’s historic Old Town, which is filled with colorful buildings and cobblestone streets.
Soomaa National Park
Soomaa National Park, located in southwestern Estonia, is known for its unique wetland landscapes. The park is home to several rivers and marshes, and visitors can explore the area by canoeing or hiking. Soomaa is also a great place to go birdwatching, as the park is home to several rare bird species.
Haapsalu is a charming coastal town that is known for its historic spa culture. The town is home to several beautiful wooden buildings and is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes. Visitors can take a stroll along the town’s seaside promenade, visit the medieval castle, or relax at one of the town’s many spas.
Vilsandi National Park
Vilsandi National Park, located on the island of Saaremaa, is a haven for nature lovers. The park is home to several species of birds, including eagles and swans, and is a great place to go hiking or cycling. Visitors can also explore the park’s rugged coastlines and pristine beaches.
Pärnu is a seaside resort town that is known for its white sandy beaches and picturesque Old Town. The town is a popular destination for spa vacations, and visitors can also explore the town’s many museums and galleries. Pärnu is also home to several parks and gardens, making it a great place to go for a relaxing stroll.
Viljandi is a small town located in southern Estonia that is known for its historic castle ruins and picturesque Old Town. The town is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, and visitors can explore the nearby forests and lakes. Viljandi is also a great place to experience traditional Estonian music, as the town is home to several music festivals throughout the year.
Otepää, located in southern Estonia, is known as the country’s “winter capital” due to its excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities. The town is also a popular destination for hiking and cycling during the summer months, and is home to several historic churches and manor houses.
Käsmu is a small fishing village located on the northern coast of Estonia. The village is known for its stunning coastal landscapes, and visitors can explore the nearby Käsmu Maritime Museum, which showcases the village’s seafaring history. Käsmu is also a great place to go sailing or fishing, and visitors can enjoy fresh seafood at one of the village’s many restaurants.
Alutaguse, located in northeastern Estonia, is a region known for its vast forests, winding rivers, and rugged landscapes. Visitors can explore the area by hiking, cycling, or even on horseback. Alutaguse is also a great place to go wildlife spotting, as the region is home to several rare animal species, including lynx and brown bears.
Võru, located in southeastern Estonia, is a small town that is known for its picturesque Old Town and vibrant cultural scene. Visitors can explore the town’s many museums and galleries, or can take a stroll through the nearby forests and lakes. Võru is also a great place to experience traditional Estonian cuisine, with several local restaurants serving up hearty, homemade dishes.
Narva is a town located on the eastern border of Estonia, and is known for its stunning castle ruins and historic Old Town. The town is also home to several museums and cultural centers, and is a great place to learn about Estonia’s complex history. Visitors can also take a stroll along the town’s riverfront promenade, or cross the nearby Narva River to visit the Russian border town of Ivangorod.
Valga, located on the southern border of Estonia, is a town that is split between Estonia and Latvia. The town is known for its historic Old Town, which features several beautiful churches and historic buildings. Visitors can also explore the nearby forests and lakes, or take a day trip to the nearby city of Tartu.
Põltsamaa is a small town located in central Estonia that is known for its historic castle and stunning gardens. Visitors can explore the castle’s many rooms and exhibits, or can take a stroll through the nearby Rose Garden, which features over 2,500 rose bushes. Põltsamaa is also home to several local wineries, making it a great place to sample some of Estonia’s best wines.
Estonia is a country full of hidden gems and stunning landscapes that are just waiting to be explored. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone in Estonia’s lesser-known destinations.
So why not add some of these hidden gems to your travel itinerary and experience the true beauty of Estonia for yourself?