Discovery of Estonia in one week

Trip description

You can neglect two to three stages if you have less time or if you want to focus on some cities.

Day 1: From Riga to Parnu

Day 2: From Parnu to Kuressaare

Day 3: From Kuressaare to Haapsalu

Day 4: From Haapsalu to Tallinn

Day 5: From Tallinn to Tartu

Day 6: From Tartu to Viljandi

Day 7: From Viljandi to Lahemaa National Park

Day 1 : From Riga to Parnu

Day1 : From Riga to Parnu ©François JANNE DOTHEE

From Riga, take the road early in the morning towards Sigulda. You can visit the caves of Guttman, along the Gauja River, and the Turaida Castle, which seems to have emerged from a fairy tale. Ask for the legend of the Rose of Turaida to be told to you. From there, take the road to Saulkrasti to join Via Baltica towards Estonia.
All along the way, you will find fishing villages, whose restaurants may not have stars, but which offer honest traditional cuisine. A few kilometres after the border, you arrive at the Estonian seaside resort of Parnu. Take the time to soak your feet in the water while admiring the summer wooden architecture.

Day 2 : From Parnu to Kuressaare

Day2 : From Parnu to Kuressaare ©Igor SOKOLOV - Fotolia

From Parnu, go to the port of Virtsu to take a ferry to Kuivastu, on Muhu Island, which is connected to Saaremaa by a seawall. Discover along your way to the capital of Kuressaare Island, the wild beauty of the preserved fauna and flora of Saaremaa. Once you arrive in Kuressaare, stroll through the small streets of the old town.
Arriving by the main road, you can reach the city's central square, Kesk väljak, and then follow Lossi Street, which leads straight through the old town to Kuressaare Episcopal Castle and the park. The castle stands facing the sea.

Day 3 : From Kuressaare to Haapsalu

Day3 : From Kuressaare to Haapsalu ©Agence de Promotion de Madère

Hiiumaa, the country's second largest island, and Saaremaa are only 5.5 km apart. From May to September, a ferry service connects the two islands, from Orjaku (Hiiumaa) to Triigi (Saaremaa). Hiiumaa is surrounded by beaches (the most beautiful are in the northwest, the warmest near Kassari) while the interior is marshy and forested. From Heltermaa (east of Hiiumaa) a ferry operates between Rohuküla, on the mainland (southwest of Haapsalu city) and the island of Hiiumaa. Once you arrive in the seaside resort of Haapsalu, you can start your visit with the ruins of the Bishop's fortress, the Gothic cathedral, the railway station and the Kuursaal.

Day 4 : From Haapsalu to Tallinn

Day4 : From Haapsalu to Tallinn ©Decu - Fotolia

After an hour and a half of travel, you will finally be in Tallinn. Start with a visit to the upper town (Toompea hill). Once inside the old town, take Pikk Street to reach the Toompea hill. From the hillock, a lookout offers a magnificent view of Tallinn. A photo break is required before visiting the Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Duomo Church. Leave Toompea to discover the lower city whose heart is the Town Hall Square, the former Market Square. Then take a random walk through the alleys and backyards to immerse yourself in the medieval atmosphere of Tallinn. Let yourself be surprised by the Estonian cuisine offered by the capital's restaurants. Take a trip west of the old town to visit Kadriorg Palace and its museum. If you still have time, go along the beach next door to enjoy all the tranquility and infinity of the Baltic Sea.

Day 5 : From Tallinn to Tartu

Day5 : From Tallinn to Tartu ©Jaak Veskimäe - Fotolia

The oldest university city in the Baltic States. Tartu is now Estonia's second largest city, renowned for its student atmosphere and nightlife. Its oldest part is Mount Toomemagi, where the fortified village of Estes once stood. You can see the oldest monument in Tartu: an altar of pagan sacrifices. The city centre is home to the famous University of Tartu and a number of classic style buildings: the City Hall, the Cathedral of the Assumption and residential buildings. Among the monuments of the Middle Ages, the most interesting is undoubtedly the Basilica of Saint John.

Day 6 : From Tartu to Viljandi

Day6 : From Tartu to Viljandi ©Mats TOOMING - Fotolia

Viljandi is one of the prettiest cities in the country. Visit the ruins of the castle of the Teutonic Order that rise above Lake Viljandi, then the last remaining medieval monument, the Church of St. John. Finally, take a tour of the villages to the east of the city, drowned in lush vegetation.

Day 7 : From Viljandi to Lahemaa National Park

Day7 : From Viljandi to Lahemaa National Park ©Serge OLIVIER - Author's Image

Visit Palmse and its old baroque manor house. Enjoy the exceptional fauna and flora of this park along the Baltic Sea. And to enjoy the sea, stop in one of the park's two small coastal towns, Vosu and Loksa. Then back to Tallinn.

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