Tuesday, 19 May 2015

7 Fascinating Places to Explore in Estonia this Summer

With summer just around the corner, now is a great time to make plans to explore Estonia. Whilst many visitors spend the majority of their time in the capital, the country has so much more to offer. Nothing is too far away in Estonia, all you need to do is hire a car and drive! Here is a list of seven stunning places to visit in Estonia that will inspire and delight you!

1. Jägala Waterfall
Located 30 km east of Tallinn, Jägala Waterfall has been delighting visitors and locals alike for generations. In 2012 Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf named Jägala as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.

Jägala Waterfall

2. Lahemaa National Park.
Only an hour's drive from Tallinn, Lahemaa National Park is one of Europe's most important forest conservation areas. It is teeming with wildlife and consists of pine forests, picturesque bogs, sandy seashores and numerous waterways. A stunning place for those who love photography and outdoor adventure. 

Lahemaa National Park

3. Piusa Sandcaves
This popular tourist attraction was created as a result of mining glass sand by hand between 1922-1966. The Piusa caves comprise a system of sandstone archways and pillars and there is also a 1.4 km hiking trail on the nature reserve. In winter, the caves are home to the largest colony of bats in Eastern Europe.

Piusa Sandcaves

4. Puhtitsa Convent
Located in Kuremäe in Ida-Viru County the convent was established in 1891 and was originally an monastery. Now home to approximately 150 nuns, the convent consists of six churches dedicated to Christian Orthodox Saints as well as a number of immaculately kept buildings and gardens. Visitors are welcome to stroll around the grounds or take part in a guided tour. Puhtitsa Convent is simply beautiful and well worth a visit!

Puhtitsa Convent

5. Kihnu Island
There are very few places in Estonia where the national costume is worn on a daily basis as regular attire but in Kihnu it is the norm.   With a population of just 600 Kihnu has a very strong sense of community and their steadfast attachment to to the customs of their ancestors has enabled the culture of this island to thrive.  The people of Kihnu Island have a rich cultural heritage in song, dance, games, and handicrafts.  The island is also famous for its traditional wedding ceremonies.  A trip to Kihnu is delightful and inspiring!

Kihnu Island

6. Setomaa
A culture within a culture, Setomaa (literally "land of the Setos") is a unique area with traditions, customs, myths and language differing substantially from the rest of Estonia.  The Seto people are best known for their beautiful folk costumes with large silver breast plates and ancient polyphonic singing tradition known as "leelo".  Singing is a major part of the Seto culture and if you visit during one of the festival times you are in for an unforgettable treat. 


7. Russian Old Believer's Settlement
First arriving in Estonia during the 17th Century to escape persecution, Estonia's Russian Old Believers now number approximately 15,000. They have made their home on the western shores of Lake Peipsi for the last four centuries.  Old Believers are known for their very traditional and conservative lifestyles and rigorous adherence to Orthodox rites.  A unique 7km road comprising the villages of Raja, Kükita, Tiheta and Kasepää lines the westernmost shore of Lake Peipsi.  All of the houses are situated in a single line and have unique architectural features such as towers or balconies. Every Old Believer's home has an icon inside and spade in the yard.   

Russian Old Believers' Settlement