Route: Tallinn-Lahemaa National Park-Rakvere-Narva-Lake Peipus-Tartu-Otepää-Viljandi-Sooma National Park-Pärnu-Saaremaa Island-Haapsalu-Tallinn
Duration: 7 days / 6 nights
Day 1 Arrival-TALLINN
Arrival to Tallinn’s airport and private transfer to the hotel. Day dedicated to the visit of Tallinn. Tallinn, is the oldest capital in northern Europe. The city was first recorded by the Arab cartographer al-Idrisi back in 1154. Tallinn’s subsequent 800 years of history has created a city of colourful buildings, slender spires, ancient hostelries and pleasant squares. Tallinn’s Old Town is one of Europe’s best preserved medieval cities and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the visit we suggest you to discover the Toompea hill (the upper part of the old town) with the Castle, the Cathedral and the Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral and the lower part of the old town with the Town Hall Square, the gothic Town Hall, the Town Hall Pharmacy (one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe), the St. Nicholas Church, the St. Olaf’s Church, the Great Guild Hall and the medieval merchants buildings. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2 TALLINN-LAHEMAA NATIONAL PARK-RAKVERE-NARVA (250 km)
Morning breakfast and car delivered at the hotel. Departure to Narva and on the way stop in the Lahemaa Nation Park. Lahemaa is the Estonia’s largest national park and was established in 1971. The Park is made up of four peninsulas and numerous islets, jutting into the Gulf of Finland. Lahemaa’s forests, marshlands and coastal areas are home to around 200 bird species and approximately 900 different plants. A number of interesting and historic manor houses (Vihula, Sagadi, Palmse)can also be found in this region as well as idyllic fishermen villages (Altja, Käsmu and Viinistu). Continuation of the trip and stop in Rakvere for the visit of the Rakvere’s Castle.
The 700 year old Rakvere Castle now houses a weaponry exhibit, a medieval chamber of horrors and archery range. .The castle offers many exciting activities for both children and grown-ups! You can try your hand at shooting a bow or a crossbow, sword fight and pike battle, forging, pottery, minting your own castle coins, and many other things. Arrival to Narva in the afternoon and visit of the city. The city of Narva, the third largest city in Estonia, is located on the eastern extreme point of the country, right by the Russian border, on the Narva River. Once known as the baroque pearl of the Baltic Sea, Narva was practically reduced to rubble in 1944 by Soviet bombing raids. However, what remains of Narva’s Old Town make a pleasant stroll. On the banks of the Narva River is the Hermann fortress which tower offers a glimpse of Russia and the imposing Ivangorod fortress on the Russian side of the river. Several kilometres upstream alongside a double tier waterfall is the famous Kreenholm Textile Factory, the largest factory in the Russian Empire in 19th century. The vast Romanesque style Narva Alexander cathedral, built for Kreenholm’s Lutheran employees makes up a part of the factory complex. It suffered serious damage in World War II, but has since been restored and today has an active congregation. Overnight.
Day 3 NARVA-PEIPUS LAKE-TARTU (200 km)
Breakfast at the hotel. On the way to Tartu we suggest you to stop in the Peipus Lake area.
The Lake Peipus (Europe’s fifth largest lake), studded with a string of villages known for their smoked fish, cucumbers and the best onions in the country. The route alongside the Shore of Peipus Lake follows the old Russian tradition of having only one street, which means villages blend organically with each other. Here can be found some of the world’s few villages still populated by the ‘Old Believers’. These are the descendants of a highly religious, ethnic Russian minority who came across the lake in the 17th and 18th centuries to seek sanctuary from persecution after they resisted reforms in the Orthodox Church. The area is known for smoked
and dried fish, cucumbers, golden onions and pickles sold by the local villagers. A feel for the strictly religious community, where electricity is disallowed, can be found in Raja villa church, lit only by beeswax candles. During the tour we suggest you to visit the Pühtitsa Convent (Kuremäe Convent) Estonia’s only Orthodox convent, open to both tourists and pilgrims. A small Orthodox Christian church was built in Pühtitsa in the 16th century and the convent was founded in 1891. It now houses six churches. The site is claimed to be where a shepherdess witnessed a divine revelation near a spring of water. This water is claimed to have healing powers, it can be bottled and taken away. Trip to Tartu and visit of the city. The youthful university city of Tartu in southern Estonia is also the birthplace of the national song festival tradition, which started in 1869. An important symbol of the town is a fountain with a statue of students kissing under an umbrella, located in Tartu’s Town Hall Square. On one side of the historical late 18th century square stands a building that has been called Estonia’s leaning tower of Pisa, built partly on the city wall, partly on wooden piles that collapsed, now the site of an art museum. The city’s most important structures are close by, the main building of the University of Tartu, founded in 1632, and the recently restored St. John’s Church, which contains over 1,000 well-preserved terracotta sculptures.
A key geographical feature of the city is Toomemägi, the site of an ancient citadel. It is now an English- style park and a popular place for students who congregate near its Angel’s and Devil’s Bridge. Tartu is also a city of museums. The Toy Museum displays the different kinds of toys Estonian children have played with over two centuries. The Estonian National Museum displays historical and ethnological artefacts connected to Estonian folk culture. The University of Tartu Botanical Gardens has over 6,500 plant species from all of the world’s climatic zones of the world. The Gardens’ greenhouse is the biggest in the Baltics. Tartu’s other sites of interest include the former KGB cells near the city centre and the Aviation Museum on the outskirts of Tartu with its displays life-size helicopters, fighter aircraft and smaller planes. Tartu’s 19th century wooden houses district of Supilinn (Soup Town) is a sight unto itself. Overnight.
Day 4 TARTU-OTEPÄÄ-VILJANDI-SOOMA-PÄRNU (220 km)
Breakfast at the hotel and departure from Tartu to Pärnu with several stops suggested during the trip. The small town of Otepää, 45 km south of Tartu, is the Estonia’s ‘winter capital’ . The winter activities include cross-country skiing on marked trails and, in summer, the area is popular for hiking, biking and swimming. At some 5 km from Otepää you will discover the Pühajärv lake, which many consider to be Estonia’s most beautiful, notably for its charming small wooded islands. The town of Viljandi, 85 km from Otepää, is an ancient town in southern Estonia situated on hills above a picturesque lake. The town’s many church spires and its famous Water Tower, with its viewing platform, are reflected in the lake, adding to the beauty of Viljandi’s natural setting. The most famous legends of the region, celebrated in local song, surround the Viljandi boatman who rows the lake and longs for his beautiful-eyed girl. The ruins of the 13th century Viljandi castle are another must see stop, including a stroll across the deep moat on another one of the city’s symbols, the suspension bridge. From Viljandi County to the expansive Estonian wetland area, you will discover the Soomaa National Park, with over 537 known species of bog plants, 185 kinds of birds and 43 mammals. This is a tranquil place of primal beauty with ancient forests and board-walk hikes through the virgin bogs. Way-marked routes include a walk on the beaver trail that starts by the national park visitor centre. Departure to Pärnu, arrival at the hotel and check-in. Rest of the day dedicated to discover the town. Pärnu, the Estonia’s ‘summer capital’, is a highly acclaimed holiday destination and resort on the southwest coast of Estonia. Shadowy parks, attractive white sandy beaches and quality restaurants, spas and nightlife are a draw for summer visitors. And if the main beach gets too busy, the white sands and warm waters of Valgeranna, Kabli or Lemme beach are a nearby alternative. Various cultural festivals, numerous art galleries, exhibitions, a contemporary art museum, the Endla Theatre and the Pärnu Concert Hall offer a great cultural activity all the year long. As with most large cities in Estonia, Pärnu has a pleasant Old Town. Overnight.
Day 5 PÄRNU-SAAREMAA ISLAND (160 km)
Breakfast at the hotel and departure to Kuressaare, the main city of the Saaremaa Island.
The ferry trip, from the inland to the small island of Muhu, lasts 30 minutes. From Muhu you will continue the trip to Saaremaa by car. Rest of the day dedicated to the visit of Saaremaa.
Muhu Island is the Estonia’s third largest island and one of few locations in the country where traditional windmills can still be found in full working order. The island’s St. Catherine’s church, one of the oldest in Estonia is notable for its historical frescoes and trapezium-shaped tombstones with pagan symbols. At the southernmost tip of Muhu you will find the Pädaste manor, a luxurious hotel, spa and restaurant which has received international acclaim. Koguva village is the best preserved 19th century village in Estonia. All of the buildings are architectural landmarks, most date from the 19th century though some from the 18th century can be found in the middle of the village. Saaremaa, a land of nature, tradition and windmills, is the Estonia’s largest island and is only accessible by ferry. The first stop on the itinerary is the nearly 800-year-old Valjala church, the oldest stone church on Estonian soil. Estonia has more crater sites than anywhere else in the world. The best known site is the Kaali meteorite crater on Saaremaa, measuring 110 metres across. Less than 3,000 years old, it is considered the most recent meteorite crater in Europe, although the ancients considered it to be the tomb of the son of Apollo. Near the crater there is the Kaali visitor centre, with a meteorite and limestone museum. Saaremaa’s famous windmills can be seen at Angla. There are four typical wooden windmills and a slightly taller Dutch-style windmill.
The capital, Kuressaare, with its beautiful, well-preserved old town, is the only town on the island. The town’s most important site is the 14th century citadel, the best-preserved medieval fort in the Baltics. It exhibits provide an overview of the history of the island as well as that of Estonia. In summer handicraft shops, events, concerts and song festivals take place in the courtyard.
On the north coast of Saaremaa the Panga cliffs rise up to 21 metres in height, giving fantastic views over the Baltic Sea. An ancient sacrificial site is located at the highest point. Mihkli farm museum on Saaremaa’s west coast is worth a short detour to learn more about historical arms and everyday items hand-crafted over the centuries. Almost all of the items on display have been made by the six generations of the family who lived here. Check-in at the hotel in Kuressaare. Overnight.
Day 6 SAAREMAA ISLAND-HAAPSALU-TALLINN (260 km)
Morning breakfast at the hotel and departure to Tallinn. During the trip we suggest a stop in Haapsalu. Known as the ‘Venice of the North’, Haapsalu is a wonderful seaside town on the west coast of Estonia. The town is known for its narrow streets, the miniature town hall and the romantic wooden dwelling houses. The Dome Church of Haapsalu is the biggest single-nave church in the Baltic States and the most important historical and cultural monument of the town. In the baptistery window of the church Estonia’s most famous ghost, the White Lady, is said to appear each August when there’s a full moon. Along Haapsalu’s seafront promenade you can find the Tchaikovsky’s bench. The Russian composer stayed in Haapsalu in 1867 and the first notes of his famous VI Symphony are carved into the stone bench. The city also has a tsarist era railway station, nowadays converted as a railway museum. Departure to Tallinn and arrival in the afternoon and check-in at the hotel. For the rest of the afternoon we recommend to visit some great sites located outside the city centre like Pirita and Kadriorg or to explore the Ethnographic Open Air Museum of Tallinn. Two captivating neighborhoods just east of the city centre, Kadriorg and Pirita, are favourite destinations for sightseers looking for what’s beyond Old Town. After the Russian emperor Peter the Great conquered the Baltics in the early 1700’s he established an estate and public park on this spot. He named the area Ekaterinenthal (Catherine’s valley, or Kadriorg in Estonian) after his wife, Catherine I. The elaborate Baroque palace he had built, along with the surrounding forests, ponds and fountains, are still the neighbourhood’s prime draw. Over the next two centuries the streets near the park became lined with ornate wooden mansions as Kadriorg developed into the upscale residential district that it remains today.
The Pirita district lies not far away from Kadriorg. With its 3km stretch of sand beach and a yachting harbor, Pirita is best known as a summer resort A quieter way to enjoy the area is to head across the road to the Pirita River delta, where row boats, canoes and water bicycles can be rented. Pirita is also worth visiting for its own bit of Medieval architecture, the ruins of St. Bridget’s Convent. The Estonian Ethnographic Open Air Museum lets you travel back in time to the rural Estonia of old. The vast, forested park is filled with thatched, 18-20th-century farm buildings, windmills, a wooden chapel and a village school, with staff demonstrating how people lived and worked in times past. Visitors can buy handicrafts and try out the traditional food served in the village tavern. Drop-off of the car at the hotel in the late afternoon. Overnight.
Day 7 TALLINN-Departure
Breakfast at the hotel and free time for additional visits and/or shopping in Tallinn. Transfer to airport.
PRICE PER PERSON (minimum 2 participants):
based on group size
|2 persons||3-4 persons||5-8 persons|
|675,00 Euro||635,00 Euro||595,00 Euro|
Single room supplement: 305,00 Euro
The package includes:
2 ways transfer (airport-hotel-airport)
6 overnights in double room in hotels 3*/4* with morning breakfast
Car rental from day 2 to day 6 (full kasko insurance, self risk €400, for minivan €500)
–for 2 people : VW Golf or similar
–for 3-4 people: Renault Megane SW or similar
–for 5-8 people: Renault Trafic or similar
Services and taxes
The package does not include:
Flights and Visa (if required)
Parking costs (hotels and sites)
Ferry ticket to/from the Saaremaa Island
Any other costs/expenses not specified under “The package includes”
Walking guided tour of Tallinn old town (3 hours): 160,00 Eur
Deposit of 30% upon reservation
Balance payment (70%) 40 days before arrival
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