Estonia feeds the imagination

Estonia feeds the imagination

Source: Reval Denim Guild

What's your most romantic, exciting and nostalgic holiday memory that always takes you back to the good old days? Perhaps it's jumping into a steaming lake on a chilly afternoon, touring a fairytale-like old European city and tasting the falling snowflakes on the tip of your tongue. Or maybe its holding your loved one's hand while watching the sun as it sets over a towered city and behind the sea.

Whether you are a mod or a rocker, an inventor or a globetrotter, you will find plenty to dream up while visiting Estonia, whatever your preferred type of story happens to be, from medieval, to pagan, to the hippest paths yet to be discovered. It's time to rekindle those precious holiday memories and create brand new ones to warm your heart this coming season.

Make your story happen by picking your favourite theme and exploring it further. Below are some carefully compiled sample weekend itineraries.

All things historical, from swords to candlelight

Estonia is a land of contrasts, with heaps of historical stories and settings that should easily cure even the heaviest case of a writer's block. From medieval German merchants to the tsars of Russia, Estonia has hosted many visitors throughout the history each leaving behind a wealth of stories and legends. Monks, knights, merchants and countesses once filled the busy market tows of the prosperous medieval Estonia. You don't necessarily need to have a good sense of imagination to relive this exciting time in Estonia's past, as many towns, even villages still have preserved a range of impressive architecture, including Gothic church spires, cobbled streets and romantic castles.

Itinerary no. 1

Holiday like a merchant

Experience the history

Fascinated with all things historical? Estonia's many forts, castles and churches are open to the public, and several offer a range of ways to relive the past.
Photo by: Siiri Kumari / Niguliste church

Part 1: Tallinn

Tallinn Old Town is Northern Europe's medieval gem, here you will find a well preserved fortification system, surrounding a flourishing medieval market town with detailed merchant houses, gobbled streets and red roof tops. If today you were to take a walk in the old town and look up, you will see medieval warehouses equipped with attic doors and hooks, dragon head decorations and themed weathercocks.


Merchants had many roles in the medieval society, often as nobles and protectors of the city. A great place to start your sightseeing tour is at The Brotherhood of Blackheads. Once a league of unmarried merchants and shipowners, the brotherhood's role was to defend and guard the city, later retiring to a more leisurely pursuit of organising social events and collecting art. The house of the brotherhood was definitely the place to be if you considered yourself a trendy city dweller back in the 18th century. Get into the spirit of it by touring the city square, then pop into Niguliste church for a organ concert and learn more about the medieval mindset from the famous painting of "Dance of Death". Last but to least, push uphill to Toompea, the home of ruling powers up to the modern day. Great views of the old town and the coast are guaranteed.

Where to dine?

Tallinn was once the heart of trade in the region, here they would trade furs and amber for salt, spices and wines of the west, so expect the medieval food to be wholesome and well seasoned.

Olde Hansa and Peppersack, situated across the road from each other are impossible to miss. The smell of the food from outdoor vendors lures visitors in and about 500 years back in time.

A take on medieval dining

A still from a comedy sketch taking place in Olde Hansa restaurant, staged by travel vlogging duo Vaga Brothers.

Source: Vaga Brothers

Where to sleep?

Sleep is important to fully get into your noble character, so opt for a suite in hotel Telegraaf, 3 Sisters or Merchants House, located in one of the most prestigious buildings in the old town.

Part 2: Rakvere and Lahemaa national park

A merchant from bygone days would definitely take a day or more of a week to visit his cousins, perhaps Danish or German barons living in forts and mansions out in the country.

Sightseeing and activities
Rakvere fort ruins tower the small quiet town that lies below. Between the intriguing array of passageways, balconies and hidden staircases, you can play medieval football, claim your status in a knight's tournament and have a refreshing cup of love potion.

Where to sleep?

Vihula manor and its surrounding gardens and watermill were once a home to von Schuberts. The manor has since been fully restored and renovated, and now houses a fine restaurant and eco spa - essentially a great place to get bathed, scrubbed and rubbed, then feast on some wild bear and call it a night.

More history inspired travel ideas:

Do you consider yourself a nature wanderer or urban dweller? Check out tips and itineraries below, and make that story happen. 

Last updated : 22.04.2021

In category: Tallinn, North Estonia, History & culture

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