Estonia’s White Nights

Source: Siiri Kumari, Visit Estonia

Estonia’s White Nights

Source: Siiri Kumari, Visit Estonia

With over 2200 islands, enchanting forests, burgeoning creative hubs, a UNESCO listed old town and unique food delicacies, Estonia stuns visitors all year round but May to July remains the most idyllic time to visit this surprising country. These are the famous White Nights of Estonia, when summer days extend long into the night and there's barely any darkness in sight. Officially starting with Midsummer's Day – known as Jaanipäev - on 24th June, visitors are invited to experience Estonia like a true local and fight off any sleep temptations with an extraordinary and eclectic mix of activities, perfect for nature lovers and city enthusiasts alike.

Tourists can pack a host of surprising activities in just 24 hours, from hiking in enchanting forests to night swimming in the Baltic Sea, from clubbing in one of the coolest neighborhoods in Europe to feasting on some of the yummiest and freshest fish they'll ever try.

Estonia in 24 hours – an itinerary

Please note that carrying out this itinerary requires superpowers – it gives you an overview of the possible activities to do in Estonia during 24 hours.

3am – Take part in a sunrise hike in Kõrvemaa bog
Estonian bogs are enchanting, mysterious places. Even more so at sunset and sunrise. The Kõrvemaa bog tour takes visitors to Northern and Southern Kõrvemaa, a land of untouched hills, forests and lakes. Visitors are advised to wear comfortable hiking shoes and enjoy the sound of silence in the wild Estonia nature.

4am - Night Swimming in Pärnu

Pärnu, the nation's summer capital, is the place to see and be seen. Overlooking Pärnu Bay, in southwestern Estonia, this city boasts large sandy beaches, numerous restaurants, cocktail bars, spas and a relaxed, laid back vibe.

5am – Walking on the rooftops of the medieval Tallinn Old Town with a singing chimney sweeper
You can see different angles to the charming medieval Old Town of Tallinn and panorama of the entire capital. There are chimneysweepers who can also offer you a performance on the rooftop.

6am – Try Stand Up Paddle Surfing
SUP is one of the biggest fitness trends and Estonia offers stand up paddle boarding tours on the enchanting Soodla Reservoir in Kõrvemaa. Additionally, SUP fitness and SUP yoga.

7am – Baking traditional Estonian bread
Estonians consider bread, especially the traditional black rye bread, as one of their most essential food products. It has become increasingly popular to bake bread at home – sourdough starter is shared among families and friends, people like to experiment with new ingredients and tastes. Cook and bake together with people from Hellenurme Watermill.

8am – Have breakfast at Café Sesoon

Tallinn's Sesoon is consistently rated as one of the top 50 restaurants in Estonia and is even arguably the best for brunch. The menu changes regularly to ensure that every element is fresh and seasonal. Visitors can expect to find a wide range of meat, seafood and vegetarian finger foods, fresh drinks, desserts and, of course, great coffee.

9am - Hike in Taevaskoda
Estonians have a special relationship with the Taevaskoda springs, located in the Ahja River Landscape Reserve. The hiking trail takes visitors along sublime natural landscapes, deeply-rooted within Estonian folklore and background of countless legends and tales.

10am – Visit Tallinn Botanic Garden

The 300-acre Tallinn Botanic Garden is easily the capital's most famous when it comes to public green spaces. Visitors can stroll along the banks of the Pirita River during a warm summer's morning and see the garden in all its glory.

11am - Jumping off from the arch of the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds
One of the most adrenaline-spiking adventures in Tallinn can be jumping off and swinging from the arch of the historic Tallinn Song Festival Grounds. This event venue holds a special place in Estonians' hearts as the birthplace of the Singing Revolution.

12am – Explore the Estonian Open-Air Museum
A life-sized reconstruction of an 18th-century rural/fishing village, the Estonian Open-Air Museum spans 72 hectares of land and boasts nearly 80 exhibits, the oldest being a 300-year-old chapel.

1pm – Lunch at Leib Resto ja Aed
Former home of Tallinn's Scottish club, Leib serves simple, soulful food with homemade leib (bread). The slow-cooked meat and grilled fish dishes are exceptional.

2pm - Visit Kumu Art Museum
By far the nation's largest and most cutting-edge art museum, Kumu displays Estonian-created works from the 18th-21st centuries. Opened in 2006, the building is also a sprawling, high-tech cultural centre that hosts everything from film showings to official state receptions and was voted European Museum of the Year in 2008.

3pm - Wander through Tallinn's Old Town
Tallinn's Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors are invited to get lost through its cobbled alleys, medieval churches and grandiose merchant.

4pm – Try the Zip-Line in Kiviõli

Adrenaline junkies should head to the Kiviõli Adventure Centre and enjoy the longest zip-line in Estonia – measuring 700 metres and reaching a speed of up to 80 km per hour.

5pm – Explore the 'hip' Telliskivi Creative City
Telliskivi is an old factory centre converted in what is now considered one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Europe. The largest creative hub in Estonia features hip cafes and bars sitting alongside creative ateliers, studios and NGOs.

6pm - Try a Vodka Distillery tour at Vihula Manor
Visitors should try one of Estonia's most famous products, vodka, in the beautiful surroundings of Vihula Manor's Vodka Distillery, a large 3-storey stone building from the 19th century comprising of a Vodka Museum too.

7pm – Dine at NOA
Constructed from wood and glass and boasting stunning sea views, this sleek restaurant features inventive cuisine, an eclectic wine list and a fine dining 'chef's hall'. The low-level building, which looks out across the Bay of Tallinn to the old town, has won awards for its innovative design.

8pm – sailing to the island of women, Kihnu
Kihnu is famous for its rich and unique heritage, a stand-out feature of which is that the women have historically led the community and continue to do so to this day. The men, historically seal hunters and fishermen, left the island to fish, hunt and work on the mainland leaving the women to take the lead. It is now the only island in the world where the women have absolute power and UNESCO proclaimed the island and Kihnu traditional culture as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

9pm - Have a traditional smoked sauna in Võrumaa

The smoke sauna tradition is an important part of everyday life in the Võro community in Southern Estonia. Not only a natural part of the daily life of rural families, a smoke sauna is a place of ritual cleansing of both body and soul. UNESCO has inscribed the Võrumaa smoke sauna tradition on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

10pm - Spot brown bears
The wild, prehistoric woods of Eastern Estonia, easily accessible from Tallinn, are home to the majestic brown bear - with 800 recently counted in the region. Visitors can take a night tour where they stay in a hide with glass windows from which to spot these wonderful creatures. As well as bears they will have a good chance of seeing the Racoon Dog, Fox, Wild Boar and a host of birds. More rare visitors include Pine Marten, Wolf, Elk, Badger, Golden and White-tailed Eagle.

11pm – Sunsets at Pühajärv
The biggest and most beautiful lake in the Otepää region – Pühajärv lake – is a truly romantic spot. Couples can soak in the peaceful atmosphere and take a rowboat out on the lake. Chances to witness dazzling twilights are also very high during the summer season.

12pm – Stay at Pädaste Manor on Muhu Island

Estonia boasts more than 1000 castles and manors dating back as far as the 13th century. Once a home to German and Russian landlords, many of these estates now serve as galleries, luxurious spa hotels and gourmet restaurants. Visitors can live like medieval knight at Pädaste Manor on Muhu island, now a luxury hotel and spa dating back to the 15th century. The fabulous restaurant serves an innovative Nordic Islands' menu making use of fresh local ingredients produced directly on the island.

1am – Visit to Jaanihanso Cider House
Jaanihanso Cider House makes cider from natural Estonian apples. The cider is pressed at the spot in the late autumn from the apple juices which mature at that time. At Jaanihanso, the cider is not boiled, filtered, or carbonated. The cider matures and clears in the bottles in the same way as the best champagne does. You can try five different ciders and take part in a tour.

2am - Party like a local
For those wanting a glimpse of the more alternative music scene in Tallinn, places like Must Puudel, Paar Veini, Sinilind and Von Krahl offer the perfect spot to dance the night away.

Last updated : 21.07.2017

In category: South Estonia, West Estonia, Islands, North Estonia, Nature & Wildlife

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