How to survive an Estonian winter

Source: Visit Estonia

How to survive an Estonian winter

Estonia lies relatively north, at the latitude as parts of Sweden, Norway, Canada, and Russia. This guarantees distinct seasons with winter temperatures ranging from zero to less than -20 degrees Celsius, although getting that low is rare due to Estonia's coasts along the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland. In addition to the colder temperatures, during the winter, daylight in Estonia only lasts 7-8 hours. However, with some tips from locals, visitors can learn how to stay warm and cosy during a winter visit. Firstly, don’t be caught without a thick pair of cotton socks, wear a scarf (or two!), keep warm drinks on hand, and take regular trip to the sauna. So why not snuggle up and engage in some of these cosy wintry activities below!

Sauna session in a traditional Old Võromaa smoke sauna at Mooska

The Smoke sauna traditions of Old Võromaa have found their honoured spot on the list of UNESCO intangible cultural heritage of the world. At Mooska Farm, you can try a piece of this ancient Estonian heritage for yourself. A traditional sauna session lasts at least three hours and the smoke sauna of Mooska Farm can comfortably accommodate eight people. The rich aroma of burning wood is complemented by a whispered note of meat smoked in the sauna, birch boughs, and sauna honey. Since it's located next to a pond, during the winter, you can quickly dip yourself in the nearby icy waters. The sauna's cost includes two boughs, hand-made soaps, sauna honey, and herbal tea. For an additional fee, you can also get a juniper bough, towels, a sauna hat, a bathrobe, and some homemade beer.

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Värska Spa

Because of its treatments, Värska Spa is unique in Estonia. We offer revitalisation through natural means like freshwater therapeutic mud and Värska mineral water. In addition to the therapeutic mud and mineral water, clients can choose from electrical, paraffin, and salt treatments, various forms of massage, physiotherapy, therapeutic exercise, and many more services to improve their health. The treatments are carried out under the watchful eye of medical professionals. Our experienced and attentive personnel guarantee the safety of our clients. 

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Hedon Spa

A cosy boutique spa is located in the Pärnu Mud Baths building. The spa is divided into a swimming area and a Silent Spa. The swimming area has two indoor pools, an outdoor pool, as well as a steam and Finnish sauna. These amenities are free for all hotel guests. The Silent Spa observes ancient spa traditions and is meant for peaceful relaxation for our guests (from the age of 14 and up). The luxurious and cleansing spa ritual lasts for about 2-3 hours. We will provide treatment products from the Dead Sea and guidelines for their use. The boutique spa has 12 treatment rooms where modern methods of relaxation are combined with ancient wisdom and traditions.

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V Spa Wellness Centre

The best parts of relaxation and wellness come together in the heart of Tartu. Here at V Spa Wellbeing Centre, you will find more than 80 exceptionally relaxing treatments inspired by the diversity of nature, from Estonian peat treatments to authentic Thai massages. V Spa offers something for everyone, as in addition to traditional spa services, treatments are also offered for children and pregnant women. By choosing a day spa package with a visit to the water and sauna centre instead of a treatment, you will make your holiday in Tartu even more extraordinary!

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Extreme sports centre Spot of Tallinn

Spot of Tallinn is unique throughout Europe, as it offers world-class facilities for both professionals and amateurs. The indoor hall in the complex has a BMX motocross training track, skate parks, rooms for gymnastics and acrobats, trampolines, porolone pools, drop-in attractions, and much more. All of this enables our guests to try out, train, and compete regardless of the weather all year long. Spot is suitable for families and guests of all ages – start with the softer and smaller attractions and move on to increasingly larger and more difficult ones. Our instructors and coaches are always happy to guide our visitors.  

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Tallinn Botanic Garden

Just ten kilometres from the main city, nature and a beautifully designed landscape come together in harmony. Foreign rarities grow next to the local plants, which you will surely recognise. The thousands of plant species offer visitors the joy of discovery and a delight for the eyes of both nature enthusiasts and casual visitors. The collections as well as outdoor and greenhouse expositions are the most unique ones in Estonia and feature the highest number of species with over 8,000 varieties. You can book a guided tour or explore the garden on your own with the help of an audio guide.

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Haapsalu Winter Swimming Centre

The Haapsalu Winter Swimming Centre offers you: - a heated house with separate changing rooms for women and men; - a swim platform with ladders; - recreation area with a campfire site; - changing rooms outside.Book a time by calling 535 44314 or contact us on Facebook (Haapsalu Talisupluskeskus). A one-time visit costs 1 euro. The season ticket, which is valid from 1 July to 30 June costs 30 euros and with it, you can swim here for an unlimited number of times at your convenience. Bring swimwear, a hat, slippers, and a towel. Winter swimming invigorates both your body and mind!

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Tallinn Song Festival Grounds Winter Centre - snowtubing and sledding

The Winter Centre of Tallinn's Song Festival Grounds in the immediate vicinity of the city centre is a versatile winter sports mecca, where two snowtubing tracks, an ice skating rink and a mountain skiing slope are open according to snow conditions. We also hire necessary equipment for enjoying winter fun. Come and spend an active day and quality time with your family and friends.

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Ice rink on Harju Street, Tallinn

A unique pop-up ice rink in the centre of Tallinn's Old Town, which opens at the beginning of December and closes at the end of March or the beginning of April, as the spring sun arrives. The ice rink on Harju Street, located next to the historic St. Nicholas Church, is a classical outdoor ice rink, which is perfect for every visitor and tourist. The ice rink has a historical atmosphere that gives visitors a feeling that cannot be compared to anything else - this kind of experience stays with visitors for the rest of their lives as a true fairy-tale memory!

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Tartu city centre skating rink

This winter, a skating rink of almost 1,000 square metres will be erected around the Kissing Students fountain on the Town Hall Square, where the most romantic and fun winter entertainment – skating – can be enjoyed under the starry sky. The skating rink can be used free of charge, and both young and old guests can rent skates from the pavilion in the immediate vicinity of the rink on the basis of a price list. You can buy a hot drink and snacks from the cafe (Monday–Friday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday–Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.). Grab a friend and come and have a good time in the fresh air right in the heart of Tartu!

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Ski and sauna session in Kõrvemaa

Valgehobusemäe Ski Centre is 7 km from Kõrveküla Holiday Centre. Anyone can choose a suitable distance for skiing or enjoying the outdoors in other ways. Valgehobusemäe has a snowboarding slope and a snowtubing track. In the evenings, ski tracks and slopes are lit. There is a skiing and snowboarding equipment rental. In the immediate vicinity, you find the Aegviidu-Nelijärve-Jäneda hiking and skiing track, or the President's Track, which is connected to the ski tracks of Valgehobusemäe Ski Centre. In the evening, winter sport enthusiasts are welcomed by the hot sauna and a refreshing dinner (if ordered beforehand) and accommodation for 9 at the Kõrveküla Holiday Centre.

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Snowboarding and alpine skiing at Valgehobusemägi

The snowboarding and alpine skiing trail at Valgehobusemägi is 230 m long, 40 m wide, and the height difference between the apex and the base of the mountain is 30 m. There is a new Tatra lift on the mountain. Thanks to Ivar Kruusenberg, the only representative of Estonian snowboarding cross, we now have an Olympic track as well, where skiing enthusiasts can put their skills to the test. Bring your family to spend some proper quality time in the snowboarding park of Valgehobusemägi.

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Kuutsemäe Holiday Centre

Kuutsemäe, the most attractive and compact mountain sports centre in Estonia, offers leisure opportunities during all seasons. By today, the centre has proved its sustainability, and since 1991, it has been the only mountain skiing and snowboarding centre in Estonia that operates without interruption. Kuutsemäe Holiday Centre offers: • 7 lit slopes with varying degrees of difficulty • a slope for children • a snowboarding and skiing park; BagJump • skiing and snowboarding lessons; free skiing school for children • accommodation and catering • mountain skiing and snowboarding equipment rental • an excellent place for organizing winter or summer retreats for your company See you at Kuutsemäe!

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Hikes on kicksleds by soomaa.com

In winter, when the rivers and water meadows of Soomaa have frozen over and the weather conditions are favourable, you are welcome to try riding on a kicksled! The Finnish sleds or kicksleds make it fun to hike on frozen flood areas or forest roads. When planning the route of the hike, we will take into consideration your wishes, experiences, and the weather conditions. The sled hike will last for two or three hours and is also suitable for children!

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Sleddog Tours and dog sledding in Järvselja forests and Peipsiveere Nature Reserve

Come and enjoy the wide open space of a natural landscape in a primeval manner – on a sled dog hike! Karusaare sled dog hikes offer a possibility to go on hikes in Järvselja forests all year round, and in the Peipsiveere Nature Reserve during winters. Our sled dogs love to be your companions during an easy hike that lasts for a few hours, as well as a dog sled trip that lasts for several days. A camp fire is always a part of our trips – it gives food a special flavour, warms the freezing hikers, and provides light and a peace of mind... Exhaustion is alleviated by a Russian sauna. If you wish, we can arrange catering.

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Last updated : 02.12.2021

In category: History & culture, Activities & Adventure, Health & Wellness