The great winter escape in North Estonia

Source: Jaanus Ree

The great winter escape in North Estonia

Get acquainted with the Northern region of Estonia during this two day itinerary, perfect for a weekend getaway this winter.

Just a short drive from Tallinn, you'll find yourself in the snowy forests of Lahemaa and Kõrvemaa nature reserves where you can do winter sports and outdoor activities. Speckled along the way are grand Baltic-German manors and medieval forts waiting to be explored. Feast on fresh seafood in fishermen's villages and slow down the pace of life for a while. Get off the beaten path for a weekend and escape to the North.

Near, yet a world away

The destinations listed in this itinerary are within 2 hours of Tallinn, perfect for a quick weekend trip. Renting a car is a convenient way to get around.  

Photo by: Mariann Liimal

Day 1: Kõrvemaa and Lahemaa 

What to do & where to eat 

Explore the hilly landscapes of Northern Kõrvemaa nature reserve with a traditional Nordic winter activity - kick sledging. A kick sledge is an upright sledge operated by kicking off with the feet, perfect for exploring varied terrains. After working up an appetite, head up the coast for lunch at MerMer restaurant, located in the fishing village of Kolga-Aabla. You'll feel like you've been invited into a cosy fisherman's home; the intimate wooden house only seats 20 in the winter, so be sure to call in advance to secure a table and prepare to enjoy fresh seafood.

After lunch, continue on your way to the Lahemaa National Park information point, located at Palmse Manor, where you can learn about one of Europe's most important nature reserves. Forest, swamps and and the frozen sea await you. Before embarking on a hike into the wild, check out the grounds and Open Air Museum of the baroque Palmse Manor.

Where to sleep 

North Estonia is manor country, and there are many to see, so why miss the opportunity to spend the night in one? Vihula Manor Country Club and Spa is tucked into the landscape of Lahemaa National Park. Stay in one of the manor's luxurious and romantic buildings, dating to the 16th century. You don't have to leave the manor grounds for dinner - enjoy fine dishes with ingredients from nearby farms, true to the manor's heritage. If you're lucky, you might even find bear on the menu. End the day relaxing in the manor's wood burning sauna and admire the natural backdrop.

Day 2: Seaside and waterfalls

Coastal views

The seaside views are special treat of the coastal eateries in North Estonia, like MerMer Restaurant and Restaurant Ruhe. 

Photo by: Jaanus Ree

What to do

After a restful night's sleep, prepare for adventure. On day one, you experienced kick sledging, but on day two you'll try yet another form of sledging: dog sledging. Travel to the village of Paasiku where you'll be introduced to the Siberian husky breed and their history, assist in preparing the sledge, and embark on a several kilometres long ride through the nature. Let the strength and agility of these specially trained canines amaze you. Next, head shortly North to the famous Jägala Waterfall. At 8 metres high and 50 metres wide, Jägala is the widest natural waterfall in Estonia. Though stunning in the summer, winter is a spectacular time to visit, as the water freezes into a cascade of icicles. 

Where to eat

Finish off your tour of North Estonia with a meal at by the seaside at Restaurant Ruhe on Neeme peninsula. Named one of Estonia's top restaurants, Ruhe specialises in light and pure fish dishes inspired by tradition. The view to the quaint harbour is the perfect accompaniment to any meal.

Photos by: Toomas Tuul, Visit Estonia, Jaanus Ree, Mariann Liimal

Last updated : 22.04.2021

In category: North Estonia, Activities & Adventure