What to do in Central Estonia during the winter

Source: Reelika Marrandi, Visit Järva

What to do in Central Estonia during the winter

Central Estonia has everything you need for a winter weekend getaway: peaceful hiking trails, outdoor sports, delicious food, and historical attractions. You may have to stay longer if you hope to fit it all in! Luckily, the whole area is conveniently reached from Tallinn, so you can spend more time exploring and less time traveling.

You can feel free in the wild open space of Central Estonia. A bog hike is a must for taking in winter scenery — try going on a snowshoe hike in Linnuraba, wander around Kodru Bog, or follow the wooden walkway at Kakerdaja Bog. walk through Väätsa Nature Reserve, listen to the flowing water of Norra Springs or admire the snow-covered surroundings of Prandi Springs. No matter the weather, you can enjoy the stunning beauty that Estonian nature has to offer.

It's particularly exciting to track the footsteps of wild animals who don't show themselves easily. Did you know that wild boar build a nest for their piglets so that they'll stay in one place? You'll learn things like this and other practical insights that you can't find in a textbook from an experienced guide on the Jäägri Villa nature walk. You can also tell stories around the bonfire, and your day in the forest will pass by quickly. If you don't have a whole day, you can book your wildlife-watching safari to admire the deer at Toosikannu Wildlife Park

Have fun in the snow!

There's no fun like snow fun... as you'll find out on the snowmobile trail at Toosikannu Holiday Centre.

If you enjoy traditional skiing, set your sights on the highest peak of Central Estonia. In addition to the legendary cross-country skiing tracks, Valgehobusemäe Ski and Recreation Centre also offers a mountain ski slope equipped with a snow cannon, a snowboarding park, and fun snow tubing activities.

You can also find illuminated ski tracks and a sledding hill for children at Kuningamäe near Põltsamaa. There is also a mountain ski slope where you can put both your skiing and snowboarding skills to the test. If you want to follow in the footsteps of Estonian skating champions, head to Adavere Ice Skating Rink where Saskia Alusalu and Marten Liiv both started their journey to the Olympics.

Stimulate your mind and train your hands

Central Estonia is home to uniquely themed museums that you can't find anywhere else. The Estonian Dairy Museum is where industrial heritage, unique product design, and delicious tastes come together. You can even create some new flavours for yourself at the curd snack workshop. Enticing, isn't it?

While milk has been called the white gold of Estonia, you can craft with literal gold in Järvamaa. You can learn the beautiful art of gold embroidery from the talented master Lilian Bristol. And while making art takes time, working with golden thread takes all day.

The heart of Estonia invites you to explore. You can take a tour of Paide Old Town on your own with the help of your smartphone. If you want to learn even more, visit the Wittenstein Time Centre in Paide Tower, where you can listen to stories about four kings and eight eras the area saw.

Põltsamaa Castle

Photo by: Ragnar Vutt

Not far from Paide, just a half-hour drive away, is Põltsamaa, which has its own tale of a king and castle to tell. The red church tower you can see from far away will guide you to Põltsamaa Castle. By the way, did you know that the first food tubes used by astronauts were created here in Põltsamaa? Exciting! You can learn more about the space food and the tale of the castle in the Põltsamaa Museum next to the castle.

History fans and book lovers will want to visit the A.H. Tammsaare Museum in Vargamäe. It preserves the birthplace of famous Estonian writer Anton Hansen Tammsaare, the author of Truth and Justice, which was recently adapted into a critically-acclaimed movie. This farm inspired the book; a visit will give you a better understanding of 19th-century farm life in Järva County.

Where to eat in Central Estonia

In addition to all the nature and activities, you can find plenty of comfortable lodging and tasty food in Central Estonia. Try Põhjaka Manor, one of two MICHELIN Green Star recipients in Estonia. They were recognized for their sustainable approach to Estonian cuisine. White Guide Nordic has also listed Ööbiku Gastronomy Farm Restaurant; their focus on seasonal products makes it worth the drive from Tallinn. If you're looking for a casual place to eat and warm up after a day outside, try a local pub or tavern — you might find a crackling fire or live music!

For more information, check out Central Estonia's regional tourism websites: