We’ve already written about why Tallinn, Estonia should be your next European getaway. However, Estonia’s affordability and natural and architectural beauty stretches well beyond Tallinn’s borders. We recommend you rent a car for a day and take a trip to the following locations to make the best of your stay in Estonia! You may even want to spend the night in a beautiful manor!
Jägala Waterfall (Jägala juga)
The Jägala waterfall is the highest natural waterfall in Estonia with a height of approximately 8 meters. You can walk up to the Jägala river and take in the beautiful nature of this area. There are two ways to get to this waterfall: from the top and the bottom. The well-marked turnoff from the highway will lead you straight to a parking lot to the top of the waterfall.
Lahemaa National Park
Lahemaa National Park is an area of stunning natural beauty. Easily accessible by the E20, you can drive the northern ridges of the park towards Altja or Tapurla (you can spend half of the day driving around this park!) and hike up to the water for some sunshine and relaxation in the summer. Take snacks and plenty of water!
The trails aren’t clearly marked but there are visible paths to explore. Google Maps can get spotty in this area, so you may have to use your natural bearings to “find water” if you’re looking for it. There aren’t many people/hikers around, so you should have entire areas to yourself. Enjoy the solitude, and get lost in these gorgeous woods.
Look up Viitna-Korts (Viitna restaurant) on Google Maps if you’re looking for a restaurant for lunch in the area (or have lunch in a manor: see below!) This restaurant is housed in a tavern known to have existed in 1802. Laheemaa National Park is full of little villages like Viitna (which has a population of 83 as of 2016). Lonely Planet might recommend you “see” these fishing villages but we suggest you drive by them, and spend more time hiking in the lush woods. The villages themselves have nothing much to see.
Sagadi Manor is located towards the southern border of the Lahemaa National Park. It has a small museum inside, but what really warrants your attention is its beautifully kept gardens. Ever wanted to spend the night in an aristocratic manor? You can spend a night or two at hotel or hostel prices at Sagadi manor!
There are also small shops on the sides of the grounds were you can buy a snack or ice cream and lay out in the sun to relax.
Palmse Manor and Open Air Museum
This is another manor that offers lodging for tourists. Palmse Manor is visited regularly by tours around Estonia as it contains an Open Air Museum on the historical Estonian way of life. That being said, you don’t have to worry about crowds at all; there may be a van or two when you arrive but it’s far from the crowds you’ll find in the south of Europe in the summer! There is a tavern, restaurant, and wine cellar in addition to the Open Air Museum and manor on the grounds. Entrance to the Open Air Museum is free if you spend a night at the manor.
Keila Waterfall (Keila juga)
This is a beautiful waterfall located to the west of Tallinn. There is no hike required to the falls: you can drive right up to the parking lot serving a nearby restaurant and view the falls from two angles, serviced by a beautiful bridge across the river.
The restaurant is basic: meals are heated up from frozen packages. We recommend walking to Schloss Fall nearby to enjoy a meal if you’re hungry.
Keila-Joa Schloss Fall
We rarely say this but Schloss Fall is a must-visit if you’re in the area. This beautiful neo-gothic style manor was built in 1833 and has a beautiful museum, hotel, and restaurant inside.
Have a meal at a manor! The beauty of visiting Estonia is that you can eat like a queen for the price of a regular meal in Finland or Italy!
The manor is ideally located, and we recommend taking a walk around the surrounding woods to see the beautiful cliffs and forest (note that we usually say walk when there is no difficult cardio or elevation involved. Climbing Machu Picchu mountain (Montana) for example was a hike, and not a walk!)
Note that the above 7 locations can easily be visited during a day trip around Tallinn.
Take a bus to beautiful Riga, Latvia, for less than €20, to continue the adventure! Only four and half hours away from Tallinn, Riga is easily accessible via car (if you’re doing a European road trip) or the Ecolines bus company. Riga rivals Tallinn in its architectural beauty, prolific history, and affordability: your guide to Riga is coming soon! (Follow us below to stay updated!)
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