Otepää, Kärdla, and Viljandi are beautiful Estonian cities that await visitors all year round, but they are the most active in the summer (and winter).
Why should you visit Otepää?
Otepää bustles with life in every season - with snow, the city earns the title of winter capital, while in summer it attracts both fishermen and beachgoers with its hilly hiking trails and beautiful lakes.
Did you know that the Estonian flag was blessed and originated in Otepää? Pühajärv has received the Dalai Lama's blessing? Olympic champions and world-famous ski aces train as well as live in Otepää? Otepää is named after a bear's head? You can get to know this and everything else by visiting Otepää. In addition, Otepää has many more mysterious and exciting things to offer.
What to do in the winter capital Otepää?
If you are looking for cultural experiences, it is definitely worth visiting the Otepää Church, the Estonian Flag Museum, and the Winter Sports Museum. At Otepää Central Square, you can get to know the story of Otepää and the Estonian flag and take a picture with the funny Ot.
In addition, in Otepää municipality, it is worth visiting the Sangaste castle and the castle park, as well as the Sangaste rye village. There is also the Hellenurme water mill in the Otepää municipality, which has been working for more than 130 years, so it is definitely an interesting sight.
In the field of entertainment, Otepää can try its skills on the beautiful Otepää golf course and have fun in Otepää pubs. For example, KUUR is open on summer evenings, which is made special by the fact that the entire bar counter, furniture, and furnishings, come either from the hands of kind visitors or from recycling. The place is open during the warm season - from mid-May to mid-October and has quickly become one of the regional attractions.
In summer, going to Pühajärv beach to sunbathe, swim and play is an ideal choice for the family. Pühajärv has uniquely beautiful views, and a Pühajärv park is a pleasant place to walk. The beach has a playground and a cafe where you can buy ice cream or cool drinks on a hot summer day. In addition, there are many playgrounds both on the beach and in the town of Otepää. In winter, you can go ice skating with children at the ice rink in the city center and go tubing and sledding at Otepää Winterplaces.
There are many wonderful restaurants on Otepää, whose terraces you can enjoy the best food and drinks in the summer. Among the restaurants in Pühajärv, it is worth checking out the GMP Pühajärve restaurant, which is included in the White Guide list of the best places to eat in Estonia and has been repeatedly rated as one of the best and most stylish places to eat in Southern Estonia. Ugandi resto is located in the heart of Otepää (Keskväljaku), which is known as a casual restaurant with good food, pleasant service, and a tasteful interior. Pizza Merano is the perfect place for pizza lovers, and Edgari Trahter is perfect for those who enjoy home-cooked meals. But Otepää has several other places to eat - Grill & Pub, Elsa cafe, Munaka Resto, etc.
Otepää has many different options for those who enjoy an active holiday. For example, you can test yourself in the Otepää Adventure Park on the climbing paths and climbing walls built high up in the trees.
Otepää is a very well-known winter sports and skiing town. Fans of downhill skiing should visit Kuutsemäe, the largest downhill skiing center in the Baltics.
In addition, it's worth trying your skills on the beautiful Otepää golf course, or ride a bike, roller skates/ skates, mountain scooter, or simply hike on Otepää's numerous biking and hiking trails. In addition, you can test your courage in the Munaka Bike&Hike park.
In Otepää, it is possible to collect energy at the Otepää Energy Pillar. You can also take a walk, for example, by lake Kääriku and on the hiking trail of former Finnish president Urho Kaleva Kekkos. Besides that, you can climb for example the Harimäe tower and enjoy the beautiful views, walk on Linnamäe or find Armuallika and Emajõe shops up from Otepää.
Why should you visit Hiiumaa and Kärdla?
Hiiumaa is one of the oldest islands in the world - namely, a large number of historical finds have come out that prove life on the island already in ancient times. Since the distances are not very long and the nature is beautiful, it is suitable to get to know the island by hiking or cycling.
Kärdla is the administrative center of Hiiu county and the only town in the county. It is worth visiting Kärdla and Hiiumaa to enjoy the clean and untouched nature, to enjoy the flavors typical of Hiiumaa, and to get to know the sights and old stories and legends. In addition, Hiiumaa has a nice, calm rhythm of life, which is ideal for relaxing.
What to do in Kärdla?
You can find many legendary people, places, and stories in Hiiumaa. By exploring Hiiumaa, you can discover more about local people, language, jokes, stories about pirates, so-called false lighthouses, the Swedes and much more.
In Kärdla, it is worth exploring cultural elements such as the memorial to the Germans who died in World War II, the Kärdla church, Mähle house, the old courthouse, the Long House of the Hiiumaa Museum and the Artesian wells in Kärdla. There are especially many artesian wells on Tiigi and Aia streets, and you can drink crystal clear water from them. In addition, it is worth getting to know the various events of the Kärdla cultural center where you can take part.
In the field of entertainment, you can get to know, for example, the Priiankru pub. It's a homely pub where it's good and peaceful to hang out with friends. In addition, there are several bars in Kärdla where you can relax and enjoy summer evenings (for example, Ararat bar, Rannapaargu bar, Champagne bar, and Kork restaurant, etc.).
There is so much to do in Kärdla with children. For example, you can visit the Kärdla puppet theater or the Hiiumaa cinema. While traveling around Hiiumaa, it's worth going to see the local Eiffel Tower or visiting adveventure park in Käina. However, if you are staying longer in Hiiumaa and want to tour the whole island, it is worth checking out the Tuletorni ring, which is another way to get to know the island.
Thanks to its special Hiiu flavors, Hiiumaa has won the award for the best food tourism destination in the 2015 Undiscovered Treasures of Estonia competition. On the island, you can find flavors characteristic of this region, which are created using locally grown and available raw materials. Of course, the popularity of fish consumption, which has become peculiar to the islands, has also spread in Hiiumaa. Throughout the ages, fish has been the main food of the island people, and it can be prepared here in almost any way.
For swimming in summer, for example, Kärdla and Hausma spots are suitable. The bathing place of Kärdla is low and gentle, and the surface cover is partly grassy, but the seabed is sandy. Hausma bathing place is located a few hundred meters from Kärdla's new marina.
Hiiumaa has untouched nature and beautiful sea views, endless pine forests, and long sandy beaches. This stretch of land in the sea is the place with the most diverse and varied nature in Estonia, which stands out for its wealth of flora and fauna. Thanks to the surrounding sea, the climate of Hiiumaa is slightly different from the mainland - there are more sunny days and less rain.
On summer evenings, it's nice to take a walk along the harbor of Kärdla. In addition, it is possible to walk on the hiking trails of RMK Kärdla - namely, a hiking trail created in the forests of the immediate vicinity of Kärdla, which is suitable both for a leisurely walk and for enjoying nature. Apart from that, it is worth taking a walk in the city and beach parks of Kärdla and enjoying the beautiful nature.
Hiiumaa has a calm and stress-free atmosphere, which quickly takes away every day worries. To enjoy nature, it is suitable to walk on endless forest paths and sandy beaches, enjoy the sound of the wind, clean air, the sound of the sea, and the peace of the forest. Hiiumaa has beautiful and distinctive nature, Estonia's biggest sea waves, and Europe's longest ice road. Here are the highest mountains in Western Estonia, the lowest beaches, and rare localities in the entire Baltic region. This is the region with the largest forest cover in Estonia, where more than half of the area is covered with forest.
Why should you visit Viljandi?
A trip to Viljandi means greenery, the ruins of a powerful fortress, winding cobblestone streets, cozy cafes, and a beautiful lake by which there are tennis courts, playgrounds, a diving tower, and boat rentals.
What to do in Viljandi?
Ugala Theater, Viljandi Cultural Academy, and Kondas Center offer a cultural experience throughout the year. If you go to Mulgimaa, you must also check out the castle ruins and get to know the fascinating legends of the castle hills. In addition, a great art museum is located near the castle ruins.
In addition to Estonia's biggest folk festival, other events take place in Viljandi: an early music festival; a guitar festival; sports events, cycling marathons, and the annual run around Lake Viljandi on May 1st. Near the ruins is the well-known Traditional Music Barn, where you can listen to pleasant concerts and listen to wisdom during seminars and lectures.
There are several nice beaches in Viljandi. Both Viljandi and Paala lakes are suitable for swimming.
In the children's park, located a few minutes walk from the center of Viljandi, the youngest members of the family can play in the sandbox, slide, climb the rope ladder, and swing.
Viljandi has several cafes and restaurants to offer you taste experiences - for example, Fellin cafe, Ormisson restaurant, Suislepa mill cafe, PÄM cafe, Villa Maria cafe-restaurant cocktail bar, etc.
For those who enjoy an active vacation, Viljandi has, for example, an open-air gym, which is a place to exercise in the fresh air with a beautiful lake view. In addition, the Männimäe district has the Viljandi Ice Hall, which offers sports opportunities and pleasant leisure for families and groups of friends. You can also rent paddle boards in Viljandi from Suppy, which is an automatic 24/7 open SUP paddle surfing equipment rental point by Lake Viljandi.
The beach area of the picturesque Viljandi Lake has several ball courts, an outdoor swimming pool, a jumping tower, rowing boat rentals, and a health area with swings, slides, climbing ladders, hanging trees, etc. Some of the attractions are also suitable for adults. While walking along the beach promenade, you can enjoy the views of the lake, except for the Order Castle to the ruins and the wonderful old town of Viljandi.
Otepää, Kärdla, and Viljandi are beautiful Estonian cities that await visitors all year round, but they are the most active in the summer. You can travel alone or with your family, but the experience is definitely the most pleasant when traveling with Lux Express! Namely, with the Lux Express, you can enjoy movies and music throughout the ride and worry about fuel consumption.