Today I’d like to invite you on a virtual journey to one of my favourite countries I’ve visited – Estonia. It’s one of those places where you can keep coming back and find something amazing every time. That’s what I assume. So far I’ve only been there once, last year, right at the end of Christmas break, but I kept imagining how wonderful and how different Estonian landscapes must look when it’s warm and green. No to say that they weren’t beautiful in the winter, because they really were.

In this blog post you can expect some practical information as well as tons of photos of lighthouses, waterfalls, amazing National Parks, a perfectly circular lake created by a meteorite, some windmills, an abandoned prison flooded by a turquoise water and many, many more. Also I’ve got some restaurants recommendations for you as per usual. And a bit of Christmas magic! What you also need to know about Estonia is that they make the best beer I’ve ever tasted in my life. And it has aurora borealis on the bottle just to be even more perfect.



This blog post is part two of my winter Eurotrip diary. In the previous one I gathered all the practical information you might need when travelling by car around Estonia as well as Latvia and Lithuania, which we also visited during the same trip. Also there are mini city guides to Riga and Vilnius so be sure to check this post our HERE if you’re interested.



Guide to Tallinn – atmosphere of Eastern Europe mixed with Scandinavian design

We started off our trip around Estonia In the capital city of Tallinn. We decided to drive as far north as possible and then slowly come back towards Poland. We spent three nights in Tallinn and checked out some cool places not far from the city. Because it was our longest stay during this trip we wanted to book ourselves a pretty and homely apartment. We found one on Airbnb. To be honest, it doesn’t look anything like the photos. The owners moped out along with all their Staff so the place is pretty minimalistic and feels ‘cold’ instead of cozy. But the location is still pretty good and there’s a parking that is not particularly expensive, which was really important for us. One thing that’s pretty cool about this place is a sauna in the bathroom to warm you up after a day in the cold. Also, right next to it is a pretty cool apartment complex. It looks really industrial and has a great atmosphere, plus there are some great shops, restaurants and cafés in there. Our favourite was a café and bakery called Røst where they sell amazing cinnamon buns that you absolutely HAVE TO try.




Tallinn is an interesting place. It is a mix between what we know from Poland, meaning Eastern European style of architecture, and Scandinavian design. There are also cool pastel buildings in the Old Town that would delight Wes Anderson. And which I really enjoyed as well, because they look great on  pictures;) I have not seen so much pink in architecture for a long time. I have to admit that there is a very nice atmosphere which made me think I could even live there. Which was only deepened by Christmas decorations, cute festive market and a huge Christmas tree. We enjoyed walking around cozy streets, decorated with ton of christmas lights, with a cup of cold apple cider in our hands.



Once you walk around the Old Town, look inside inconspicuous gates, where you might find magical backyards, and take a look at the panorama of the city from one of viewing points scattered around the Old Town, be sure to get down to the lower part of the city and check out the area called Telliskivi. On post-industrial grounds you will find studios, art studios, shops, cafes and pubs. Be sure to check out Peatus, a pub, where food is served on a closed train. In the summe some great outdoor events take place here. Right next to it there is an awesome Renard cafe in which there’s also a cool motorcycle shop and a motorcycle workshop. Amazing atmosphere, delicious coffee and a great zucchini cake. Oh, and if by any chance you need a haircut or a beard trim there’s a barber upstairs. Space is not wasted in this Renard.



Lahemaa and Soomaa National Parks – Paradise for drone owners

During our short trip, we managed to visit two national parks, which Estonia is famous for. First, we went to the Lahemaa park, which is closest to Tallinn. We loved the route through the swamps, which runs entirely along narrow wooden piers. Interesting experience when you have to pass someone coming from the other side;) The swamps looked amazing especially because they were ice-covered. It was nice to see it from one of the double-decker panoramic terraces, which are scattered around the park. But they looked even more interesting from a bird’s eye view, or from a drone, to be exact. When you look at the swamps from above, it is not clear whether it is red grass and tiny frozen lakes or pizza covered with salami;) I wouldlove to come back here in the summer to see how the park changes when it is sunny and green.


Lahemaa National Park is a huge area, so after we checked out the swamps we drove north, next to the sea, to see the giant postglacial boulders scattered on the shore. There we’ve seen the first lighthouse on this trip. This one is called Juminda and it is so interesting because… it stands in a forest surrounded by trees, not on the very shore. Because of that, there is a one of a kind post-apocalyptic atmospehere there. We ended this day with a delicious dinner overlooking Finland in the Viinistu restaurant at the end of the world. The fish soup was the best thing ever. And beef was probably even better. I definitely recommend it if you wish to try good local food. However, I must admit that dining in pubs is quite expensive in Estonia, which is why we mainly cooked ourselves.


On our way back to Poland we check out the second big National Park called Soomaa. Although we’ve not spent as much time there as in Lahemaa. We only walked for a few kilometers on a path very similar to the one in Lahemaa Park, and then we went to Lithuania. That was mostly because we did not have the strength for longer trips, as it was the morning of January 1. We spent the New Year’s Eve in a cozy Airbnb in Pärnu city, located not far from the park. We did not go crazy, but we didn’t sleep much either. I can not say much about Pärnu itself, because we only drove around in a car, and around midnight we went to the beach to welcome the new year by watching fireworks by the sea.



Doing something slightly illegal in the coolest spot on the planet

One of the coolest days of the trip was when we moved from Tallinn to the largest Estonian island – Saaremaa. We had the ferry booked for a late afternoon (more on this in the general road guide) which gave us a few hours of light to work with. Oh, this is another thing to mention. Somehow we did not think that Estonia is in the north. Not as much in the north as Spitsbergen which we visited few months before, but still.  And that means that the day is significantly shorter. The nice thing is that you do not have to get up at dawn to take photos with the best light, because the sun rises at 9, but the bad thing is that it sets at 3 p.m so it doesn’t give you much time to visit multiple places in daylight. That day we calculated everything so that during the day we could include 3 attractions scattered across North-east part of Estonia. We started off with the orange Pakri lighthouse in Paldiski. Here, again, I have to mention Wes Anderson, who does not even know that he is a permanent element on this blog (he accompanied us in Vienna as well), but “Moonrise Kingdom” automatically comes to mind when looking at that Lighthouse. I believe he would appreciate the intense orange of the building on the perfectly background of sky and sea. Despite the strong freezing cold wind, we were able to fly the drone over the lantern and cliffs for a while.



But the most important part of the day was visiting a spot that’s actually slightly illegal, but you cannot skip it when planning your trip! The place I’m talking about is the abandoned prison called Rummu karjäär located in a quarry and flooded by a perfectly turquoise water that you wouldn’t be able to find even in the Maldives. My friend Maria decided that it’s the best place she had ever visited in her life. The whole thing is surrounded by a wall and fenced, although most of the fence is completely destroyed, so entering the area of the former prison is not a problem. In the middle of the quarry there is a lake. From the drone the view of the concrete remains in such intense blue water is totally mindblowing! And the remains of the buildings on the bank are used as a contemporary art gallery, covered with colorful graffiti from top to  bottom. In summer, the locals are swimming here and sunbathing, so don’t be afraid to get throught the fence and walk around this amazing place. I definitely recommend it!



Saaremaa – A magical island

On our way to the island, we made one more stop to check out Keila waterfall, but I’ll write more about it in the next paragraph. Now let’s focus on the island. The whole thing is covered with forests and looks magical when driving throught the narrow paths. We thought that it would be great to come here in summer for a bicycle tour. The biggest town is Kuressaare, where we managed to catch an overnight stay in a guesthouse that looked like a place where temporary workers stay. These are not perfect conditions. We managed, because we visited out of season and were alone in there, but in summer, when there are more people, one bathroom for 10 people can be a significant problem.

What you should know when planning a winter trip to Estonia is that in winter there is almost no tourist traffic here, so most of Airbnbs are not opemn for business, and there are generally few hotels and hostels. The majority of the accommodation base on the island comprise of camping spots and summer cottages. The fact that we visited during the holiday period was an additional problem. We managed to find one nice house (now it is not on offer so I can’t link to it), but unfortunately the owners had to refuse us because friends came to see them on New Year’s Eve.


Kuressaare is a small town where there is not much to do. We arrived in the evening, so we went for a walk through the streets decorated with Christmas lights and we sat down at Cafe Mosaic to have dinner. Here’s a hint I have for you: the day before New Year’s Eve people generally have nothing to do, so they roam around the pubs. So I highly recommend you doing an online research of the restaurants beforehand and booking a table. The food in Cafe Mosaic is home cooked and very good so you might want to check it out. Again, we went for the local ingredients and ordered fish soup (it was not as good as Viinistu but still decent), we tried meat and fish as well. All right, we also ordered a burger, so that’s how ‘autenthically local’ our dinner was ;). Before bedtime we visited one more place. We went to Castello restaurant, but not for food, only for local beer.



In the morning we set off on a proper island adventure. We started off with… another lighthouse of course! The Sõrve lighthouse is located in the village of Sääre, on the most southern part of the island. In the gloomy gray morning it looked magical! Unfortunately, there was no way to fligt a drone, because the wind was seriously strong, and I could imagine defenseless little drones being thrown into the sea. When the lighthouse was first built  it was even farther south, at the very end of the headland, but it turned out to not be such a great idea as it was flooded all the time, so it was moved to the mainland. It is possible to walk to the very end of the headland and take a look at the lighthouse, while you’re there you can also test whether your shoes are waterproof;) I definitely recommend visiting this place. 


Next on our list was the Kaali crater, which was created after the impact of the meteorite. There is now a perfectly round lake, that you can walk around on wooden platforms. This crater is the most impressive, but there are eight smaller ones in the area, which were made by debris. I have to admit that it does not look particularly impressive from normal perspective, because you cannot see the shape, but from the drone it’s amazing! A frozen dark blue lake in the middle of the trees looks great from above. Either way, you don’t need to plan much time for this attraction.

We finished our stay on the island in the museum of windmills, which… turned out to be closed on New Year’s Eve. However, the owners who live there, left the gate open, so we managed to look a little bit (along with a group of 40 Russians). If I’m being honest, it’s not a very interesting place. Again, it looked better from the perspective of the drone so checking it out didn’t take us too much time either. Then we drove back to the ferry and than to the city of Pärnu to get our grocery and alcohol (essential!) shopping done before they closed the shops on the New Year’s eve.



Was anything wrong with this trip?

Well, not really. Estonia is beautiful. The only thing we were not as impressed by were the waterfalls. We visited two of them – Jägala located not far from Tallinn, and Keila which we visited on our way to Saaremaa island. They’re neither tall, nor big. They’re just not that impressive. They’re not located in picturesque spots either. Maybe that’s because of the gray atmosphere of the winter, but I’d skip them if I were you.It’s better to spend your limited time in Estonia in more interesting places.



We only failed at one mission – to see aurora borealis. There were good conditions a few days before our visit and I’ve seen some amazing photos on the Instagram, but unfortunatelly we were not so lucky. That’s why the next thing we have to do is to plan a trip even more up North. Maybe not as far as Spitsbergen, as we’ve already been there, but I’d love to visit Finland and Iceland to see the magic lights.



As usual there’s some more photos in our PORTFOLIO, so be sure to check it out as well. Altough in this blog post there’s some pictures taken by Zbiegu who’s to lazy to add his portion into the portfolio. Be sure to nag him about it, maybe he’ll finally do it.

I highly recommend going on a trip to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. All of the countries are pretty great and I completely fell in love with Estonia. To make planning a trip easier for you I’m attaching a map of all the places we visited along with a daily itinerary.

  1. Warsaw – Riga
  2. Riga – Saulkrasti beach – Tallinn
  3. Tallinn
  4. Jägala waterfall – Lahemaa National Park – Juminda lighthouse – Viinistu restaurant
  5. Pakri lighthouse – Rummu karjäär prison – Keila waterfall – Kuressaare town on Saaremaa island
  6. Saaremaa: Sõrve lighthouse – Kaali crater – Angla windmill museum- Parnu
  7. Parnu – Soomaa National Park – Vilnius
  8. Vilnius – Warsaw