Beautiful, cozy, woven from thousands of islands, Estonia is a great destination for traveling in all seasons, but visiting Estonia in the wintertime is really an amazing experience. Covered with snow sweet cities, frozen waterfalls, fabulous winter forests are full of magic and holiday spirit.
So, let’s see why travel to Estonia should be on your winter bucket list and what experiences you can have while traveling to Estonia.
Estonia is a north country, with snowy cold winters, and the temperature that can fall to minus 20°C. It makes Estonia a great destination for people who like winter sports, active leisure, and nature walks. If you like skating, ice-skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snow tubing, and all the fun winter activities, this country will meet all your expectations.
In winter, Tallinn remains the most popular tourist destination in Estonia. What a pleasure it is to wander around its snowy medieval streets, to marvel at the beauty of charming architecture, and to enjoy local cuisine at cozy cafes and restaurants.
The most well-known winter event in Tallinn is the Christmas Market, which usually starts in the middle of November and lasts till the 7th of January. It takes place in the heart of the city, at Town Hall Square, around the Christmas Tree. The market is considered as one of the best in Europe, not only for a huge number of souvenirs and goods you can buy here but also for the special Christmas spirit and magical atmosphere that fulfill the city. You’ll find hear a great variety of sweet, local food, handicrafts, Christmas angels, products from wool and wood that you can buy and take a piece of Estonia with you. Every year the market offers an exciting entertainment program with workshops, concerts, dancing, singing, and meeting with Jõuluvana (name of local Santa Claus).
Tallinn is an excellent destination for winter sports lovers. The fan of ice-skating will appreciate the most famous open-air ice-rink placed on the Harju street, close to Town Hall Square. You can enjoy beautiful historical surroundings and have a great time on the ice-rink. Another popular place for ice skate in Tallinn is an ice rink in Pirita Sports Center, which is considered as the largest in the city, and Homme Sports Center. You’ll find at least one ice-rink in every Tallinn district, or you can take a short trip for skating on a nearby lake. At the ice-rinks, you can rent a pair of skates and all the necessary equipment. The entrance fee is usually required, however, it’s not high.
Estonia boasts a great number of ski resorts, the most popular of which are Tehvandi, Kütiorg, Kiviõli, etc. But you can enjoy skiing even in the capital of the country.
Tallinn Nõmme Snow Park is the biggest mountain sports training center in Estonia and a great place for skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snow tubing and all the fun winter activities. The park has three different skiing slopes for both amateurs and professionals; all the slopes are equipped with lifts. The park offers a variety of services, including equipment rental, ski and snowboard instructors, etc.
For skiing in Tallinn, you can also visit Pirita Health Trail, or travel about 20 minutes far from the capital to Vimka Hill Park and enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing with your family and friends.
At most ski resorts you’ll find cross-country trails and can combine cross-country skiing and alpine skiing. The length of the cross-country tracks varies from 2 – 3 to 30 – 40 kilometers; some of them are covered not only with real but also with artificial snow and have lighting which every tourist can switch on. Usually, ski trails run through snowy forests, marshes, in the wild nature, where you can often see wild animals.
Except for traditional skating, skiing, and snowboarding you can try something very special like husky dog-sled ride or kick-sledging.
There are two Husky parks where you can experience the dog-sled ride, both are placed in the scenic countryside not far from Tallinn. You should book a tour in advance, and the organizers will arrange the transfer. It’s a lovely way to enjoy the beautiful Estonian nature, to spend time among friendly dogs, and to have the greatest fun ever, traveling throughout snowy landscapes.
One more traditional Estonian sport is a kick-sledging. For this activity used a special type of sledge that looks like a combination of sledge and ski; one person sits on the sledge and another person should stand behind with one foot and kick with the free foot to make the sledge move. It was used as a means of transportation but nowadays it’s a fun winter sport.
It may seem that lakes and waterfalls are better destinations for summer trips. But once you see a frozen waterfall, you will change your mind. Jägala Waterfall is the must-visit Estonian attraction, placed about 30 kilometers far from Tallinn. The waterfall is one of the largest in Estonia, its width is about 50 meters. Sometimes the waterfall freezes completely and turns into a wall of ice, behind which tourists can walk and take photos. Spectacular views of this frozen natural wonder will become an unforgettable experience for everyone.
Many tourists come to Estonia in winter to ride along its unique ice-roads, laid on the frozen Baltic Sea. The ice roads are usually built to connect the main Estonian islands, so there are up to 7 official ice-roads. The route between the island of Hiiumaa and the mainland is the longest ice road in the Baltics and in Europe, with a length of 25 kilometers. It’s worth to mention that the ice-roads are safe, not a single car fell through the ice, but all the drivers should follow some safety rules.
The list of travel experiences that you can have in Estonia goes on. Miracles await you in ancient Tartu, Pärnu, at Saaremaa island and other places. Without a doubt, a winter trip to Estonia will charge you with positive energy for the whole year.