Estonia is the natural choice for nature lovers; kick-start your relaxing break in Tallinn…
The charming capital boasts some of the cleanest air in the world, making it a haven for those looking to recharge whilst remaining in the city.
After visiting nearby museums, including KUMU (the Estonian Art Museum), enjoy a stroll around Swan Pond and the promenade leading to the President’s palace. Those fond of flowers will love the Tallinn Botanic Garden, which showcases the highest number of plant species in Estonia. Tree lined Toompark is worth a spot on your itinerary, as is the Danish King’s Garden, where according to a legend, the oldest flag in the world was born (the Danish flag). If you prefer the sights and sounds of the river, a leisurely cycle from the old town to pretty Pirita Marina should also feature on your list.
If you’re craving that feeling of sand between your toes, take a trip to Stroomi beach, located in northern Tallinn. The sandy stretch is the perfect place for a picnic or barbecue with friends whilst throwing a frisbee as the sun goes down… Tallinn has it all.
If a park isn’t wild enough and you want to delve deeper into nature, Pääsküla Bog (don’t let the name put you off!) could be your paradise. In this giant expanse of beautiful marshland, (4.5 km to be exact), you will encounter endemic birds, plants and animal species as you meander along the myriad boardwalk trails. Lahemaa National park also boasts incredible stony and sandy seashores, picturesque bogs, pine and cliff forests, rivers that cut into the limestone cliffs and rocks left over from the Ice Age… perfect for hiking trips and nature watching. It is also home to many impressive manor houses, Vihula and Sagadi to name a few.
If you are after some spa-time, and like to embrace local traditions, head to one of Estonia’s spas. GoSpa, situated on the island of Saaremaa, is the perfect place to unwind. They offer what’s known as “KENA” treatments (translated roughly to “lovely treatments”), which include massages with various oils and herbs, honey and herb body wraps, juniper treatments, sea sand peels and much more. You are guaranteed to feel very “kena” after a day here. For a more traditional experience, head to Kalma Sauna, the first public sauna to be built in Tallinn back in 1928. With a birch branch, towel and mat in hand, you’ll be ready to embrace the natural, health-giving benefits of the heat.
Want to escape the city? Tallinn is the perfect launch-pad from which to indulge your adventurous side and explore the rest of Estonia. Under an hour’s drive away is one of Europe’s most important forest preserves: Lahemaa National Park. Wander through 725 sq km of unspoiled rural Estonia and in summer, sunbathe beside the salmon filled lakes and hike through the forest. Keep an eye out for some of the 222 bird species, wild boar, moose, lynx and fox, who dwell among the hinterland. Summer time visit not on the agenda? Don’t worry, winter is just as magical with frozen lakes and twinkling trees.