Often I have only been lucky enough to hit one, maybe two major cities in a country that I have visited. While seeing some of the most famous and beautiful cities and sites is amazing, sometimes it leaves you feeling as if you don’t really know a country– you have seen only a piece of it. For this reason, on my second day in Estonia I chose to get outside the city and see a bit more of the country. The Baltics aren’t big, and originally I had hoped to spend a bit longer exploring them more thoroughly; unfortunately because of flights that didn’t work out, but thanks to a tour that my hostel advertised I was able to get off the beaten track a bit in Estonia.
One major recommendation: even in summer, it can be chilly in Estonia. And rainy. So pack smart. We headed out bright and early and piled into a van– I didn’t know any of the other people on the tour but they were nice enough. Our first stop (other than for gas) was to see these ancient burial sites. Fun fact: they used to be on the other side of the highway. The Soviets moved them when they built the highway from Estonia to Russia. However, it is believed that there are many more that were paved over.We headed next to another quick stop, an old abandoned house.
And then headed to stop at a beautiful waterfall– the biggest in Estonia. Remember… it’s a small country!
From the waterfall we continued on to what was, for me, the highlight of the day, a bog walk in the Lahemaa National Park in Estonia. I had double checked with my hostel, but was all set in my flats; I was assured that hiking boots were not needed. Still… plan for the unanticipated, I say. I wore my swimsuit under my clothes and carried my umbrella and a change of clothes and flip flops with me just in case. We entered the park, and it was like entering another world; I definitely wasn’t in the city anymore.
It being a chilly, rainy day the paths were mostly deserted, making the forest all the more beautiful. There really aren’t words to describe it, so I think for the most part I will let the pictures speak for themselves.
At one point we were able to climb a lookout and get amazing views of the bog we were trekking around.
You can see the path winding through the bog above. It was really cloudy, but I focused some of the pictures on the ground so they would be brighter. It rained off and on throughout our walk, but never too badly.
It was both serene and stunning, a perfect way to spend a late morning in Estonia. We grabbed lunch afterwards and then our guide took us further to the coast, where we were able to walk along the coastline, in the water and enjoy what was likely the furthest north most of us had ever been.
You can walk from the shore to this first small island, and then to the further one that you can see in the distance. The rocks were painful on bare feet so I opted to stay at the first and relax.
Exploring further afield in Estonia was a great reminder of how many things a place has to offer. There are so many places I have been that are amazing, but hardly a representation of the country they represent. When possible, take the time to get a bit further away from the hustle and bustle. You won’t regret it.