Estonia is no different – except that our towns are small and green anyway. But there is still so much to explore! On a hot July Saturday morning we packed our bags and headed off to the East – with no big plans. Our route was going to look like this: Tuhamagi (famous adventure center in Kiviõli), Narva fortress, lake Peipus (Peipsi). Here is how it looked on the map:
Now this place is fantastic at any time of the year! First snow usually attracts skiers and snowboarders – that’s why the park was constructed in the first place. Sadly, Estonia has no mountains – the highest peak is just above 300m. So for those who enjoy the slopes there isn’t much choice where to go. Kiviõli winter park is a nice and modern park with lifts, restaurant, ski/snowboard rent etc. There is even a small hostel! Great place for winter fun! This is me skiing in February 2016:
Summer in Tuhamägi
Winter is short and the slopes would otherwise just stay useless, unless there is a fun way to have them running. And there is one – they are called mountain cars. These cool little machines don’t have any engines, just breaks. The lift pulls you up to the top just like in winter – then you start your way down on a curvy road, just by using the breaks! It’s super fun, you get to drift, control the car and feel like the champion! First round is always careful, but then you realize you have to let go of the break and enjoy the rush!
Town of Narva is famous mostly due to it’s location – the Estonian-Russian border. Not many people really go there. But every time we cross the border, it’s hard not to notice a huge fortress – two of them actually, on the both sides of the river. One is on the Russian side, another one on the Estonian side. The fortress is over 700 years old and has been renovated lately. There is a museum dedicated to the history of Narva and the border patrol. In the yard of the fortress you may find handicraft for sale.
Right outside the fortress and near the border point you can enjoy a tasty meal at the Old Trafford Restaurant. Loved their salad! For hot summer months they offer outside service at the open terrace. The prices are OK, just like in Tallinn, but you may have difficult time finding anything better in Narva.
It was time to move on and head south. We made a quick stop at Fama shopping center to buy some food for the road and the evening and started our way towards the lake. The heat was unbearable, thank God for the AC! On our way there was a chance to visit Narva-Jõesuu – famous seaside resort, but we decided to skip it to save time. The distance to the lake was around 1,5 hours, but we made numerous stops on the way. One of the stops was at Pühtitsa Convert -famous women’s monastery
For overnight we picked Vaino Turismitalu – cozy little hostel-like accommodation right on the Peipus lake shore. The price was only 30 EUR and we booked it on Booking.com. The hosts are amazing and welcoming. They offered us a grill and organized table and chairs on the lake side. The evening was lovely – very warm and the view was stunning! On our way we bought some smoked fish. There are tons of stalls along the road selling smoked fish near Peipsi lake, and I definately recommend buying it! We tried bream (estonian – “latikas”) and whitefish (“rääbis”) and loved both.
View from our room:
Eating smoked fish by the lake
On the next morning we headed West to our final point of interest – Alatskivi castle. Painted in white, it looks much like a castle from a fairy tale! Newly renovated, it’s a museum dedicated to one of the most famous it’s owners – Estonian composer Eduard Tubin. Although it’s rather small, it’s still worth a visit. The castle and the park are well looked after.
After visiting the castle it started to rain and we decided to call it a day, grabbed some coffee for the road and headed back to Tallinn. It was a short, yet very satisfying little trip that showed us how little we actually know about our own country! We are certainly coming back again!
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