Hiking in Taevaskoja
Our latest hiking adventure took us to Southern Estonia.This time it was beautiful Taevaskoja, located in Põlva County, also known as a film set of perhaps the most famous Estonian movie of all times – „The Last Relic“.
Right in the middle of this amazing place flows Ahja River, known for it’s outcrops of Devonian sandstone. This whole area is an ideal place for summer fun activities, such as hiking, canoeing and camping.
How to get there
Getting to Taevaskoja is easy by both car and public transport. You can expect to find large parking lot right at the beginning of the hiking trails. Local train stop is 2,5km away from trails, which is roughly 30 min walk. Regular trains from Tartu arrive and depart multiple times per day.
Once you arrive at the parking lot, you can choose between longer and shorter routes. Most of famous film locations are on the shorter trek, which is around 3 km long. The trail is well marked and maintained. It’s a pleasant walk, rather than a real hike.
The longer route goes all the way to Kiidjärve Visitor center. Total length of this route is around 11km. You have a possibility to walk on one side of the river on your way up and on the other side on your way down. Once again, the trail is well marked and easy to follow.
Kiidjärve Visitor center
We were surprised to find the Kiidjärve visitor Center being open on Saturday. It’s well worth having a look inside. Friendly personnel can tell you a lot about local wildlife, you can see stuffed animals and birds that live in this area, learn about local life and buy souvenirs.
What to pack
Pack light, even for the longer route. You should bring enough water, good hiking boots or sneakers, mosquito repellent is also a good idea. I would also suggest bringing a light snack, as there will be many good spots for rest.
Difficulty of the trail
The trail is by no means difficult. However, be prepared for a lot of ups and downs. The longer option may seem endless, but it’s well worth it. By the end of the trail my feet were sore, but it’s probably due to inadequate shoes. All in all, I suggest planning enough time for this trek – at least 4-5 hours.
The views on the way are amazing – you will be walking by the water line of Ahja river and then go up around 30m and see the same thing from above. It’s incredible and very picturesque. The trek reminded me of Lake Pühajärv hike.
Other things to do in Taevaskoja
If you have a little time and looking to do something different than just walking, consider booking a canoe safari. From my own experience I can tell you it’s amazing way to explore any area! There are plenty of companies offering them, you can even join scheduled trips. Other popular activities include scooter hikes, fatbike hikes, sauna and grilling events etc.
Where to stay
Taevaskoja Holiday Center is one of the best options to stay overnight in the area, offering accommodation for families, couples and groups. If you are traveling by car, you may find good SPA hotels in Võru, Pühajärve and around Tartu. For budget option, consider staying in home accommodation of AirBnB in Tartu and come to Taevaskoja by train.
Have you been to Taevaskoja and/or Southern Estonia? What is your favorite hiking trail there?