iTinerary: An Estonian Road Trip

iTinerary: An Estonian Road Trip

Estonia is a country in Northern Europe. As one of the Baltic countries, it flanks the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland. Formerly part of the Soviet Union, it boasts walled medieval towns with castles and churches. Boutique hotels and restaurants have moved into some of the old town’s historic structures, giving travelers feeling of having stepped back into time. Tallinn, the capital city is known for its picturesque Old Town and the Tallinn TV Tower. Pärnu, with its beautiful beaches, and Kihnu– the island of culture and a UNESCO Heritage area. Add on Tartu– Estonia’s college town, and this iTinerary makes for an exciting road trip adventure.

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Day 1

You must be hungry?

Dinner at Rataskaevu 16

Set in the old town, a beautiful restaurant featuring Estonian classics with a twist, such as the fried Baltic herring fillets pearl onions, fresh salad, roasted breadcrumbs, cottage cheese sauce. Everything is delicious here, including the dark rye Estonian bread!

Check into:

Check into: The Three Sisters hotel

Day 2

You must be hungry

Breakfast at Bordoo restaurant in the Three Sisters Hotel (inclusive w room night)

Eggs, yogurts, fresh breads and pastries for the win!

Lunch at Reval Cafe in the Kalamaja District

An area known as the Fish House District, its now a hipster spot filled with shops, coffee houses and Reval Cafe. Don’t miss their handmade pierogis!

Dinner at Restoran Ö

This contemporary restaurant is all about tasting menus. For $59.00 euro, the menu highlights Estonian recipes elevated, such as the Pike perch, cauliflower in whey sauce, or the Lamb, parsley root, wild apple.

Do it!

Book a Guided tour of Kadriorg Palace (morning)

Kadriorg Palace was built for Catherine I of Russia by Peter the Great in Tallinn, Estonia. Beautiful gardens surround the main structure, complete with fountains and in a park-like setting.

Then head over to the Tallinn TV Tower for views, views, views! The top of the tower boasts a place to grab a coffee and snack. Adventurous types will love the Walk On The Edge experience, where guests walk on the rim of the tower some 1000 feet above the ground.

Head over to the Kalamaja District— a former Fish House area turned hipster locale featuring boutiques, restaurants and coffee houses. Stroll around and check out the street art, browse the many shops, and stop here for lunch at Reval Cafe.

Day 3

You must be hungry?

Lunch at Hea Maa

Tucked off a main street in town, sits a beautiful building turned delicious dining establishment. Fresh, local and organic is of the utmost importance here, and the quality and tastes says it all.

Dinner at Raimond

Restaurant Raimond is located in the historic Pärnu Mud Baths building at Pärnu beach and it is a part of the Hedon Spa complex. The restaurant faces the sea with an open-aired terrace open during the summer months.

Raimond’s cuisine is inspired by clean Nordic flavors, and prepared with locally sourced produce grown in the surrounding area. If you are into freshest of fish, this is an excellent option from their menu.

Do it!

Road Trip it

Drive the hour and a half road trip to Pärnu–Estonia’s fourth largest city.

Ghost Tour

Tour the medieval old town with Parnu Ghost Tours— part kitsch, part historical.

SPA-ah!

Choose from a bevy of treatments from the Hedon Spa– a modern boutique spa in a historical building, where mud baths reigned supreme. Treatments range from hot stone massages, scrubs and focuses on overall balance of the senses.

Check into:

The Hedon Spa & Hotel

Day 4

You must be hungry?

With Kihnu Island being just 6 square miles, eating here is something of a hit or miss depending on season. Bring a packed lunch and eat beachside, or stop into Kihnu’s convenience store in the middle of “town” and grab pastries to go.

Ferry it back to the Mainland?

Overnight on the island is mostly camping options and some guest houses that book up quickly. A better bet is to head back to the mainland and drive a couple of hours to Tartu– a university town with restaurants, hotels and shopping.

You must be hungry?

Dinner at Chez Andre

A melding of classical and nouvelle cuisine. Don’t miss: Pistachio mushrooms à la Andrè, the Mojito Salad with Beetroot and Mozzarella and the Salmon fillet, Lobster and Truffle Sauce, Strawberry Vinaigrette.

Do it!

Road Trip it!

Rise and Shine! It’s an early departure to Munalaid seaport. A drive time of a little over an hour takes travelers to the car ferry to Kihnu–in 2003 the island was included by UNESCO in the list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Another 40 minutes on the ferry to the landing dock of Kihnu.

Tour:

The island is just over 6 square miles and is the largest isle in the Gulf of Riga. There are four villages: Lemsi Village, Linaküla Village, Rootsiküla Village, and Sääre Village. Spend a few hours and take a self-guided tour of Kihnu’s museum, the Orthodox Church, lighthouse, and Kurase cultural center. Inquire ahead of time about cultural performances held by the matriarchs of the island.

Check into:

Check into the modern style Hotel Lydia.

Day 5

You must be hungry?

Breakfast at Restoran Hõlm

Inside the Lydia Hotel. Offers a vast breakfast buffet, complete with eggs, hot dishes and pastries.

Lunch at Restaurant Aparaat

Choose from their à la carte menu. The restaurant is located in Aparaaditehas (Apparatus Factory). The same building also houses a bakery of Muhu bread and the Estonian Printing Museum.

Dinner at Umb Roht

Across from Hotel Lydia, hidden in a quaint courtyard, this restaurant offers a cozy atmosphere with great food. Try the lamb w creamed beets, the fish soup with quail egg and potatoes, and their curd cake balls with raspberry jam.

Do it!

Take the morning to tour of Estonia’s National University at Tartu. The beautiful Tartu University’s campus boasts the ruins of Cathedral of Tartu.  St. John’s Church, KGB Cells Museum and a visit to the jaw-dropping Estonian National Museum are must sees.

Aparaaditehas Creative City During Soviet times, this old manufacturing complex, made refrigerators, secret parts for submarines, as well as non-functioning umbrellas and zippers for throwing everyone off the scent of what was really going on. Since 2014, the complex has been turned into a “cultural factory” for creative entrepreneurs, art studios, design studios, and entertainment. Don’t miss: The Printing and Paper Museum, where guests can use the presses to create specialty notebooks. (Great souvenirs).

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