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One of the highlights of our awe-inspiring Baltic cruises is undoubtedly Estonia. It may be most famous for the fairy tale skylines of UNESCO-listed Tallinn, but we reckon it deserves just as much recognition for its epic landscapes.
Swathes of thick forest, undulating mountains and placid lakes provide plenty of opportunities for getting lost in the wilderness and staying active on your cruise. Here are some of our favourite ways to find both adrenaline and adventure in Estonia.
Fancy getting out on the water? You’re in luck in Estonia, which is full of rivers and lakes in which to try your hand at paddle-boarding, kayaking and more. One of our favourite ways to get our adrenaline fix is by rafting on the Jägala River. The best time to pick up your oars is in spring, when the winter ice melts, creating the perfect conditions. Paddle your way through thrilling rapids and tight turns, then warm up afterwards with an hour in the sauna. Bliss.
Estonia is also home to over 2000 islands, and there’s no better way to explore them by getting out on a kayak. The Hiiumaa Islets have short distances and low sea levels between them, making for easy and peaceful paddling.
For those who like to keep their adventures on land, try hiking in Estonia’s sprawling national parks and mountain ranges. The varied scenery means no hike is the same. We’d start in Lahemaa National Park, which comprises countless meandering trails through bogs and forests, as well as (rather unexpectedly) historic manors like the Palmse Manor-Air Museum and Sagadi Mõis.
Next up is the dramatic topology of Taevaskoja, where sheer sandstone cliffs arch out of the river, reaching up to 38m. This is a place suffused with myth and legend – don’t miss the Witch’s Stone (Nõiakivi), which is said to be a spy who was turned into a rock centuries ago. Cool off by paddling in the Ahja River or hiring a canoe.
Estonia lends itself perfectly to cycling trips, thanks to its quiet roads, short distances between towns and spectacular scenery. One of the most famous routes is the Eurovelo, which runs from the Latvian border, past Tallinn and to the border of Russia. If you’re not feeling quite that energetic, opt for a shorter route in northern or western Estonia, where flatlands make for easy travelling.
Adrenaline junkies should opt for mountain biking in Jõulumäe, a sports centre surrounded by scenic pine forests and hills. There are plenty of heart-racing mountain biking tracks to try, as well as opportunities to go rollerblading, running or even sleighing – every Shrove Tuesday, the longest downhill sleigh ride in Pärnu takes place here.
Visiting Estonia in the winter? There are still plenty of ways to keep fit and get that adrenaline pumping. Cross country skiing is particularly popular in Estonia, and is best enjoyed in the south of the country where gently rolling hills will provide a challenge and treat you to sweeping vistas over the surrounding countryside. If you prefer downhill skiing, head to Väike-Munamäe to find a variety of runs for novices and ski bunnies alike.
Did you know that you can also go skiing and snowboarding without even having to leave Tallinn? Snow falls everywhere in Estonia in the winter months, and the locals make the most of it with small slopes in the city centre. Ideal for beginners.
When it comes to ziplining, there’s one place in Estonia that you simply can’t miss: Kiviõli Activity Centre, which offers the longest zipline in the country. Running for a total of 600m, you’ll reach speeds of up to 80km/h, with views ranging from wide open fields to thick forest.
There’s plenty more to do here as well, including electric boat rides, tubing, disc golf and a range of buggy trails. Kids will love the ‘mining’ with real excavators, while a range of bike tracks can also be explored with rollerblades or skateboards.
Whether you fancy hiking in the mountains or zooming high over the treetops, join us on an exploration of all Estonia has to offer. Browse our Northern European Cruises now.
Taking seagoing holidays to new heights with exclusive culinary, wellness and entertainment offerings, starting April 2020 on Celebrity Apex℠.
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