Tuhala Witch's Well
Have you got any idea what could be Estonian Wonder of the Year 2012? Yes, you probably guessed it... Tuhala Witch's Well.
It's situated in Harju County, about 40 kms outside Tallinn along Tartu road.
The well is situated in a small village on our largest karst area (188 ha) and in addition to the well there are ancient settlements, underground rivers, sacred groves, etc.
For most of the year this is just a regular well - only around 2.5 meters deep. What you don't see is that it's placed just above an underground river. After heavy rains and also when the snow is melting the river is flooded and the well starts to "boil over". According to what I've read, up to 100 liters of water can come out in a second then.
The legend says that the witches come together in the underground sauna and start to beat each other with birch twigs (Yeah, that's what we, Estonians, like to do too in our regular saunas:-))
When the well starts to "boil" it's usually announced in the press and the flow of tourists to see this wonder is great. There is one minus here though... it cannot be planned! No one knows exactly when the witches decide to have their sauna- but the place is worth seeing even without this event.
Some time ago there were plans to start mining in the area, but this received lots of opposition from the local people. By now the threat seems to have if not disappeared, then definitely become less.Related to:
Visit an island! Saaremaa
There are over 1500 islands in Estonia. True, only few of them are such where people live all the year round, but even among these better known islands like Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Muhu, Vormsi, Aegna, Naissaare, Kihnu, Ruhnu there is lots to choose and see.
If you are after something really exotic... Kihnu and Ruhnu should be your choice! They are a bit harder to get to, but still accessible.
Saaremaa is probably the most famous of the islands (and biggest too).
During the Soviet occupation even Estonian citizens couldn't freely travel to the island. You needed to have an invitation from someone living on the island....So it was like a country inside a country.
These days you just have to buy a ferry ticket and go.
The island has been very popular among Finns and Latvians and the former have bought a considerable amount of real estate on the island.
As for things to do....many! Did you know that there is a meteorite crater lake called Kaali about 20 kms from the main town of the island, Kuressaare? Nearby you can find a meteoritics and limestone museum and a nice restaurant/pub.
The bishop castle of Kuressaare dating back to the 14th century is another landmark of the island.
However, the island is mostly famous for its intact nature and kind local people. There are many sandy beaches there, some such which are frequented by locals mostly, so- no crowd at all... There are forests and JUNIPERS... Souvenirs made from these coniferous plants are something as typically Estonian...and what a smell!!!
The island is ideally suited for those interested in sailing or fishing or visiting a spa. There are numerous excellent spas on the island.Related to:
- Sailing and Boating
- Spa and Resort
A few days in Tallinn
We hired a car with driver and traveled from Latvia across country to Estonia. We actually flew into Lithuania previous to this. Lots to see going that way. We enjoyed a stop in the seaside town of Parnu .Not many holiday makers when we were there(April) We loved the "old town" of Tallinn with its spires and turrets and cobblestone streets.We were told the best bar in town was Clazz but we did not get there. For some local pub grubb try Hell Hunt in the old town.
We actually stayed in Radisson SAS Tallinn and right at the very top was a great eating place with spectacular views of the city and the port.
We had been advised to stay away from the trains in the Baltic States. We were actually going on to St Petersburg so it was a ferry to Helsinki form Tallinn Harbour and that was a great trip . But you do need to check your ferry carefully.
Things to see and do from locals
Some thoughts on what to see and do in response to a forum question. The tips come from an Estonian couple
Estonia is very nice small country and have lot of attractive thing to tourists.
We could suggest for tourists following things
First suggestion is Tallinn Old City and Estonian Song and Dance Festival.
Lot of Natural attractions (specially north estonia) :
Lahemaa national park
Cliff-lined coast (Pakri, Rannamõisa, Türisalu, Saka-Ontika-Toila)
Ida-Viru Mining Hills (Kiviõli) -
Swamps (Suru, Viru) -
Rocca al Mare open-air museum in Tallinn
Jõelähtme Ancient Graveyard
Waterfalls (Jägala, Keila-Joa, Valaste
Manor Houses (Palmse, Sagadi, Kolga, Laitse, Kalvi)
Castles (Narva, Rakvere, Purtse fortress)
Museums (KuMu - Estonian Art Museum, History Museum, Maritime Museum, Kohtla Mining Museum, Viinistu Art Gallery, Jõhvi, Kuremäe Convent
Of course it is difficult to suggest sightseeing, because we could not see them by same view as other people see beauty.
We suggest check out following web pages and after this contact with us if they want additional help or questions.
and it is sure, that we help them on their trips in Estonia by best way if it is needed
Aivar & Elo
Hope we have a chance to go back...so much more to see and do.
Meet the Locals
One of the great things to do anywhere is pretend you are not a tourist and meet the locals.
Maybe it would help to have "a little Russian or Estonian"in Estonia
We were lucky to have a contact. Elo a dear friend of Alice speaks English and understood our little bit of Russki.
A dear old Estonian lady named Alice with a sister and nephew in Australia entertained us for afternoon tea. Many years
before her sister had escaped from the invaders (after her husband was shot) and Alice was sent to Siberia ,never to meet again. Alice died three months later. We were just in time.
The left overs from afternoon tea were packed up and then given to an old beggar lady in the town square who raced off like Yogi the bear with her prize. It made her day too.
Kurgja is a small village in Parnu County. It's important pllace for Estonian people becuase of one man- Carl Robert Jakobson. He was one of the leaders of Estonian National Awakening- period that started in 1850ties and led to gaining independance in 1918. C.R. Jakobson(1841-1882) was a teacher, writer and politician. In 1878 he established the newspaper SAKALA which was first political daily paper in Estonian. Also Jakobson was responsible for political-economical program for the Awakening movement. By the way is is the guy depicted on 500 Estonian kroon note.
Kurgja Farm open air museum is former Jakobson family farm where he lived the last years of his life. In this farm visitors can find out more about C.R.Jakobson life, also to know about typical farmer's life. It's the whole complex including barns and granary, sauna and other. There's a shop in the old mill where you can buy some souvenirs mostly made from clay and woolen things. By the way sheeps are still kept there- so the great chance woolen socks would be really local. There are also Farm days and other educational-cultural programmes taking part in this farm , too. The kids shouldn't be bored too, because at the far end of the farm there's kind of picnic area with some traditional Estonian wooden swings and carousel.....i must admitt i'm a great fan of Estonian big country swing myself:)))))
LOCATION: On the right bank of the Ahja River, near the Saesaare dam at a small hydroelectric power station, Põlva County.
SPECIFIC FEATURES: Impressive sandstone scarps of Taevaskoda are favourite sights for tourists.
Saaremaa is Estonia's biggest island, situated west of the Estonian coast. The county's capital is Kuressaare, a small town with approximately 16.000 inhabitants. Today, Saaremaa is a popular tourist destination, especially by the Estonians and the Finns. Here you find rarely frequented beaches, cozy small villages, windmills and forests.
Eco tourism in the Estonian islands
Estonia has a lot of island (!!!) and some of them are perfect for eco tourism holidays.
Take a look on the Estonian island page and select one or more to spend some days, or as least to visit. There are pleasant nature activities in the three biggest islands
Nature holiday at Lahemaa National Park, Estonia
The name Lahemaa has become widely known in Estonia as well as worldwide. Lahemaa stands for beautiful natural landscapes with forests, rocky beaches, fishing villages, and permanent fields that are connected into a single functioning entity. More information http://sagadi.ee/manor/surroundings/lahemaa-national-parkRelated to:
- Hiking and Walking
- National/State Park
Design Tour of Tallinn
Tallinn is a great town for design. The tourist office produces a "Design Map of Tallinn" which is great, but sadly out of date.
If you're interested in architecture, buy the book "Tallinn Architecture 1900-2006" as soon as you arrive. It's on sale at the Museum of Estonian Architecture - conveniently located near the cruise ship dock and ferry arrival points from Helsinki and Stockholm. It offers a fantastic overview of the city's art nouveau, Soviet-era and exciting post 1991 modern architecture boom. Check out the Rottermani district nearby for a chic combination of old and new buildings.
The Kuma Art Museum is a must-see - don't miss the "Hall of Heads", with dozens of busts from all eras of history, and a tape representing the hum of conversation playing in the background. There's a nice cafe there as well.
For Tallinn design shopping, the best local fashion designer is Ivo Nikkolo, who has shops in both the old city and in Viru Keksis, the big downtown shopping mall. The Katariina Guild, a series of hands-on handicraft shops in the Old City, sells beautiful one-of-a-kind items you won't see in the tourist trinket shops. And Nu Nordik, on the big square at Vabaduse Valjak, offers hip, humorous pieces from young Estonian artists.Related to:
- Museum Visits
Tallinn for Children/Tallinn for Kids
Tallinn is a child-friendly city. The best playground in town can be found outside the Childrens' Museum in Kadriog Park - it has areas for the very youngest children as well as more challenging equipment for kids 6-10. Take the 1 or 3 tram through a beautiful neighborhood of restored wooden houses. The museum itself can be enjoyed by kids who don't speak Estonian.
There's a lovely new playground downtown near Viru Keksis, slightly hidden from view. Look behind the modernist brown building at Rottermani 8.
Kids will also like watching artisans at work in the Old City - weavers, quilting artists, bookbinders, etc. - and a walk along the medieval city walls. There is a famous Puppet Museum in the Old City, but it is difficult to enjoy fully without a knowledge of Estonian.
Talllin's zoo is about 20 minutes from downtown via Trolley Bus 6. Some parts - like the lion environment - are new and modern. Others, like the tiger and polar bear areas, are small, sad, concrete enclosures. There is little to eat at the zoo, so a picnic lunch is recommended. It is also very spread out, although wagon rentals are available.
Among child-friendly restaurants are the Vapiano chain, which offers bunny-shaped pizzas, and the excellent Goodwin Steakhouse (www.steak.ee), with good childrens' meals and coloring-book placemats.
The ferry to Helsinki is also child friendly. It takes 2 hours and there is a playground area and cafeteria on the boat.Related to:
- Family Travel
Tallinn, or Reval as it is called in German, is located on the Gulf of Finland just opposite of Helsinki. It is Estonia's capital and most important harbour. Tallinn was first mentioned in 1154. In 1219 the fortress was built around the town. In 1285 the city joined the Hanseatic League. Tallinn became the capital of independent Estonia in 1919 and in 1940 of the Estonian SSR. During the German occupation in World War II the city was heavily damaged but mostly rebuilt after the war. In 1991, it again became the capital of an independent Estonia.
You cannot imagine the beauty of the town. Townwall, castle and hundreds of years old building takes you back in time. No wonder why UNESCO listed the entire centre in the World Heritage List.
Kuressaare Fortress is surounded by a ditch on which you can row now. The fortification walls are several meters thick and covered with ivy and grass. Inside is a museum and a place for open air theatre.
Town of Kuressaare
Kuressaare is the hot spot of the island of Saaremaa. Here you find bigger shops, malls and supermarkets. Despite of this the town is a quiet and cosy town. You still can see old wooden houses and shops selling traditional crafts.
The Radisson Blu Tallinn is one of the new and modern hotels in Tallinn. It is right in the city...more
This is THE LUXURY hotel in Tartu. Nice small hotel -only 16 rooms- in front of Tartu University....more
The building that houses the hotel is a valuable architectural and a historical landmark in Parnu....more
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- Booking.com Excellent choice, Low rates
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