First time visiting foreign country in more than 2 years! Tartu is second largest city in Estonia. It has very long history since it got the city rights in 13th century and it was already quite important town for Teutonic order. Only place/ building that is left from medieval times is the fortress hill and the cathedral that stands on the top of the hill. It is quite interesting church because it’s mainly ruined but one part of the old church is reconstructed and they are still using it! We came to Tartu by car to spend 2 full days exploring the area. And The city of Tartu is not that big so we also checked Lake Peipus (Lake Peipsi) and few villages close to it.
We also checked the Tähtvere park and the area of National museum. That museum is quite amazing building (Built in 2016) -to take a picture of this I should have my Drone with me! But you get the idea from the picture in Wikipedia.
Then on the second day we visited Lake Peipsi. The first village that we visited was Räpina (Sillapää Loss), then Mehikoorma lighthouse and Meerpalu rand, then Kavastu Praam (manual ferry) and finally Alatskivi Loss and Kallaste rand.
Estonia is not very big country but there is so much to see. You should stop in every small village and probably you will be surprised by the history or by the people! And it’s only 2 hour ferry trip from Helsinki Finland!!
Because we didn’t ride far enough on previous day I made the reservation for the ferry From Tallinn to Helsinki for the next day. I was thinking to ride to Pärnu today and spend nice evening there and then ride to Tallinn next morning. The ferry was about to start 1PM. After 60 km’s of riding west from Jēkabpils the rain had stopped and the road was dry enough to take of rainsuits.
The riding was doing well! The road was in very good condition and there wasn’t too much traffic. Maybe about 100km’s later we’re already on the north side of Riga and I asked my wife that maybe we should ride all the way to Tallinn?? Se said “lets do it!” And it was only about to change the ferry tickets to this evening… and it was ok! So we had ferry already today from Tallinn to Helsinki! I was filling the tank somewhere before Pärnu and it started raining there! But luckily it was just a short shower and we got even another somewhere in the middle between Pärnu-Tallinn. But when it wasn’t raining it was nice weather and the clothes were drying fast! We took a little bit of shopping in Tallinn and we even had time to enjoy dinner at our favorite restaurant Sevan before getting to the ferry.
And we got very nice sunset on the way to Helsinki!
We were home a little bit after 10PM… Quite late, quite tired and exhausted! The whole trip was very successful and full of nice moments and incredible places! I really can’t say what was the best place or moment… There was so many of them! I’m remembering very well the Hungarian roads -they were very nice! Slovenia -I really need to go again!! And Cesky Krumlov was very special also… My wife is answering: Krk island in Croatia and Grossglockner were the best places/ moments. The total route was about 5900 kilometers. We visited 12 countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic and Germany). In 2 of these we didn’t spend night (Slovenia and Germany). The best accommodation was in Croatia and the worst was in Hotel Luiize/ Latvia (last night). The 520km’s route for the last day was like this:
Our holiday trip started on saturday 29th of june. We hade booked a ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn at 07.30 in the morning. We also booked the breakfast in the boat so we only needed to check that we had everything and then start the tour. Boat arrived to Tallinn 09.30 so we had all day to ride! And there was quite many places to see in our route. First place where I stopped to take a picture wasn’t planned.
The ride goes on until the windmill in Seidla village. This windmill is still operational! Then some other places too…
And after we put our stuff to the hotel in Törva village, we still checked the castle ruins and the cave in Helme.
We took the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn on wednesday 29th of may. This was my first time with Eckeröline M/S Finlandia.
The ferry arrived to Tallinn 5.30PM so we didn’t have time to visit many places or ride too far. But we did check something…
First was this viewing platform only about 23 kilometers west from harbour. Quite nice views to the Gulf of Finland!
Then we stopped at Keila Waterfall. There is very nice park in this area and you can easily spend 1 hour or more there. We enjoyed it very much!
Second day started with a ride to Paldiski city… Or actually we wanted to see the Pakri lighthouse and the cliffs behind the city.
We continued riding west and soon we’re filling the tank near Haapsalu town. I noticed that I didn’t have my wallet in my pocket and also that someone was trying to call me… I called back and it was the owner of the previous BnB and she told that my wallet was there! First I was little bit in panic -I thought we needed to go back to get the wallet but then we tried my wifes Debit card if it was working in Estonia… and it was perfectly ok. She also said that she had some cash so we could easily get along next 2-3 days and we could go back to get my wallet on saturday evening when we were already coming back. So now with full tank of 95 octane gasoline we checked the Haapsalu castle.
After about 20 minutes walk around the area we continued to the airport:
This is old military airport and it is not in use anymore. Sometimes they are having some dragraces for cars or for bikes… but mostly it’s empty and you can easily try how fast your bike can go! I didn’t take my bags off so I did only 120km/h. Just beside the airport is quite nice ruins of old manor (Ungru manor). The owner started to build the house for his loved one…. But then she died and soon the owner died too and house was never finished!
Then we rode to the Port of Rohuküla to wait for the ferry to Hiiumaa. It gave is nicely about 40 minutes time to relax while the ferry was sailing to the port of Heltermaa. But already before 3pm we were checking the next place: The abandoned church of Paluküla.
Then we took the road “Tahkuna Tee” or road number 113. This is definitely the best ride in Hiiumaa island. It takes you to Tahkuna lighthouse and behind this lighthouse there is memorial monument of M/S Estonia accident that happened in September 28, 1994. This memorial is especially for the children who died in this tragic disaster.
Next we checked some kind of adventure park (?!)
This park is built by one person and it is kind of private place. But after he built this Eiffel everyone wanted to see the place and climb to the tower! We didn’t climb there because we had another tower to climb!
Kõpu lighthouse is probably the third oldest lighthouse in the world that is still operational! It is 36 meters high and the first staircase is about 22 meters straight climb. 1 stair is about 40 cm’s high so it is quite difficult climb for a small person. The railing on the top is totally too low (for me) -I was only sitting beside the tower and not going close to the edge. I think I would’ve fainted if I would go there!
We had a nice Guesthouse in Kassari village and we were very lucky about dinner! The only restaurant in this village was closed but we got food anyway. And this was because there was some big group eating and they served us the same food -and it was even very good! Nicely done and good service, thank you Lest & Lammas!
Third day morning it was raining so we didn’t start riding too early, we took it very slow!
After this chapel we found something very spectacular! One of the most amazing places I’ve ever visited is the Sääre Tirp -peninsula. We left the bike to the parking area and started to walk south. After 2 kilometers walk there were no trees anymore only very narrow piece of land and it was going more narrow all the time. I took my drone up!
It took about 2 hours for us to walk to the end of treeline and back. There was still quite long distance to walk until there was no land anymore, maybe something like 5-600 meters until the total end of Sääre Tirp. Next we checked the small lighthouses on the westside from Port of Sõru.
Then it was time to take a ferry to the bigger island: Saaremaa.
We stayed in a nice Guesthouse and enjoyed dinner in Saaremaakera in the center of Kuressaare (Big recommendations!)
Fourth day started also with the rain but it ended soon. We went to check Kuressaare castle when it was still little bit foggy. Now it is possible to walk around the castle on the top of the surrounding wall. From there you can see the castle from every possible corner!
The we were already riding towards the harbour of Kuressare, but we took one stop on the way:
Then again one ferry, this time from Kuivastu to Virtsu and we were back in the mainland. We checked the ruins of Lihula castle. There’s not much left of this castle.
Then we needed to ride to the first Guesthouse we visited because my wallet was there. But we stopped in Padise monastery on the way. Here was also some renovations going on so we couldn’t get in.
Our last night was in very siple cabin without water. My wife didn’t like this idea at all. But I liked the place!
And I got my wallet beck! The dinner we had in a place called Günther kohvik. No recommendations from this place. Fifth day we only needed to reach the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki and there was plenty of time… In the boat we took the buffet lunch and ate totally too much. But when you pay you have to get the maximum benefit! Right?
Then we started riding the route for saturday. First we took nice road from Turaida to Saulkrasti. This would be very nice… but the pavement is so bad condition that you have to concentrate to keep the bike in balance and you can’t really enjoy the long sweeping bends. (https://motocaching.net/en/cache/view/id6830). From Saulkrasti you can find a monument of finnish bomber Junkers JK-274 crash in 1943. It is quite interesting to find finnish language in the middle of Latvia! (https://motocaching.net/en/cache/view/id6124)
And in the north side of Pärnu we took a short visit in Villa Andropoff, this has quite interesting history but it didn’t give me any shivers. Looked like old Spa or something…
The Beach in this Villa was fantastic! Many kilometers of white sand everywhere.
Finally after a long and quite hot riding-day we arrived to Haapsalu. We visited the Haapsalu Episcopal Castle. Last time I was here (20 years ago?) it was only the ruins of the castle but now there was a museum and many different parts of the castle where you can enter. The bell tower, the hospital, the cathedral, the dungeons… we’re almost running everyhting through and still it took more than 1 hour! The entrance fee to the museum is 5€ and I really recommend to visit there!
Quite many riders from Finland have been riding in Estonia too. But usually it’s only riding through as fast as you can! Riders from Finland are coming to Tallinn by ferry and then they ride straight to south!
But what if you’d stay for awhile?
It is true that there are not too many roads with nice corners in Estonia! But it doesn’t mean that riding here would be totally boring. The best curvy roads are in the coastline east from Tallinn (https://goo.gl/maps/n7Ej8PAaqb92) but you will find some nice roads also in Otepää area and in the Hiiumaa and Saaremaa islands. Sadly it is also true that if you find a nice curvy road it is quite possible that the pavement is not in very good condition.
But what is it then that makes the riding not boring? There are few good answers to this:
1. Estonia was a part of Soviet Union before 1991. There are many very interesting places to see: some abandoned nuclear missile bases, military fortresses, harbours, military airports or a submarine base.
2. Tallinn and Tartto are old Hansatowns. That means there are so many historical spots to see. There is also an old castle in Pöltsamaa, Haapsalu, Kuressaare and many, many other places too! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_castles_in_Estonia)
3. Prices are very cheap! Last summer (2015) me and my friend stopped to eat something in Rakvere. We parked the bikes in the centrum and we saw a restaurant. The price for a russian kind of meal (some potato sallad, vegetables and a meat-saslik) was about 8 euros!
4. The nature is surprising! There are some cliffs, waterfalls, beautiful lakes, forests, very nice sandbeaches and so much more surprisingly beautiful places.
5. Huge motorcycle meeting in July in Jögeva! Usually something like 2-3000 motorcycle riders meet every year.