Plan a perfect winter holiday in Estonia

The trees change from green to vibrant shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown. Time slows as the nights grow long. Breathe in fresh, crisp air. Let the lights of the season guide you through town. Whisk away your worries in the sauna. End the day with a relaxed meal at a top restaurant.

Whether it’s a high-speed weekend or a week-long adventure, even the most seasoned travelers will discover something to love about Estonia in the off-season.


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Step back in time

Strolling along the cobblestone streets of Tallinn’s Old Town may be the closest you’ll ever come to time travel.

Follow twists and turns to discover hidden alleyways or hike your way up to the lookout platforms for a view of the red-tiled rooftops covered with white snow.

Duck into award-winning museums or search for the perfect souvenir in one of the little shops specializing in local design.

Get on to the lookout platforms to see Tallinn's red-tiled rooftops covered with white snow

Photo by Karl Markus Antson on Visit Estonia

If you’d like a dinner to match your surroundings, head to Olde Hansa where you can dine like a medieval merchant. Here you’ll find out what Estonian cuisine was like before they had potatoes.

If a snack is more what you’re craving, III Draakon has flaky pastries and elk stew to enjoy by candlelight.

Dine in the medieval time style at the restaurant Olde Hansa

Photo on Visit Estonia


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Black Nights are the best nights

The Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival makes November the best month for cinephiles and culture lovers to visit Estonia.

The festival, known as PÖFF, screens around 250 features and over 300 shorts and animations. With an attendance of about 80,000, it is the largest annual cultural event in Estonia.

November in Estonia with its film festival PÖFF is for cinephiles

Photo on Visit Estonia


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A fall and winter wonderland

As Estonians like to say, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. They take this to heart by staying active year-round.

For adventure seekers, the off-season in Estonia is the perfect season for a visit.

Group of people having lunch outside during wintertime

Photo by Rauno Liivand on Visit Estonia


Nature hikes

Head out in the morning to catch a misty sunrise over the bog.

In autumn, the sun comes up at a decent hour — rather than summertime’s 4 a.m. — giving you the opportunity to get a good night’s sleep and still catch morning rays as they shine through a foggy forest.

Catch a magical sunrise in the bog in Estonia

Photo by Sven Zacek on Visit Estonia

Estonian hiking trails are well-marked, but off-trail with bogshoes (or snowshoes in winter) is the best way to explore Estonian wetlands.

Enjoy absolute peace and quiet while listening to the soft crunch-crunch of the snowshoes as you make your way through frozen wetlands.

Group of people hiking in Estonia's bog using snowshoes in winter

Photo by Andres Raudjalg on Visit Estonia


Winter swimming

Sauna in the middle of snowy Estonian forest
Photo on Instagram

A trip to Estonia would be incomplete without a trip to the sauna. And the best way to cool down after steaming up is to take a dip in the sea. Winter swim in style at Iglupark Saunas in Noblessner.

Enjoy ice hole swimming in Estonia

Photo by Rauno Liivand on Visit Estonia


Cross-country skiing

As a relatively flat country, Estonia is a great spot for cross-country skiing aficionados. In Tallinn, you can find ski rentals and marked trails in Nõmme and Pirita.

In Southern Estonia, head to Otepää, Estonia’s winter capital. There you can find remarkable ski trails, several of which have hosted World Cups in cross-country skiing.

Tehvandi Ski Training Track in Otepää

Photo on Visit Estonia


Dog sledding

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being pulled behind a team of sled dogs through freshly fallen snow. Check out Paasiku Dogs Manor or Huskypark for a once-in-a-lifetime winter adventure.

Take dog sledging tours in Estonia in the winter

Photo by Paul Meiesaar on Visit Estonia


Ice skating

Enjoy ice skating next to the Christmas Market on the Harju Street ice rink in Tallinn’s Old Town. For a truly enchanting experience, try ice skating on a frozen bog lake.

The Harju Street ice rink in Tallinn’s Old Town
Photo on Instagram


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Gourmet dining at Michelin Guide restaurants

The MICHELIN Guide in Estonia

Photo by Renee Altrov on Visit Estonia

After a long day outdoors, pull up a chair at a cozy restaurant and warm up with a drink and a delicious meal made with locally-sourced ingredients.

Thirty-four restaurants in Estonia made it into the 2023 MICHELIN Guide.

This year, 180° by Matthias Diether, received a second MICHELIN Star while NOA Chef’s Hall held on to its one Star.

Thirty-four Estonian restaurants are in the Michelin Guide 2023

Photo by Näljane Nelik on Visit Estonia


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A magical market experience

Christmas market in Talinn

Photo by Riho Kirss on Visit Estonia

In 2019, Tallinn’s Christmas market was voted best in Europe by European Best Destinations, and every year it gets better.

Charming wooden stalls radiate from a giant Christmas tree set up in the the center of Town Hall Square.

Browse traditional handicrafts while sipping on mulled wine, known as glögi in Estonian. Sample crunchy gingerbread cookies or a traditional Christmas meal of sausage, sauerkraut, potatoes, and pickled pumpkin.

The twinkling lights of Old Town will have you feeling the Christmas spirit in no time!

Catch the Christmas feeling in the Tallinn Christmas market

Photo on Visit Estonia

If you want to double up on the holiday spirit, then visit the Christmas market on the main square of Tartu’s Old Town.

Tartu is a two-hour drive or train ride from Tallinn and is a great jumping-off point for exploring southern Estonia, especially in 2024 as Tartu will become the European Capital of Culture.

The Christmas market on the main square of Tartu’s Old Town

Photo by Kaupo Kalda on Visit Estonia


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Whisk away the cold

Yes, Estonia gets cold in the off-season. But with the abundance of saunas and spas, there’s no reason why you have to be cold, too! With heat ranging from 60 to 100 degrees, a sauna session will warm you to the core.

A truly invigorating sauna experience involves getting your blood circulating with a birch whisk and a dip in a frozen pond or a roll in the snow!

Head to South Estonia to visit a UNESCO-listed, traditional smoke sauna.

Woman pouring water on hot stones in smoke sauna

Photo by Ekvilibrist – Estonian Saunas on Visit Estonia

Of course, you can also choose a more relaxing spa experience and watch the wind in the trees and the snow sparkle from the comfort of an indoor heated pool.

Spas can be found all over Estonia; check out this guide to find the right one for you.

Family having fun at the Kalev Spa Hotel & Water Park

Photo by Ken Oja on Visit Estonia

Estonia in the off-season has so much to offer but only for those who enjoy straying off the beaten path. It’s about time you pulled on your parka, strapped on your boots and experienced the magic for yourself!

Explore Estonia in winter

Photo by Rauno Liivand on Visit Estonia


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Cover photo by Malle Kolnes on Visit Estonia

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