ESTONIA - Gourmet tour: Tartu - Haanja - Setomaa
Duration: 2 days
Total length: ~300 km
This tour combines culinary experiences with visiting popular tourist attractions in southern Estonia. You will visit Võru and Rõuge, enjoy the southern Estonian landscape in Haanja Nature Park from the top of Suur Munamägi, the highest hill in the Baltics, and will be sincerely welcomed in Setomaa, the land of Setos - an ethnic and linguistic minority carrying on their unique heritage traditions. Setomaa has been inhabited for about 8,400 years, which makes it one of the oldest human settlements in Estonia. On this tour, you will taste Estonian wines made from locally grown berries and fruit, visit a goat farm offering superb goat’s cheese, and will be served a hearty country meal in a rural homestead.
The itinerary starts and ends in Tartu, but it can be extended to/from Tallinn and Riga.
Tartu - Võru - Rõuge - Haanja (~110 km)
En Route: Visiting the ambient Võru and Rõuge.
Lunch in Ööbikuoru Villa
The villa is located amidst three lakes, in the heart of Rõuge Valley. Lunch in their café-restaurant “Andreas”.
Uue - Saaluse Veinitalu (Uue-Saaluse Winery)
Farmers make wine from the berries and fruits that grow in the wonderful Võrumaa hilly area.
Jõeniidu Puhkemaja (Jõeniidu Holiday House)
It is a small rural goat farm producing a variety of products from goat’s milk.
Haanja Nature Park and Suur Munamägi Hill Viewing Tower
The nature park was set up to protect the landscape and cultural environment of the Hanja highland. In its central part stands Suur Munamägi, the highest hill in the Baltic states (318 m a.s.l.). The observation tower gives a wonderful view of the Estonian nature.
Evening Meal and Overnight Stay in Vaskna Turismitalu (Vaskna Tourism Farm)
This guest house on a farm is situated near Suur Munamägi hill, by Lake Vaskna. Local traditional meals are served to guests. The guests’ favourite family recipe is the “fatty cabbage” with yellow potatoes from the neighbouring farm.
Haanja - Vastseliina - Obinitsa - Saatse - Värska - Tartu (~190 km)
Ruins of Vastseliina Episcopal Castle
The Episcopal castle dates back to the 14th century. It was established by the Bishop of Tartu and Grandmaster of Livonia. In the Middle Ages, Vastseliina Castle was well known in the Catholic world as a popular destination for pilgrims. They worshipped the holy cross in the castle chapel and a visit to the chapel gave them sanctification for 40 days - it was first validated by Pope Innocentius VI in 1354. The castle met its end during the Great Northern War when it was demolished by Russian troops (1702). Nowadays you can visit the medieval themed centre located next to the castle, where you can taste, feel and see the life of medieval people.
Obinitsa Seto Museum
Learn about the lifestyle and culture of Seto people. In the museum you will see a lot of items that are very important to their culture, for example the fine handicraft of the Seto women. Also, if you book in advance, you can get dressed up as a Seto. The Seto women have a special look and wear a lot of silver jewellery. There is a possibility to shop in the souvenir shop.
Lunch in Taarka Tarõ Köögikõnõ (Café)
Housed in a traditional Seto farmstead building, the café offers Setos traditional dishes, as well as flavours of other Finno-Ugric nations and Ukraine. Fresh cheese, pastries, a traditional drink “kvass”.
Iti Leeväküük (Iti Café Bakery)
A brief stop to buy some locally baked bread. The café bakes brown country bread, bread with seeds, various white breads.
FB: Iti Leevävabrik ni Küük
Piusa Caves Visitor Centre
The Piusa sandstone caves are the result of hand-mining glass sand during 1922–1966. The visitor centre houses a museum, a café and a handicraft room for children. You can visit the observation platform at the Museum cave. The biggest wintering colony of bats in Eastern Europe is located in the caves.
Seto Tsäimaja (Café in Seto Farm Museum)
Here groups can enjoy dishes from earthenware made according to Setos traditions, listen to Setos songs and music instruments (for groups only).