Cross-country Skiing: Estonia
Cross-country skiing in Estonia’s remote south east
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Multi-Level
Group Size Small Group
The beauty of Estonian winters attract people from across the world, looking for a mix of snow covered forests, fairy-tale towns and pristine landscapes. Our week of cross-country skiing is based in the southeastern ski capital of Estonia – Otepää. Here we enjoy five full days of classic cross-country skiing both on and off track, through beautiful pine forests and famous tracks. One day will be spent skiing on part of the route of the Tartu Ski Marathon which takes place in the region annually. On the last day we travel to Tallinn, the best preserved medieval city in Northern Europe and enjoy some free time exploring the walled old town dating back to the14th century.
* All breakfasts
* 7 nights at 3 and 4-star hotels with en suite rooms
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader and professional ski coach throughout. Group normally 5 to 14. Min age 16 yrs.
* Airport transfers (at designated times)
* Skies, poles and boots
- Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
- Ski on the famous Tartu Ski Marathon track
- Classic skiing technique sessions with professional coach
- Try shooting with a professional biathlete
- Explore 14th century Tallinn
- Stay in a comfortable hotel with easy access to ski tracks
This trips starts in to Otepää, the renowned ski capital of Estonia located approximately 3 hours south east of Tallinn. We strongly recommend to join the group transfer from the airport in order to reach the start point of this trip. Time permitting, on arrival, there may be time to try on our personal ski equipment and head out on our skis to explore the local area.
Ski in Otepää and Kääriku; try some biathlon shooting
We start the day with some cross-country skiing in Otepää and test our shooting skills at the local biathlon arena guided by a professional biathlete. After lunch we transfer to Kääriku to discover the famous Kekkose ski track (15 km), named after the former president of Finland, Urho Kaleva Kekkonen. After exploring some local tracks through pristine forests we’ll ski back to Otepää.
Explore fantastic forest ski tracks in Haanja; afternoon hike
Today we transfer to Haanja ski centre, approximately 1hr drive from Otepää to explore more of the local forest ski tracks. After lunch we drive back to the hotel and enjoy a hike to get acquainted with the beautiful natural lansdcape around Otepää . We end the day with a training session at the local gym which is aimed at improving our balance and coordination.
Ski in Tehvandi and perfect your technique
Today we enjoy another full day of classic cross-country skiing near the hotel and visit the famous ski-jump hill, offering breath-taking views from its 218 metres high platfrom. In the afternoon we continue skiing and have a chance to improve our technique guided by a professional ski coach. The training will be video-recorded with the purpose of assessing our skiing technique and make our learning process more effective.
Ski on the famous Tartu Ski Marathon track; enjoy some night-skiing
Today we head to the famous 63km Tartu Marathon track, part of the famous Worldloppet Ski Federation series. The annual marathon places itself among the biggest ski races in the world with nearly 10,000 participants. The wide course has a classic skier-friendly profile: it rolls over the hills, having no major steep uphills / downhills or long straight plain sections, making skiing there a real pleasure. Given we are not takign part in the real competition, today we can choose how long we want to ski for – parts of the track or the whole course! After dinner, those who still feel energetic can join the leader for a memorable skiing experience by night.
Final day skiing in the beautiful Estonian wilderness
Today will experience a final day of skiing in typical Estonian bogs and mires. This landscape is important in Estonian folklore, as bogs are seen as a place of of mystery and peace. The flora and fauna here is like nowhere else, with many unique animal and plant species present. We spend the last night Otepää before travelling back to the capital the following morning.
Transfer back to Tallinn; explore the historic capital and optional spa visit
After breakfast we transfer back to Tallinn (approximately 3hrs drive). Here we will have the opportunity to explore the walled old town dating back to the 14th century, filled with mediaeval houses and alleyways and a wealth of architecture. Here you can lose yourself in the winding cobbled streets, with a chance to dip into a cosy coffee shop to warm up by the fire. You may want to visit one of the two main Cathedrals or take a walk up Toompea Hill for a lovely view over the tiled rooftops. Later we have the option to enjoy the good quality spa at our 4-star hotel, which offers a variety of heated pools, hot tub, steam room and saunas. A perfect way to conclude our active week of skiing!
Tehvandi Hotel & Tallink Spa Hotel
The first 6 nights are spent at the comfortable 3-star Tehvandi Hotel in Otepaa, offering a quirky design with a grass roof and perfectly located less than 100 metres from the athletics track. All 45 rooms were refurbished in 2014, each with an en suite bathroom. The communal sauna is free of charge in the morning and can be hired for groups in the evening (€20). On the final night we stay at the premium 4-star Tallink Spa Hotel in Tallin, located just a 5 minutes’ walk from the walls of the Old Town. It offers large rooms and a generous breakfast buffet. The large spa complex offers various types of saunas and hot tubs, as well as indoor and outdoor heated pools, a perfect treat to conclude an active week of cross-country skiing.
Dinners will be taken in the hotels or in a nearby restaurant. Cuisine in Estonia is often centred around pork, veal, fish, potatoes, sauerkraut and soups such as borsch (beetroot soup with meat). Dumplings are also very popular. While desserts include mannavaht (a cream made of semoline and juice or fruit), pancakes and rhubarb pies. Drinking beer with a meal is common and still more popular than wine. Local favorites include Saku and A.le Coq, the latter of which is brewed in Tartu.
Breakaway offers cross-country skiing holidays to suit a wide range of technical and physical levels. Our cross-country skiing grades reflect both the level of physical fitness required and the level of skiing experience required. They are comparable to the activity levels we use on our snowshoeing, cycling, activity and trekking holidays; however we believe a slightly different system is required, due to the tuition we provide on our holidays. This sets our cross-country skiing holidays apart, as we tend not to need to teach people how to ride a bike or walk. The aim remains to create groups of similar ability and fitness. Our descriptions are below, however feel free to call and speak to an expert if you are unsure which grade or type of holiday will suit you best.
In Estonia we offer grade 3 holidays:
Grade 3 Intermediates Equivalent Activity Level- Moderate, Level 3. A grade 3 week is ideal for those looking to push on, tackle some slightly steeper terrain and cover more ground each day. Typical groups will have a few weeks skiing behind them, be very comfortable with the basics and happy on longer day tours. There will still be tuition on these weeks, at the required level.