If you like flying by the seat of your pants when you’re travelling, you’ll find July and August in Estonia very problematic. The best accommodation books up quickly and in Tallinn, especially on weekends, you might find yourself scraping for anywhere at all to lay your head. In fact, Tallinn gets busy most weekends, so try to book about a month ahead anytime from May through to September (midweek isn’t anywhere near as bad).
High-season in Estonia means summer. Prices drop off substantially at other times. The exception is Otepää, when there’s also a corresponding peak in winter.
Worth a Trip: To the Manor Reborn
The Estonian countryside is littered with the once-grand manors of the long-vanished Baltic German elite. While most lie in ruin due to either war damage or neglect, an ever-increasing number are finding new lives as boutique hotels and restaurants. If you're heading between Tallinn and Tartu, there are some great options to tempt you off Hwy 2.
- Kau Manor Once the home of 19th-century explorer Otto von Kotzebue, Kau Manor has recently been rescued from dereliction and converted into a fabulously flamboyant hotel and an acclaimed restaurant. Both the decor and menu take their inspiration from von Kotzebue's travels, with historical prints blown up to extravagant sizes on the walls and a veritable menagerie of stuffed animals scattered about. Rooms in the main house are packed with antiques and vintage upholstery, while those in the coach house are just as comfortable but more restrained. Rates include breakfast and a morning sauna and swim in the indoor pool. Eight Legs (Kaheksa Jalga) Restaurant takes its name from a particularly over-the-top octopus chandelier in the dining room. The menu changes monthly to make the most of seasonal produce, with each month's dishes themed around a different place von Kotzebue visited. Kau Manor is located 50km southeast of central Tallinn, 9km off the Tallinn–Tartu highway (turn off at Kose).
- Põhjaka The decayed ambience of Põhjaka Manor serves as a blank canvas for a wonderful restaurant showcasing fresh Estonian farm produce, where traditional stomach-fillers such as pork ribs and mash are taken to the next level of culinary excellence. It's well signposted from the Tallinn-Tartu highway, 90km from central Tallinn (95km from Tartu).