Welcome to Haanja Nature Park
The charming village of Rõuge sits among gently rolling hills on the edge of the gently sloping Ööbikuorg (Nightingale Valley), named for the birds that gather here in the spring for the avian version of the songfest. Seven small lakes are strung out along the ancient valley floor, including Estonia’s deepest lake, Suurjärv (Great Lake, 38m), in the middle of the village; it’s said to have healing properties. Linnamägi, the hill above Linnjärv (Town Lake), was an Estonian stronghold during the 8th to 11th centuries. In the 13th century the ailing travelled from afar to see a healer called Rõugetaja, who lived here. There’s a good view across the valley from the hill (accessed from behind the Nightingale Valley Centre).
Stock up on maps and information about the park’s multifarious hiking and cross-country skiing opportunities from the Nightingale Valley Centre in Rõuge or the tourist offices in Võru, Otepää or Tartu.