Introduction

One of Estonia’s most charming towns, Viljandi overlooks a picturesque valley with a tranquil lake at its centre. The Knights of the Sword founded a castle here in the 13th century. The town that grew around it later joined the Hanseatic League, but subsequently was subject to the comings and goings of Swedes, Poles and Russians. It’s now a relaxed kind of place, perfect for time-travelling ambles, with some evocative castle ruins, historic buildings and abundant greenery.

If you visit in late July, make sure your accommodation is sorted – the four-day Viljandi Folk Music Festival is the biggest annual music festival in Estonia.