Cross-country Skiing: Estonia

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Trip code: 
CYQ
Activity:
Winter
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–14

Cross-country skiing in Estonia's remote south east

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. 

Highlights

  • 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

Key information

  • 7 nights at 3 and 4-star hotels with en suite rooms
  • 5 days guided cross-country skiing 
  • Group normally 5 to 14. Min. age 16 yrs
  • Travel by private minibus

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader and professional ski coach throughout
  • Airport transfers for group flights
  • Skies, poles and boots

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visa's and Vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Itinerary

Otepää
to
Tallin
  • Day 1

    Start Otepää

    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.

  • Day 2

    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.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    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.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    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.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    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.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    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.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    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!

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End Tallin

    End Tallin

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Estonia

British passport holders do not require a visa. Other nationalities should check with the relevant authorities.

Vaccinations

Estonia

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

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 favourites include Saku and A.le Coq, the latter of which is brewed in Tartu.

Weather

The climate of Estonia can be described as a typical European continental influenced climate with warm, dry summers and fairly severe winters. February is one of the coldest months with daytime temperatures usually around -10°C, but in some cases temperatures can drop to about -20°C or even lower with strong, cold north easterly winds. Cold crisp sunny days are common, however heavy snowfall or even snowstorms are also possible.

Is this trip for you?

Exodus 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. 

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Tehvandi Hotel & Tallink Spa Hotel

The first 6 nights are spent at the comfortable 3-starTehvandi 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 pefect treat to conclude an active week of cross-country skiing.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

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  • Reviewed March 2018
    jean luc laot

    cross country skiing in estonia

    the skiimg in otepaa was very good . a busy week lots of skiing with a few nice surpriseslike the biathlon and a look at the high ski jump ! loved doing part of the tartu ski marathon and our guide kristel of course was so good too ! did like the old town of Tallinn well worh a visit and did not miss not doing the optional second afternoon skiing in Tallinn

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I guess doing the 26 km tartu marathon .

    What did you think of your group leader?

    one of the best have had with exodus

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    be relatively fit to enjoy your trip and enjoy the cold weather
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Chris Bailey

    Cross-country skiing in Estonia

    Let me begin by saying that this was an excellent trip. Estonia doesn’t have the mountains of Norway but it it does have forests in spades. If you want relatively easy skiing on quiet tracks this is the trip for you. I think the exodus grade of 3 is too high and a 2 would be be more appropriate. Not sure that there is much value in the time spent in Tallinn. Beautiful city but visit on a city break. Impossible to finish this review without mention of our guide Kristel. Kristel was an amazing guide/leader. I have been on a number of trips and Kristel is one of the best. She encouraged us, gave plenty of hugs, and went out of her way to make our trip memorable. Somehow she sorted out biathlon shooting (think about this - how many times do you get to shoot real rifles, watching ski jumpers, and night skiing. If I were Exodus ZI’d sign her up as leader for as many trips as possible .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Kristey

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 020 8772 3936